Wicked ties, p.4
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       Wicked Ties, p.4

         Part #1 of Wicked Lovers series by Shayla Black
 
Page 4

 

  “A shooter? Holy. . . Who have you pissed off now?”

  “Alyssa, this is Morgan,” he shouted over the music. “She’s the hostess of a cable TV show—”

  “You’re Morgan O’Malley! I love Turn Me On!”

  Morgan, who had doffed her sunglasses, extended her hand to Alyssa. Hmm. Blue eyes rimmed in red, a smattering of freckles, very fair skin—not Brandon’s usual type. But times changed, he supposed.

  Jack drawled, “Then I’m assuming you’d like to help me keep her alive long enough to do more shows. The shooter was aiming at her. ” Jack turned to the other woman. “Morgan, this is Alyssa Devereaux, owner of Sexy Sirens. The most famous—or infamous—gentleman’s club in southern Louisiana, depending on your point of view. ”

  Brandon’s little woman flashed a weak smile, trying her damndest not to stare at Alyssa’s inch-thick makeup, near indecent skirt, and fuck-me boots. There was nothing subtle about Alyssa. She still dressed like a stripper, though she hadn’t danced around a pole in years. She sucked a cock like a woman trying to ingest the brass off a doorknob. She had worse language than him. But she also had a big, big heart.

  Alyssa would use her wicked tongue to take the skin off his balls if she had any idea that Morgan wasn’t a client but the means to achieve revenge. She might run an establishment where women took their clothes off for horny men, but she made sure no one crossed the line with any girl under her roof. Jack planned on crossing every line he could think of.

  “Why would someone shoot at you?” Alyssa asked Morgan with a frown.

  “That is a very good question,” Jack answered, piercing Morgan with an unrelenting gaze, one he hoped like hell would persuade her to tell him the truth. He hadn’t had the chance yet to establish more than the barest amount of authority. She had little reason to trust him. Damn it, another few hours, and he would have spent time in her bed, deep in her body, establishing his dominance. He would have had some assurance that she would accept his help. As it was now…he had nothing.

  Not at all the way he’d planned his revenge.

  “Jack?” she said his name experimentally, voice erratic, still shaking.

  He wasn’t pleased to hear the edge of fear and wariness in her voice. He much preferred a sultry “sir” coming from that pillowy mouth while she pretended indifference.

  But they’d get back to that, just as soon as he got to the bottom of this shit.

  “Morgan, tell me what’s going on, cher?”

  Her skin still had all the color of a corpse, especially framed by the dark coat and the floppy hat, which was too large for her small body. She was terrified out of her mind, but still managed to nod. Jack breathed a sigh of relief.

  “A—about three months ago, someone started sending me mail. Pictures of me in different places, mostly public. Weird, but not threatening. About five weeks ago, he started taking pictures of me in and around my house, through windows. O—one he took of me pulling out of my driveway while he was in my garage. I can tell he’s angry. I don’t know why.

  “I came to Houston to be with a…friend and to escape him. ” She blew out a breath, forged ahead. “He followed me. I didn’t know it until yesterday when this arrived. ”

  She unzipped her boxy coat just enough to fish out a folded-over envelope from the oversized purse bisecting her chest. Morgan handed it to him with a shaking hand.

  Tension gripping his gut, Jack ripped it open. Pictures spilled out. Morgan in an airport, dressed in low-rise jeans, a baggy T-shirt, and her hair shoved into a baseball cap. He only recognized her profile, her stubborn chin, the freckles across her nose that made him wonder how far they extended down her body. They gave him an insane urge to play connect the dots.

  The next one was of her reading a magazine on a patio chair. The magazine covered her face. He saw only her hands, the cover of People, a splattering of delicate freckles on her arms— and sweet, unbound breasts, nearly visible through a thin white tank top, with ripe cherry nipples that made his mouth water.

