Guilty pleasure, p.12
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       Guilty Pleasure, p.12

         Part #11 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
Page 12


  Well, it was always best to let a man learn the hard way that such schemes weren't going to pan out. Marty's heart was his, Khalid knew, just as Shayne did. There was no jealousy required, but that didn't mean Khalid wouldn't silently put the other man in his place when needed.

  "I can feel the dagger in my back," Shayne whispered in Marty's ear as she lifted the champagne glass to her lips while half-listening to a school friend recount her latest trip to the Bahamas.

  Ignoring Shayne's laughing comment, she focused instead on a conversation she really didn't give a damn about, just to prove, incorrectly, that she really didn't give a damn. She wasn't in the least amused that Khalid had had Shayne pick her up for the ball rather than picking her up himself. When he had called and asked her to accompany him tonight, she had cautiously accepted, interested to see where he was going with this. He was up to something. She could feel it. And she wanted to know what the hell it was.

  "Andrew's yacht is simply exquisite," Tanya was exclaiming, as Marty felt Shayne's hand press more firmly against her lower back in warning. "And Andrew does know how to throw a party. You should join us next month, Martha. It's so much fun. "

  She was going to gag. Martha. In all the years Marty had known Tanya, she had never had the good grace to use the nickname Marty's mother had declared Marty would be called by when she was a baby.

  Martha was her grandmother's name. She'd been named Martha to fulfill her grandmother's dying wish, and Marty was proud to own it. But her name was Marty. She had been Marty all her life, and she didn't like Tanya's pompous little voice sneering out her given name instead.

  "I'm sure it's just megawonderful, Tannie," Marty cooed back at her. "But I think I might have to work. You know how it is. Have to make the rent money. "

  Tanya's eyes widened, though she never for a second caught the small slur Marty had sent her way.

  "Dear, I'm certain your trust fund could cover you," Tanya drawled with self-important sobriety. "After all, I do know your grandmother left you rather well off, even if your parents aren't inclined to do so. "

  Marty gritted her teeth. Her parents had taught her a strong work ethic--something that was uncommon among the glittering trust-fund babies and silver-spoon angels she had grown up with.

  People like Tanya didn't realize the work that had gone into the fortunes they now lived off and rarely contributed to.

  "And I still prefer to pay my own expenses. " Marty's eyes rounded mockingly. "Go figure. "

  Tanya blinked back at her before turning to her husband, as though in confusion. The husband, an executive with Tanya's father's engineering firm, hid a smile.

  "She's an aberration, sweetheart. " Her husband, Mike Collie, sighed, as though he, too, was confused by Marty. "Remember how we used to pat her on the head when we were children and pray for her before sleeping?"

  Tanya glanced back at her sympathetically.

  "Yes, and now, Mike, I pray for you," Marty stated sweetly, as he chuckled back at her, clearly unoffended by her remark.

  "And I appreciate each prayer, my dear. " His blue eyes gleamed with amusement. He was one of the good ones. They were few and far between sometimes.

  As pompous and arrogant as some of her childhood friends may be, most of them still had a sense of humor where it counted.

  "Excuse me, I need to find my father for a moment," Marty said when she glanced to the side and saw that Khalid had managed to pry himself away from a small group of men who had delayed him and he was now trying to make his way across the room.

  Perfect timing, she thought. No one made it through this crowd quickly, which gave her a few more moments before he got to her. Keeping Khalid carefully in her peripheral vision as she hid her smirk at the frustration on his face, Marty and Shayne made their way to where Joe and Zach stood along with Ian Sinclair, and the owners of Delacourte-Conovers, a rising electronics development and manufacturing firm in the area. The Delacourtes and Conovers were heavy contributors to her father's political funds, as well as friends.

  "Marty. " Joe stood back, making room for her and Shayne as they entered the small group. "I see you finally made it. " Turning to Shayne, he extended his hand. "It's good to see you again, Shayne. "

  "You couldn't at least consort within your own branch of law enforcement?" Zach muttered beside her, though she heard the amusement in his voice.

  "I thought it best to have friends in all branches. Besides, it doesn't hurt to look outside the box," she replied, looking up at him with a smile.

  "You can always look," Zach reminded her, his gaze moving over her head before coming back. "Doesn't mean you'll succeed. "

  She could feel Khalid now. As though his very aura had reached out, wrapped around her, and claimed her; she could feel him moving behind her.

  "Shayne. Thank you for escorting my lovely date. I'll take her off your hands now. " His voice was dark, brooding, sending a surge of sensation racing up her spine as she and Shayne turned to him.

  "Evenin' Khalid. And I must say, it was my pleasure. "

  There were days when it sucked being at the mercy of what she liked to believe were no more than hormones. After all, how could you love a man who made you insane every time you saw him? It couldn't be love, therefore it had to be a biological/chemical/pheromonal reaction that bound her to him.

  "Marty. " Khalid turned to her then, and the force of those dark eyes staring into hers seemed to steal her breath and the last bit of common sense she might have possessed as his head lowered and his lips brushed hers.

  "Khalid. " She tried to pretend that her reaction to him didn't exist, but the brush of his lips against hers stole her breath and left her knees weakening in response.

