Dangerous pleasure, p.28
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       Dangerous Pleasure, p.28
 

         Part #12 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
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Page 28

 

  “Fuck!” he snarled as Jafar managed to deliver an iron-hard fist to his jaw.

  “For shame, cousin, such language,” Jafar chided him as he jumped back to avoid Abram’s answering blow. “I have told you, such disregard of decency will only bring you to a sad end. ”

  “That or my damned family,” Abram retorted with a tight grin. “Tell me, Jafar, when did you stop dreaming of freedom and begin to dream of controlling lives instead?”

  Jafar paused, his eyes narrowing in affront. His nostrils flared as something akin to an insane rage seemed to glow in the odd, celadon green of his eyes. That rage was the distraction Abram had awaited.

  He took the advantage and slammed his fist into Jafar’s jaw and followed it with a quick, striking knee blow to the groin.

  Jafar’s eyes widened in agony as he inhaled roughly. A tight whistling sound spewed from his lungs as Abram caught his shoulders and slammed his knee into his cousin’s diaphragm. He followed that quickly with a hard right to his face, slamming a blow into his jaw, and throwing him backward to be caught by one of his men. The older, bearded fighter gave a wicked grin and threw his commander back into the fray.

  Abram didn’t have the time or ability to draw this little battle out. He could hear the low hum of the helicopter moving in stealth mode, much closer than he had anticipated. Within minutes the extraction team would be in place and ready to collect them.

  He couldn’t let up. He had managed to gain the advantage, something he had never accomplished as a boy and assumed he would never accomplish as an adult. With fists, feet, and another knee to both the groin and to the stomach, Abram dropped his cousin to the dirt with a savage snarl of triumph.

  “I win,” he rasped, his voice sounding ragged and torn as he stared down at Jafar. “This time it mattered more than my father’s pride. ”

  Jafar stared at him, his breathing harsh and labored, his face bloodied, his odd green gaze strangely amused despite the pain that filled it.

  “Be careful, cousin,” Jafar warned, his voice low. “To allow a woman to be such a weakness—”

  Something flashed in Jafar’s eyes, something bitter and filled with wild rage as he cut the words off.

  “Be careful, Jafar. Without it, you become the monster you are beginning to face in the mirror each day,” Abram said before turning and moving toward where Paige and Tariq waited.

  There wasn’t a second’s warning. Tariq’s eyes widened, Paige cried out in fear, and the feel of cold steel against his neck stopped him in his tracks.

  Abram froze, regret for his cousin welling in his chest as much as for himself. “You used to be a man of your word, cousin. “And unfortunately, of all things Abram had expected Jafar to remember, it had been the honor of his given word.

  “I used to be many things, cousin,” Jafar said softly. “Many hard lessons have taught me the error of my ways. ” The blade scraped against Abram’s jugular as he allowed his gaze to meet Paige’s.

  Terror filled the emerald depths as her tears washed over her cheeks. Tariq stood behind her, forcibly restraining her from crossing the distance.

  She would have run to him, he realized in bemusement. Even knowing there was nothing she could do, and that there was a high chance she could have been harmed, still, she would have run to him.

  “Jafar, please, don’t do this,” she cried out in horror. Abram felt the knife begin to bite into his flesh.

  “I won’t go back,” Abram warned him softly, knowing the game his cousin was playing. “I can’t go back, Jafar. You know this. ”

  “Return or die,” Jafar snarled. “I cannot afford to allow you to leave at this time, Abram. You know this. ”

  “You have no choice. Accept it,” Abram answered quietly. “I won’t go back, Jafar, and I won’t give that vow. You and Azir have lost this game. ”

  “Perhaps I’ll put the blade to your lover’s throat, Jafar suggested mockingly. “Then would you do as I need you to do?”

  Abram almost paused at the way the other man phrased his words.

  Almost.

  “You would have to kill me first,” he warned him. “I won’t let you touch her as long as I live. ”

  “Easily done. ” His arm tensed as the blade pressed harder.

  “You owe me, Jafar,” Paige screamed out furiously, her voice raw and hoarse as Tariq was forced to hold her back.

  She strained against his hold, her expression twisting with rage.

  “Damn you, Jafar, you owe me,” she screamed again. Abram felt a trickle of blood at his neck and yet he still stood silently, too curious about the path his cousin would take to attempt to break his hold just yet.

  Jafar paused.

  “You owe me,” Paige repeated as the tears rolled down her face. “You still owe me. ”

  And just what the hell would Jafar owe her?

  “She is a beautiful woman,” Jafar sighed, his hold against the side of Abram’s head tightening. “And yes, I owe her much. Without her, perhaps I would be dead. ”

  Surprised, Abram wondered what the hell had been going on over the years that he was unaware of.

  “And this is how you repay your debts?” Abram asked him. “With blood?”

  Behind him, he felt Jafar breathe in slowly, deeply, as though preparing himself. As his body tightened, Abram tensed as well, covering his own anticipation within Jafar’s.

  “I’m sorry, cousin,” Jafar said. “But I cannot afford your escape or theirs. ”

  As the words left his mouth the viperous red lines of the laser rifles’ sights cut through the night, pinpointing Jafar and each of his men as black ropes and army rangers slid soundlessly into position.

  They surrounded Jafar’s team of men as Abram let his gaze move to Paige once again.

  Something in him tightened each time he allowed his eyes to meet the grief in hers and to acknowledge the fear that filled her face as Jafar kept that knife at his throat.

  “Release him, Jafar,” the commanding voice of the black-masked ranger closest to him ordered.

  “I cannot do this. ” The lazy amusement in Jafar’s voice was at odds with the tension in his body.

  “Don’t make us start picking off your men,” he advised when Jafar refused to move. “We will. ”

  “We are called martyrs for a reason. ” Jafar mocked them though the knife never moved.

  It wasn’t going to move. What fucking game was his cousin playing? If Jafar was going to cut his throat, then he would have already done so.

  Abram found it a little too easy to slam his elbow into his cousin’s diaphragm as he caught the wrist holding the knife at the same time.

  Thrusting Jafar’s arm to the side as he held his wrist, Abram broke away from the hold, twisting the wrist as he moved and taking his cousin to his knees.

  Abram released him. He jumped back to safety behind the rangers now circling the team of terrorist soldiers.

  “Drop your weapons and we’ll leave just as quietly as we arrived,” the commander ordered. “Otherwise, we’ll kill, if we have to. ”

  The terrorists’ weapons were tossed carelessly to the ground as Abram moved quickly to Paige. They were gathered upwe
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