Embracing Love Chapter 1


“You’re going to have to put a shirt on if you want him to focus.” Trying not to laugh at their antics was becoming more difficult as the morning progressed.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” James tried to brush it off, pretending to scoff, but I could see the pleasure in his eyes.

I might not have any desire to participate in their teasing, but I still found the whole thing vastly entertaining. Cody had never been the most subtle creature, especially when it came to things he wanted to learn.

And right now, the only thing he wanted to study was James’s body…especially his chest.

The tattoos fascinated Cody.

I chuckled, then nudged Cody’s plate closer. “Eat before it gets cold.”

James froze for a moment, then took a breath and kept moving around the kitchen. Was he worried that Cody would end up little for the morning? With someone else, I might have asked, but James had dealt with a lot in the past twenty-four hours, so I wasn’t going to push unless I had to.

Cody startled like he’d just realized I was sitting beside him. “Oh, yes. Okay.”

I looked over at James to see him trying not to laugh. He was clearly basking in the attention. “Cody, cold eggs are terrible. Eat your omelet.”

He sighed but forced his gaze down to his plate where he speared another fried potato instead of his omelet. Cody gave me an innocent smile as he brought it up to his mouth, but I could see his eyes sparkling as he watched me.

Was he looking for Daddy to step in or just wanting to tease James and me?

“You are asking for it, boy.” I shook my head as he started to take another forkful of potatoes and pointed to the omelet that looked delicious. “Eat.”

James snickered.

Cody’s eyes darted back and forth between us. This new side of James seemed to be confusing to him, although I could see him soaking up every smile.

“But there are veggies in it.” He poked at the perfectly cooked omelet and frowned. It was completely over the top and obviously designed to get a reaction from James.

Was he testing his limits to see what James would do if he was a brat or was it something else?

“And enough cheese to clog all your arteries.” Then I had an idea. It would push James’s limits a bit; we’d see what happened. “I’m sure that if you’re good and you eat your breakfast, James will cuddle you and let you touch his tattoos. That’s what you want, isn’t it?”

Cody’s eyes got wide with desire and excitement as he nodded. James’s eyes mirrored Cody’s, but instead of pure lust, he was worried as well. But he didn’t say no.

“Are you going to be good?” I couldn’t just turn off the power exchange part of our relationship and make it vanilla, even if Cody was mostly grown up with James around.

“Yes, Daddy.” Cody licked his lips and watched James hungrily as he started to cut an unreasonably large portion of eggs.


Cody sighed but went back to picking a piece that wouldn’t have us performing the Heimlich maneuver over breakfast. James was finishing up my omelet and seemed to be doing his best to pretend I hadn’t been bargaining his body for eggs.

James had been adamant that the kitchen was his space and he was going to make us breakfast, but it felt weird to be sitting and watching him do all the work. Thankfully, it didn’t take long from the point where he set my breakfast down until his was ready.

Cody was busily eating his breakfast as fast as he thought he could get away with, so I looked at James as I started to eat. “Did you have plans for the day? I know you weren’t planning on having company.”

I was mentally debating the benefits and issues with staying longer, and I hadn’t decided what would be better. I wanted James to get used to my relationship with Cody, but I didn’t want to take over their time.

As I chewed the incredible eggs, James shook his head. “No, I didn’t have anything planned. Just some errands and things that will wait.”

It was good we weren’t interrupting anything, but that still didn’t let me know what he wanted.

Between bites, I nodded. “I don’t think Cody had any plans. Should we see what movies are playing?”

There was no way Cody would spend the day studying when a half-naked James was there to tempt him. But the movies might be a good excuse for all of us to get out of the house together without making it seem weird. “I have to drive back later this afternoon to get some work done, but the rest of the day is open for me.”

There. The ball was in his court.

No matter what conflicting signals he gave out, I had to remember he wasn’t my submissive. But there was just something about him that had me instinctively stepping in to make decisions for him. Even when that decision was that he should dominate Cody.

If it kept up, we’d have to actually address it, but for now, I was content to ignore it like James seemed inclined to do.

James managed to put off answering for a few long moments by enthusiastically eating and nodding like he was thinking. Cody didn’t seem to notice because he was almost finished with his eggs, but I was curious to know what was on his mind.

If he were my sub, I’d have taken the plate away until he was honest about his feelings.

But he wasn’t mine.

He was…a friend?

Finally James seemed to realize he couldn’t put off answering any longer because he set his fork down and very deliberately relaxed back in his chair. I wasn’t sure if the posturing was for his own courage or for me, but either way, I found it cute.

Which probably wasn’t what he’d been going for.

“I think that sounds like fun.” He glanced over at the clock on the stove. “We’re not exactly moving at lightning speed this morning. By the time we’re all ready to go, it will probably be time for one of the early showings. Will that work for you?”

Very casual and very steady…very, very fake.

“That’s fine. What do you think, brat?” Cody jumped when I reached over and touched his arm.

Chuckling, I ran my hand over his head. “Were you listening at all?”

“Um.” Cody looked between us. “Movie, right? I still get to pet Jameson because I ate my breakfast, though, right?”

