Forbidden pleasure, p.28
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       Forbidden Pleasure, p.28

         Part #8 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
Page 28


  “Because you’re playing games. ” She leaned forward, placed her palms on the bed, and stared him straight in the eyes. “It won’t take me long to catch on to this new side you’re showing, husband mine. And once I figure it out, this sexy little battle you’re starting will even out. I promise you that. ”

  His gray eyes lit with challenge and humor.

  “I look forward to it,” he drawled with a sensual smirk. “You have no idea how much I look forward to it. ”

  She opened her lips to inform him how little she appreciated the arrogance when the soft trill of the doorbell interrupted.

  Keiley jerked back as Mac suddenly surged from the bed and grabbed his jeans, jerking them on quickly.

  “I wanted a shower,” she said mournfully as she grabbed her clothes and rushed to the bathroom.

  The slick warmth of sex still coated her thighs, reminding her of the excess of moments past. She hastily cleaned up before dressing and rushing back into the bedroom, where Mac was waiting impatiently.

  “It’s Maxine,” he informed her as he glanced out the side of the curtains to the driveway.

  “Maxine?” Keiley pushed her feet back into her sandals.

  “Jethro let her in. ” Mac sighed, his expression rueful. “We’d better get back down there. ”

  Keiley stared back at him with a measure of concern.

  “What will Jethro do?”

  He snorted. “With Jethro, who can be sure? It’s according to the mood he’s in. ”

  Keiley stepped into the living room behind Mac to see that Maxine Bright hadn’t arrived alone. She was accompanied by her quiet husband, Joseph.

  Joseph wasn’t rough and rugged, and he wasn’t altogether handsome. But his quiet blue eyes and warm smile were steady and dependable. And his reputation for spoiling Maxine was legendary.

  Six feet tall, lean rather than muscular, but with a surprising male grace, Joseph Bright was the complete opposite of his wife. Until Keiley had met his wife, she had imagined he was staid, stuffy, and self-righteous with his carefully combed thinning brown hair, light blue eyes, and carefully controlled lips.

  As she had gotten to know the couple, she had learned that Joseph had a wicked, quiet wit, and that he was the perfect counterpart for his vivacious wife.

  “There you are. ” Max bounced from the couch where she and Joseph had been sitting talking to Jethro. “We’ve been talking to your guest. ” She turned to her husband with a grin. “Why don’t you ever have such good-looking friends visit?”

  “Because they know you,” he snorted. “You terrify them. ”

  Keiley smothered her laughter at the frown that pulled at Max’s pretty face and the little pout that pulled at her lips.

  “You’ll pay for that, Joseph,” she warned him.

  He winced, though there was an edge of laughter in his gaze. “I’m sure I will, Maxine. ”

  He rose to his feet to meet Mac’s outstretched hand then. “Mac. ” He nodded to Keiley. “Keiley. It’s good to see you two. I hope we aren’t disturbing you. Maxine was supposed to have called you before we arrived. ” He gave his wife a mocking glare.

  “Oh, dear. Did I forget?” Maxine blinked innocently. “How rude of me. ”

  Mac laughed. “You’re always welcome, Max. I see you’ve met Jethro. ”

  “We have indeed,” Max drawled. “I’m impressed, Mac. He’s actually very charming. ”

  “What did you expect?” Mac chuckled as Jethro rose to his feet as well.

  “Well, according to Delia, your houseguest was a cross between a pit bull and an ogre. Of course, I just had to find out for myself. ” Her tone gave every appearance of friendly laughter, but Keiley heard the anger just beneath it. “And can you imagine?” She turned to her husband, meeting his wary gaze. “We must have missed the orgy, honey. Do you think we should come back later?”

  Joseph’s expression tightened for an instant before he turned back to Mac with rueful amusement.

  “She promised to behave. ”

  “Yes, I did. ” Maxine turned to Keiley. “Where the hell have you been? You missed last night’s meeting and Delia is telling everyone far and wide it’s because you’re having orgies out here, and evidently the whole damned FBI agency Mac was a part of is participating. Really, Keiley. You didn’t invite me. ”

  “I would have. ” Keiley shook her head mockingly. “But you know how it is, Max. I had to try them out myself before I introduced them to you. I know how picky you can be. ”

  Max’s green eyes twinkled with merriment as a spurt of laughter left her throat.

  “I am very picky. ” She cast her husband a teasing glance before moving to Keiley. “Let’s go discuss their fine qualities while Mac and Jethro entertain Joseph. ” She gave Mac a warning look. “And be nice or he won’t play with me later. I wouldn’t like that. ”

  “Yes, Maxine. ” Mac was obviously restraining his own laughter. “I’ll be very gentle with his delicate sensibilities. ”

  “You do that. ” Maxine nodded as she pulled Keiley from the room. “And remember, he blushes easily. So don’t embarrass him. ”

  Keiley couldn’t help but smile as Maxine pulled her across the foyer and into the kitchen before releasing her arm and heading for the refrigerator.

  “You know, Keiley,” she commented as she pulled a drink free from the interior and popped the cap. “We’re going to have to have a little talk about the best way to weather gossip. Hiding out at home isn’t going to do the job. ”

  “I had no idea there was any gossip, Max. ” She stared back at her friend, at once amused and concerned.

  Maxine was furious beneath the amusement. She had to be the only person Keiley knew who could be equally amused and angry at the same time.

