Dangerous pleasure, p.22
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       Dangerous Pleasure, p.22

         Part #12 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
Page 22


  She didn’t dare speak. There were rules and punishments, consequences and dangers to uttering even one of the curses tearing through her brain now.

  Hatred welled inside her, blistering hot and searing her from the inside out.

  What had Jafar hoped to gain by using his sister this way?

  She stood back and turned slowly to stare at Chalah.

  “Good-bye,” she stated with a withering stare. A ring of finality clearly echoed as she refused to say anything more.

  She wouldn’t endanger the younger girl, but if Chalah dared to return then the rules would change.

  “Good-bye, Paige,” Chalah said softly, miserably. Before Paige could avoid her, the other girl wrapped her arms around her in a tight, desperate hug. She whispered, “I swear, I’m good. ”

  Paige stepped back slowly, deliberately pushing her away as her gaze moved to Jafar once again. He had forced Chalah, there was no doubt, but she had still betrayed Paige, Abram, and Tariq. She should have shown her the device before they ever spoke.

  “Tell Abram when he returns that it would not be advisable to leave at night any longer, for either him or Tariq,” he warned evenly, his pale green eyes like glass, cold and unemotional as his gaze flicked over her. “Or, Ms. Galbraithe, for you. ”

  He reached past her, gripped Chalah’s upper arm, and all but jerked her from the room.

  He hadn’t gotten what he wanted, and now his sister would pay for it, and Chalah knew it.

  Her head was down, her shoulders shuddering as silent sobs shook her beneath the heavy shroud.

  Paige prayed that the beating she knew Chalah would take for failure was the only punishment she would receive before Jafar allowed her to return to America, and to school.

  Chalah had one dream, to be a pediatrician in America. But Paige doubted Jafar would allow her to keep it for long.

  Pulling his sister after him, Jafar turned and strode away, his long-legged stride causing Chalah to struggle to keep up with him as they moved around the bend of the hall and disappeared from view.

  Paige closed and locked the door carefully before leaning against it and letting a silent sob ripple through her own body. How close she had come to trusting the other girl and attempting to ease the pain she had felt in her. How close she had come to destroying herself, Tariq, and worst of all, Abram.

  “The listening device didn’t work, Paige. ”

  Jerking, she turned to see Tariq standing behind her, his expression creased with anger and his own sorrow. “I detected it the second she and Jafar knocked on the door. ” He lifted the device he had been working on. “I fixed it. ”

  She turned and wiped her eyes. “That only detects it,” she whispered painfully.

  He shook his head. “I switched on a device beneath the table before I left that alters the audio signal, either analog or digital. I didn’t disable it until I saw you weren’t going to betray Abram. Then, I used the controls in my suite to allow enough out to whoever was listening to assure them that you weren’t shit, even if you knew. Perhaps, Jafar will send her home now. ”

  He moved closer as more tears fell down her face, as she sniffed back the pain that tore through her and the disillusionment that shredded her heart.

  “I hate this place,” she suddenly spat, though the sobs, as quiet as they were, roughened her voice to a rasp. “Oh God, Tariq, I hate this place. ”

  He stepped closer, his expression suddenly tired, and just as disillusioned as she felt. “And you aren’t alone,” he whispered as he tucked a heavy strand of hair behind her ear, his fingertips caressing her ear gently for a fragile second before they dropped away. “Trust me, Paige, in that, you will never be alone. ”


  A day of dealing with Azir and Jafar’s paranoia a

  s he searched fruitlessly for the only contact that could arrange extraction out of Saudi Arabia had Abram in a less than pleasant mood when he returned to his room that night.

  For whatever reason, and he was beginning to suspect those reasons, Jafar had convinced Azir that Abram needed to personally handle the drilling of a new water well outside of the fortress.

  That well supplied water to the dozen or so families that lived outside the fortress walls and provided the Mustafa province with the few vegetables and animals used for their meals.

  The problems with lines, pipes, and generators had led to more than one worker throwing his hands up in surrender at the seemingly unending problems and delays.

  Two of those settlements farmed domesticated rabbit and lamb and sold the wool and small amounts of meat to other provinces as well. They had to have that water, yet it seemed something or someone had deliberately fouled the equipment to halt the pumping of it.

  There were a few local incomes that Abram had been able to provide for the province, knowing that once he left the few benefits the regime provided would drain away.

  To add to the problems, Abram had learned several of the men had spied Azir and Jafar testing the ground and the fortress wall behind his and Tariq’s suites for tunnels and exits.

  Azir had been searching for that tunnel since before Khalid’s mother had escaped. And no tunnel had even played a part in her ability to slip from the fortress.

  The part that worried Abram the most was the fact that Azir was certain the tunnel was there. There were no drawings or blueprints left to reveal or cause anyone to suspect any bolt holes other than the ones already filled in.

  Entering the suite silently well after dark, he found Paige curled on the couch napping, and Tariq at the small dining table still adjusting the piece of electronics he had been working on for over a week.

  Closing the door silently he watched as Tariq held a shushing finger up, rose to his feet, and motioned Abram to the connecting suite.

  Frowning, Abram followed, wondering what the hell could have happened here in the suite today to cause the look of anger that gleamed in his eyes.

