Forbidden pleasure, p.49
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       Forbidden Pleasure, p.49

         Part #8 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
 
Page 49

 

  “That has nothing to do with this. ”

  “It has everything to do with it. ” Her lips trembled as a tear slipped past her control. “You’re punishing me and Mac because of the past. You love me. And in that incomprehensible male bonding mystery, you love Mac. We’re your family. We’re what you always wanted and couldn’t quite seem to grasp. You told me that. So you’re going to walk away. You’re going to reject us before we can reject you. God, Jethro, don’t you know Mac better than that by now? Don’t you know me better than that?”

  Something inside her was breaking apart. She stared into his eyes, so filled with shadows and old pains, and ached for the boy without a home, the man without love.

  “I love you. ” She tightened her lips and forced back the tears. “In time, I’ll love you with the same strength I love Mac. I’ll love you to the point that I’ll shatter if you leave me. So if you’re going to go, maybe it’s better that you go now. You can only break my heart now. Later, you could destroy my soul, and Mac’s. And I’d rather regret than to be left hurting like that. ”

  His nostrils flared as his jaw tightened to the breaking point.

  “And when you’re tired of sharing your bed with two men rather than one? When you find out I’m harder than Mac? That I’m not some fucking knight in shining armor who never gives you a grouchy word or a hard time?”

  “You think Mac is perfect?” she bit out incredulously. “Do you think he’s joking about the baseball bat? Or about sleeping on the couch? Do you think we never fight, Jethro? That you and I will never fight? That’s a part of love. Just because you disagree doesn’t mean you don’t love. Or that you don’t hurt. ” She reached out and touched his cheek with shaking fingers, then his lips. “You both have your prick sides, it’s a part of who you are. And I can be a bitch, but that doesn’t mean we can’t love. ”

  His hand caught hers, pressing her palm to his roughened cheek, turning his lips into it as he seared the flesh with his kiss.

  “You terrify me,” he grated out. “You always have. ”

  “Me?” She stared back at him in surprise. “How do I terrify you, Jethro?”

  “Because I’m used to rejection,” he said harshly. “But if you turned away, I don’t know how I’d survive it, Keiley. You’re like a light where there was no light before. If I get used to it, then going back to the dark—” He swallowed tightly.

  “Would hurt,” she said softly. “And hurting sucks, doesn’t it, Jethro?”

  “Hurting makes me crazy, Kei,” he snarled, his arm sliding around her back and jerking her to him. “Do you understand me? Decide later that it’s not love and I’ll be worse than that fucking stalker you had on your ass. ”

  She shook her head as a tear slipped free. “Don’t leave us, Jethro. My back gets cold at night. I need it warmed, too. And my heart wouldn’t be full without you now, don’t you know that?”

  He drew in a hard, ragged breath, his gaze turning fierce, dominant.

  “I can’t breathe without smelling you, without wanting you. Three fucking years I waited, Keiley, and in one week you’ve chained my soul to you. In three years, I wouldn’t be able to let you go. ”

  “Then don’t let me go. ” She pressed closer, dragging her hardened nipples over his chest, feeling the heat and controlled power of his arousal as his cock brushed against her belly.

  Her hands slid into his hair, tangled around the strands, and pulled him forehead.

  “Love me, Jethro,” she whispered against his lips. “Just love me. ”

  One arm locked hard around her hips, lifting her against him as his hand gripped her thigh, guiding her leg around his waist. This wasn’t the smooth, practiced lover she had come to know. As his lips bore down on hers, his erection nudged between her thighs, found her slick and wet, and drove home.

  Sensation exploded through her. The sudden burning pleasure clawed a scream from her throat and sent her pulse racing with an overload of pleasure. As his cock buried in her to the hilt, his tongue plundered her mouth, her lips, tangled with hers and licked at the sudden passion that blazed from her.

  Colors burst behind her closed eyes as he began to thrust. Pushing her against the wall, his hands clamped on the cheeks of her rear and he began driving inside her. Deep, desperate lunges that drove the breath from her lungs and reality from her head.

  She held on tight and let the pleasure have her. She let Jethro have her. The hard thrust of his cock inside her, his lips ravishing hers before moving to her neck, to the rounded tops of her breasts.

  His breathing was rough, ragged, matching hers as she tightened on him, feeling the pleasure washing over her, through her.

  “I love the feel of you,” he snarled as he buried his lips in the side of her neck. “The smell of you. Sweet taste. ”

  “Don’t stop,” she pleaded, her arms tightening around his shoulders as his hips moved harder, driving his erection deeper. “Oh God, don’t stop, Jethro. Never. ”

  “Never. ” He nipped her neck, drove inside her harder, faster, stretching her, burning her until the conflagration of sensations began to ripple in ever-widening circles, tightening her womb, her clit, driving into her soul until she screamed out with the fiery explosions that ripped through her.

  A harsh male growl left his lips as two powerful strokes sent Jethro into his own release, his semen pumping furiously into her, branding her, marking her as his as well and sealing her to him.

  When it was over, she lay limply against his chest, just trying to catch her breath as her eyes opened.

  And there, framed in the doorway, was Mac, his gray eyes glittering in hunger as he winked back at her with wicked lust and heated love.

