Forbidden pleasure, p.40
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       Forbidden Pleasure, p.40

         Part #8 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
 
Page 40

 

  “Is there a problem, dear?” she asked.

  If Victoria didn’t already know about the picture, then she would. There was no hiding it now, and Keiley knew it. As the older woman walked toward her, Keiley felt a flash of sudden regret.

  “You know I’ve always appreciated what you’ve done for me, don’t you, Victoria?” She asked.

  Suspicion filled the older woman’s eyes. “What has Delia done, Keiley? She’s fairly harmless, I’m certain whatever ill will she managed to begin—”

  Keiley shook her head. She was going to cry if this gentle, proud woman tried to apologize for her vicious daughter-in-law one more time.

  “Just know I’ve appreciated everything. I really have to leave now. ”

  Keiley turned and moved toward the front doors. She could feel her eyes tearing up and she refused to cry. She wasn’t going to cry. She wasn’t going to be a baby over this. She was going to be an adult. That was what she was going to do.

  Leaving the house, she caught sight of Mac and Jethro standing in front of the truck. They straightened as she stepped onto the wide porch, their expressions filling with heat, memories, and equal desire. And emotion.

  The emotion in Mac’s gaze was fierce, untamed. Jethro’s was wild but more controlled and just as damned sexy. They were tall, broad-shouldered, powerful, muscular. They were men that women dreamed of having in their beds. Men with morals and with a conscience, and they loved her.

  Both of these men loved her. Mac, she knew, would always love her. Jethro, she wasn’t as certain of, but she knew she couldn’t deny him. Couldn’t deny the pleasure they both brought her. Or the emotions building inside her. She wanted the chance to hold him the same as she held Mac.

  As she moved down the steps, Keiley admitted that she knew she should have stayed home tonight. She knew that coming to this meeting was a bad idea, and Mac would be lucky if she didn’t shoot him herself for forcing her into it.

  But it had been informative. It had forced her to realize how little the opinions of these women mattered. She had sworn years ago that she would never let a community enforce their opinion of her, on her. It would never happen again. And it wasn’t going to happen here.

  22

  There was no fooling Mac or Jethro. As she moved toward them their eyes narrowed, their bodies tightened with tension. Each showed his awareness of her volatile emotions in different ways. Mac’s hands flexed as though he were holding his fingers back from clenching into fists. Jethro’s biceps seemed to thicken beneath the short-sleeved shirt he wore, pumping up, preparing for battle.

  They were like warriors, instinctive, aggressive in the face of any threat. And she couldn’t mention this threat. Not yet. Not until she got a handle on it herself and her own sudden aggression.

  This relationship had changed her. Two weeks ago she would have been in a panic, horrified that anyone could have witnessed anything so intensely private.

  Someone had invaded her home. Had taken pictures. Had shared the evidence that Keiley had enjoyed not just the touch of her husband, but also the touch of his best friend.

  And she had enjoyed it. Keiley had seen her pleasure in her face. In Mac’s. In Jethro’s. The intense intimacy, the emotions beginning to bind them. It had all been there in that picture for anyone who cared to look close enough. To notice how Jethro covered her from behind, his lips pressed to her shoulder, his expression twisted with not just pleasure, but a tortured emotion rising from the depths of his gaze.

  And Mac, below her, one hand framing her face, staring into her eyes, his face twisted into a grimace of ecstasy.

  She stared at the two men now, knowing they would demand to know why she was upset, that if they found out then both would march straight into the Staten mansion and tell every woman there to go to hell.

  And she couldn’t bear that. Not yet. Maybe next time. For now, she had to figure out for herself how she felt about this and how she intended to deal with the complications that would arise.

  There was no keeping those pictures hidden. If they hadn’t already made the rounds of the county, then they would tonight.

  “What happened?” Mac’s voice was a low growl, a warning of the impending anger ready to rise.

  “I told you, you should have just fucked her and had done with it fifteen years ago,” she told him with a tight smile. “She would be a little rude now. ”

  “Did she make a scene?” he snapped.

  God help Delia Staten if she had, because Keiley couldn’t lie to him about it.

  “She didn’t make a scene, just showed her ass in front of her friends. ” She shrugged. It was basically the truth. “So, did your handy-dandy little gadget show anyone in the house?”

  His lips tightened. “Not yet. ”

  “Then let’s go get dinner,” she stated. “I’m in the mood for Casey’s. What about the two of you?”

  She was aware of the probing looks she was receiving from both men as she pulled open the door to the truck.

  “I thought you wanted to get home,” Mac pointed out.

  “I don’t want to cook, and I don’t want to clean up anyone else’s mess,” she told them both, knowing her mocking smile wasn’t fooling anyone. “I need a drink and a hot meal, and I want to dance. We haven’t gone dancing in a long time Mac. ”

  “She wants to go dancing?” Jethro flicked Mac a suspicious look. She caught it, she knew questions would come later, but hopefully, they would let it go for now.

  “Keiley?” Mac caught her arm, turning her to face him, his eyes roiling, the gray shifting and moving in a thunderous pattern. “What did she do?”

