Forbidden pleasure, p.3
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       Forbidden Pleasure, p.3

         Part #8 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
Page 3


  On the surface, their marriage seemed perfect. In a lot of ways, it was perfect. If it weren’t for the darker sexual hungers that filled him, then the unnatural stress beginning to grow between them would never have been there.

  “Coffee. ” There was a note of thankfulness in her voice as the machine beeped to indicate it had completed the brewing cycle. “Sit down, Mac, you make me nervous hovering over me like that. ”

  He wasn’t exactly hovering over her. Just trying to get a little closer as he considered another attempt to get into those indecent shorts.

  Instead, he did as she suggested and sat down at the kitchen table while she cooked. It occurred to him that while she was frying bacon might be the wrong time to risk making her any madder. She only fried bacon in black iron, and if she ever decided to use it as a weapon, he was in some serious trouble.

  But he couldn’t help the hunger gnawing at his insides, either. Over the past three years he had become something, someone, he wasn’t. And it was beginning to leave a funny taste in his mouth.

  He had always been an extreme lover. The dark sexuality that drove him had always been a part of his character. It was one of the things that made him a good investigative agent. He understood the darkness, the shadows that could drive a man to extreme acts.

  It was a part of himself he hid from Keiley. And in hiding it from her, he was beginning to become wary of the press of darkness in his mind.

  “I think you miss your friends in Virginia,” Keiley announced as she set breakfast on the table, causing Mac to stare back at her warily.

  Mac arched his brow, allowing his expression to shift momentarily with the hunger eating away at him.

  It was beginning. He could feel it now; it was in the air as thick as the scent of bacon frying and coffee wafting beneath his nose.

  The challenge was being laid on the table. Finally.

  For years he watched her navigate the gossip that begun with their appearance in his hometown. Old would-be flames prodding at her. Innuendo, smug smiles, and outright lies concerning his activities away from her had gone from worrying her to amusing her.

  Now, she was stepping into territory she had left unexplored when she escaped Virginia, and confronting the fear of his past sexuality. The fear was no curiosity. The gleam of it in her gaze had fire ripping through his body and for the first time since he realized what she meant to him, he let it free in his expression.

  Keiley’s lips parted almost in surprise, as though the arrogance and sexuality of the look had come as a shock to her. And it would have. Mac rarely allowed enough of a chink in his façade to let her see the shadows that tormented him.

  She cleared her throat delicately. “You know, all your male-bonding guy things at Sinclair’s Club. ”

  She stared back at him with supreme innocence. Her hazel eyes were bright and compassionate, her expression sympathetic. As though she were talking about a baseball buddy or guys’ night out at the local bar. But he saw the heat shadowing it, burning behind the blander emotions.

  “There were no bonding guy things there, Kei. ”

  “Do you miss it?” She tilted her head to the side, watching him curiously.

  “You know what the club was,” he reminded her. “I don’t miss fucking other women, if that’s what you’re asking me. ”

  Keiley kept him more than satisfied sexually. She knew how to tease him, how to make him crazy, and she was as adventurous as hell. More adventurous than she realized.

  “That wasn’t what I was asking you, Mac. ” She rolled her eyes before lowering them to her breakfast. “Just forget I mentioned it. ”

  That wasn’t going to happen.

  “Why did you mention it?”

  She stared back at him once again, her gaze reflective. “Because you’re too tense. You have very few friends, and despite the invitations we receive, you never want to socialize. You weren’t like this in Virginia. ”

  “I’m busy, Kei. ”

  “You’re hiding,” she told him. “And hiding never works. It’s definitely not going to work with me. Are you missing your sex games in Virginia, Mac? Is that the problem?”

  He wished he could have snapped at her. He wished he could have stood up and stomped out. He wished he could have avoided her.

  But she was staring at him with that faintly frightened expression she had used the first time she asked him about the club. Wariness filled her eyes, and he felt like a jerk. Like a bastard. Like he was failing her. Pushing her. Stealing himself against it, he let her see the lie coming.

  “I’m not missing any sex games. ” The lie didn’t come easily to his lips. “Now eat your breakfast. ”

  The curiosity blazed in her eyes then. He was daring her, whether she realized it or not.

  “What was it like?” she asked, as he dug his fork into the scrambled eggs on his plate and fought the anticipation building inside him.

  “What was what like?” The words nearly choked him.

  “Sharing a woman with Jethro Riggs? Didn’t you ever get jealous, Mac?”

  Son of a bitch. He was going to come in his jeans!

  If she hadn’t been watching for his reaction, she might have missed the expression that flickered over his face. It was dark, carnal, arousing. His eyes lifted slowly from his plate a second later, his features smoothing out, but his eyes, his eyes were like storm clouds now, brewing with dangerous undercurrents.

  She could see his response and feel it inside herself. See the sudden shift of hunger in his gaze as he stared at her, the tension in his body, the way it whipped through the air and licked over her flesh. In three years of marriage she had rarely seen that look on Mac’s face, and it almost, just almost, frightened her. It would have frightened her if her own arousal hadn’t tempered the fear. She had to force herself to control her breathing, to control her response to him. To the thought of that forbidden act.