  "Dance with me. " The tone of his voice as he gripped her hand and pulled her to him had Marty's heart racing as heat began to swirl through her body.

  The dark edge of hunger in his tone was barely hidden, but it was his eyes, midnight velvet, so deep and filled with sensual promise that had her flesh sensitizing, her breasts swelling and her clit suddenly pulsing in reaction.

  "I must admit Khalid, I didn't expect you to have your third pick me up tonight," she muttered as Khalid drew her against him and began moving her across the dance floor. "I was beginning to wonder if you had changed your mind concerning a relationship with me. Again. " Innocence marked her face and belied the subtle mockery in her tone.

  "I apologize again, love," he murmured, his thick lashes screening whatever emotion was in his eyes.

  "Since he did pick me up tonight, that does rather make him my official date. " Marty kept her voice calm, sweet. Innocent. "I believe, as such, he's entitled to certain privledges. Wouldn't you think?"

  "I don't believe I would agree with that statement. " He didn't beat around the bush. "Don't play games with me, Marty. We've gone too far for that. "

  "Really?" Arching her brows inquisitively she forced back the amusement she wanted to feel. She wanted what she was entitled to, all of him, or nothing. "So tell me then, Khalid, what game were you playing when you invited me to attend this ball with you, only to send Shayne to pick me up instead?"

  "That is an explanation for another time," he answered, his tone brooding.

  "Then perhaps this relationship that I've fought so hard for is meant for another time as well. I won't be pawned off like a reluctant responsibility. I'm certain there are other interested parties who would be more than happy to actually escort me themselves. " Marty shrugged negligently, though she paid particular attention to the fact that Khalid was dancing them closer to the darkened hallway that led to the main house.

  "You would only turn them down were they to extend such an invitation," he growled as he stared down at her, his expression darkening. "You rarely attend these balls with a date. "

  Which, unfortunately, was no more than the truth.

  "I didn't always turn them down," she
reminded him. "Just particular ones. There were several I accepted over the years. "

  "Men who had no chance of controlling you," he pointed out. "You dated men who had no chance in hell of naysaying you in any decision you should make. "

  The words had her lips parting in outrage as he stopped at the entrance to the hall before gripping her upper arm and drawing her into it.

  "Couldn't handle me?" She glared up at him as he led her through an opened doorway into a small library before closing the door behind them. "Khalid, no man handles me. "

  Jerking her arm from his grip she rounded on him, every insult she could think of rising to her lips, ready to fall from her tongue.

  "I do. "

  Demanding, arrogant, his voice lit a fuse to her temper that had her lips parting to inform him otherwise, quite vocally. Instead, she found herself in his arms, his lips on hers, his larger, broader body bent to her as the hunger and the need held barely in check at the best of times, flamed out of control.

  This was where she needed to be. All arguments aside. All pride aside. God help her, but she needed to be in his arms.

  Her fingers clenched at the fine silken material of his evening jacket as she felt his hands splay against her back, drawing her closer. Small, sharp kisses fueled an already growing demand for his touch as Marty fought to get closer, to crawl into the hard, heated body holding her tight to his chest, to his kiss.

  She felt as though she were flying. The pleasure whipped through her body, slicing through any hesitancy, any shyness. This was Khalid. The man she had been much too aware of since she was too young to even understand what it meant.

  She wasn't too young now. She was a woman, and though she may be technically innocent that didn't mean she didn't know what she wanted, what he would want, eventually.

  "God, what you do to me. " His lips moved from hers, traveling to her jaw, her neck. "You destroy me, Marty. "

  It was no less than he did to her.

  His teeth raked against the sensitive flesh just under her jaw, causing rioting sensations to her nerve endings. Her nipples hardened beneath the material of her bodice; between her thighs, her clit throbbed, her juices spilling onto the silk of her panties.

  Heat washed through her body, her thighs; her breasts tingled. His hands roved over her back, her shoulders, gripping the tab of the zipper at her back and slowly easing it down.

  Weakness flooded her, a sensual, heated rush of pleasure rocking through her body and sending flares of sensation tearing into erogenous zones that she hadn't known she possessed.

  The feel of the silk bodice slipping over her hardened nipples made pleasure steal her breath. They ached with the same white-hot need that possessed her clit, the core of her body.

  She could feel the need tearing through her unlike anything she had felt before.

  "You make me forget. " The hard, hot growl followed by a sensual nip at her ear, as the cool air met the heated tips of her breasts, forced a strangled cry to escape her lips.

  She wanted his lips all over her body. She wanted his hands lower, touching her, stroking her.

  Sliding her fingers beneath the edges of his jacket, Marty sought to find a way to the warmth of his flesh beneath. She needed his touch. She needed to touch.

  "Sweet. Sweet Marty. "

  His hands gripped her waist, lifted her until she felt the cool wood of a desk against her thighs, as her fingers tore at the buttons of his shirt to reveal the hard, muscular contours of his chest.

  This was what she wanted. What she needed. Her fingers curled against the light covering of rough curls on his chest, her nails raking through them as she felt his hand sliding up her side to the curve of her breast.

  "I need you," she whispered, as he pulled her closer, stepped between her thighs, and bent over her until Marty felt the desk meeting her back.
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