Guilty pleasure, p.24
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       Guilty Pleasure, p.24

         Part #11 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
Page 24


  He cleaned her gently between her thighs, the soft cloth rasping against tender flesh as he wiped her juices and his release from her sex and thighs.

  He was careful, his dark face heavy with latent sensuality as his long, midnight black hair fell around his face in straight, damp strands.

  He was the most handsome man she knew. Not so much handsome in the traditional sense, but utterly gorgeous in a rugged male way that he stole her breath.

  As he finished drying her, she stretched languidly, her gaze remaining on his face as he laid the cloth and towel aside before turning back to allow his eyes to rove over her body.

  "Where did you go today?" he asked again.

  Marty almost smiled. She didn't dare tell him where she had been, but she wouldn't lie to him, either.

  "I had things to do, Khalid. " She shrugged before forcing herself from the bed. She tried to change the subject. "I guess I have to venture downstairs again to find my clothes?"

  Also getting up, he buttoned his jeans before going to a tall wardrobe and pulling a robe from inside it.

  Holding the thin silk robe in both hands, he moved to her and indicated that she should allow him to help her into it.

  As she pushed her arms through the long sleeves, she turned and allowed him to tie it gently.

  "I'll get your clothing later, or Abdul will bring them up. " He eyed her skeptically. "You're avoiding my questions, Marty. Which means you were doing something you feel you can't tell me. As you're on vacation, I can only assume it isn't job-related. "

  "So therefore you have a right to know what it is?" she said, grudgingly. "It doesn't work that way, Khalid. Just because we're sleeping together doesn't mean you own me. "

  Following Shayne Connor wasn't dangerous, unless Khalid found out. She knew Shayne was searching for information on Ayid and Aman, and it was information she was fairly certain they weren't going to share with her.

  She had no intention of telling Khalid about what she was doing, simply because she knew he would warn Shayne, tipping him off to the fact that she was indeed shadowing him whenever possible.

  "It means I have a right to know when you're endangering yourself. " No one had said he wasn't amazingly intelligent. "The very fact that you refuse to discuss your whereabouts with me tells me I would likely not approve. "

  "And your approval should affect what I'm doing? Since when?" She bristled at his sheer arrogance, not to mention the dominance he thought he had a right to.

  "Since you decided seducing me was a good idea. " He watched her, his expression stony now.

  "One has nothing to do with the other," she stated, keeping her voice calm as she spoke against his stubbornness. "I'm sleeping with you; I'm not married to you. "

  "Sleeping with me comes with a certain commitment. That commitment has an underlying responsibility, Marty. Don't pretend you're unaware of the rules of a relationship. "

  "We're in a relationship?" She crossed her arms over her breasts and cocked her hip as irritation surged through her. "We've barely been together a week, Khalid. That doesn't exactly make it a relationship in my book. And that's besides the fact that you wait until I'm asleep then leave our bed until nearly daylight. You don't tell me what you're doing. Why should I tell you what I'm doing?"

  Khalid would only get away with what she allowed him to get away with, she reminded herself. As far as she was concerned, there was no relationship until he acted more like a lover and less like a man scratching an itch and hiding secrets from her as he did so.

  "I have work to do. " He spoke through gritted teeth.

  It amazed her how riled he was. Khalid never got worked up over anything. Even his lovers swore he was the most patient, lovable man they had ever met. He was considered the ultimate third. Intimacy during sex was his middle name, and petting and cuddling were his trademark.

  She had the intimacy now. She had the petting and cuddling as she slipped into sleep. But still, she didn't have the secrets he was hiding from her.

  "You had work to do. " She nodded. "Well today, I had some work to do as well. Just because I'm on vacation doesn't mean there aren't still responsibilities to take care of. And until you fulfill your half of the relationship role, we don't have one. "

  Suspicion narrowed his eyes.

  "You're pushing," he warned her, his voice deeper. "Don't pretend there isn't more between us than whatever pleasure you find in my arms. "

  Her head tilted to the side in curiosity. "What would that be? Perhaps you need to explain this to me, Khalid. You are, after all, my first lover, and maybe the rules aren't really clear to me. "

  His lips tightened.

  "What responsibilities am I overlooking?" she continued. "Sleeping in your bed?" She waved her hand to the mussed bed. "You don't sleep there the full night, so why should I bother? Intimacy, perhaps? I haven't had much experience with it; maybe you should show me what it is, so I get it right. "

  As a hint, that was like a baseball bat against the back of his head. He didn't even flinch, though. Strike. She wondered how many of those she had so far.

  She watched as his gaze flickered, his thoughts running through possibilities. He was dying to question her, but she could see the hesitancy as well. If he questioned her, and he was wrong, then the suspicions it aroused in her could work against him.

  "After the attack you only barely survived, I would think you would be more careful. " He peered down his nose at her regally.

  Damn. He could do the arrogant royal thing really well.

