Wicked ties, p.48
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       Wicked Ties, p.48

         Part #1 of Wicked Lovers series by Shayla Black
 
Page 48

 

  “You’re not exactly Mr. Clean here,” Jack growled at her brother. “You’re the one who seduced Kayla while I was married to her, made her believe you loved her—”

  “So you seduced me in return?” Morgan shouted at Jack. “Pushed me to change my perception of myself and my sexuality. You made me believe you loved me, that I loved you, too. I said it to you while. . . ” She gasped as the awful truth washed through her blood in an icy rush. “That must have been the ultimate revenge, having me tell you that I loved you during sex, just like Kayla said to Brandon. Did you know it would work out that perfectly, or just hope?”

  “Cher, it was nothing like that. I swear. Honest. I—”

  “Dear God! Did you do to Morgan what you did to Kayla?” Brandon broke in, his voice booming with incredulity. “Did you mess with her head and try to turn her into some submissive robot?”

  “Does she seem like a robot to you?”

  “Kayla couldn’t handle what you wanted from a woman, and after you, she was afraid of every man. I no sooner had her, than she left me. ” Wearing a furious, incredulous scowl, Brandon grabbed Jack by the arm. “Have you done the same thing to Morgan, you bastard?”

  “No!” Jack insisted. “Morgan is wired for what I need in a woman. She is my woman. I awakened her, which is more than you can say. I gave her everything her body yearned for, even a ménage when the thought of it twisted my guts in two, all because I wanted her happiness. What did you do besides ignore her sexuality, then leave her when some sick stalker followed her, masturbated on her bed, then shot at her in public? Yeah, that’s love for you. ”

  “He shot at you, sweetheart?” Concern transformed Brandon’s angry face. He dropped his gun to his side.

  “Put that away,” she whispered, nodding toward the firearm.

  With a reluctant sigh, one that communicated just how pissed he was, Brandon tucked his gun in the waistband of his slacks at the small of his back and turned to her.

  When he tried to cup his hand around her shoulder, Jack snarled, “Don’t touch her!”

  Then he jumped in and hit Brandon with a right cross to the chin. Brandon’s head snapped back, and he came up rubbing his chin with one hand and forming a fist with the other.

  Jack blocked Brandon’s incoming punch. “I let you take Kayla from me. I didn’t love her, and we all knew it. But you’ll have to kill me before I let you take Morgan from me. I love her. I’ll always love her. ” Jack turned to her then, his penitent frown ripe with a plea. “If you’ll let me explain and apologize. You can’t marry him. ”

  “She’s not marrying any of you!” screeched a half-wild voice from the open doorway.

  Brandon turned and Jack leaned around her brother for a look at their new visitor, but Morgan didn’t have to see to know who’d just arrived. She knew that voice.

  “Andrew? What are you doing here?” She leaned into his line of vision, still clutching the sheet over her bare body.

  Her blood turned to ice when she saw menace mutating his cultured face into a snarl and the threat in his stance as he blocked the door. Fury vibrated off him, zinging around the room like its own lethal force. Adrenaline and anger crashed through Andrew, judging from the way he twitched as he held a gun in his hands—a gun he pointed right at her.

  Morgan gasped, her mind racing to comprehend this turn of events.

  “Someone has to stop you. ” Andrew stared at her as if he barely knew her, taking in Deke and Jack, both shirtless and disheveled a few feet away…and drawing some accurate conclusions. “You fucked two men? I knew you were a whore, but this is even beyond what I believed you capable of. I can’t believe I nearly married you. You dating Senator Ross’s son infuriated me enough. ” Andrew tossed his unusually unkempt salt-and-pepper hair as he nodded at Brandon. “You visited him, agreed to marry him. You slept with him. And now you’ve taken up with yet another man. Your bodyguard, right? Did you ask him to dominate you, too?”

  Andrew’s sneer hung in the air, its hostility stinging her like a harsh slap to the face. She refused to be embarrassed by his words. But the gun pointed at her, making her heart pound, scared the hell out of her.