James blushed faintly, but we both chuckled as Cody looked anxious, like his favorite toy might be taken away.

“You were very good. Once James finishes eating, you guys can go cuddle on the couch and I’ll clean up the kitchen.” Cody started wiggling excitedly in his seat, but James frowned.

“That doesn’t seem fair.” He sat up, and what he saw as an injustice to me broke through some of his nerves because it was the most genuine expression he’d worn since he’d started cooking.
Pushing away any stray nerves that still found it hard to share, I met his eyes. “You and Cody will undoubtedly turn things sexual very quickly. That’s not something I need to be a part of. Sometimes, like last night, I’ll participate, but I understand that there will be a lot of sexual activity between you that I’m not involved in.”

They’d been beautiful together last night, and I had to admit, controlling both of them had been a heady experience, but not in a way James would understand.

He swallowed but nodded slowly. “But you like the…closeness and…what we did last night?”

James was shifting in his seat by the end of the question and kept swallowing like it was hard to make his mouth work.

“Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed watching you both last night.” I wasn’t going to lie or play into some fantasy that controlling Cody had been the only part of the situation that I’d enjoyed. “I’m fine with not being involved in every erotic thing Cody manages to talk you into.”

Then a few things occurred to me. “I don’t want it to be something that you feel the need to hide from me. I know that it would make Cody uncomfortable, and I don’t want you to feel like it’s something to be ashamed of. I guess the only thing I should have asked is if you’re okay playing with Cody while I’m in the house.”

It was a little bit of an out but not much of one.

I knew that made me a bad person, but the Dom in me was grinning like a Cheshire cat at neatly backing James into a corner. I might not want sex with them, but knowing I was controlling the situation felt wonderful.

Yeah, I really was a terrible person.

But they really were cute together…Cody with his utter abandon and James with his nervous domination and the need for reassurance. They were sweet.

Sitting straighter, James shook his head while Cody just watched us, slightly confused. “No, you’re important to him. I’m not worried about you being here.”

“Good.” Cody leaned over and kissed James’s cheek. “But he won’t let me play with you if you don’t eat your food, so hurry.”

He was so earnest and didn’t seem to have any idea how that could’ve been interpreted. The idea that I wasn’t James’s Dom hadn’t really occurred to Cody. At some point I had a feeling he’d connect the dots and ask questions, but for the time being, he just seemed to be going with the flow.

I thought some of it was just the relief of seeing us all dealing so well together, but I wasn’t sure.

James chuckled, but there was a strain around his eyes that said he wasn’t sure how to respond.

“What movie do you want to see, brat?” James needed a distraction.

Cody started looking around. “Where’s my phone? I’ll see what’s playing.”

“It’s by the front door. But just the movie, brat. No research and no distractions.” I grinned as he gave me a sweet, perfectly innocent smile.

“Yes, Daddy.” Then he bounced out of the kitchen like a rabbit on speed.

“He calls you that most of the time. Even when he’s not…little.” James was smiling faintly as he watched Cody bound through the house.

“Yes. He’s more cautious in public situations, if that’s what you’re wondering about. But generally, I’m Daddy.” It was just who I was to Cody.

James shrugged. “I actually hadn’t thought about being in public. But yeah, that might be…”

I chuckled. “Awkward to explain?”

James grinned. “Very. I think what I meant was that you’re his…he expects you to take control and doesn’t mind it. No, it’s more than that. He wants you to take control.”

I nodded. “Because I am. He’s given me that control, and unless he safewords, it’s up to me to make most of the decisions when we’re together.”

“Even when he’s…a grown-up?”

“Yes. Little or not, he likes having someone there he can depend on to make decisions.” I shrugged and shifted to look out toward the living room where I could see he’d gotten lost in his phone. “His brain always goes a mile a minute and I think it makes it hard for him to relax. There’s always something else to find or learn or write about. He needs someone to step in sometimes and be the person to push it all away and say he’s had enough for the day.”

“Boundaries.” James started pushing the food around his plate.

“Yes. There’s no one there otherwise. He’s been on his own for years and I think has just been floating along.” Cody was ready for structure and someone to help him figure everything out.
He knew how insulated and unique his life was. But that didn’t mean he wanted to stay in that bubble forever. When he was younger, letting everything stay the same had been the easiest way to cope, but he wasn’t a kid any longer.

“He always seemed so confident. I thought he was happy jumping from one degree to another.” James frowned.

“He is happy. He just needs something more to make sure he stays happy.” I stood and started picking up the plates since it looked like James was done. “He’s trying to figure out who he is and where he’s going in life.”

James smiled. “He’s going to figure out who he is by submitting to you? That just seems…counterintuitive.”

I shrugged and continued moving around the room. “Not really. I help make things clearer. By letting me take the weight of most of the decisions he has to make, it frees him up to just react.”
His smile dimmed but seemed more understanding than frustrated. “I can see that.”

That didn’t mean he really got it, though.

I knew coming to terms with BDSM wasn’t easy for a lot of people who were on the outside looking in. James was in an even more unique position because he wasn’t just seeing it from the perspective of a friend; he loved Cody.

When your boyfriend was into BDSM and you had no idea what to do with it, things could get frustrating quickly.