  "I'm being very careful," she assured him. "I was careful then, which is the reason I'm still alive today. And I've been careful enough in the past three days to identify not only the men you have following me, but also the men my fathers have sicced on me. I consider myself very well looked after at the moment. "

  The assassins had nearly had a jump on her. If she hadn't been paying attention, she would have taken the bullet from that gun to her face.

  "So I shouldn't worry because you survive, what could have merely been the first attempt?" he asked her with cutting sarcasm. "Excuse me if I worry that your luck may run out, especially when I am very well aware that you managed to lose the men watching you for several hours today. Where the hell were you?"

  "It wasn't luck, it was training. " She strode to the bedroom door and pulled it open before leaving the room, thereby managing to avoid the interrogation concerning her whereabouts that morning.

  She needed her clothes. It was time for her to leave. The honesty, the full truth of Khalid's past, that intimacy that came from trust, that wasn't happening so far so she may as well go home and clean her apartment. It wasn't as though he had been giving a whole lot of himself to her up till now. She didn't live here, she hadn't been invited to do so, and this was something she wasn't about to beg for. She may spend the better parts of her nights in his bed, but her days were a far different matter.

  Perhaps he would get a clue tomorrow, she thought morosely, as she made her way down the stairs. It would have been nice if he had taken his clothes off, lain down beside her, and given her more than the most incredible sex she could have imagined.

  She wasn't going to plead. She wasn't going to bitch over it. She'd never seen her mother have to beg for anything. Virginia Mathews had advised friends over the years that if a lover didn't give his affection willingly, then it was meaningless.

  Khalid had given his affection to women who belonged to other men, but thus far, he hadn't given it to her in the same measure, and she knew it.

  Once again she wished her mother wasn't on vacation. She could use some of that female wisdom about now.

  "Where the hell are you going?" His tone was sharp behind her as she bent and picked up her clothing.

  "Home. " She kept the answer brief and the angry hurt hidden.

  If she had to fight him for his affection, then it was meaningless
, she reminded herself. It should be given freely. She shouldn't have to rage at him over it.

  She had to repeat the refrain to herself as she dropped the robe over the back of the chair and dressed.

  "You could move in here. "

  The suggestion stopped her cold. Dressed in her panties, bra, and top, she stood with her jeans in her hand as she turned her head to stare back at him.

  "Where would I sleep?" Stepping into her jeans, she pulled them over her legs as she waited for his reply.

  "In my bed. " The answer was more a snarl than a suggestion.

  Marty glanced at the tense set of his body, the way he kept his arms at his sides, his eyes narrowed.

  "Where would you sleep?" she snapped, and zipped her jeans before pushing her feet into her sandals. "I'd hate to run you out of your bed. "

  "What kind of fucking game are you playing?" His voice was a hard, tight growl as he folded his arms across his chest in a gesture of building anger. "Other than the time I have spent working, I am in that damn bed with you. "

  "I'm not playing. " She was in this for keeps, not for amusement. She didn't relish the thought of walking away from him anytime soon with a broken heart any more than she relished the thought of living without the affection she needed from him if this went further.

  "Oh, you're playing," he told her, his expression tightening as the arrogance thickened. "Do you think you can fool me, precious? You're an amateur here. If you want games, just say it. I can play and show you how to do it right. "

  "I have no doubt. " Pulling her purse from the small table she had laid it on earlier, she slung the leather strap over her shoulder and faced him with a sweet smile.

  She felt anything but sweet.

  "I have to leave. I need to clean my apartment and later I thought I might see if Courtney wants to meet me for dinner. Girls night out would be nice right about now. "

  "Lunch and now dinner?" he snapped. "Tell me, Marty, did you want more from this than sex? Or was that all you had in mind all these years that you've chased me so diligently?"

  That stopped her at the door. Turning back to him, she watched him for long, painful moments before speaking.

  "Do you want more from this than sex, Khalid? Because if you do, then you have a hell of a way of showing it. "

  Turning away from him, she stalked through the doorway and along the hall to the main foyer. He didn't follow her.

  She had hoped he would. He could have pulled her into his arms, held her, given her more than that very experienced sexuality of his. If he truly cared for her, he'd give her the explanations she needed as well. He'd tell her about himself, as well as his past, without making her feel as though she would be stepping into forbidden territory when she considered actually asking him.

  He seemed to have a sixth sense for when she was about to give him the third degree, because he always found something that had to be done that minute.

  Shaking her head at the thought, and at the tears that wanted to fall, she strode through the doors Abdul had opened and all but ran to her car.

  This was hell. She needed more than the few moments it took for him to wipe the sex from her body. She needed more than the eroticism he gave so freely. She needed something to hold on to.

  While driving from the estate she battled back her tears and reminded herself that it wasn't over. She had three weeks left to capture his heart. Three weeks before she made the final decision on where her life would go from here.

  Glancing in her rearview mirror she glared at the vehicles following her. He could send others to watch after her, but he couldn't take the time, or make the effort, to ensure that she stayed by his side.

  Damn him. There were days she was beginning to wonder if he wouldn't really break her heart.
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