Captured in Ink - Carrie Ann Ryan
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Captured in Ink

Book 4.5 in the Montgomery Ink: Boulder Series

New York Times bestselling author Carrie Ann Ryan returns to the Montgomery Ink world with three souls bruised yet forever connected in this sexy and intoxicating ménage romance.

Julia and Ronin know their relationship is solid. They’ve been through hell and back, but their love has stayed true through it all. When Ronin’s ex, Kincaid, comes back to town, however, the two realize what they might be missing.

Kincaid didn’t mean to leave Ronin behind all those years ago. When tragedy struck not once, but twice, bringing with it the heat of horror, he couldn’t face the past he’d left behind. Now, he’s back and doesn’t know how he fits in with the seemingly perfect couple—especially not when their families will apparently stop at nothing to keep them apart.

read an excerpt

Captured in Ink is Book 4.5 in the Montgomery Ink: Boulder series

Captured in Ink Characters Profiles

Captured in Ink

As soon as our guests left, I knew I would bend my wife over our dining room table and finish what we started before we were interrupted.

Julia looked at me over her wine glass, her blue eyes dancing with laughter. Oh, I had a feeling she knew exactly where my mind had gone. Was it my fault, though? Honestly? She might be wearing a dress that covered her completely and went down to her knees, but it hugged her curves, and all I wanted to do was ruck it up her hips and see what we could get up to. We experimented often and tried everything we could to fulfill our needs and changing desires. I’d found my perfect partner, and I fell in love with her more every day.

She rolled her eyes, and I gulped half my wine, trying to calm myself. As it was, my dick pressed into my jeans, and I held back a curse.

Julia’s coworker and his two spouses were telling a story about one of their family members, and I was only half listening. Julia was laughing along, paying attention, and I knew I should, as well.

I liked Ethan Montgomery and his spouses, Holland and Lincoln. They were great people, and I got along with them. I even worked with their brother-in-law, Marcus, at the library. We were all one big tattooed family—and admittedly a little weird. And yet all I could think about was my wife.

I still couldn’t believe I had married the love of my life, and that she still wanted to be with me after all these years.

“Are you going to keep making swoony eyes at Julia over the table, or are you going to start paying attention to us?” Lincoln asked, and I cleared my throat as everyone at the table broke out into laughter.

“Sorry, it’s been a strange day.” I shook my head and took another sip of my wine.

“I vaguely remember Marcus saying you had book club today,” Holland said, her voice kind. She owned a touristy shop that sold art and other exclusive pieces down the street from the library. I had gotten Julia’s birthday gift from her, and I knew when the holidays came up, I’d probably be shopping there again. It didn’t hurt that Lincoln sold a couple of his art pieces through the store, although his work was so sought after these days, it was hard to keep them in the shop. With some of them going for thousands, if not more, it didn’t make sense security-wise to keep them in her small store.

I loved that my friends were all connected and settling down. The Montgomerys, in particular, had been through a lot recently, and it was good to see them happy for once. There was talk of babies and future plans and the like. I smiled over at Julia again as Ethan began talking about work and an upcoming trip, and I wondered when we would start that next phase of our relationship. We both wanted children and had talked about it in the past, but we were taking our time. We still had more to do in our lives before we took that next step, but it would probably be a good idea to at least bring it up so we were on the same page.

I had learned long ago from one disastrous relationship after another that without true communication, things could get fucked up faster than you could blink. And I would do everything in my power to never hurt Julia.

“You’re not going on this work trip?” I asked Ethan, trying to get my head back into the conversation.

Both Julia and Ethan were computational chemists, with Julia focused on data analysis. However, she worked with Ethan on most projects. Both of them were way above my pay grade when it came to understanding science, but I liked learning new things. Hence why, after I left the military, I became a librarian, something the exact opposite of what my initial career had been. Some people might not quite understand why, but it was books for me, and that’s all I needed. That, and Julia.

“No, they only need Julia and another member of our team. I offered to go in her place because I know you have an anniversary coming up, but she’s the one who spearheaded this, you know?” Ethan added.

Julia just shook her head. “We did it together, thank you very much. You were just as big a part of this project as I was. But you know Jeff, he wanted to go because the event is in Vegas, so it was either you or me and the guy in charge.”

I ground my teeth. “I don’t like this Jeff guy.”

Julia shrugged. “He’s not that bad. He’s brilliant, and he’s always quite nice. And he isn’t one of those guys who thinks that because I’m a woman, I don’t know how to do science or come up with my own proofs. But he’s also in a higher position than us, and if he wants to go on a trip where he will get his work done but also party? He’s going to go.”

“Yeah, he’s not a jerk,” Ethan put in. “And he did do work on the project. So, it’s not like there’s any bad blood.”

“I still don’t have to like him,” I said, lifting my chin.

