Dangerous pleasure, p.9
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       Dangerous Pleasure, p.9
 

         Part #12 of Bound Hearts series by Lora Leigh
Page 9

 

  “And none of this is your choice to make. ” She dropped her arms to her sides and faced him without the anger she knew she should be feeling.

  She was tired of arguing with him. She was tired of the lectures and she was tired of trying to force him to treat her like an adult rather than a child.

  “Paige, would you come between Abram and me?” he finally questioned her harshly.

  “Khalid!” Marty gasped as she turned on him furiously. “That’s low, even for you. ”

  But Paige wasn’t surprised in the least that he had attempted such emotional blackmail. It was reminiscent of her childhood years when he had used her emotions to get what he wanted every time she attempted to defy him.

  “Would you really lose me over this?” she asked in return. “Because that’s what will happen if you keep standing me and Abram. Whether or not he wants me, or I want him, shouldn’t be tainted by your demands that we stay away from each other. Because honestly, Khalid, there have been times when the very fact that you didn’t want me to do something made it all that more appealing. Do you really want to chance that in this situation?”

  “So I’m to just stand by and watch him break your heart when he becomes the man he is and he tries to subjugate you as we both know he will? He may have different ideas on sexuality and women’s rights on the surface, Paige, but trust me when I tell you that only in your sexuality will he be more accepting. He is still a product of the culture he was raised within. ”

  Paige could only stare back at him incredulously. “How little you know your brother, or your sister for that matter,” she told him, pity and anger converging together. “Does he beat his women, Khalid? Does he lock them up, or demand that they have no life outside of him? Does he have six wives and twelve children that I know nothing about?”

  Khalid’s frown deepened. “You know he would never do such things. ”

  “Then your only objection is that you’re worried Abram may try to curb my independence?”

  “You’ll forget the meaning of the word independence,” he told her.

  “Has Leyla forgotten the independence you taught her?” Leyla was one of the six young women Khalid had raised after his father sent them to Khalid as teenagers. They were young women Azir had bought and then given to his son to begin his own little harem.

  Leyla was engaged to a young man who had come to America with his parents from Saudi Arabia.

  “Leyla’s fiancé is much younger than Abram,” he snapped. “Don’t you understand that, Paige? Abram is a full-grown man who has spent much of his life in the Middle East. A man that will never—”

  “Stop preaching at me,” she demanded roughly, her head practically ringing with the list of objections he was repeating from earlier. “You say Abram would attempt to make me live by his rules? What the hell do you believe you’re doing? You’re trying to force me to do what you want, whether it’s what I want or not. ”

  And that was beginning to piss her off. She had tried to avoid these confrontations for the past few days. Several times she had simply left the room only to have him follow her and continue the argument.

  “Paige, I’m trying to protect you,” he snarled. His frustration was readily apparent but she couldn’t make herself feel sorry for him, or even suggest they agree to disagree.

  “Go to your party, Khalid. I’m sick of your lectures and I’ve had enough of your judgmental attitude. Now leave my room. ”

  She didn’t wait for him to leave. Paige turned and stomped to the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.

  Then, the tears she’d only barely held back filled her eyes and began to fall down her cheeks. She didn’t sob. She remained silent, pressing her hands to her lips and tried to stop the tears as she had so many times in the past.

  She loved her brother. Khalid had always been a mainstay in her life, even if he had frustrated the hell out of her. He’d been amused at her father’s nerves when she rode her bicycle without training wheels, and laughed at her mother’s fears when Paige got her driver’s license.

  He had always acted damned strange about Abram though, despite the fact that Abram had been married the first time Paige had met him and his wife Lessa.

  Paige had been drawn to Abram from the first moment. She’d been fascinated by this man who looked so much like her brother, who her brother called a brother, yet he wasn’t her brother. She’d only been nine when she first met him, and he’d been nineteen and already married.

  The relationship between him and his brother had at first confused the hell out of her. After all, Khalid was her brother, so why wasn’t Abram?

  That confusion had amused her parents and Abram’s wife Lessa, but Khalid hadn’t seemed nearly so amused by it.

  Paige liked Abram’s wife, Lessa, enjoyed her laughter and her quiet manner the few times she’d been able to spend any time with her. Lessa was murdered several years after Paige met her, and Paige’s heart had broken for Abram.

  He’d loved his wife, there had been no doubt of it. Over the next few years, he’d been a regular in her life. He’d visited when her family vacationed in Cairo, and joined Khalid in Greece when he returned for their mother’s birthday.

  She was eighteen when things suddenly changed, when he had looked at her for the first time and hadn’t seen a child. When his gaze had flicked to her breasts, encased in the bodice of the strapless ball gown she had worn.

  He had danced with her, his hand riding low on her back and pressing her closer to him than any of the younger men she had danced with had done.

  Her heart had raced so hard she had thought it would tear from her chest. He’d stared down at her, somber and intense, holding her eyes as she swore she saw some message swirling in the depths of his own.

  And against her hip, hard and thick, she had felt his erection, proof that he was seeing her as a woman, and that she wasn’t alone in the sensations surging through her.