  “Figures. ” Max plopped into a kitchen chair and stared back at her with a grin. “All those orgies take time, I imagine. ”

  “She’s really saying that we’re having orgies?” Keiley winced.

  “I don’t know if she started it or if she’s just pushing it along. ” Max shrugged then. “But it’s working its way through the charity committee and likely through town as well. Thankfully, no one is really taking it seriously. What’s happened to the world? Ten years ago, we would have all been suitably horrified by the prospect and blacklisted you immediately. ”

  “Progress. Go figure. ” Keiley laughed as she sat down across from her friend. “Maybe orgies just aren’t fun enough anymore. ”

  “Or too tame,” Max snapped, the edge of anger showing in her voice again. “Delia’s becoming a problem, Kei. She’s managed to even surprise me. Did you know she’s trying to have you thrown off the committee?”

  “She’s been trying to do that since my first year there. ” Keiley shrugged as she tucked her leg beneath her on the chair and leaned her elbow on the table. “Come on, Max, she’s harmless. She’s just jealous. ”

  “Jealous, you say,” Max snorted. “I swear, she had a nipple hard-on when she was talking about immorality within the committee ranks, and if she didn’t cream her tight-laced panties when she said the words ménage and orgy, then I don’t know my body language. ” Max paused. “We both know I know body language, right?”

  “You do know your body language,” Keiley agreed.

  “It was gross. ” Max gave a mock shudder. “She was standing at the podium during the meeting last night getting wet at the thought of hurting you and Mac. The woman is rabid. ”

  “She’s sad. ” Keiley shrugged again. “I signed the contract; they took my money. They can’t take me off the committee and their petty shit doesn’t affect me. ”

  “Keiley, can she have any kind of proof?” Max asked her softly then. “I don’t care what you do here in your own home, and if you were getting it on with both those lean, mean hunks in there, then more power to your energetic ass because you have a hell of a lot more stamina than I
would have. But Delia is too confident that she can have you voted out. ”

  “Delia’s alway confident and never successful,” Keiley assured her. “She’s making a lot of noise, Max, and noise is something better off ignored. She’ll get tired of it eventually, as she always does, and go away. ”

  “You can’t keep missing meetings. ” Max shook her head. “Promise me you won’t. You have to face them, sweetie. I know how hard it is, hell, poor Joey, he goes through hell because of me and I know it. But I can’t be someone I’m not and still be happy. That’s how I know you can’t hide from it. ”

  “I’m not hiding from the gossip,” Keiley assured her.

  “Keiley, listen to me. ” Max leaned forward, her green eyes compassionate. “You’re one of my best friends and I know you. I know what you told me about your past with your dad, and I know how gossip hurts. You’re hiding. ”

  “Not from the gossip. ” Keiley breathed out roughly the minute the words left her lips.

  Damn it. The last thing you did was give Max a lead when she was in protective mode. The other woman was like a protective mother wolf when it came to her friends.

  “Then what?” Max frowned. “What the hell is going on, Keiley?”

  “Keiley has picked up a stalker, Max,” Mac said from the doorway as he, Jethro, and Joseph walked into the room.

  Silence filled the kitchen.

  Joseph moved around the table, pulled out the chair beside his wife, and sat down beside her, his arm going around her as Mac sat down beside Keiley and Jethro moved to the refrigerator.

  “Mac just explained everything to me, Max,” Joseph told her, his voice soft as Max stared back at her in horror. “It’s an old case that Mac was working on. It’s followed him here. ”

  Jethro sat out three beers as Keiley stared back at Max. Then she shot Mac a disapproving frown. “I could have handled this, Mac. ”

  “Oh, listen to Superwoman here. ” Max threw her hand toward Keiley as her green eyes glittered damply. “You could have handled it. Well, God bless your heart. ”

  Keiley winced. It was never a good thing when that comment came out of Max’s lips.

  “Now, Max. ”

  “Don’t you ‘Now, Max’ me, Keiley McCoy,” she snapped. “I’m glad you’re handling it so damned well by yourself because honest to God, I just felt my heart fall to my stomach and it’s not in the least comfortable buried down there. ”

  Keiley’s lips twitched. That was Max, dramatic to the end.

  “I could have handled telling you myself,” Keiley explained. “Mac and Jethro are taking care of things, Max. It’s going to be okay. ”

  “That bitch, Delia,” Max muttered then. “She’s a viperous little wannabe slut with no way out from beneath her mommy-in-law’s eagle little eye. You know she’s doing this because she wants in Mac’s pants. Right?”

  “She’s welcome to try. ” Keiley shrugged. “I just can’t promise she’ll have a hand left when I get finished with her. ”

  Max sniffed as an unwilling laugh roughened her throat. “Don’t make me laugh, Keiley. I’m too horrified to find any amusement in this. ”

  Then her gaze shifted to Jethro as he took his seat on the other side of Keiley.

  “I liked the idea of the ménage better,” Max sighed, staring back at Keiley sadly. “That sounds like a lot more fun. ”

  She had no idea just how much more fun it was.

  “Mac, is there any way we can help?” Joseph asked then.

  “Stay away,” Mac warned him. “I don’t want him to find another victim to focus on, Joe. And keep your ears open. I don’t like the way this rumor of a ménage has suddenly flared up. See if you can hear where it started. ”
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