  No doubt, it had something to do with either Jafar or Azir. The two men were beginning to irritate him to his last nerve, even more so than usual.

  Closing the door to the sitting room behind them, Tariq turned to him, his lips tightening as his dark eyes flashed with silent, burning anger.

  “Jafar brought Chalah here today and she was simply a fount of information. ” He sneered. “As well as carrying a tiny listening device attached to the medallion I fucking gave her for her sixteenth birthday. ” There was the reason for the fury. Tariq had always been fond of his little cousin. That medallion held special significance for him, and for her to use it against him or Abram would seem the worst betrayal.

  Chalah Mustafa, Jafar’s half-sister. She was Abram’s first cousin, and would have been Tariq’s if it weren’t for the fact that Tariq’s father hadn’t been Hussein Mustafa as everyone assumed it was. That bit of knowledge was something even Azir was unaware of. There were a lot of half-siblings, step-siblings, half-cousins, and half-families parading as Mustafas these days though. There were times the dynamics of it boggled his mind and he wasn’t a stupid man.

  Abram listened silently to the conversation Tariq had recorded. His mind turned with suspicions and possibilities as Chalah attempted to gain the details of his relationship with Paige, as well as any plans they might have for leaving. She had revealed the recording device to Paige before leaving though, which meant she hadn’t been there voluntarily.

  She had been forced.

  Somehow, Azir and her brother had found a way to make her attempt to betray those she considered family, as well as Paige, who had always been a friend.

  Abram wasn’t going to hold it against her, but neither would he ever be able to trust her again. Had she revealed the device before the conversation started, then he would have felt differently.

  “What was your impression?” he asked Tariq as he rubbed the back of his neck in irritation w
hen the recording ended. “Was she forced by Jafar, by Azir, or by both?”

  Tariq grimaced furiously, his dark brown eyes burning with his anger and perhaps even a hint of betrayal. He’d always cared for Chalah, always watched out for her whenever she returned to the province. To have her do something like this, without warning them, would have struck him in one of the few vulnerable areas he had.

  “Hell, Abram, you know both of them, your guess is about as good as mine. Besides, you know that little hellion as well as I do. ” He growled as his arms crossed over his chest and his jaw clenched with his attempt at control. “Let’s say she sounded sincere in her offer to help as well as her worry. Enough so that she had Paige fooled until she showed her that device. ” Disgust filled his voice. “She had Paige convinced. ” He pushed his fingers through his thick, dark brown hair. “Of something. Hell, I would have believed her if I hadn’t known she was bugged. ”

  Yeah, it was damned hard to lose trust in someone he had known all his life, protected, and taken care of.

  “Is she coming back?” He breathed out roughly.

  Jafar wouldn’t be satisfied with the information he would have heard, what little Tariq had allowed past the jammer. He would have to try again.

  He didn’t need this. They didn’t need it. Chalah was as wild as the wind and just as unpredictable, but she had never been a danger until now.

  That danger was forced. She hadn’t done it willingly, but still, she had done it before warning them. That was a deal breaker in the trust department.

  “If she comes back, Jafar will be escorting her, and to be honest, I can’t assure you Paige will have the self-control not to confront Jafar. Remember, she doesn’t know him like this, in the setting he was raised in. If she attempts to berate him, he could have her arrested and sent to the Matawa in the next province. Which is what I’m beginning to fear they intend to do with us the minute you give your vow to the monarch’s emissary. ”

  It was no more than Abram suspected himself.

  Hell, he didn’t suspect it, he knew it. It was one of the reasons he knew he had to get the hell out of there before the emissary showed up.

  “Hell, at the very least, he could punish her himself, or Azir could,” Tariq bit out as he continued. “Either way, it would end in bloodshed. ”

  If either of them dared to touch Paige, then bloodshed would be the very least of their worries.

  He had to find his contact, and that wasn’t an easy chore when combined with the need to sleep and to leave Tariq there with her while he fought against the bond he knew would come when he took her.

  And that was the overwhelming reason why he was the one out there searching for the contact rather than Tariq. That bond that he could feel growing night by night as he lay next to her naked body while she slept. Without moving, without speaking, she was invading a part of him that he had always managed to keep her from invading before.

  She was like lightning, and there was nothing he could do to tame her, nothing he could do to keep her from burning into his soul if he gave her the chance.

  Already, she was burning through his control and inciting a hunger inside him unlike anything any other woman could have touched.

  He was so fucking hard and horny he was in agony. The past three days and nights had been hell.

  As soon as she fell asleep he had to drag his ass out of the bed and do what he could to work their way out of an impossible situation. When he was done, when he couldn’t go without sleep any longer, only then did he send Tariq out. then, he was left with her, sleeping beside her, feeling her against him, her delicate limbs entwined with his as they lay together.

  What should have been accomplished quickly if he and Tariq worked together was taking twice the time and had become twice as dangerous. And much of the danger stemmed from the fact that he couldn’t keep his mind off her enough to ensure he wasn’t making mistakes.

  All he could think about was fucking Paige until he had to cover her mouth to muffle her screams of pleasure. Or of holding her, controlling the movements of her body as he watched Tariq take her. Watched his cock slide slow and easy up her sensitive, tight pussy, or better yet—
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