“I think he’s fallen down the rabbit hole of research.” I glanced out toward the living room. “He’s too quiet.”

James laughed. “You really sound like a parent when you say things like that.”

I grinned. “Go let our boy feel you up. He won’t focus until he’s explored every inch of that tattoo.”

James blushed, a sweet, innocent look that the almost rough-looking man shouldn’t have been able to carry off, but he did. “I have no idea what to say when things like that come out of your mouth.”
“I guess, ‘Yes, Master’ would be too much to hope?” I was mostly kidding, but James flushed a deep red and his eyes widened.

I chuckled but called out to Cody instead of teasing James again. “Brat, what are you doing on that phone?”

“Have fun.” Winking at James, just to keep him a little more off balance, I went back to work cleaning up the kitchen. He’d managed to use almost every pan in the kitchen somehow, so there was plenty of work as they cuddled up on the couch.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Cody straddle James’s lap and I fought the urge to smile. Cody was going right for sexy and not playing coy at all. James didn’t stand a chance.

As Cody slowly started caressing his chest, tracing the beautifully designed wings with his fingers, James didn’t seem to know how to react. I had a feeling it wasn’t just my being in the house that was making his brain run in circles. Seeing Cody in a different light couldn’t be easy, but they both needed to come together again so Cody could see that nothing had changed.
Well, a lot had changed—but nothing in a negative way.

And I was determined to keep it that way.

Turning back my focus to the dirty pans that seemed to be taking over the kitchen, I finally heard James moan and I gave up holding back my smile.

That hadn’t taken long.

As I wiped and scrubbed, the sounds continued to grow and soon Cody’s needy voice was added to the mix.

Ten years ago, the dirty noises would have driven me insane. But time, therapy, and friends who really understood me had changed a lot of things. Accepting the difference between myself and others was one of the big things that I’d dealt with. Coming to terms with the desire for control and the lack of sexual desire I felt had been another.

But being there in that moment while the boy I’d come to love was passionately showing how he felt for the other man in his life, I knew all the trials and frustrations had led me to that point. Our unconventional group wasn’t what James would have imagined he needed, but we were perfect for him. Cody and I just had to make James see it too.

As the sounds grew louder, I finished wiping down the table and then went over to toss the rag in the sink. Walking over to the doorway, I smiled as I saw Cody writhing and straining for more. I couldn’t see what James was doing between their bodies, but from the way Cody was moving, I had a feeling James was jerking them off together again.

Cody finally called out, “Daddy, can I come?”

James moaned and I couldn’t tell if it was from frustration or desire, but either way, Cody wanted to make sure I was included. Walking over slowly, I stood behind Cody and stroked over his head.

“You’ve been a very good boy.”

They both shivered as I spoke low, making it clear I was watching them both.

“Yes, Daddy…I’m…yes…” Cody was shaking, losing his grip on his need and the ability to speak.

“So beautiful.”

I kissed his head.

“So good for me.”

I stared deep into James’s confused but lust-filled eyes.


Both men exploded. Cody screamed out his pleasure as cum shot out of his cock, streaking James’s chest. At the same time, James’s head fell back and he groaned as cum flooded out of him, drenching his hand.

They were a mess.

But they seemed to be a happy mess, so I didn’t point out how sticky they were getting as Cody collapsed onto James’s chest. Leaning over, I kissed Cody’s head one more time as he smiled and made a happy noise, but as I straightened, I ran my hand down James’s cheek.

His eyes were closed, but he leaned into my touch as I stroked along his skin. When I moved away, I couldn’t help but smile at the two exhausted men. We were all so different, but somehow those differences only made things sweeter.

Want to read the rest?

With a boyfriend and a Daddy who get along and both love him to pieces, whether they’ve said the words or not, Cody knows asking for more would be selfish. But when all he wants is for them to love each other as much as he loves them, is being selfish really bad?

Jameson knows that loving Cody means accepting Ford’s presence in Cody’s life as well. But what he isn’t expecting are his growing feelings for Ford. Jameson doesn’t want a Daddy, but would a friend who understands Cody be a bad thing? And what if it grows into something more?

Ford never thought that he’d find someone to love and take care of, much less two men who are starting to touch his heart in such different ways. As he looks at Cody and Jameson, he can see the family he’s longed for finally within his reach. But two men dating the same person is far different than falling in love with each other, and what if it’s more than Jameson can handle?

When two men come together in friendship around a third, is falling in love that big of a leap?

Story Info
Technical Details
Spoiler Info
Embracing Friendship - Bonus For Embrace Series by MA Innes - Gay Romance Book Cover

Can’t get enough of Jameson, Ford, and Cody? Get access to my Bonus Library to read the Embracing Friendship short.

Three might make the perfect family, but friendship fills a special need in everyone’s life…especially a little like Cody.

What’s the best way to cement new friendships? A barbecue, of course. What’s the best place to have a barbecue? A backyard with swings and a fort, of course. What’s the best way to breakdown barriers? Water guns and dessert, of course.

This short takes place after the ending of Embracing Love and before the playdate that takes place in Friends Lovers and Family. Sometimes I’ve referred to this as the barbecue short.