  “As I said, she made an ass of her herself. ” Keiley drew in a deep breath as she stared back at him imploringly. “We’ll talk about it later. I promise. ”

  Later. When she could face him with the fact that she had made a decision that should have involved both of them. She had told Delia to shove that picture in a less-than-polite place and walked out, knowing what would happen. Before the end of the night, it would be in every attachment to every e-mail address in the county. If it wasn’t already.

  “Definitely later,” he informed her, his voice hard. “But if you’ve let Delia escape me while I could wring her skinny damned neck, then I’ll paddle your ass. ”

  The wave of heat that overtook her was shocking. It clenched her womb, spasmed between her thighs as silky damp heat spilled to her panties.

  “Promises, promises,” she whispered, but she was aware that the huskiness of her voice owed as much to arousal as it did to the tears that tightened her throat. “Are we ready to go?”

  She lifted herself into the front seat, moving to the middle that she had refused to use earlier as she flipped back the padded console and stared back at Jethro intently.

  “Backseats are only good for one thing,” she told him. “And all three of us can’t fit back there. ”

  His eyes darkened immediately, whereas the thunderous pitch of grays in Mac’s eyes suddenly stilled. Sexual hunger stamped their features and knowledge lit their expressions.

  Could they feel her building need? Nearly two days without satisfaction, with teasing touches and near desperation, always interrupted before they could find a time and a place to relieve the hunger pouring through all of them.

  She wasn’t fighting this. The time for fighting was over. It was over the minute she dared Mac to bring Jethro into their home. It was over the day she married him, knowing that this time would come.

  She was in love with two men. The potential for heartbreak had suddenly doubled, the risk to her heart was greater, but like she had told Jethro earlier, sometimes a person had to take a risk in life.

  She watched as he moved into the truck, his body crowding in close to hers as Mac moved to the driver’s side and took his own seat. She was between them, surrounded by their heat, by their arousal. Protected by thei
r strength.

  As Mac started the truck, her gaze moved back to the Staten mansion. There, Delia Staten stood in the open doorway, her gaze piercing as she stared at the truck. Jealousy and hatred were reflected in Delia’s expression as Keiley met her gaze. And vengeance. The other woman would do whatever she could to destroy her, and Keiley knew it.

  “I’m going to take care of this,” Mac muttered as he circled around the drive and headed back to the main road.

  “I don’t need you to take care of this. You can’t fight these battles for me, Mac. I have to do it on my own. ”

  “You expect me to just sit back while she makes your life miserable?” he snarled, his head jerking around to glare at her before turning back to the road.

  “That’s exactly what I expect you to do. This is something I have to deal with myself. ” To a point, anyway.

  She was aware of Jethro beside her, his body shifting, then the sound of paper crinkling. Keiley felt her stomach drop as her gaze jerked around. The picture she had folded had fallen from her purse to the floorboard of the truck. Jethro was reaching for it, his fingers touching it.

  “I have it. ” Keiley jumped, bending quickly, fighting to slap his fingers out of the way, to grab the incriminating paper when he suddenly pulled it from her fingers.

  “Give me that. ” She snapped her hand out, trying to jerk it away from him as she felt the truck come to a resounding stop at the side of the road.

  The next thing she knew, Mac had it, holding it easily out of her reach as she subsided, sitting still and silent as she stared back at Jethro with furious fear.

  “Who. Took. This. ” The control in Mac’s voice was terrifying.

  “I don’t know. ”

  “Where did you get it?”

  Keiley laced her fingers together and stared straight ahead.

  “Where did you get the fucking picture, Keiley?” he yelled.

  She flinched, hearing the rage in his voice. The same rage that had filled her, that had burned like a cold unquenchable flame in the center of her gut. Hell, it still did.

  “It doesn’t matter where it came from,” she finally answered. “I would say it’s a pretty good guess that everyone in the county has one by now, though. Wouldn’t you?”

  “Son of a bitch. ” His hands slapped into the steering wheel before he gripped it violently, his anger filling the interior of the truck. “Why didn’t you tell me? When did you get it?”

  “She got it at the meeting,” Jethro said knowingly. “I think we both know when she got it. We can guess who gave it to her. I’m just wondering what she thought she would get in return for showing Keiley she had it. ”

  “Delia did this?” Mac yelled.

  Keiley risked glancing at his face and jerked her head forward once again. She fought the trembling in her lower lip, fought the pain that bloomed in her chest.

  “I’m sorry,” she whispered.

  Silence filled the truck.

  “What did you just say?” Controlled, icily furious. She flinched once again at the tone of Mac’s voice.

  “I’m sorry,” she said again, lacing her hands in her lap. “I don’t know how they got the picture. ” She swallowed tightly, feeling panic welling inside her then. Black, oppressive, the guilt was suddenly strangling her. “I don’t know how to fix this yet. I was going to tell you. ” She fought the trembling in her voice. “I was going to tell you, but I had to figure out what to do first. ”

  “You mean you had to figure out how to keep me from killing that vindictive little bitch?” he asked, surprisingly calm.

  Keiley licked her lips and looked at him again. His voice might be calm, but his expression and his eyes were anything but calm.

  “I didn’t say it was Delia. ” It took every once of control she had to firm her voice, to push back the fear, to remind herself she was no seventeen-year-old again. She was a grown woman. A strong woman. A woman capable of accepting the consequences of her actions.
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