Dangerous pleasure, p.13
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       Dangerous Pleasure, p.13

         Part #12 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
Page 13


  Paige’s mother had contacted Anna Bailey’s family as soon as she had been able to, but they seemed reluctant to believe her, or to do anything to rescue their daughter.

  Pavlos had checked into it for the woman he still intended to marry, and learned that when Anna had been kidnapped, her father had received a large deposit to his account to cover excess gambling debts.

  Marilyn had always suspected Anna’s family had sold her, or perhaps accepted the payment to stop searching for their daughter and accusing the Saudi government of covering up her disappearance.

  Both Anna Bailey and the French-born tourist Marilyn Girard would have been forgotten had it not been for Pavlos Galbraithe’s determination to find his fiancée, and Marilyn’s stubbornness in not giving up her plans to escape.

  But, by the time Pavlos had put together a team willing to breech the fortress and rescue Anna and her son, Azir had killed her. According to Abdul at the time, Azir had strangled her to death in her own bedroom, in front of her three-year-old son, after dragging them both back from an escape attempt.

  Abdul had recounted to her parents and to Khalid how the young Abram had screamed and even then, fought to free himself from the wooden crib he had been placed in. How the moment his mother had dropped to the ground, lifeless, he had stopped screaming, stared at her, then slowly sat down in his bed, lifted his eyes to his father, and simply stared back at him.

  Now, more than thirty years later, Abram was still attempting to stand between his father and a woman Azir was trying to kill.

  Where the hell was he now? She could use a little rescuing herself.

  He had to be here somewhere. There was no doubt in her mind this was the Mustafa fortress on the Iraqi border. She hadn’t been kidnapped and sold, she had simply been kidnapped by a madman. Didn’t that just round out her week.

  Turning, she walked back to the middle of the " align=where she stood looking around once more, trying to find something that would at least make her feel as though she were trying to escape.

  As she started to move toward one of the armoires again, the wide, heavy wooden door was thrown open, a breeze surging past her. She stared at the apparition that entered with a nightmarish vision of terror.

  The sense that this couldn’t be happening almost overwhelmed her. It had to be a dream.

  Azir Mustafa swept into the room, his black eyes locked on her, his desert-dark face worn and creased with bitter lines. The long white thobe, the loose, ankle-length garment mostly worn in the Middle East seemed to ripple around his broad, overweight body. The ghutra, or keffiyeh, the large white square cloth secured to his head by a black cord, swept out behind him only to reverse direction and swirl around him as he came to an abrupt stop. He stared back at her as though mesmerized.

  His eyes appeared dazed and damp. His expression filled with deepening hope as he watched her carefully, as though frightened she would disappear at any moment.

  He lifted a shaking hand as though to touch her from a more than ten-foot distance, before he let it fall limply back to his side.

  “Marilyn,” he whispered, his lips trembling as he took a step forward, bemusement and mesmerism slackening his expression. “You stayed so young, Marilyn. And I have grown so old. What trick is this that you return to me, the same as you left?”

  Paige gripped the sheet between her breasts and stepped back, her eyes narrowing at the proof of Azir’s weakening sanity. He thought she was her mother.

  “I’m not Marilyn. ” Paige informed him cautiously. She didn’t look that much like her mother.

  “Marilyn,” he whispered again. “My precious Marilyn. Why did you leave? Why did you corrupt my sons?” Pain, bitter and filled with a little boy’s confusion, he watched her with tears in his eyes. “Did I not love you above all others? Did I not whisper my love to you each time I held you?”

  Paige inhaled sharply. Her mother had said Azir was insane, even when he was younger. Paige had always argued that it wasn’t insanity, it was criminal arrogance. Now, she wondered if her mother hadn’t been right all along. It was obvious the man had some serious, delusional issues.

  The crazed belief that filled Azir’s face as he stared at her wasn’t in the least bit comforting. He truly believed that somehow, Marilyn had returned to him.

  Paige moved back another step as Azir came forward the same distance. She felt like a mouse being toyed with by a very large cat, and she had no hole to hide in.

  “Come to me, Marilyn. His expression tightened in anger as she kept retreating. “Do not test my anger, beloved. You know you will lose and I will feel remorse for the need to punish you. You are my wife. You may not refuse me. ”

  He actually thought she was going to let him touch her? If he was playing a game, then he was doing a damned good job of it. And if he wasn’t, then he was far crazier than anyone suspected and she was in a hell of a lot more trouble than she had imagined.

  “There’s been a mistake,” she stated warily. “I’m not Marilyn. I’m her daughter, Paige. ”

  Azir stopped and frowned at her, his body poised as though ready to jump on her. He eased back, his eyes narrowing on her before pure, furious hatred snapped into his gaze for a quick second. In the next second, his eyes cleared and he stared around the room as though wondering how he had found himself there.

  He turned back to her slowly.

  “Paige Galbraithe,” he murmured, his rasping voice the sound of a nightmare in her mind. “The daughter of my faithless, adulterous wife and the whore’s son that stole her from me. A diseased bastard daughter. You should have been stoned to death at birth. ”

  As he spoke, his voice became louder, harder, and more furious until the enraged tone sounded grating and filled with the very insanity Paige had doubted he suffered from.

  Oh, he was insane all right. There was no doubt in her mind now that he was bat-shit crazy.

