Guilty pleasure, p.27
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       Guilty Pleasure, p.27

         Part #11 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
 
Page 27

 

  As she tightened her hand on the brass knob, a familiar click and the press of cold metal against her head stilled her.

  Marty felt adrenaline spike in her veins. An icy veil of pure survival instinct raced through her.

  Would the person wielding the gun actually pull the trigger? She doubted very seriously that Ian Sinclair would employ anyone who wouldn't use every other means at their disposal before actually killing an intruder.

  The press of the cold steel against the back of her head felt pretty damned convincing, though.

  "Release the latch. " The thick, heavy Middle Eastern accent kicked those survival instincts into overdrive.

  This wasn't one of Ian Sinclair's security guards. This was someone else, someone who shouldn't be here either.

  Marty moved. A lightning-fast flick of her wrist against the latch produced no results, but the quick duck of her head as she swung around, gripped the wrist, and swung her knee into his groin brought a definite response from him.

  He was huge. A murderous mountain posing as a man. He shifted just enough to keep her knee from slamming into his cock, and at the same time his hand flew out, the back of it connecting with the side of her head and slamming her to the floor.

  Simultaneously the door flew open, the mountain came over her, and the gun was pressed beneath her jaw as behind him, enraged, Shayne and Khalid each held a gun to his head.

  "Mohammed!" a strong voice with a thick accent rasped from the door.

  A spate of Arabic followed from the mountain called Mohammed as the gun was pressed tighter against her jaw. Hell. She was in trouble now.

  "Abram, he has two seconds before I kill him. " There was no accent, no inflection in Khalid's voice. There was cold, hard, steely death instead.

  Marty met Mohammed's eyes and saw pure black fury as Abram barked another order in Arabic.

  "You risk your life needlessly, woman, as well as mine," Mohammed growled, like a bear that had to fight to find the words. Even his voice was scary.

  The weapon moved from beneath her jaw slowly as the giant lifted from his knees and came away from her. Marty stared up at the men who had rushed from the room and had to fight not to swallow tightly.

  Abram el Hamid-Mustafa stood at the door, dressed surprisingly in jeans and a black T-shirt. He was all but an exact replica of Khalid. The same black eyes, the same thick black hair, except Abram wore a closely cropped beard and mustache that gave him a more rakish, disheveled appearance.

  It was enough to have her glancing quickly from Khalid, to Abram, then back again as her imagination began to take flight and she wondered what it would be like . . . Oh no, she was not going there.

  Khalid had his third, and she was fine with the decision he had made. No way in hell did she want, or need, another Khalid for a third. Her life was complicated enough as it were.

  Khalid and Shayne eased slowly back as Mohammed came to his feet, and to the side of the door, where--watching in equal amounts horror, anger, and perhaps a glimmer of pride--stood her fathers.

  "Someone should have told me it was a serious meeting rather than simple playtime," she remarked, as she jumped to her feet and eyed the six men warily. "I might have taken a nap instead of slipping in to see what all the interest was here and whether or not I should be jealous. "

  "Whether or not she should be nosy," Shayne snorted. "I'd say not, if she had asked my opinion. "

  "But I didn't ask you opinion, did I?"

  She didn't dare meet Khalid's gaze. She turned to her fathers instead.

  "Really, Dads, you should have warned Khalid about leaving me in the limo. You two know me much too well. "

  Joe covered his mouth with his hand as though wiping at it in frustration. He was actually fighting a grin--she hoped. Zach continued to stare at her as though he had no idea who the hell she was or from where she had come. Strange, he had helped trained her. He should have known better.

  Khalid and Shayne were staring at her with the promise of a certain confrontation in their gazes as Mohammed glared at her. Abram Mustafa was the only one who appeared unfazed, in fact, a bit amused. She flashed him one of her deceptively sweet smiles as she pushed her hands into the back pockets of her jeans and wondered if her face had started bruising yet. Evidently not, because Khalid hadn't murdered Mohammed yet.

  "Shall I assume we have an addition to our little meeting, gentlemen?" Abram glided to her, a grin tugging at his well-molded lips. The short black beard that covered his lower face gave him a piratical look, as the twinkle in his deep, black eyes encouraged her to join in whatever joke he was having at her expense.

  As she watched Khalid and Shayne cautiously, Abram gripped her arm and urged her into the room.

  "Come, my dear, let's not loiter in the hall where this slight confrontation can be witnessed, shall we?"

  Marty followed, albeit reluctantly, as she watched Khalid and Shayne slowly slide their weapons back into the holsters beneath their jackets. How Khalid had managed to wear that holster without her knowing it, she couldn't explain. He had to have placed it there after entering the club.

  "Inviting me in now?" She glanced at her fathers, noting Zach's grimace as all but Mohammed stepped back into the room.

  "I do hope Mohammed didn't leave bruises on your delicate flesh as he pressed the gun into your neck. " Abram flashed another grin at her, as his wicked black gaze raked over her face. "I'll be certain to ensure that he never makes such a mistake again. "

  "Abram. " Khalid's voice held a warning note.

  "Ah, little brothers can often be quite intense, can they not?" Abram grinned at her again as he released her arm and moved to the bar. "Would you like a drink, perhaps?"

