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It Takes All Kinds, or How to Write a Menage a Quartre Book Without Losing Your Mind
by Cassandra Carr

Currently I’m writing book 2 of my Buffalo Intimidators series for Siren Bookstrand. It’s called Cold As Ice, and follows a hockey team’s top line as they jointly pursue and then fall in love with a massage therapist. Book 1, Head Games, comes out on November 2nd as an e-book and then goes to print in March 2012, and I want to get this book finished and turned in so it comes out in February 2012. There’s a method to my madness, though what it is, nobody knows!

Anyhoo, if you’re not familiar with hockey, you should know that a forward line consists of three guys, which means my story is a ménage a quartre. Yep. You read that right. I’ll give you a moment to find a nice misting fan…

Moving on: I have three heroes in this book, and it’s one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. So how am I handling three guys (I wish I was handling them!)? I’m making their personalities as distinct and separate as possible, for one thing. Luc is obviously the leader. He’s the center of the line and the captain of the team. Jake is the peacemaker, the one who keeps everybody calm and happy. Carter is the relaxed, laid-back one. I wanted their personalities to mesh and complement each other but not be so similar it would be difficult to tell the difference between them.

I also gave each guy a different pet name to call the heroine. Luc calls her baby, Jake calls her honey, and Carter calls her chicka, which is pronounced cheek-a, by the way. Each has a sexual act they prefer over all others. And she reacts to each man in a special way.

But you know what the biggest secret is to not losing my mind? Using a lot of names. Sometimes it seems strange to constantly use the character’s name rather than a pronoun, but hey, it’s the only way to really keep all this manflesh straight!

Do you have any tips for how you keep the heroes in a ménage story straight as a reader? Let’s hear them!

Here’s an excerpt of the entire first chapter of Head Games, coming November 2nd from Siren Bookstrand. Please note the story hasn’t been through final editing yet and so there may be typos or other mistakes.


“I can’t take it anymore!” Leo Laporte, goaltender for the Buffalo Intimidators, glared at his teammates as they glided past him after the third goal in the first ten minutes of the game was scored. “You guys either play some fucking defense or I’ll jam my stick where the sun don’t shine! You got that?” Crouching down into his stance, he banged said stick on each post just as he did before every faceoff at center ice. Looking up, he saw the head coach, Tom, waving at him. A quick glance to Tom’s left showed his goaltending partner, Scott Schaffer, warming up. “Fuck!”

Tom called a time-out, and Leo skated to the bench, bracing for the tirade. “You guys need to get your heads outta your asses, pronto. You’re down by three already and the game’s hardly even ten minutes old. Since you don’t seem to want to play for Leo tonight, we’ll see how you do with Scott in net.” Tom threw a sympathetic look Scott’s way. “Good luck saving anything with these jackasses in front of you.” Tom wasn’t known for mincing words, and tonight was no exception.

Leo opened the door to the bench and squeezed around one of the team’s hulking defensemen as best he could.

Glaring at the man, he thought, Slug’s not good for much tonight. Certainly not getting out of my way.
The guy was built like a tank and made a much better door than he did a window, as Leo could attest on that third goal. The puck had been in the net before Leo had even been able to react.

Leo clapped Scott on the shoulder. “Good luck, man.”

Scott nodded and took the ice. Performing a few quick stretches in the crease, he raised his catching glove to signal his readiness to continue play. Leo sat down, taking a long pull from a water bottle he’d grabbed from the shelf in front of him. No one said a word to him, which was just fine.

The team responded to Scott being in net and scored two goals by the end of the first. Leo stalked into the dressing room, heading straight for the can. Just as he’d planned, by the time he got out the second period was about to start. Tom told him he was going to continue to play Scott to see if they couldn’t salvage the game, and Leo nodded. It irked him that he’d been left out to dry, but he also knew damn well they’d done the same to Scott in the past. It was one of those weird hockey things no one could put a finger on, and Leo didn’t even try.

After trundling back to the bench for the second period, his stomach growled. The noise caused his mind to wander, straight to the tall, curvy woman with a mess of curls his hands just itched to plunge into. Right now Kelly Chase was probably pulling her famous apple pie out of the oven at the bistro where he and Scott had been going for dinner after games for nearly a year. Thinking about seeing her made his cock harden inside his jock and he willed it down. Having a hard-on when wearing a cup was a pretty damn unpleasant experience—one he wasn’t eager to go through at the moment.

He’d bet she knew he’d been pulled, but he’d also put money on the fact that if anyone made an ass-hatted comment about why she’d shut them right up. Kelly knew her hockey, and she watched every game on the big screen TV housed behind the counter at her bistro as best she could in between cooking meals for the customers. He could almost smell her special sour cream apple pie. She only made it on home game days when she knew Leo and Scott would be coming in afterward for their post-game meal. She’d even named it after the team, calling it Intimidating Apple Pie. There was sure as hell nothing intimidating about it, but it was definitely sinful, which was just how he liked it.

Thinking about her and her pie brought his mind to other subjects, like what she was most likely wearing that night. It drove him crazy the way she dressedin these cute little light pink T-shirts with Kelly’s emblazoned on the front right across her ample breasts. Even her chef’s clogs—also light pink—were cute. But her body wasn’t cute. It was sexy as hell. She was all bumps and curves, in all the right places. She wasn’t a dainty little thing, standing only about an inch shorter than his five foot ten, and he loved that about her—gave him something to hold on to should he ever be blessed with the opportunity to get into her checkered chef’s pants.

