Forbidden pleasure, p.47
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       Forbidden Pleasure, p.47

         Part #8 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
 
Page 47

 

  She was aware that they shielded her from the time she moved from the truck until they entered the house. Keiley fought back her apprehension, easing into the house behind Mac, hating the fact that he had to stand in front of her, that she had to be protected, that she wasn’t able to protect herself.

  “When this is over, we’re going to talk about my own training. You’ve been neglecting me,” she hissed at Mac as they entered the foyer and headed upstairs to Jethro’s room, where she knew they would stash her until they had secured the house.

  She heard his amused snort and felt Jethro’s hand smooth warningly over her rear as they stepped to the landing and headed for Jethro’s room.

  She really wanted her bedroom back. Her comfortable bed, her familiar surroundings.

  Jethro moved into the bedroom, his weapon held confidently in his hand as he swept through the room. He checked the bathroom, the closet, and behind the curtains. Within seconds he was motioning them in and Mac was pulling his backup weapon from the holster at the top of his boot and pressing it into her hand.

  “You know the drill,” he told her. “Lock the door behind us and don’t open it until I give you the okay. ”

  She nodded sharply as worry continued to gather inside her. She tried to draw the confidence she felt radiating from both of them into herself and steel herself to be strong.

  When this was over, Mac and Jethro were going to train her to help them. She made that decision as she stared at her husband, then her lover. She would never again hamper their movements if danger followed them.

  “We’ll be right back. ” Mac kissed her quickly, his lips taking hers, catching them in a kiss of heated promise and desire before he moved away.

  Jethro moved by her then, caught her to him, and pressed his lips to her brow. “Be good,” he growled with a sexy warning. “Or you won’t get spanked later. ”

  “Hell of an incentive. ” Her breath hitched shakily. “Hurry. I get lonely very easily. ”

  “Spoiled fairy. ” His voice was teasing.

  “Remember it,” she ordered as he pulled away from her.

  They moved out of the bedroom, closing the door behind them. Holding the gun in one hand, Keiley locked the door with the other and pressed her face against it with a ragged breath.

  Ten to fifteen minutes was all it took, she assured herself. The security device they carried that worked with the motion-sensor alarms had shown no disturbance in the house. No one was here. They were all safe for the night.

  Weren’t they?

  She turned and stared into the room. The small lamp Jethro had turned on spilled a circle of golden light on the edge of the bed, but it left the rest of the room in shadows. Long, sinister shadows had a chill racing down her spine.

  She wished she could turn on the brighter overhead light, but Mac had forbidden that several nights before. The brighter lights allowed shadows to reflect against the curtains, and despite their heaviness there was still a chance of becoming a target.

  Low light worked best, he told her. There wasn’t enough glare to penetrate the heavy curtains or to cast shadows. Just enough light to see by. Not enough to shake the feeling of oppressive danger that surrounded her.

  Get a grip, Keiley. She laid the gun on the dresser top beside the door and rubbed at her arms briskly over the wrap she wore. She felt cold. Frightened.

  Three minutes. God, they had only been gone three minutes. The clock on the bed stand confirmed it, but it felt like three hours.

  She paced the floor at the end of the bed, from the bathroom door to the window on the other side of the room and back again. She rubbed her arms, counted her footsteps, and prayed.

  She glanced at the clock two minutes later. Four minutes later.

  Shaking her head, she pushed her fingers through her hair and paced to the window again. Where she froze at the sound of a soft shuffle, a sliding sound out of place with the beating of her own heart.

  She turned, staring across the room at the shadow that began to lengthen beneath the soft light, then darken and materialize.

  Wide-eyed, shocked, she watched as the figure rose from beside the bed, a malevolent smile on his face, his brown eyes glittering with triumphant glee as he straightened from beside the bed.

  “No one ever thinks to check beneath the bed properly,” Wes Bridges crooned with diabolical smugness. “They’ll check everywhere else. They’ll bend and look at the floor beneath the bed. But they never look up once they get down. ”

  “Wes? What are you doing?”

  “Showing them how incompetent they are,” he snickered. “And you’re the prize. If they had caught me, you would have lived. But they didn’t catch me, Keiley, so I get to kill you. Just letting them go isn’t any fun anymore. There have to be stakes in any game, don’t you agree?”

  “Game? What game?” Terror was shaking through her, stealing her strength as he pulled a wickedly long knife from behind his back.

  “Cat and mouse,” he sneered. “I could have been an excellent agent. But they wouldn’t let me in. They made all the tests harder for me. I was smarter and brighter than all the others and they couldn’t accept that, so they had to make it harder. They had to make sure I failed. ”

  “Who?”

  “Those bastards at that fucking FBI training center. They didn’t realize my genius. Well, I’m showing them now, aren’t I?” He smiled with relish. “I’ve been showing them for years how inept they are. And do you know, Keiley, none of those stupid agents think to look at the underside of a box spring or pay attention to the fact that the bed slats are sometimes just a little out of place?”

  “How do you know?” She had to keep him talking just a little longer. Mac and Jethro would be back any minute. Just a few more minutes, she prayed.

  “Pappy,” he said triumphantly.

  “The dog? Mac’s dog?”

