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FABULOUS SEX AND metaphysics faded along with the fire in our eyes, and then Jean-Claude had to rush to dress for his big meeting. It was with the managers of all his clubs, plus some salespeople who were regulars for the clubs. They'd be using the new conference room in the upper part of the Circus in the expanded offices over the Circus big top. Before we expanded the offices there, the only conference rooms were here in the underground, and from a security standpoint you don't want anyone but your most trusted people inside your inner sanctum. You certainly don't want to invite the guy who supplies you with fresh linens to walk past the bedroom of the king. Not to mention that a lot of our suppliers were human and there were a lot of not-human in the underground. It wasn't just our safety that we'd been concerned about.

Micah and Nathaniel came out of the bathroom in time to watch him rush around. They climbed under the sheets and coverlet with me so we wouldn't be in the way. It was like watching Jean-Claude get ready for work. We'd dated for seven years, but I'd never been this wide-awake in his bed while he got ready for business. I think I'd slept through it, but I wasn't even sure of that. I worked a lot of nights, too, so I cuddled, with Nathaniel in the middle between Micah and me, while Jean-Claude slid into a pair of black jeans so tight that I'd have given up. He made it look easy, not to mention that watching his ass while he got into the jeans was a very happy thought. His ass in the jeans was pretty darn good, too.

He added one of his signature white lacy shirts, tucking it in and adding a belt that I knew was custom made, or at least the belt buckle was, because it looked like silver but was actually white gold, because too many of our sweeties were "allergic" to silver. There was also a single black diamond set in the buckle, very understated unless it caught the light. He put on a black velvet choker with an antique cameo on the front of it. I knew it was a genuine antique because I'd bought it for him. He left the high lace collar open so it framed the cameo. It made me smile, more than the engagement ring he took out of the safe, because the engagement ring he wore most of the time had been his choice for his hand, not mine. The only reason he had an engagement ring was that I told him if he didn't get an engagement ring, then I wouldn't accept one either. I'd hoped it would get me out of having one, but I should have known better. Jean-Claude liked jewelry a lot more than I did; besides, he was a king, and kings did not get to skimp on jewelry. The people making our rings were also making tiaras--read crowns--for both of us. Mine was to hold a veil in place; his was because I refused to wear one unless he did. I was so going to have to stop using that as my ultimatum.

We'd finally gotten an engagement ring for everyday wear that worked. Jean-Claude had a matching one, but it wasn't his favorite. It was a platinum band with two channel-set sapphires on either side of a brilliant white diamond, also set flat. The flashy ring that he'd first given me was all white diamonds and a princess cut of epic proportions. It had been impossible to wear to do anything ordinary like put my hand in a pocket. He had a diamond and platinum ring that was as ridiculous as mine, but he also had a platinum band set with two large white diamonds with a larger blue sapphire in the center. He got out the flashy one, of course. It looked like a medium-size star set in platinum, winking and catching the light as if small pla

nets should find his hand and start orbiting it, or maybe that was just my discomfort with that level of consumerism. I just couldn't get used to wearing a ring that cost more than most people's houses.

We'd finally come up with a design for a wedding set that made us both happy, but the jewelers were still creating them, so until then we had the everyday rings and the original ones.

He opened the wardrobe that was against the far wall and got a pair of over-the-knee boots out of it. Sitting on the bench seat that sat to one side of the wardrobe now, he unzipped the back of the boots so he could fit his foot inside.

"Do the boots zip all the way up?" I asked.

"Not all the way up," he said, as he rolled down the soft leather tops of the boots to midthigh and drew garters out that went around the tops of the boots, holding them in place.

"Are those real diamonds in the garters?" I asked.

He raised his head enough to smile at me. "Of course."

"Of course," I said, smiling. "I love you in boots."

He kept smiling, but he was concentrating more on the boots as he said, "I am aware of that, ma petite."

"I like you in boots, too," Nathaniel said, his voice lazy with good sex and an edge of sleep. He was already snuggled down into the covers so that only his face showed. His head resting on Micah's sheet-covered thigh was the only way he was able to see Jean-Claude at all.

"I am aware of that, too, mon chaton." He took the time to raise each long leg up toward the ceiling while he zipped them from ankle to midthigh. I was already thinking about how fun it would be to unzip them later.

"I don't know what I like you in yet," Micah said.

"You did not expect to be romantically tied to another man, let alone two of us. It is all right to be unsure of your preferences in a sex you were never attracted to before you met us."

"Thank you for understanding," Micah said.

"I understand better than you think. I played the game if I was forced, but I was never a man for other men until I met Asher."

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