  From the instant he’d heard whispers that she was his former pal Brandon’s fiancée, he’d been intrigued. Talking to her online had only heightened his interest. Morgan in these pictures, in the flesh, engorged his cock. He couldn’t wait to get her bound to his bed and begging to come—granting his revenge.

  But there was something else about her…something pounded him with familiarity. He felt as if he should know her, like he’d seen her before and not just her picture on her show’s Web site. Had he ever met her? No, he would have remembered a woman like Morgan. Still, there was something about her. He’d figure it out.

  Swallowing a lump of rising lust, Jack flipped to the last picture and froze. The always-elegant Brandon Ross in a designer suit. He had his back to the camera as he leaned down to kiss Morgan. Jack could see only her half-bare legs covered by a bit of green silk and black lace, and the lightly freckled arms she curled around the Brandon’s neck. The sight made his gut roll.

  And the haphazard scrawl of the note at the bottom of the envelope, with its ominous, possessive tone did nothing to ease his tension.

  The last picture, the wife-to-be saying goodbye to her man before he left for a day at the office, also confirmed that Morgan O’Malley was Brandon Ross’s woman. She was the means to pay his old buddy back for his stab in the back. He had to get Morgan out of here alive and undetected to do it.

  “So this stalker followed you here from L. A. ?” he asked.

  “Yes. ” Her voice still shook.

  Jack sighed. “Dedicated and sick. Not a good combination. Clearly, he’s smart if he’s able to take pictures of you without you knowing it or his identity. He knows his way around a gun. I don’t think you can just walk out of here on your own unharmed, Morgan. You need help. I can give it to you. ”

  She hesitated, then spoke in a surprisingly smoky voice. “You’ve gotten me out of the path of bullets that would have likely killed me. I can’t ask you to risk—”

  “You didn’t ask; I’m offering. ” The asshole clearly knew his way to Brandon’s house, and Morgan didn’t look like the kind of girl with training in weapons and hand-to-hand combat. It was up to him to keep her alive. “Morgan, I’m a bodyguard. I won’t watch you die when I can get you out of here in one piece. ”

  “How much?”

  Jesus, someone had been shooting at her and she wanted to barter? “On the house. ”

  Surprise widened her mouth. “Why?”

  He sent her a cool shrug. “If you’re dead, there goes my fifteen minutes of fame. ”

  She lifted her red-rimmed blue eyes to him and shot him a cynical glare. “Seriously. It’s clear you’re not a famemonger. ”

  So she had better sense than to fall for his line. But Jack still wanted to make her look at him with those innocent blue eyes while he force-fed her some logic. She couldn’t be sane and deny that she needed help. But he understood why she’d try.

  He was a relative stranger—but that wasn’t her only hesitation. He’d bet every dime in his pocket on that. From their brief face time before the shooter arrived, he realized Morgan had some interest in him. And that she had curiosity about his sexual leanings. More curiosity than someone merely researching a TV show. Her reluctant arousal drew him like nothing had in years.

  “That still doesn’t change the fact you need me. The shooter knows you’re in this building. You can’t just walk out now. I can get you out of here. ”

  Morgan set her jaw. Jack watched her fighting the urge to bite off a refusal. She didn’t, proving once again that she was smart.

  “How?”

  “You’ll dress as Alyssa. She’ll fix you up with appropriately inappropriate clothes. ”

  “She’ll need help with makeup, too,” Alyssa pointed out. “I don’t have freckles, Jack. ”

  A quick glance at Morgan proved she had a mere hint of cosmetics on her pale face. “Yeah, okay. Do it. ”

&
nbsp; “No. This plan won’t work,” Morgan protested.

  “You got a better idea, one that doesn’t end with you in a pine box?”

  Waiting for her to process the truth he couldn’t afford to soften for her, Jack watched Morgan. Up close, he could see wellproportioned features, a full mouth, a nearly poreless complexion that was too fair to be caused by anything but fear. Arched brows in some indiscernible color in this dim light. Without Dracula’s complexion, the crappy hat and scarf, or the three-times-too-big coat, he suspected that, as an all-around package, she’d be gorgeous. Senator Ross’s son wouldn’t settle for less.