  “Mother wouldn’t be pleased if you killed me, Azir,” she told him with subtle, flippant mockery, as though he might really give a fuck. “She might never come visit you before you die. ”

  “You mock me,” he rasped. “No worries, I can have it done whenever I please. It is a matter easily taken care of. The sins of the mother become the responsibility of the daughter. ”

  She couldn’t believe this. It was a nightmare. He was past insane.

  “I’ve committed no sin. ” Her fingers tightened on the sheet as his gaze flicked to her breasts then back to her eyes. She actually felt dirty from the look.

  “Your mother did, that’s enough. ” He smiled almost pleasantly. Pretty much crazily. “I could have you dragged to the courtyard and stones would be battering your weak body within minutes. I could take that very pretty face, so much like your mother’s, and I could crush it. ” His hand lifted, his fingers snapping into a fist in emphasis.

  She could see the rage in his eyes and in his face. He was flushed with it, his gaze becoming demented with it. There was a need glittering in his eyes to hurt her, to destroy her. He looked at her and he saw the mother, not the daughter. But he also saw what he called her mother’s sins. Hell, she wasn’t going to win here.

  Strange, her horoscope hadn’t mentioned to beware of crazy kidnappers or demented desert sheikhs this week.

  If Abram didn’t get here, really fast, then she was going to be in a hell of a lot more trouble than she could pull herself out of on her own. Maybe. It was kind of hard to find options that involved being dressed in nothing but a very expensive, very soft sheet.

  It was apparent Azir thought he could punish the daughter because the mother had escaped him. And she didn’t doubt he had all intentions of doing just that.

  Marilyn Girard had escaped and taken his three-month-old son, and she had married another man and had a child by him as well. Paige was that child, and as he stared at her, she realized he could easily choke the life right out of her and ne
ver regret it. He could happily throw her to whomever would stone her, and feel nothing but cheerful glee as each heavy blow broke her body further.

  Oh God, where was Abram?

  “You have her eyes,” Azir said as he stilled once again, his head tilting to the side to stare back at her with an odd smirk. “Eyes that mesmerize a man and fill him with the desire to do nothing but possess you. ”

  “It could be indigestion. Trust me, possessing me is a very bad idea. It could be considered really irritating I’ve been told,” she suggested brazenly, certain she was going to die at any moment, but she would be damned if she would go down without a fight.

  She would not give this old, vicious monster the satisfaction of seeing her cry, or beg. Unless it hurt too badly. She might beg then, she thought irrationally. Anything was possible.

  The shark’s smile that curled his lips was filled with a pure, cruel menace as his expression turned mocking, threatening.

  “Speak to me with such disrespect again and I will have your tongue sliced from your mouth before you have the chance to beg my son to aid you,” he warned her, his monstrous voice grating with savage anticipation. “I will ensure he does not endure the disrespect of the daughter as I did the mother. ”

  Okay, no more disrespect. She liked her tongue in her mouth, thank you very much.

  She stared back at him silently, certain there had to be a weakness she could exploit to at least survive until she found a way to run.

  Running beat standing here and waiting for him to choke her to death as he had Abram’s mother.

  “You know my son don’t you, my dear? Both of my sons, actuen tol One is your brother, and what would the other be to you, I wonder?” He chuckled insidiously. “Are you a whore as your mother is? Do you lie down and spread your legs for any dog that would hump between them as well as the friends he would bring with him? Do you lie between two as easily as you would with one?”

  The vulgarity of the insult had her eyes narrowing as anger began to swirl and tighten into pure fury. She bit her tongue until she thought she might bite through it as easily as the knife he had threatened to slice it off with.

  She really didn’t want to lose her tongue, and she had no doubt he wasn’t dead fucking serious about the threat, but dammit, that was her mother.

  “And your brother. ” He sneered. “His perversions infected my heir and my home until Abram gave to him the virtuous wife he had married. She spread her legs for them together and spoke such filth that she desecrated the marriage bed she was given. ”

  Khalid was her brother. He pissed her off regularly, but she would die for him. If Azir kept this up, she would be losing her tongue for certain.

  She stepped back cautiously as he took another step forward, his fists clenching and unclenching spasmodically as she breathed in deeply.

  “Azir, this isn’t a good idea. ” She was wasting her breath and she knew it. “Come on, I know many of your nephews and nieces. Several of your king’s great granddaughters are friends of mine. Protests are already being filed with your government over this, if I know my parents and if Abram finds out you harmed me, he won’t be happy, and you know Khalid will go crazy on you. ”

  She could see the hatred in Azir’s face as she said his son’s name. Khalid had killed his two sons, but only to protect himself as well as Marty when they attacked him in his home.

  Paige watched him warily as she tried to maneuver closer to the door, only to have him block her attempt to slide around a chaise and run for the exit.

  He smiled in anticipation.

  “If you die, then he will not risk God’s displeasure, nor the retaliation of the Matawa for his perversions with you,” he murmured. “You were seen, spreading your thighs, speaking the filth and begging for more. ”

  She flushed, not in shame or in embarrassment, but in anger. Maybe, if she screamed for Abram, he would hear her? But if he were that close, he would have been here.

  “Tell me, Paige, how is my bastard, traitorous son and his whore doing these days?” His lips curled in disgust. “I was actually surprised his brother Abram wasn’t present in the bed with him and his little Jezebel, rather than that ineffective agent to your FBI that was fucking her instead. ”
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