  She had suspected he missed the Club and the sexual acts he engaged in there with Jethro Riggs. Rough, edging on dangerous, Jethro’s sexuality drew every woman she knew. Even herself at one time. Until she met Mac.

  The thought of those acts had terrified her when she first met Mac, but something stronger, something darker had drawn her to him, made her love him.

  She had thought she had pushed back her reckless impulses years before she met Mac. But in the past year or more, Keiley had found curiosity eating her alive. Mac never mentioned his sexual past with Jethro or the Club. He never referred to it, never suggested revisiting Virginia.

  But that sexual darkness that had at first drawn her to him had been growing inside him, spurring her own. She needed to know what had drawn him to it. Why he had done it. For reasons that didn’t make sense even to herself, that past was now tormenting her dreams and her fantasies.

  “Why do you want to know, Kei?” His tone was a velvet rasp, rough, with the promise of a dark caress beneath it. It stroked over her flesh, reminded her that she had been days without feeling his possession.

  Why did she want to know? Because it was killing her. Because in the past three years it had grown within her mind as her confidence within her own sexuality had grown. At first, it had been tainted with fear. The knowledge of the gossip that could arise, the whispers and destructive rumors that could build. But as she had found her place in Mac’s hometown, watched it grow within the past three years even as she had grown, she had begun to wonder.

  Why did he do it? And did he miss it? Was that the reason why the tension within him, the darkness that glittered in his gaze, had grown as well?

  She shrugged uneasily. “We’ve never discussed it. We’ve talked about everything else in our lives except that. ”

  And it was the truth. She had discussed things with Mac that she had never talked to anyone else about. The horror of facing the realization that her father had embezzled money from the company he worked from. The fea
r when she had lost her home, when her father had been imprisoned and her mother had committed suicide. Mac knew every part of her, but there was still so much she didn’t know about him.

  “It’s not worth talking about. ” He turned his attention back to his breakfast as Keiley watched him closely. He was hiding from her, and that only dared her curiosity.

  “That doesn’t tell me why you did it, Mac. ” She continued to press the point even though the tone of his voice warned her that it was a subject he didn’t want to discuss.

  He was avoiding this subject just as he avoided other subjects when it came to explanations concerning the dark, shadowed parts of his soul.

  Marrying Mac hadn’t come without a little baggage. He was an alpha with a capital A, irritating, proud, arrogant, and bold. Mac didn’t do anything by half measures and he sure as hell didn’t offer a lot of explanations.

  He avoided issues he didn’t want to discuss, and when she pushed it they most likely ended up in bed where she couldn’t remember the subject they were arguing over anymore than she could remember her own name once he started touching her.

  He challenged her independence with his arrogance, and compromise hadn’t come easily to him. She had the feeling that once she opened the door he was warning her to keep closed there would be no closing it again. There were parts of Mac so shadowed inside that she wondered if he wasn’t just as wary of them as she knew she should be.

  She was tired of the wariness. She was tired of feeling that a part of her husband was hidden from her. That a part of her own life was missing when he grew quiet and dark.

  She was tired of being more frightened of losing him than she was of getting to know him. That was the mistake she had made when they married. She had known it was too soon to make their relationship permanent. Known there was too much about Mac that she didn’t know, and now it was time to figure it. It was time to get to know the man she had married, whether he wanted her to know him or not.

  His fork clattered to his plate as he laid his arms carefully on the table and stared back at her, his gray eyes brewing like thunderclouds.

  “Because I was horny,” he answered.

  “You were horny, so you shared your women with other men?” She lifted her coffee cup and drank from it as though her pulse wasn’t racing, as though she wasn’t suddenly nervous as hell and so aroused she could feel her juices heating the folds of her pussy.

  “That about sums it up,” he growled.

  “So, the women you shared, they weren’t your lovers in particular? Just someone else’s?”

  His eyes darkened. In the three and a half years they had been married, she had never seen such contradictory emotions roiling through his gaze. Anger, irritation, longing, and arousal. It was a little scary and a lot harder to accept the suspicions that had been brewing inside her for months.

  Or maybe she had just finally seen it in the past few months. She knew she could feel it. As the past three years had seen the growth in their marriage, it had also seen a vague restlessness. One she hadn’t recognized just in herself, but within Mac as well.

  What was happening to her? Pushing Mac like this was never a very good idea. He was indulgent for the most part, but once his dominance was roused it seemed only to push a part of her that craved more and more within their sexual relationship.

  “Sometimes they were my lovers,” he admitted, his voice lowering, becoming rough around the edges, roughening. “Sometimes I even cared about them, Keiley. Sometimes I cared about them a lot. The more I cared about them, the more I enjoyed it. ”

  He was pushing her now, daring her. In that second Keiley realized she had made a dangerous error of judgment when it came to her husband. She had suspected he was missing his friends, his sexual games, that a part of him wished he were back in Virginia. But now she knew he had been waiting knowing this was coming.

  Now she had brought the subject out in the open. She had broken the boundary she herself had set, and she knew her husband, for whatever reason he had had for holding back, it would be gone now.
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