Leo was jerked out of his lust-hazed stupor by the “heads up” shout from his teammates. A puck was sailing right for him, and he automatically knocked it down with his blocker before it could do any damage. He didn’t wear his goalie mask on the bench, and if his reflexes weren’t lightning-quick he would’ve taken a puck right to his grill.

Head in the game, Leo.

Settling back, he watched his team tie it up by the end of the second. During intermission, Tom took both he and Scott aside and said he wanted to put Leo back in. Scott shrugged.He’d always been the more easy-going of the two men. Their combined personalities meshed well, which translated into a successful goaltending partnership and a friendship that had spanned nearly eight years.

Leo stretched out and took the ice for the third. Their opponent seemed momentarily surprised by another goaltending change but recovered quickly and gave the Intimidators a challenge. In the end, Leo got the win by one goal. After accepting the congratulations of his teammates, he bopped Scott on the head as they left the ice together. “Kelly’s is on you tonight, bro,” Scott said.

Leo snorted. He’d been expecting no less. “Not a problem. I hope she made apple pie.”

“She always makes apple pie if there’s a home game.”

They rushed through their post-game interviews and hopped into the shower. Only a half hour after the buzzer they were climbing into Leo’s Range Rover on their way to Kelly’s. When they walked in, she turned from behind the counter to greet them. Leo caught sight of her luscious tits straining the material of her T-shirt and his dick twitched. He quickly ran his hand over it.

Down, boy.

“Hey guys. Good game, both of you.”

“Thanks,” they answered in unison, sliding onto stools.

“How about some apple pie?” Leo said, licking his lips already. An image of him nibbling pieces of it off of her flew into his head. Man, was he horny tonight…

Kelly put her hands on her hips. “You know better than that. I never let you have apple pie until after you eat a good meal.”
Leo rolled his eyes. “Fine.” Perusing the specials written on a chalkboard underneath the TV, he ordered shepherd’s pie. Scott asked for a chicken souvlaki wrap, and they settled back to relax as Kelly went into the kitchen to make their food. “I fuckin’ love those T-shirts. I’d give up a mil of my salary just to be that T-shirt for a day.”

“Don’t I know it…” Since it was late, Kelly was waiting tables herself in addition to cooking, and both of them tracked her as she bustled around behind the counter. Coming back over, she poured them both ice waters and plopped silverware in front of them before going into the back once again. There were still a few customers, but everyone gave the Intimidators their privacy here—it was one of the reasons Leo and Scott loved to come here so much. The primary reason, of course, was Kelly herself.

“Okay, so let’s go over everything again – make sure we’re on the same page here,” Leo urged.
“All right. Can’t hurt. We need to present a united front if we’re gonna do this.”

“Exactly. So both of us want her.” They’d been attracted to Kelly since the moment they’d laid eyes on her, but had come to the realization a few months ago that their feelings ran deeper than simple lust.

Scott nodded; his eyes as determined and focused as Leo had ever seen them. “Yes, we both want her, and the only way that will work is if we share her. But we need to make it clear at some point, maybe not right up front, that we want her more than just sex.”

“And we think tonight is the night?”

“She’s definitely intrigued.” Scott paused and Leo could practically see the wheels turning in his friend’s head. “Even when we mentioned a threesome last week she didn’t run.”

“Yeah, and did you see the expression on her face? She wants it.”

“I think so, too. But don’t forget. We can’t push her too hard. And everything one of us does affects the other. We can’t let her tear us apart and if this thing starts to do that we need to reconsider.”

“Agreed,” Leo answered. He held up his fist. “Even now, even with Kelly, bros over hos, man.” The two men did a quick fist bump and Leo relaxed a little.

A few minutes later Kelly backed out of the kitchen, her arms laden with plates, and both men paused to admire her ass in her tight chef’s pants. She caught them staring and just shook her head, laughing.
Yes, they were done waiting for her to come around. It was time to put Operation Seduction into action.


Cassandra Carr lives in Western New York with her husband, Inspiration, and her daughter, Too Cute for Words. When not writing she enjoys watching hockey and hanging out on Twitter. Her debut novel, Talk to Me, was released by Loose Id on March 22, 2011. Head Games, Buffalo Intimidators book 1, will release on November 2, 2011 from Siren Bookstrand, and Caught will release December 13, 2011 from Loose Id.



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Here’s the question once again:  

Do you have any tips for how you keep the heroes in a ménage story straight as a reader? Let’s hear them! 

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  1. I actually think that actually saying the heroes’ names are the best way to keep them straight. As a reader, it’s so much easier when the heroine is thinking of their name instead of having to remember who is where and doing what. Having each of them build unique relationships with each other helps as well, but I keep going back to the names. When I’m reading a menage scene, I don’t want to have to stop and go back to figure out what’s going on. I don’t know if any of this helps. Also, I love hockey players! I’m so excited for this book!

  2. I agree that actually using the names is very important. Saying “he” or “his” does not help to keep them separate. I think too having them be built/look different helps to picture them better and keep everyone straight.

  3. I will associate their names and physical attributes with the way they act (in what they say and do) toward the heroine. I will admit though, that I will go back and read (at the beginning) several times just to make sure I know who is whom. This reinforces to me who they are.

  4. For me, the names obviously, but the special link they have with the heroine, whether its a hobby or pet names, they each have their own thing that makes them unique. One way that always gets me is when the heroine will say she can distinguish them by scent, again just something memorable to tell them apart 😉