Julia just snorted. “Of course not, honey. You can hate him all you want.”

“I heard that placating tone,” I said dryly.

“It wasn’t like I was hiding it.”

“You two are way too cute.” Holland smiled broadly as she looked between us.

I grinned. “Thank you. We try.”

“I still can’t believe it’s been over a year since I met you guys,” Holland put in. “I feel like it was just yesterday that I was coming into Ethan’s life and meeting you. And now look at us, everybody’s married and happy, and we’re all grown up.”

“It was quite an experience the first time we saw you,” Lincoln said dryly.

“That was quite a memorable way to meet,” Ethan added.

I smiled. “I don’t know what I would’ve done if I’d met Julia while she was in a big wedding dress, drinking wine out of a paper bag.”

Holland just rolled her eyes. “It was a bottle of wine in a paper bag. It’s not like I poured it into the bag.”

Ethan snorted. “I like how that’s what you get upset about.”

Holland grinned. “It was good wine. And I know they make good boxed wine now, but I just think it would’ve been worse if I was sitting there drinking out of a box or a true bag.”

“I stand corrected,” I said, and we all laughed again.

“How did you two meet?” Lincoln asked. “I just realized I don’t know.”

I looked over at Julia and held out my arm. She slid her hand into mine and squeezed it. “Over a book, of course,” I said, and she smiled.

“I went into the library to pick up some reading material for work, things that are hard to find online. And, over the books, I met a man who growled at me and told me I wasn’t allowed to take them away from the library.”

“I didn’t growl,” I corrected her.

“You growled. But I found it kind of hot.”

I winked. “Okay, then I growled.”

She laughed as I wanted her to, and I just followed the long lines of her neck with my gaze and imagined my mouth on her skin. Soon, I promised myself. I’d wrap that long, chestnut hair around my fist and have my way with her.

We’d have to go at it a little differently tonight than usual. Mostly because my leg hurt, but that’s what happened after another day of PT and getting fitted for my new prosthesis. I ached, but I would still have fun with my wife. That was why I was doing all of this. To have a life worth living.

“See? That’s a wonderful story. And not as dramatic as mine,” Holland said dryly.

“It’s good to have entertaining meet-cutes,” Julia put in, squeezing my hand before she went back to her wine. “Even if they seem subtle at first, they’ll always be memories.”

“Is it weird that I don’t remember the first time I met Lincoln?” Ethan asked.

Lincoln shook his head. “No, but I remember. I think. I feel like you’ve always been in my life, though.”

I chuckled as Julia and Holland both let out aw sounds. “See what you did? You just beat us all in the romance department.”

“I can’t help it, it’s the way I roll,” Lincoln said, grinning.

“You are so going to get lucky later.” Ethan winked, and Julia snorted.

“See, you went for sweet, and you just got perverted,” Julia said.

“Should I not have?” Ethan asked, his face serious. “I know we’re coworkers and all, is this wrong?”

Julia shook her head. “You’re at our home with your spouses, we’re going to joke. I promise. And you’re never inappropriate at work. You’re fine.”

“I still worry.”

“And that’s why you’re Ethan Montgomery. You’re a worrier.”

We continued talking for a bit longer and then cleared the table before the triad left. I knew they didn’t get out very often unless it was to go to a family member’s house or a friend’s. They did go out on dates in public, but they usually did their own thing at home or came over to our place or someone else’s. While the world had changed, not everybody agreed with their relationship. I had once been in a triad myself. It hadn’t lasted, and while my heart still ached a little thinking about it, I remembered the fierce looks from those who watched.

It hadn’t been easy to be in that relationship, and I knew that it would never be okay for some people. As long as there was open communication and true love and attraction between the triad, it could work. But some things had to be given up to have that relationship. I was so happy for Ethan, Holland, and Lincoln. Their life was never going to be as easy as a heterosexual relationship in some respects, but they were making it work.

“What has you all serious?” Julia asked, running her knuckles along my chin. I looked down at her, love piercing my heart. Every time I looked at her, I thought of our future, our past, and everything we held in our present. I had once taken what love could be for granted, and I did not want to be that person again. And so, with my relationship with Julia, I did everything I could to show her that I loved her, and that we were meant to be.

I leaned down and kissed her softly, moaning as I wrapped my arms around her. She sank into me, deepening the kiss, and I groaned.

“I’m going to ask you again, what has you all serious?”

I sighed and rested my head on top of hers for a moment before pushing away to lean back against the counter. “I was just thinking about how having a triad relationship takes a little more work, and how Ethan and the loves of his life can’t go out to every restaurant they want and that they have to be cognizant of the people around them.”

