Guilty pleasure, p.22
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       Guilty Pleasure, p.22

         Part #11 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
 
Page 22

 

  The quirk of Zach's lips was filled with a faint satisfaction. A smile quickly hidden, one that filled Khalid with suspicion.

  Manipulating and calculating, Zach was a dangerous adversary. He was a dirty, gutter fighter when he felt the need, and about now, he would definitely be feeling it.

  At that thought, the door was pushed open, and Marty stepped into the room.

  His gaze turned icy as he realized the other man had arranged this.

  It was nothing against Khalid personally. It was the fact that Khalid had always insisted that Marty should have the freedom she needed, without her overprotective fathers restraining her.

  It was a belief Zachary Jennings had never shared.

  It was a belief that may now cause them more trouble than any of them truly wanted to face.

  Marty stared at the three men silently as she stepped into the library. Her father looked guilty, Khalid looked frankly pissed, and her godfather seemed rather satisfied, if the tiny curve of his lips was anything to go by.

  "Daddy. " She walked to her father, kissed his cheek, then moved to Zach. "Dad. What are you two doing here?" She kissed her godfather before stepping back and staring at Khalid.

  She watched Khalid closely, noting the icy look in his black eyes, the fury that gleamed just beneath the winter-cold depths of glittering black.

  "A meeting. " Zach shrugged as though it didn't matter.

  She knew her fathers, though, and she knew it was much more than a simple meeting.

  "A meeting?" She glanced back at her father. "Concerning what?"

  "Since Zach is so forthcoming, why not let him tell you?" Joe said, though his tone was tight, almost angry.

  She stared back at Khalid. "Would you like to tell me what's going on here?"

  "We were discussing the attempt on your life," Khalid told her. "We were trying to figure out the source and the best way to neutralize it. "

  She looked at each man once again. She didn't doubt that they were discussing that, but she was betting they were arguing over much more. She had no doubt that they were arguing over her.

  "I see. So did you figure anything out?"

  "We figured out Khalid is paranoid and prefers not to listen to common sense," Zach growled. "And that this little meeting is over. Maybe your boyfriend here will give you the details. "

  "Khalid? Paranoid?" Oh boy, there was something definitely going on here.

  Zach was furious, and that was something he rarely let her see. Propping her hand on her jean-clad hip, she considered each man closely for long moments.

  She wasn't going to touch it, she told herself. She had enough problems trying to trail Shayne today without tipping him off. She didn't need more. She didn't have the time to fix whatever problems her fathers had.

  "Definitely paranoid," her godfather snapped.

  "Most likely not," her father said.

  She believed her father. Of the two, it was Joe she could trust to tell her the truth, in most cases, no matter how angry it made her or how desperately he wanted to hide things from her.

  Zach, unfortunately, had no problems lying to her if he felt it would protect her, or ensure her happiness. Just as he would have no qualms breaking her heart if he felt it would somehow protect her.

  Joe and Zach glared at each other as she considered that, affirming her suspicions.

  "It seems to me that the two of you should be more concerned about why a CIA agent is conducting an operation on home ground," she suggested smoothly. "Aren't there rules against that somewhere?"

  She wondered exactly how involved her fathers and Khalid were in whatever Shayne was up to today. They hadn't informed her of what he was doing. No one had spoken much at all in the past three days about the attack against her, or how the investigation was going.

  She was doing her own homework, though, so it didn't matter. At least Shayne wasn't lying to her, but he was holding back much more than she was comfortable with.

  Zach turned away from her. Her father wiped his hand over his face, while Khalid merely leaned against the bar and sipped his drink, as though intrigued by the confrontation.

  "There are no CIA operations being conducted on home ground. " Zach turned back to her before glancing at her father. "Are you ready to go, Joe?"

  Joe shook his head as he smothered a laugh. "As ready as I'll ever be," he assured the other man before stepping toward Marty. "Come see me sometime, little girl. I miss you. "

  He kissed her cheek before winking back at her gently and stepping away from her.

  "We both miss her," Zach stated, as he moved to her and kissed her cheek as well before straightening and moving for the door. "Let's go, Joe. I have other things to do today. "

  As they left the room, Marty turned back to Khalid and stared at him curiously.

  "I'm starting to feel as though you and my fathers are conspiring against me," she told him bluntly. "What do you think?"

  "I think you should ask your fathers. " He shrugged. "I wouldn't conspire against you, myself. That gun you carry intimidates me. "

  "Intimidates you?" Her lips pursed thoughtfully. "Somehow I doubt that. "

  He grinned, a smile that didn't come close to reaching his eyes. His gaze was thoughtful instead.

  Setting his drink on the bar, he moved closer to her, his expression evolving from curious to frankly sexual.

  "Your luncheon went well?" he asked, as he settled his hand on her hip and slowly eased her closer against him.

  Her heart began to pick up speed. "Courtney is as nosy as ever, Alyssa is as quiet as ever, Terrie is certain you're up to something, and Tally wants to know if your bedroom is really filled with silk pillows and wall hangings. "

  "And I'm certain you informed her it was?" His head lowered, his lips brushing against her forehead as he whispered the question.

