If you haven’t ready up though book six, “Elegant Seduction” you may be a bit confused by some of the characters in this scene.
Otherwise, enjoy this little glimpse into the world of the Trinity Masters, through the eyes of two of Lila and Mari’s favorite characters, Juliette and Sebastian.
This scene is unedited and raw—a just for fun thing that we hope you’ll enjoy.
“You’re not dying. You have a food baby.”
Sebastian opened one eye and glared at Juliette, who had flopped down next to him on the couch and was poking his–admittedly full–stomach.
“I don’t have a food baby.” Sebastian considered unbuttoning his pants. “You do. Or are you just getting plump now that you’re married and settled down?”
Sebastian grinned as Juliette’s eyes narrowed.
“Did you just call me fat?” she asked.
“No. That would be suicidal and I have too much to live for.” Sebastian smiled at Grant as the other man scooped up used wine glasses off the coffee table.
The were having a double date/Christmas party, Trinity Masters style, where a double date meant there were six for dinner, not four. It was also a last hurray for Juliette and Sebastian, who had both officially moved out of their rooms in the legacy house. The elegant brick house had been home–on those rare occasions they were in the country–since college. Now Juliette had turned their quarters into quasi-hotel rooms for the lost legacies she was collecting and had recruited the other legacies who still used the house as home base to help initiate these new members.
Though they hadn’t actually slept in their rooms for quiet a while now, this was the last holiday they’d spend in the house, the last time they’d be able to call sitting around this table “dinner at home.”
“Who knew Elle could cook?” Juliette sprawled out on the couch and groaned. “No wonder you’re getting fat.”
Sebastian snorted. “Nice try. I already used that joke.”
“I’m too full to be creative.”
Sebastian rubbed his eyes. “There’s something wrong with me Jules.”
“Seb?” A note of alarm for the wellbeing of her oldest friend colored her voice.
“I’m so full it’s painful, yet I want another piece of that pecan cheesecake.”
Juliette grabbed a pillow and walloped him with it. Sebastian used his foot to try and shove her off the couch.
“Devon, I need a gun!” Juliette bared her teeth at Sebastian, but it morphed into a laugh. It felt good to smile. To take an evening to pretend that the weight of the world wasn’t grinding her into the ground, and that if not for Franco and Devon she would have collapsed by now.
Sebastian pulled off his shoe and sock and tried to put his bare foot on her face, something he knew she hated.
“Tap out, Jules!”
“Death before dishonor.” She got her feet under her, crouched on the couch and leapt. She hit Sebastian and then they rolled off onto the floor.
Grant stood over them, sleeves rolled up, dishtowel over his shoulder. “What are you two doing?”
“She started it.”
“He started it.”
Juliette made cow-eyes at Grant. “I think my elbow is broken. Protect me from him.”
Grant bent down, grabbed Sebastian by the shirt front, lifted him and planted a hard kiss on his mouth. “Try to behave, Sebastian.”
Grant headed back to the kitchen where everyone else was cleaning up from the meal. Sebastian and Juliette crawled back onto the couch. Grant must have explained to the others what was going on–tattled on them, to be precise–because Devon came out, hands on hips. “Did I hear you asking for a gun earlier?”
“A gun?” Elle was right behind Devon, apron tied over her sequined cocktail gown. Her eyes were wide with alarm.
Juliette sighed with exasperation. “I was just joking, Elle.”
Sebastian pinched her and hissed, “Be nice to my wife.”
Juliette bared her teeth, then turned it into a smile as she knelt on the couch, elbows resting on the back so she could face Devon and Elle. “Well maybe I was only partially joking. Bastien said I was getting fat.”
“Sebastian,” Elle scolded. “You should never comment on a lady’s weight.”
“What if she’s not a lady?” Sebastian asked, glaring at Juliette. “Thanks for getting me in trouble.”
“Devon, did you hear that? He said I’m not a lady. Aren’t you going to shoot him?”
Devon smiled, and Sebastian knew that his friend–his handler–would hate it if he realized how clearing his feelings showed on his face when he looked at Juliette or their third, Franco.
“No, I won’t shoot him. If I kill him it will look like an accident.”
Elle looked mildly worried.
“What I want to know–” Franco appeared from the kitchen. “–is why these two aren’t helping with cleanup?”
Juliette raised one hand in a regal manner. “I am the Grand Master. The Grand Master doesn’t do dishes.”
Sebastian bowed, while still sitting on the couch. “I am the loyal protector of the Grand Master and cannot leave her side.”
“They’d just get in the way.”
Their spouses wandered back into the kitchen, leaving Sebastian and Juliette grinning at each other.
They settled down, each of them resting against one arm of the couch, their legs comfortably stacked. They watched the fire crackle and the lights on the professionally decorated Christmas tree twinkle. It would have been perfect if it had been snowing, but outside clouds were dumping miserable, wet sleet.
“Moments like these are getting harder and harder to find.” Juliette’s comment was so quiet Seb almost didn’t hear it.
“Moments like these?”
“We’ll get through it Jules. We’re getting there. We’ll find them.”
“I know we will, but what will the body count be by the time we do?”
“I don’t know.” Sebastian sighed. “I don’t know.”
One by one the members of Juliette and Sebastian’s trinities joined them by the fire. Franco shoved their legs off the couch so he could sit in the middle. Elle perched on Grant’s knee as he sat in one leather wing chair. Devon took the other wing chair. Juliette reached out a hand, clasping his fingers.
They were silent, caught in that rare perfect moment where everyone could afford to be still and at peace.