Julia frowned but nodded. “You’re right. They do. A lot of people when seeing three people at a restaurant will just think that maybe it’s a couple and their friend. But if they want to hold hands or even kiss in the parking lot as they get into their cars, they have to be aware. It was the same way with Sasha and me. I couldn’t go out with her to a restaurant without being aware of our surroundings the way you and I can go out.”

“I hate that that’s even an issue.”

“It’s so much better than it used to be. My ex and I had our share of problems, ones that we are not going to get into tonight, but Sasha wanted to face the world head-on, and so we did. And I’ll always be grateful for that. Because I got to experience dating for real, and I was never hidden in a closet somewhere.”

“And then you met me, and everything is perfect now,” I said, trying to lighten the mood.

She snorted, shaking her head. “I know you were in a triad once, you and Kincaid and Alexis. Was it the same as it is with Ethan and them? Did you guys go out on dates, or did you hide?”

I froze at the mention of Kincaid and Alexis. It was only natural that I’d be thinking of my personal triad from the past, considering that we’d just had dinner with a triad that reminded me of my first long-term relationship. It was just weird to have it mentioned so out in the open. I did not have secrets from Julia, nor did she from me. It was how we made what we had work.

Still, it wasn’t easy to think about.

“We didn’t go out much,” I said honestly. “It sucks. Alexis was hiding us from her family, and while Kincaid and I were completely open, we got in a few fights with others over it. So, we usually ended up just going out as couples and doing our triad thing at home. It sucked. Though there were many reasons our relationship didn’t work. That was only one of them.”

The main reason was that they had left me. But I didn’t want to think about that.

Julia cupped my face.

“I’m sorry, baby. I didn’t mean to bring up such bad things. I love you.”

I leaned down and kissed her again.

“I love you, too. And as for Ethan, Holland, and Lincoln… They aren’t like my old relationship. They do go out as a triad. They’re just careful about it like most people aware of their safety are. Other people just need to get over it,” I said, laughing.

“They’re always safe at our home.”

“Hell yeah, they are.”

I kissed her again, leaning into her, and she wrapped her arms around me, her hands going to my back, her nails digging in. I groaned at the sensation and leaned forward, kissing her harder.

My leg ached, and I pulled away a bit, shaking my head. “I should sit.”

A shadow crossed her face, and I knew it was because she didn’t like seeing me in pain. I hated feeling weak in front of her, but that was something we were dealing with. Albeit slowly.

She led me into the living room, and I sat down, and she straddled my waist. She didn’t even sit down on me, simply hovered over me, and I didn’t mind. She’d be sitting on me soon enough, and we’d have a lot more fun then. I slid my hands up her back, enjoying how her dress gathered around her hips. And then I let my fingers dance along her skin before moving down to her panties and playing with the seam.

“You know this is a very tiny little piece of lace that you’re wearing under here.”

“I figured it’d be easier for you to finger fuck me,” she said with a wink.

I groaned, lifting my hips to press against her heat. “I’m going to do more than finger fuck you.”

She smiled at me and then kissed me hard, both of us groaning as I pulled her dress up higher, then cupped her breasts over her bra. She rocked on my hips, and both of us whimpered, my need for her growing each time she rubbed against me and the sensations it caused.

I nearly pulled her panties to the side and had her help me with my pants, but I wanted more time. Needed more time.

The doorbell rang, and we both froze, panting.

“Do you think they forgot something?” she asked, her voice low and husky and filled with desire.

I swallowed hard, my hands shaking. “I hope to hell they’re quick. And if it’s someone trying to sell us something at this time of night? I’m going to have to kill them.”

She snorted and scrambled up. “I’ve got it.”

I shook my head. “Like I said, at this time of night? I’m going with you.” I levered myself off the couch and followed her. She made it to the door before me, looked through the peephole, and frowned.

“I don’t recognize him.”

“Him?” I asked, the hair on the back of my neck standing on end.

She opened the door before I could say anything, and I blinked, staring at the man from my past, the one who had just been in my thoughts earlier. I wanted to close the door in his face and pretend that this portal into memories long past didn’t exist.

I could feel Julia freeze in front of me, but I knew she didn’t recognize him. She had never even seen a photo of this man.

But from the way Kincaid stared at me, I knew she likely had a good idea exactly who he was.

“Ronin,” Kincaid said, his voice that low, bear-like growl that had once sent me into oblivion. He looked rough, his red hair curling over his forehead, his beard bushy. There were blond streaks in it now as if he had been out in the sun, his freckles popping on his nose. He wore a T-shirt so I could see his ink, newer designs that I had never touched before, and older ones that I had once licked.

And here he was, in front of me, the man who had walked away without a word, and yet he was on my doorstep as if nothing had happened.

“Kincaid,” I whispered, and Julia froze again.

The man I had loved, the guy that I promised I would never love again was standing in front of my wife and me.

The world crashed down around .





end of excerpt

Captured in Ink

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