  “Yes. ”

  Jack glanced in her direction, then stared at Deke, some silent communication between them that she couldn’t understand.

  Andrew shook his head. “And now a morning spent cheating on your fiancé and sandwiched between these two testosterone-oozing lugs. For what? A few orgasms? You and I knew each other’s minds and shared the joy of quality work, elevating tawdry sex to art, until you threw it away. ”

  Brandon leapt toward Andrew, reaching out to swipe the gun from his jittery grasp. Andrew roared and scrambled away, firing two shots in Brandon’s direction. Morgan heard herself scream as the retort of fire deafened her. Her brother threw himself to the ground and rolled away from the bullets.

  Breath held, Morgan launched herself from the bed to check on Brandon.

  “Back in the bed!” Andrew roared, turning the gun on her again. “Now!”

  Easing back under the sheets, she covered her nudity again, shaking. Her hammering heartbeat nearly deafened her. Andrew was serious. Deadly serious. And Brandon… Oh, God, had he been shot?

  Slowly, Jack bent to help Brandon up. Andrew’s grip tightened on the gun, his mouth compressing into a grim white line.

  Once on his feet, her brother turned to send her a reassuring glance. “I’m fine. Just do what he says, Morgan. ”

  “And nobody else do anything stupid or heroic,” Andrew snarled, tossing his arms around wildly, still clutching the chilling, shiny weapon.

  Morgan forced herself to take a deep breath, tried to push calm through her body. She knew Andrew. Hysterics on her part would only up his dramatics. And he was an opera fan, a performing art where all the central characters frequently died and the audience applauded the tragedy of it all.

  Please God, no such tragedy for her. She had to save herself, and stop Brandon, Jack, and Deke from doing something heroically fatal.

  Morgan sucked in a breath and lowered her voice, trying to sound much calmer than she was. “Why are you here? My life is no longer your concern, Andrew. ”

  “You ignored my notes and photos. You ran when I left my semen on your bed as a reminder of the place where we once connected. I tried to make you understand where you belonged and to whom you belonged. I could have forgiven you for Mr. Ross in time. You and I argued, and you might have thought I didn’t intend to return for you. But these two…” He waved a shaking fist again, this time at Jack and Deke, gun clenched tight in his grip. “I should have shot you at that strip club. I would have if the nasty den of iniquity hadn’t been so crowded. ”

  Andrew’s words staggered her, making her mind race with implications. “So Reggie didn’t…wasn’t…?”

  Andrew rolled his eyes and sighed with impatience. “Pursuing you?”

  “This is stalking, asshole,” Deke growled.

  With a shake of her head, Morgan tried to shush him.

  Thankfully, Andrew ignored him. “Reggie? Of course not. Didn’t you see me at the strip club? I looked right at you? You almost fooled me with the disguise, but I’d know your eyes anywhere. ”

  “I couldn’t see through the crowded strip club,” she murmured. “It was you? Given the pictures I received, I thought— ”

  Her ex-fiancé rolled his eyes. “Please. He taught me to take pictures and develop them. He had no idea I took pictures of you until just the other day. ”

  Andrew sniffed, and Morgan knew he was insulted that she’d believed even for a moment that Reggie could stalk her as properly as he had.

  “He didn’t help you at all?” Keep him talking, distract him. Stay calm. Find some way out of this damn dangerous mess.

  “He’s too stupid. For a time, he helped me keep track of you, in the interest of flattering and protecting you. And once he figured it out, well, the stupid lug went to w
arn you, but he couldn’t find you. ” Andrew shook his head, contempt twisting his face. “He upset that stripper whore last night and got himself arrested before he could warn you I was in town. ”

  “You? You’ve been my stalker all along?”

  Jack grimaced at her, then sent another glance to Deke. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Deke nod. She tensed.

  They were going to do something stupid and heroic—and get themselves killed.

