Dangerous pleasure, p.3
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       Dangerous Pleasure, p.3

         Part #12 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
Page 3


  They were cursed. The eldest sons of Azir bore the hatred and the fruits of malice that sprang from not just Azir, but also his youngest sons.

  As Paige stepped into the back of the car in which she’d ridden into the city, the driver closing the door solicitously behind her, Abram turned and met Tariq’s gaze.

  “She’s gone. ” He hadn’t meant the words to pass his lips, or the thought to torment him as it did.

  Watching her leave, watching that innocence, that hunger and zest for life, and for him, disappear, had driven home the fact that she could be taken forever if he weren’t very very careful.

  Tariq’s lips quirked in amusement though, the bitterness and realization that tormented Abram wasn’t a part of the other man’s present thoughts.

  “She won’t be for long,” Tariq assured him. “If that mark on your shoulder is any indication, you’ve given her a taste of what you both hunger for. I have a feeling, Abram, Miss Galbraithe will return sooner than you think. ”

  The mark?

  His gaze jerked to his shoulder before he moved to the mirror atop the dresser next to him.

  There, on his shoulder, just as Tariq had stated, a love bite that marred his flesh deeper than he would have imagined she could have given without his knowledge.

  It marked him far deeper than flesh alone.

  He forced himself to turn away.

  He forced himself to leave her bedroom.

  He forced himself to forget those few, precious moments when his lips had caressed the softest flesh he had ever known, when his tongue had tasted pure, fiery ecstasy.

  A taste that would linger in his senses forever.

  And a regret he knew he would never outrun.

  He hadn’t expected this, he thought, it had caught him unaware the day he had arrived to help her and her family celebrate her eighteenth birthday. When he had seen her in that simple sundress on the sunny Greek island where she and her family lived part of the year. With the tops of her breasts rising above the bodice of the dress, the tiny straps stretching over slender, graceful shoulders, and the red gold of her hair hanging to the middle of her back.

  “Abram,” she had whispered his name with a breathy little sigh. “I’ve missed you. ”

  Stars had gleaed in the emerald green of her eyes. Her face had flushed beneath the soft hint of the Mediterranean-bronzed flesh. Her skin wasn’t as dark as her father’s, but neither was it as light as her mother’s. When combined with the silken flames of her hair, the combination was enough to daze a lesser man.

  It was that day he had seen the woman she was. It was that day his cock had swelled, becoming so engorged, so torturously hot and tight he swore he’d been on the edge of dizziness.

  He almost grinned at that thought.

  Almost. Because, he knew the fate that would await her.

  He knew the hell he would revisit and this time never escape.

  He couldn’t have her, he couldn’t allow his need to corrupt her, or his legacy to endanger her.

  And he couldn’t keep his hunger for her from raging …



  He was home. Finally.

  Paige Galbraithe moved from the chaise positioned next to the balcony doors of her bedroom and stared at the lights that swept over the lawn.

  The limousine moved with an almost stealthy slowness along the curved, oak-bordered drive. The lights swept over the landscaping like a cat burglar’s penlight as the car neared the garage. The bright gleam disappeared into the three-story mansion Khalid owned in the heart of the exclusive section of Alexandria, Virginia, designed as Squire Point.

  After ten days captivity in her brother’s home, the rat had finally shown up. It was about time. She was rather sick of cooling her heels in the luxurious comfort of her brother’s home rather than in her own apartment.

  Collecting the silk robe she had left lying on the back of the chaise, Paige pulled it on quickly, covering the ankle-length, matching deep-violet gown she wore. Anger and determination made her movements jerky.

  Ten days. She had waited ten days to confront him.

  He wouldn’t answer his cell phone—his fiancée Marty was running interference—but still, her brother wasn’t talking to her. Marty assured her daily that she would get to tear a strip off his hide in person, and each day, he was a no-show.

  “Relax for a while, Paige…”

  “Khalid will call soon…”

  “You’ll have explanations when Khalid arrives…” Even her parents refused to tell her what she needed to know, what she demanded each time they called to see how she was doing.

  She was fed up with it. She was twenty-five years old; she wasn’t a teenager. She was Khalid’s sister, not some damned prisoner he could control. She was easy to work with, and she considered herself a very understanding person. But her patience had begun wearing thin a week ago.

  Belting the robe furiously as she turned on her heel, Paige stalked across the bedroom and eased open the door before stepping into the hall. Moving to the stairs she stopped and waited, listening carefully.

  She wasn’t about to let him think that she was still awake and waiting on him. He’d been slipping into the house after he was certain she was asleep, doing whatever he did, then slipping back out before she awoke.

  The damned coward.

  Abdul, or Abbie as she called him, his Saudi manservant, was always abjectly apologetic that he hadn’t awakened her before Khalid left, as she had asked him to do. He had a million excuses, but she knew the truth. Khalid was his boss, and Khalid wasn’t about to face her until she simply left him no choice.

  They were working together—Abbie, Marty, Khalid’s security team, and even Khalid himself—to keep her in place and completely in the dark as to why she was suddenly being held in what her brother called “protective custody. ” Even the U. S. marshal service wasn’t this damned diligent.

  Even her parents were refusing to help her. Her mother’s fear for her only daughter, her “baby” as she called her, had Marilyn Galbraithe going along with whatever her son had cooked up this time.

