Guilty pleasure, p.17
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       Guilty Pleasure, p.17

         Part #11 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
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Page 17


  If she allowed this relationship to progress, then it would be far more than what they had shared the night before.

  She felt a jolt of response at the thought of being the lover of two men. It had only been a distant curiosity for so many years, but the knowledge that it would happen if this continued suddenly had her wondering what it would mean to her own sexuality, and to the emotions she could feel torturing her now.

  Over the years Marty had managed to get enough information to form a certain image of the club and the men she knew were a part of it.

  Men who walked a certain dark edge, who found thrills in various forms of high-adrenaline lifestyles. Whether they were CEOs, leaders of countries, or agents of one of the world's alphabet agencies, they all shared a common tie: a darkness and a sense of danger that they carried like an invisible shield.

  The ring of the cell phone on the seat beside her had her heart racing again. Picking it up, she glanced at the number, fortified her courage, and flipped the phone open to answer it. "Leave me alone for now," she ordered briskly, praying she sounded more determined than she truly was.

  "You picked the perfect time to leave. " Shayne's chuckle came through the line. "Khalid was on his way to your apartment as you pulled from the garage. "

  "That's what I pretty much figured," she informed him. "I need some time. "

  "You should have thought about that before you shared his bed last night. " Shayne's tone became firmer. "What the hell is going on, Marty? You're not some flighty kid. Why the hell are you running from him?"

  Because she didn't know what to say, what to do. Because she wanted to dream of happily ever afters and she was terribly afraid those couldn't exist in Khalid's arms. He couldn't hold her after taking the innocence she had saved for him. He could only give her half truths. What made her think he would ever do more than fuck her?

  She should have considered this; she should have thought of it. But she would have sworn he felt more for her than simple lust.

  "I need to think," she finally breathed out roughly. "I'll call him later. "

  Shayne grunted at that. "Does Khalid seem like a man you can dangle on a string, sweetheart? I think you know better. "

  Yes, she knew better. And she had a feeling Khalid would reinforce that impression.

  "I didn't ask for your opinion," she muttered.

  "I volunteered it," he stated, his voice like dark silk. "If I were you, I'd return to the estate. "

  She laughed at the order. "Go to hell. Look, I'm certain you'll be talking to Khalid soon if you're not still at the estate. Tell him I'll call him later. I have some things I have to sort out, and I can't do that in his bed. "

  "You may not have a choice," he growled.

  "Yeah. Right. " She laughed into the line as she made her turn and took the road to her parents' home. "When I no longer have a choice is when you'll be burying me, Shayne. Now go away. I have things to do that don't include you. "

  "For the moment. " Though low, his tone was intense, commanding.

  "Good-bye, Shayne. " Flipping the phone closed, she cut him off as effectively as possible and ignored its strident ring as it lay in the passenger seat.

  No man ordered her around, and she was going to be damned if she was going to allow Shayne or Khalid to do so.

  She could see this situation deteriorating rapidly, and she knew it was her own fault. She shouldn't have run. She should have faced this; she should have faced Khalid and demanded what she knew was her due as a lover. Spending the night in his study was not acceptable loverlike behavior as far as she was concerned.

  But perhaps it wasn't just Khalid's fault. From the moment the intensity of her orgasm had begun to ease, Marty had known she had entered a realm of sensation and emotions that she wasn't prepared for.

  She had been suddenly terrified of a broken heart. In the moments after that final orgasm she had sensed that she had already allowed herself to cross a line. She had invested much more of herself in a man than she had ever intended.

  Pulling to a stop at the intersection, she waited for the car in the opposite lane to proceed first, her mind still racing to figure out how to handle her personal life.

  She was distracted, and she knew better than to allow herself to do that. Khalid and Shayne had her off balance, but not so off balance that she didn't see the black car as it raced from its parked position farther up the street or the barrel of the rifle as it was shoved out the back window.

  Bullets tore into the front of her vehicle as Marty jerked the wheel to the right, stomped the gas, and started praying as the window shattered. A scream tore from her lips as she ducked, and her foot hit the gas harder.

  Another blast blew out the back window, and a second later she heard the scream of tires, horns blowing, and the sound of voices raised high in shock. The vehicle slammed to a hard, shocking stop, throwing her forward into the steering wheel. For a moment the world seemed to tilt on a crazy axis. She could hear sirens in the distance. Her cell phone was ringing again, that crazy "Who Can It Be Now" ringtone echoing in her head as she fought to get her bearings.

  She struggled to reach the phone on the passenger seat as she lay across the console, the world still tilting around her.

  "Hello?" Her voice was scratchy, weak. It didn't sound like her, even to her own ears.

  "Marty?" Shayne's voice was instantly concerned. "What's wrong?"

  She tried to push herself upright. "I'll have to call you back. Someone just tried to blow my head off. " She was going to throw up. "Bye, Shayne. "

  She could hear him screaming her name as she flipped the phone closed and took a hard, deep breath. Her stomach was roiling. A sense of vertigo plagued her, as she struggled to sit upright.