  “No,” Morgan whispered at them.

  “I am your savior!” Andrew shouted over her, then stiffened, his face darkening to a thunderous scowl. “Someone has to save you from yourself. When we first dated, you seemed so sweetly innocent. I overlooked your impurity because you were over twenty-one, and we hadn’t known each other previously.

  “After we argued about your crude bedroom ideas, I eventually realized that I might not have given you enough attention, and I started pursuing you again, despite your involvement with Mr. Ross. I decided to flatter you, and believed I could save you by marrying you. But…” He clicked the hammer back on the gun and gave a disdainful toss of his head toward Jack. “As soon as you met Mr. Cole, you began acting like a bitch in the throes of heat. He’s a well-known dominant, and you all but licked him up with your gaze. ”

  Morgan drew in a deep breath, resolving to stay calm— despite the fact that she both itched to strangle the bastard and run screaming from his gun. She ignored her temper and her sweating palms.

  “I wanted Jack. He understood my need to submit, Andrew. He taught me there’s nothing wrong with that. ” Whatever other deceptions lay between them, she’d always had that gift from Jack. “Your failure to accept me as I am only proves we’re ill-suited. Go give some other woman your attention. Maybe she’ll appreciate the obsessive bit. I don’t. Get the hell out of my life. ”

  “You’re only proving what I feared. The only way to purge you of your wickedness is to kill you. ”

  Morgan froze. Andrew raised the gun. Andrew—her former producer, her former fiancé, the mild-mannered artsy type wasn’t just hyped up on momentary anger. He seriously planned to kill her.

  “Now!” Jack shouted in the tense, churning air.

  Deke grabbed her, yanking her to the floor in a tangle of arms and legs. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Jack grab the gun at the small of Brandon’s back, then push her brother into the corner behind Andrew, out of harm’s way. Then she saw nothing, as Deke ripped her from the cocoon of the sheets and began to roll her under the bed.

  An explosion thundered through the room. A moment later, something struck her in the chest, whooshing the breath from her body with the force of the impact. The sting seared fire across her skin. In an instant, her body nearly imploded with pain. She cried out. But a second blast masked the sound.

  She gasped for breath, a strange weightless, nearly floating feeling assailing her.

  A cry, a thud, then…

  “Morgan!” she heard someone shout as if from a distance.

  Jack. It was Jack’s voice. He sounded worried.

  “Here…” she whispered, frowning against the pain. What was wrong with her?

  “Shit!” Deke rumbled behind her. “She’s hit!”

  She was? Morgan’s eyes fluttered open in time to see Deke put his shirt over her chest and press down. Painful, damn it!

  “No…” she wailed.

  “Where?” Jack demanded.

  “Hell, I don’t know. Her chest, I think. There’s blood everywhere, front and back. Shit, she’s bleeding fast. Call 911!”

  CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

  Jack dropped to his knees, watching Morgan’s face pale into something damn near ghostly. The red of her blood gushed through Deke’s gray T-shirt, turning it morbidly dark. The coppery smell of blood burned into his nostrils, exploding in his brain.

  Son of a bitch, he wished he could kill that asshole Andrew all over again! For making her doubt her sexuality, for even thinking of hurting Morgan. And this time, he’d enjoy putting a bullet between the bastard’s eyes.

  But now, there wasn’t time for anything besides saving Morgan’s life.

  Yanking the sheet off the bed, he wrapped it around her wound, applying pressure with one hand and reaching for the phone with the other. The 911 call only took a few moments, and the dispatcher promised to have someone there within minutes.

  Jack only hoped Morgan hung on that long.

  Now, all he could do was wait…and do a little damage control.

  Casting a desperate gaze up at Deke, Jack was shocked to see his own grim concern mirrored there. Morgan had even left her mark on his hard-ass, tough-as-nails business partner.

  “Take Brandon and get out of here. ”

  “I’m not leaving her,” Brandon said, now hovering above him, concern tightening his mouth.

 
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