  And that son hadn’t even given his sister the courtesy of facing her and giving her a clue as to how long this would last, if there was an end in sight, or the details involving the danger she was facing.

  She had a good idea. After all, she was well aware of the fact that his brother, Ayid, had finally played his final hand and attempted to murder Khalid and his fiancée, Marty, less than a month before. Just as Ayid’s twin, Aman, had gone after Abram in D. C. as he waited in a hotel to meet with FBI Director Zack Jennings and the Homeland Security Director to declare his U. S. citizenship based on his mother’s status as an American citizen.

  Instead, Khalid had killed Ayid, and Abram had killed his youngest brother, Aman. Though, to keep Abram’s defection to the U. S. a secret, Khalid had taken the blame for both deaths.

  She suspected this was why she was placed in isolation in the monstrous mansion her brother now owned. The mansion that shadather, Azir Mustafa, had bought for him.

  She wanted to hear it from him, though. She wanted to know exactly why Azir Mustafa thought threatening her was going to gain him anything. And she wanted to know why the hell Khalid thought that destroying the life she was building for herself was going to help.

  She’d been all but imprisoned by her overprotective parents for far too many years. Her mother had been so terrified Paige would be kidnapped or taken, that she would disappear as had once happened to her, that she had kept Paige always in sight.

  Bodyguards. Security-enhanced private schools. Private tutors. She’d been so overprotected she had nearly smothered to death.

  Escaping had taken every ounce of strength she had, because she loved her parents. Because even in their attempts to ensure her safety, she had always been aware of their love for her. Jus
t as she had been of the nightmares they suffered from a past haunted by the horror of her mother’s kidnapping, forced marriage and rapes at the hands of a monster. That monster had been the father of her half-brother’s and the father of the man she couldn’t push out of her mind or her fantasies.

  “Stay away from me. ” His eyes blazing with black fury and none of the sexual satisfaction he should have felt after spilling himself only moments before into the lover he had shared with his cousin, Tariq. Only moments before he came to her. “For both our sakes, Paige, stay the fuck away from me!”

  That had been eight years ago. Eight years since he had buried his lips and tongue between her thighs and threw her into an ecstasy she still hadn’t felt again. Not before and not since. Eight years since he had fucked her with his tongue yet, he had never even kissed her.

  In those years she had taken a lover, she had finished college, and she had begun a career that she enjoyed. But still, there was a regret that lay inside her like a weight. The regret that came with so many “what might have been’s. ”

  Moving from her room to the stairs, she waited. Standing back from the steps just far enough that he couldn’t see her, Paige peeked into the shadows below as he moved to the second floor, turned, and a few seconds later, she heard the door to his suite close.

  Her lips tightened into a hard smile.

  Ten days. It was ten days too long and she was damned tired of waiting, of being patient and fighting to understand why her parents and her brother had to live in fear of the day that Azir Mustafa or one of his family members would come after her.

  Moving quietly, swiftly, she made her way to the second floor and the door of the master suite.

  No lights shone from beneath the door, but that didn’t mean anything. She’d seen Khalid move in the dark as though he were born to itt>

  His brother, Abram navigated it as though he owned it though.

  She shook that thought away. She was not going to think about Abram tonight. She was not going to allow the rest of her night to be as restless as her days had been with the fantasies and the memory of those stolen moments in her bedroom all those years ago.

  This was the reason she refused to settle back and relax while she was here. It was the reason why she pushed herself to the point of exhaustion each night after work. To keep low the fires of arousal from building any higher.

  Thinking of Abram was always a mistake. And desiring him showed a complete lack of judgment and had nothing to do with why she was here or why she was getting ready to skin her brother alive.

  The worst thing she could do at the moment was allow thoughts of Abram to interfere with her determination to get the answers she needed, and to find a way to balance her family’s fears with her own determination to have a life.

  She needed a life. Without it, all she could think about, dream about and remember, was Abram and the feel of his lips sucking hard and tight at her clit as his tongue—

  She shook away the thought again.

  Gripping the doorknob she checked it slowly, quietly. It wasn’t locked. He wasn’t busy with his fiancée, or having wild monkey sex with her. He was obviously there alone, because she couldn’t hear him talking and Marty didn’t move as quietly in the dark as Khalid did. Besides, the door to his suite was always locked when they were in it together.

  Easing the door forward stealthily, she all but tiptoed as she began to enter the room. Inside was dark, shadows lengthening through the narrow slits between the curtains, providing the barest hint of moonlight. Determination clenched her teeth a second before the door was jerked out of her hand, a manacle wrapped around her wrist, and in the next second she found herself flat against the wall as the door slammed closed.

  Fight or flight.

  Flight wasn’t possible, and for the briefest, shocked second, she had no idea the identity behind the hard, masculine body pressing her into the wall. Calloused and rough, a broad hand covered her lips, muffling her cry as her knee slammed upward, almost but not quite managing to connect and slam her attacker’s balls straight to his throat.

  Instead, she found her knee blocked by a hard, extremely muscular thigh as it shoved its way between hers, pressed into the juncture and lifted her to her tiptoes. In the same breath she felt her attacker’s head bend, strong teeth nipping her ear and drawing a shocked gasp from her throat.
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