  “My dog,” he snapped, a furious frown brewing on his brow. “That’s my dog. I trained him. I made his collar. I inset the rivets on it with a remote listening device and miniature camera. I saw everything. I heard everything. And I knew they wouldn’t check beneath the bed the right way. They bend down and check the floor,” he cackled. “They never check the box springs. ”

  “Mac will know it was you,” she whispered. “He’ll kill you. ”

  “Mac will never know,” he crooned. “I don’t leave witnesses. And I’m tired of disguising myself when I make my final move. I’m going to cut you into little pieces, Keiley. ” He glanced at the clock, then back to her. “I can do a lot of cutting in five minutes. And you will bleed a lot. Then I’ll just go out the window and come to work tomorrow like usual. He’ll never know. Never ever know. ”

  “He’ll know. ” Terror gripped her throat, making her voice hoarse, ragged. “He’ll find you, Wes. ”

  He shook his head. “Poor Keiley. You’re just a pretty little pawn, and all pawns must be sacrificed. ” He lifted the knife higher.

  Her gaze flew to the gun. His followed. And they both dove for it at the same time.

  Mac and Jethro checked the upstairs first, each room, one by one. Closets, bathrooms, the two spare bedrooms, and the utility closet before moving downstairs.

  They made their way from the back of the house to the front, checking the offices first, and working their way to the living room and the front door as they checked each of the motion-activated alarms on the door frames. They didn’t find a problem until they checked the alarm on the wide frame between the foyer and the living room.

  “It’s rigged,” Jethro muttered as he ran his fingers over it, dislodging a metal sliver that had kept the alarm activated while allowing it to send a clear signal.

  Mac moved through the room, his weapon held ready as he swept the area before moving to the window on the other side of the room.

  “How did he get in?” Mac growled.

  Jethro looke
d up from the alarm he was checking against the monitoring device in his hand. Keying in commands, he began to run a diagnostic on all the alarms, tracking any anomalies that wouldn’t have shown up otherwise.

  Finally, his gaze lifted, horror reflecting in his expression. “The bedroom alarm was deactivated and then reset without triggering the monitor. ”

  “How?”

  Jethro didn’t have time to answer. Keiley’s scream shattered the silence of the house, followed by the sharp explosive retort of a weapon.

  “Keiley!” they screamed in unison as they hit the stairs, taking them two and three at a time as they rushed for the bedroom.

  Mac reached the door first. Gripping the doorknob, he threw his weight into the panel, bursting into the room an inch ahead of Jethro, where both men came to a resounding, shocking stop.

  Keiley’s head jerked around, the weapon held in both hands, white as a sheet, her eyes dark and too round in her face, her hands shaking.

  Her gaze went back to the man lying on the floor, blood pooling beneath his body, then back to Mac.

  The gun dropped from her hand, and before they could catch her she ran for the bathroom, sliding to the floor as Mac caught her at the toilet, where the violence and fear began to heave through her body.

  Jethro knelt beside the fallen body, checked the pulse at his neck, and smiled. The smile was one of anticipation and pleasure.

  He gripped the outstretched arms, jerked them behind the Playboy’s back, and was rewarded by a fractured cry.

  “Oh, you’re going to live, aren’t you, my friend?” he asked the trainer with increasing triumph. “You’re going to live and you’re going to pay. And pay. And pay. ”

  “Jethro?” Mac called from the bathroom.

  “He’s alive,” Jethro called back as the sound of the front door breaking in caused him to wince. “Heinagen just took out your front door. ”

  Jethro cursed as the sound of Keiley’s sobs reached him. He jerked at the trainer’s shoulder again, feeling a surge of furious pleasure race through him at the bastard’s pain.

  A second later Heinagen and Sheffield rushed into the room, weapons drawn, to stare at Jethro in surprise.

  “Cuff this bastard and read him his rights. ” He turned the moaning trainer over to Heinagen as he jerked restraints from the back pocket of his jeans. “This is our Playboy, gentlemen. Meet Wes Bridges, alias whatever the hell we can find on him. ”

  Bridges moaned again as Heinagen restrained him and Sheffield made the call for law enforcement backup on his radio.

  “How did you catch him?” Heinagen was breathing roughly. “How the hell did he get in?”

  Jethro had to chuckle as he glanced toward the bathroom. The hell if he knew what happened, but the next time Keiley demanded to stay in a hotel, he had a feeling he and Mac both might be listening to her.

  “Get him out of here, we’ll give you a report later,” he breathed out roughly. “Call the director and let him know we have our stalker. I want the D. C. bureau to handle this one. Keep him out of the hands of the locals, if you don’t mind. ”

  “We have to inform them, Jethro,” Heinagen reminded him firmly.

  “So inform them, but get the director on the line and tell him to get jurisdiction on this one. I want him in D. C. ” Jethro’s fists clenched as he gritted his teeth against the need to pound the life from the bleeding body at his feet. “Mac and I have this case. He goes home where we can interrogate him. Now get him the hell out of here. ”

  He turned and stalked to the bathroom, slamming the door before he slid to the floor behind Keiley, where she was safely wrapped in Mac’s arms. He touched her hair, her neck, then let his hands grip her waist below Mac’s arms as he leaned into her, pressing his lips against her neck and whispering a prayer of thanksgiving.

  She was sobbing raggedly, her hands biting into Mac’s shoulders, but as he touched her, one hand moved, gripped one of his hands, and pulled it around her, between her body and Mac’s, gripping it between her breasts.
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