  She sighed. “I don’t have any other ideas. ”

  “That’s my point. Alyssa, take Morgan upstairs and put her in something scanty. You got any more of those wigs?”

  “Yep. ” The bleached blonde nodded.

  Morgan glared. “It still won’t work. ”

  “Because…?”

  “Alyssa and I, we’re not the same…size. ”

  Jack scanned the two of them. “She’s taller. But you can wear her stiletto boots to give you some added height. What size shoe do you wear?”

  She looked startled by the question. “Six and a half. ”

  Jack sent Alyssa a questioning look.

  “Hell, no,” said the former stripper. “I wear an eight. ”

  “We’ll work around it,” Jack said. “We’ll shove toilet paper in the toes of the boots or something. It’s temporary. ”

  “That’s not the biggest problem. ” Morgan’s gaze drifted over Alyssa’s surgically enhanced attributes, currently struggling to stay within the confines of a bikini top.

  Jack let his gaze cascade over Morgan’s small form again. He couldn’t see much of her beneath the coat, but the pictures he’d seen told him that what she had under there was a 100 percent natural and not on par with Alyssa’s D cups.

  “Alyssa has a knack for picking out clothes that make any woman look bodacious enough to be a centerfold. ”

  “Then what?” Morgan fidgeted nervously, her gaze darting to the door, as if expecting her unwanted admirer to burst through it at any second.

  “We’ll need to slip past this bastard and get you to safety. ”

  “And then?”

  “We’ll cross that bridge once we’ve made our way out of here, okay? I’ll get you to someplace safe until this mess can be sorted out. ”

  Morgan bit one bee-stung lip, eyes anxious and wary. She wanted to agree but didn’t trust him completely. Jack could see that on her face. Still, she hesitated, meeting his gaze squarely, as if taking his measure. Jack wondered how much, if any, Morgan knew about the past. Had Brandon ever mentioned him?

  “This son of a bitch has been tenacious until now, I’m sure, but he’s never dealt with me. I’m not going to let him come within a hundred yards of you, Morgan. ”

  She hesitated an instant longer, then sent him a shaky nod. “You’re the professional. We’ll deal with what’s next once we’re away from here. ”

  What was next would involve her naked and cuffed and open to the complete pleasure he was impatient to give her. Repressing a smile, he affixed his gaze to the puffed pout of her lower lip. Something about her, even in her awful getup, made the man in him take notice. Or was it the knowledge that she belonged to Brandon?

  No, it was more. Under that ugly hat, scarf, and coat, he could tell Morgan was one damn pretty woman—somehow innocent and fresh, but also sexy, sassy, expressive. Corrupting her would be a treat. His desire chugged up another notch.

  Who knew revenge would be so satisfying in every way? #

  Surrounded by music pulsing so loud that the walls shook, Morgan made her way up the club’s narrow stairs, following Alyssa, the blonde who apparently owned Sexy Sirens. Morgan had no idea how anyone with decent vision would ever mistake her for the stripper, no matter how much makeup she slathered on. Alyssa had an ingrained sexuality that just about every woman wished for…and so few possessed.

  Still, Morgan knew she had to try, put on her best act until she could escape Lafayette and the psycho hunting her. The only alternative was death.

  Like it or not, that made Master J—whose real name was apparently Jack and a relative stranger—her only hope for salvation.

  With a few glances and fewer words, Jack had made it clear he was no saint. Even now, she felt his gaze burn her back. Against her will, she peered over her shoulder. Jack stared up with an intent gaze, eyes looking nearly black, as he watched her ascend the stairs. A speculative smile creased the chiseled features of his strong-jawed face.

  She knew absolutely nothing about the man, except that he had the kind of looks that made women do double takes and drool. Oh, and that he liked to dominate in bed. Hard to forget that. But his smile made her nervous. Why would anyone look happy in the aftermath of a near shooting?

 
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