  She hadn't hit her head. She hadn't been shot. The car had slammed into a tree, however.

  "Lady, you okay?" a voice asked her from outside the broken window.

  Marty forced her eyes open and focused on the officer.

  "FBI. " She forced the word past her lips as she tried to get her senses back into line. Pulling the small wallet from the inside of her jacket pocket, she flashed her identification at him and breathed in hard and deep once again.

  Okay, she was going to get through this. She wasn't hurt, just a little shaken.

  "Agent Mathews, an ambulance is on its way. " The officer pulled the car door open and knelt beside her.

  "Witnesses. " She breathed through her nose to get past the rising nausea. "Plates on that car. "

  "My partner's getting statements on it," he assured her, rising and backing up as she started to pull herself out of the car. "You should stay put until the ambulance arrives, Agent Mathews," she was advised. "They're on their way. "

  "I'm fine. " She waved his advice away but accepted his arm as he helped her step from the vehicle. "Did they get away?"

  Of course they had gotten away. She couldn't have been lucky enough that they had actually stuck around to be arrested and interrogated. Hell no.

  "Sorry, ma'am. " The officer kept a firm hold on her as she swayed for a second. "You need to be checked out, ma'am. " There was a concerned look on his face. "You're going to be bruised. Some of that glass got you. "

  She shook her head again. "Contact Director Zachary Jennings, FBI, immediately. He's my godfather. "

  The officer snapped into place as Marty gave him her godfather's name. Instant results produced instant action.

  Within twenty minutes there were two detectives on the scene as well as a crime scene van and the personnel required to collect what little evidence could be gathered from the scene.

  Pictures of the skid marks, witness statements, the bullets that had ripped into her leather seats.

  It also didn't take long for her godfather to call her father. Within thirty minutes of the detectives' arrival Marty turned at the sound of screaming tires and watched her father's Pors
che come to a shuddering stop.

  Just what she needed, Senator Mathews going ballistic. His temper didn't explode often, but she had no doubt in her mind that it would be used today.

  She wished she had allowed herself to pass out.

  "Senator Mathews. " The detectives were quick, she had to give them credit for that as they chose their unwilling spokesperson. "Your daughter's fine. She's refused an ambulance, but allowed EMTs to check her out. "

  "Get the hell out of my way. " Her father pushed past the frazzled detective, and a second later she found herself enclosed in her father's embrace as he began trying to lead her back to the car.

  That was her dad. He was already trying to rush her back into that parent/child world where he could coddle her and comfort himself.

  "Whoa. Whoa. " Pulling herself back wasn't easy. "Doesn't work this way. "

  He was icily furious. Marty pulled back enough to see the cold, precise rage burning in his gaze now. He had no idea what had happened and, for the moment, he didn't care. All he cared about was getting her somewhere safe.

  "Don't tell me what works," her father growled. "I'm getting you the hell out of here," he told her. "Where's Khalid and Shayne? Damn those two to hell. "

  "Doesn't matter where they are," she told him firmly. She had to struggle to assert the independence he was suddenly trying to strip from her. What happened to her supportive father? "I have a job to do. "

  She hated it. It was breaking her heart not to stand there and comfort her father, to assure him that she was fine. To be a daughter. But to be a daughter right now would mean letting go of the independence she treasured. He was her father, and she understood his need to protect her. But right now, she didn't need his protection. She needed to do her job.

  Her stride was hesitant, aching, as she moved away from him, only to come to a stop once again as she all but plowed into Khalid's chest.

  She couldn't fight him. Staring into his intense black eyes, his savagely hewn features, she knew she couldn't fight him. She stared up at him instead, realizing he must have broken several speed limits to have gotten there so quickly.

  As the warmth of him surrounded her, she suddenly had to do what she hadn't had to with her father. She had to force herself to be strong rather than leaning into his strength, and it was all she could do not to sink into his arms. He had a determination to protect her. Fighting against that would be much harder with Khalid for some reason.

  Instead, she stood still as he pulled a handkerchief from inside his pocket and gently dabbed at the cuts on her face.

  Staring into his eyes, she felt more connected to him now than she had in his bed last night when she had lost her virginity in his arms.

  "You're bleeding, precious," he stated calmly, though his black eyes were filled with fury and concern. Concern for her.

  "Not badly," she assured him.

  He nodded before glancing at Shayne, who had just jumped from his car and was now headed toward them. "Do as you must. I'll distract your fathers and give you a chance to do your job. I'll have my personal physician ready when you're finished, and then we'll talk. Agreed?"

  She swallowed. "Agreed. "

  She was caught. There was no getting out of it, and the sense of relief she felt was almost as frightening as the knowledge that she truly didn't want to run from him any longer.

  "Talking won't be easy," she said softly.

  "Most things that are worth fighting for are rarely easy, love," he told her, before pressing a gentle kiss to her lips. "But we'll muddle through, I'm certain. "

  The calm, easy demeanor was at direct odds with the flames of rage burning in his eyes.

  "Go. " He released her slowly. "Our time will come soon. "
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