  It was the first time she had creamed her panties. The first time her clit had become so swollen and sensitive that it only took her seconds to come when she had masturbated in her bed later that night.

  From that night, she hadn’t been able to get him out of her mind, or her fantasies. She hadn’t even tried to keep him from stealing her heart as the years went by.

  Khalid was equally determined to keep anything from happening between them. Even during those first years when Paige had been determined to go to college and get her degree before allowing any relationship to develop too far, still, Khalid had begun arranging Abram’s visits to keep her from seeing him.

  It didn’t always work.

  And nothing had ever stemmed the need that only grew with each year, with each moment spent with him. And with each acknowledgement that her brother was willing to alienate her rather than see her with Abram.

  Sniffling quietly she wiped at the tears and tried to stem them. If she stayed here, then they were going to end up saying things that couldn’t be taken back.

  She didn’t want that. She didn’t want to lose her brother. That left only one other option. To leave his house, at least until they could learn to agree to disagree where Abram was concerned.

  It had been almost two weeks since Khalid’s security team had practically kidnapped her and brought her to the mansion.

  Today, she had lost her job. Her savings wasn’t nearly enough to keep her rent and utilities going, along with her car payment, for more than a few months. She would have to find a job, and there was no doubt she would have to ask her parents for money or borrow from her trust fund. A fund she had wanted to save for a time when she really needed it.

  Getting another job wasn’t going to be easy. The advertising firm she had worked for had already informed her that there would be no reference forthcoming.

  Her entire life had been changed because of this and on top of it, she was losing Khalid because she couldn’t get hi
s brother out of her mind, or out of her fantasies.

  She shared no blood with Abram. He was no relation her. He was the man that made her heart beat faster, made her womb clench violently, and her pussy throb in need.

  She wasn’t a virgin, despite Khalid and Marty’s obvious beliefs. She’d had a few lovers, two to be exact, in her attempts to forget the one man that fascinated her as nothing or no one ever had.

  And to be with the man she wanted more than anyone, she was going to lose the brother she had always idolized, despite his autocratic attitude.

  That knowledge had her heart clenching in pain again as fresh tears fell from her eyes before she could wipe them away.

  “Paige?” A soft knock at the door followed Marty’s gentle voice.

  A second later the bathroom door opened and the other woman stepped inside. Paige quickly wiped at her tears.

  “Oh, Paige. ” Sympathy filled Marty’s voice as Paige hurriedly dampened a washcloth with cold water to wash her face. “He didn’t mean to hurt you like this. ” She sighed.

  “I’m fine. ” Raspy, tear-roughened, her voice sounded like hell. “Go to your party, Marty, and take your fiancé with you. Hopefully, if he’s out of my face for a while, I can find a way to remember the brother he used to be, rather than the bastard he’s becoming. ”

  “He’s so worried, Paige,” Marty whispered. “He’s pacing the floors day and night trying to keep you safe and worrying that Abram won’t return. He’s not a man that’s able to sit back and allow those he loves to fight the battle Abram is fighting, alone. But he can’t join him, he can’t protect you if he isn’t here, and he’s terrified Azir will go after your mother as well. He has to stay while Abram is in danger, and sometimes he feels as though he’s fighting ghosts in trying to protect you. ”

  “Do you think I’m not aware of the stress he’s under?” Her breathing hitched as the tears threatened again. “Just take him to the damned party, Marty. I’ll be okay if I can just get away from him for a while. ”

  Just long enough to call a cab and go home for a few hours.

  She needed her home for just a little while. The comfort of her surroundings, the soothing warmth of her fireplace.

  It was an electric fireplace, but still, it was hers. It was warm, and it looked close enough to the real thing. Like her vibrator. It did the job, even if it did lack the qualities or the warmth of the real thing.

  She needed it. She needed to get out of here for just a little while.

  “Once he thinks about it, he’ll realize what he’s doing,” Marty promised. “You know how he is. He gets overprotective and ends up pissing us off. But he still loves us. He’d still die for us, Paige, and knowing he’s hurting you is killing him. He just doesn’t know how to fix it. ”

  “I know this,” she cried out in frustration. “Just give me a little while, Marty. I’m trying to adjust. I swear I am. ”

  Marty breathed out heavily. Paige turned away and held the cold washcloth to her face.

  “All right then,” she said slowly. A second later Paige heard the door close behind her.

  Marty had left, and there hadn’t even been an accepting hug before she departed. God, that sucked. She could have used a hug today.

  Paige shook her head before turning back and tossing the cloth in the sink. Maybe it was just time to accept that she wasn’t the woman or the adult that those she loved really wanted.

  Her mother was upset that she was working, her father was disappointed that she refused to head the charities his companies oversaw. Her brother disagreed with the men she wanted as lovers, and the lovers were pissed because she wanted to be independent and still live with them.

  It was a no-win situation.

  Maybe it was time to stop silently begging them to accept her. She needed to find a way to live and stop hurting like this. Khalid had threatened to either disown his brother, or her. Either one would simply break her heart.
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