  She glanced back at Khalid as Abram laid his hand against the small of her back and led her to the bar.

  "This isn't social hour," Khalid snapped. "Stop pretending it is. "

  Oh boy, he was pissed. It would have been amusing if the air of danger surrounding him wasn't so thick.

  "I never pretend such things. " Abram was clearly amused as he poured two drinks. "You have been so reluctant to allow me the chance to meet your beautiful woman over these many years, that I have decided to take this chance that has been presented so beautifully to me. I am certain Ian will forgive me for allowing this slight bend of the rules. "

  He handed her a drink as he toasted her with his own.

  Marty lifted the short glass to her lips, gave a little sniff, then narrowed her gaze on Abram as she realized it was indeed one of her favorites. A splash of expensive whiskey over ice. She toasted him back before sipping. She continued to gaze at the other men warily.

  "She's going to get herself killed," Zach muttered to Joe, as she glanced at them.

  "And you're just figuring that one out?" Khalid glared at her fathers before stalking to the bar and pouring himself a stiff shot of whiskey and tossing it back; he continued to glower at her.

  "I've been warning both of you," Zach snapped as he glared at her father and her lover. "But have either of you bothered to listen at any time?"

  "And all of you seem to be forgetting exactly what her career is. " Her father, Joe, surprised her as he snapped at all of them. "She's a trained agent, and you were all warned that she wouldn't sit back lightly once she became suspicious. For God's sake, Zach, you helped train her. You should have known she would slip in here. "

  That was her thought exactly.

  She stared back at Zach, not really surprised at his anger. He hadn't wanted her to join the Bureau to begin with, and she was aware that it was his influence that had kept her from the assignments she had sought. "How did you convince Abdul to allow you out of the limo?" Khalid pushed his fingers through his hair before propping them on his hips.

  "He's sleeping. " She shrugged, covering for her friend. "I promised him I'd stay put. "

  "And he knows better than to bel
ieve you," Khalid barked.

  "And you knew better than to think the four of you can slip in here for one of your little covert meetings. And since when does the FBI work so closely with spooks?" she shot back, keeping her voice low rather than yelling as she shot Shayne a hard look. "Give me a break here, Khalid. You and my fathers have been conspiring against me from the beginning. And you. " She turned on Shayne. "You have to be sick. I've been following you for days and you didn't spot me once. Where's your head? Up your ass?"

  The small grin that curled his lips assured her that he wouldn't forget that remark. Not that she gave a damn. He could have gotten his head blown off if she had been the enemy.

  "Touche," Shayne murmured. "Though, I do recall that you excelled in subversive maneuvers during your training. "

  "I'm sure there are terrorists out there who excel in it as well," she informed him. "You haven't been watching your back. I could have kicked you more than once, and you never knew. "

  "Protecting her has suddenly become work here," Khalid told her fathers, the anger thick in his voice now. "And I am growing tired of this constant tug-of-war between my lover and the men who like to pretend to be my bosses. "

  "I don't need your protection. " Her chin lifted as she faced them all, not in anger now, but in confidence. She knew her training and her limitations, she knew her job, and if there was a single one of them who thought they could change that, then it was time they learned better.

  "And if we hadn't been there to get Mohammed's gun out of your face?" Khalid raked his fingers through his hair again as his black eyes glowed with anger. "What then, Marty? What the hell would you have done then?"

  "We'll never know, will we? But, he was only seconds from losing his balls when he had that gun in my neck," she answered, careful to keep her voice cool. "Which raises the question, does Ian Sinclair know he has a rabid mountain roaming the halls pretending to be a man? Or is our fair Mohammed a member here, too?" She stared back at the men glaring forcefully at her. "Last I heard there was some kind of rule against members striking women. Or is that just women who are sneaking in the doors?" She rubbed her jaw. "Can we get him thrown out for backhanding me, do you think?"

  She couldn't have expected what happened next. The second the words seemed to connect in Khalid's brain that Mohammed had struck her, his fist flew and landed in his brother's face. A second later his fingers were gripping the other man's neck as he threw Abram into the wall. Pure rage bled from his pores as an animalistic growl seemed to tear from his throat.

  "I will kill him," he snarled in Abram's shocked face.

  And Marty had had enough. It was like dealing with a bunch of high school jocks. None of them had the good sense to actually face her with the truth, all they could do was hit each other, beat around the bush, and try to pretend they weren't attempting to hide things from her.

  It pissed her off. No one actually lied to her, but they sure as hell did their best to make certain she stayed in the dark whenever possible.

  As the other men rushed to pull Khalid back her teeth snapped together as she turned and left the room. Slamming the door closed behind her she was met by an entire security force rushing up the stairs, headed by the formidable and much too handsome Ian Sinclair.

  He came to a dead stop and stared at her in shock, as if the sight of a woman in the testosterone-laden halls of his club was too much to take in, which was far beyond the truth. His wife, Courtney, actually managed to sneak in often when she had lived in what had once been Ian's private wing of the house.

  "Don't worry, I'm leaving," she informed him coldly. "If I were you, though, I'd get some cameras in these halls and the shrubbery trimmed from that back doorway. Getting in here was as easy as taking candy from a baby while it sleeps. " She brushed past him before taking the stairs quickly, aware of all the eyes turning, watching her.
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