  "Actually, I told her we were sleeping in a desert tent in the backyard, and that she should try it sometime. She looked rather intrigued. "

  He was manipulating her. She could feel it, and she hated it.

  Pulling back, she watched him carefully as she moved out of his embrace.

  "What was the meeting with my fathers about?"

  She watched him, terrified he would lie to her now.

  "Your fathers are the last thing I want to talk about," he informed her caustically. "Nor do I wish to discuss why they were here. "

  At least he wasn't lying to her.

  "Unfortunately for you, I do," she informed him calmly as she turned away from him. "I wasn't told they would be here until I called Zach's office to ask him if he'd heard from Mom, and they were acting damn strange when I arrived. "

  "Then ask them. " His voice was edged with impatience. "I have no desire to discuss your fathers or their issues. There are other things on my mind while in your presence. "

  She crossed her arms over her breasts. "What? You're going to use sex to distract me?"

  And he could do a damned good job of it, she thought. She was burning for him. She had been burning for him before arriving at the estate. But she was also tired of feeling as though she were the odd person out of a very important secret. A secret that just might involve her.

  "I have a feeling the hounds of hell couldn't distract you once you latched onto something. " He grimaced ruefully. "You are rather stubborn, my love. "

  "It's called tenacity," she informed him sweetly. "It's what's gotten me this far with you, Khalid. Are you regretting it?"

  "Are you?" She wished she could avoid those heated looks as easily as she could avoid his touch.

  "What I'm feeling at the moment isn't up for discussion," she answered him with a bright smile as she used one of his own tactics in response to his question. "I believe you're the one we're discussing. What do my fathers think you're being paranoid about?"

  "Joe doesn't think I'm paranoid about anything. " He moved
around her until his chest was at her back, his head lowering so he could stroke his cheek against her hair.

  Subtle. Tempting. He was using her own tactics on her by seducing her, and it was working.

  "My godfather does. He's usually fairly smart where some things are concerned. And it was more than obvious he was attempting to bring us to the point of an argument. So whatever you're trying to hide from me must involve me quite a bit. " She sounded breathless. She was breathless.

  His hands stroked down her bare arms as his lips whispered over the flesh of a shoulder left bare by the sleeveless top she wore.

  "Zach is angry. " His teeth raked over the rounded curve of her shoulder.

  Shards of sensation raced down her spine, exploded in her clit. She was growing so wet, so slick, she had to clench her thighs to keep from moaning.

  "Why is Zach angry?" Her lashes fluttered closed as his hands gripped her hips and pulled her back.

  The feel of the hard length of his cock beneath his jeans as it pressed into her lower back had her breath catching in jerky response.

  "Because I refuse to stay out of his daughter's bed," he stated, as she melted at the heated tone of his voice. "Because I refuse to distract you from investigating your attempted murder. Because I refuse to make you listen to my need to protect you rather than your own instincts. "

  His lips moved from her shoulder to her neck, his tongue sensually touching her skin. She hated the fact that his explanation was clearly an attempt to evade her, yet it still sent a rush of pleasure racing through her system to hear his apparent willingness to understand her need to live her own life.

  "That sounds like Zach," she gasped, her head falling to the side in pleasure even as she acknowledged silently that he had managed to distract her without lying to her.

  He didn't have to lie. He had the power of his touch. That touch was enough to fry her brain.

  "Now you are guilty of leaving my bed this morning. " He nipped at her neck in retaliation.

  "Oh yeah. I did. I had things to do. " Things like following Shayne to find out what the hell he was being so sneaky about.

  Khalid's hands moved from her hips, his fingers curling in the material of her shirt to pull it slowly from her jeans. So slowly. The silk slid up her midriff, over the lacy bra, and finally cleared her head.

  It pooled to a small puddle on the floor as his hands moved to cup the heaving mounds of her breasts.

  Pleasure suffused her as the sheer joy she felt from his touch began to build within her. She had waited so long. She had fantasized, dreamed, ached for him, and finally, she was sharing his bed. Perhaps not his heart yet, but definitely his pleasure, and not as a third. He was her lover. It was his bed she slept in, his arms that surrounded her and held her through the night when rumor was that holding a lover through the night was something he wasn't known for.

  His fingers circled her nipples, tugged at them, sent racing bolts of exquisite heated sensations racing straight to her clit. She was going to burn in his arms. She was going to melt to a puddle on the floor and beg him to fuck her within seconds.

  "What sort of things did you have to do, little flower?" The front clip of her bra was tugged loose as he abandoned her nipples to relieve her of the restrictive garment.

  "Things. " She nearly moaned the word as his fingers caressed the sensitive sides of her breasts before brushing delicately against her nipples.

  "What sort of things did you have to do, precious?" He chose that moment to exert just enough pressure on her nipples to have her back arching, a strangled cry tearing from her throat.

  Reaching back for him, desperate to touch him now, to feel more of the incredible pleasure he gave her, Marty gave a low, ecstatic moan as she fought for more pleasure.

  "Not yet, little flower. " Catching her wrists in his hand, he locked them behind her back, keeping her arched against him as his free hand moved to the snap of her jeans.
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