  “Better shower,” he told them both huskily. “I heard Victoria and Robert are on their way here. You know how the old girl hates to be kept waiting. ”

  Jethro let her go slowly, his lips pressing to hers as his eyes opened, the blue glittering with love and laughter rather than the dark shadows and pain.

  “I think we need more land,” he said then. “If Mac and I work hard enough, then we might not wear you out. ”

  “You’re staying?” she cried out, staring back at him as the tight knot of pain in her chest began to unravel.

  “I think I better. ” He shook his head in mock sadness. “Mac spoils you worse than a Christmas puppy. Someone has to have control. ”

  “Give me another week, you’ll spoil me, too. ” She wrapped her arms around his neck, though her eyes met Mac’s again and she saw the warmth there, the approval. Hell, she saw joy.

  “I love you both,” she whispered, her voice rough as Jethro eased back and Mac stepped into the circle.

  One arm around his neck, the other around Jethro’s, their arms surrounding her, their heat filling her.

  She was selfish. She didn’t want a third, she wanted a whole. And it was here, in her arms. Two men and a future filled with promises.

  Victoria Staten entered the foyer in front of her son Robert, her expression drawn, her eyes dark with sadness as Keiley stood at the entrance to the living room and watched Mac step back to let them in.

  Robert was a few years older than Mac. He was shorter, distinguished rather than rough around the edges, controlled and methodical. He ran the family businesses now, a mix of enterprises from computer hardware to cotton production. His shoulders were broad, his dark hair cut close, his sea-green eyes shuttered as he and Mac shook hands before Mac introduced him to Jethro.

  “Can we talk?” Robert pushed his hands into the pockets of his slacks as he stared back at Jethro and Mac.

  “Come in, Robert. Victoria. ” Keiley stepped forward as she extended her hand to the living room. “I’ll fix some coffee. ”

  “No, dear,” Victoria said firmly. “This is something you need to hear as well. ”

  Keiley glanced to Robert. He nodded abruptly.

 
Come on in,” Mac said then.

  Jethro moved ahead of them, standing by the couch and indicating the two chairs that faced it across a low coffee table. Once Victoria had sat down, Jethro moved to one end of the couch as Keiley took her seat beside him, with Mac on her other side.

  The move wasn’t lost on Victoria. She watched them with a closed expression, but her eyes took in the nuances of the seating arrangements.

  “I want to apologize for Delia’s behavior, Mac,” Robert stated as he stared back at them. “I know she received the picture from Wes Bridges. The sheriff found the e-mail on his laptop. She’s been a nuisance, and I take the blame for that. ”

  “Why?” Keiley asked him, seeing his surprise. “Why take the blame for her?”

  “Because I knew she was rabid where Mac was concerned and I married her anyway,” he stated coolly. “She won’t bother you any longer. ”

  “What makes you so certain?” Mac’s voice was dangerously low.

  Keiley knew his anger toward Delia, but she also knew his fear that Robert’s anger could have manifested itself in physical harm toward her. No matter how angry he was, he wouldn’t have condoned Robert striking her.

  “Delia’s staying with her sister in Pennsylvania until our divorce is final,” Robert stated then. “I doubt she’ll be back. I know the condemnation against her was strong. She didn’t have many friends left the way it was. ”

  “And I would like to extend my apologies as well,” Victoria sighed. “I should have kept closer tabs on her. I had hoped Robert’s warnings that he would divorce her would stay her hand. And I’m sorry for that. ”

  Keiley glanced away as Victoria caught her eye.

  “We don’t blame you or Robert, Victoria,” Mac said then. “But I won’t have this backlashing on Keiley from your end. ”

  “In what manner?” Victoria suddenly straightened imperiously. “Young man, since when did you get big enough for your breeches that you could dictate to me?”

  Keiley turned her head as Jethro snickered. Mac did have the good grace to flush at her rebuke, but he wasn’t to be outdone that easily.

  “When my wife’s position in this community is placed at risk because of your daughter-in-law’s actions,” he stated coolly. “Delia demanded her resignation from the charity committee, and your board members were present when she did so. I want your assurance that her position there will be upheld and that your support toward her is still in place. ”

  Keiley winced. She expected Victoria to calmly tear a strip off his head for even suggesting she would back Keiley now. Instead, her lips twitched.

  “It’s going to be interesting watching the two of you serve hot dogs this summer,” Victoria drawled instead. “My support remains constant as long as you and Jethro both are in attendance at that booth. If your wife can face the public with the grace and pride I heard she showed at Casey’s, then you can do the same at the festival. Are we agreed?”

  “I have work—” Jethro sounded almost panicked.

  “Young man, are we understood?” Victoria demanded, her voice frosting over. “If you are going to be a part of this small family, and if I am going to back such a relationship, then I shall, of course, demand my own satisfaction. That satisfaction being watching all the droves of curious women spending good money to buy hot dogs from the two bad boys of our fair county. This is not negotiable. ”

  Jethro sent Mac a furious look. A demand to intercede.

  Mac held his hands up in surrender. “You don’t fight her, man. She’s tougher than you are. ”

  Robert leaned back in his chair and chuckled at the display, his gaze meeting Keiley’s with an edge of admiration.

  “Congratulations, Keiley,” he said. “I can safely say you are the only woman I know of to have survived such scandal intact and with such a promise from Mother. ”
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