Guilty Pleasure

Bound Hearts Book 11

Marty Matthews swore she would never allow herself to be drawn into the secret, forbidden pleasures that the women she had grown up with enjoyed. Women whose husbands or lovers were members of the exclusive “Club,” where they took a selected “third” into their beds. Now, Marty is an FBI agent and her brand new case has put the one man she can’t have in her sights.

Marty’s boss is convinced Khalid is involved in a plot to derail talks between his uncle and the President to strengthen ties between the US and the Middle East, and he wants Marty to get close enough to Khalid to prove it. However, Khalid is a member of the Club and he offers to introduce her to the kind of guilty pleasure Marty swore she would never experience. And even though danger lurks around every corner, there is no way to escape the man who threatens not only her control, but her very heart.

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She would make excuses later. Perhaps tomorrow, after the cold light of reason pierced the fragile fantasy she was desperate to weave into her life for just one night. For just a few hours, she wanted the fantasy.

Marty Mathews brushed the fringe of bangs that fell over her forehead back and watched as the man made his way through the light, airy fog that filled the forested area of the park and walked toward her.

He moved with a sensual, unaffected grace that caused her breath to catch in her throat. Animal like confidence exuded from his very pores, and seemed carved into the hard, dark planes of his savage features.

Black eyes were locked on her, unblinking. The black leather coat he wore seemed to flow around his tall muscular body, blended in with the night and the black slacks and silk shirt he wore beneath.

Bronze features were hewn by life, at some point, by pain. There was a glitter of lust in his dark gaze, an edge of hunger in his face. He had the look of a conqueror, a man that could and would take what he wanted, when he wanted.

“Lurking in shadows again, Agent Mathews.” There was a sinful, sexual quality to his deep, dark voice. A vein of amusement, a hint of dominance and pure male intent.

“Asks the pot,” she shot back, reining in the breathlessness that threatened to fill her voice. “Why peek into the shadows tonight Khalid? You never bother to do so any other time.”

She stayed in place as he moved closer, her back pressed against the heavy trunk of an oak tree, the rough bark biting through the thin jacket she wore. She’d stayed away from him. She’d been spying on him for far longer than she should have been, and she knew it had been leading up to this night. She sensed it, had felt it coming for weeks now. Since the night she had stood outside Chase Falladay’s home and watched as he left. When he had touched his fingers to his lips in an acknowledgement of the fascination that seemed to bind them.

“Perhaps I’m growing tired, agent Mathews,” he finally answered, standing close enough that she could feel the warmth of his body, the heat of his hunger. She could feel a connection to him that she didn’t want to feel, didn’t want to acknowledge, and yet had no choice.

She wanted to ask what he was tired of, but she had a feeling she knew. The same thing she was tired of. Running from something she never seemed to get far enough from. Khalid, and the hunger that had chased them for two years now. A hunger that made no sense, a fascination she couldn’t seem to escape no matter how hard she tried.

She was thirty years old. She was by no means a virgin and she sure as hell didn’t believe in happily ever after. But there was something about Khalid el Hamid Mustafa that held her mesmerized at the oddest moments.

Added to that were the fantasies. Rich, lush fantasies that filled her dreams whether she wanted them to or not. Fantasies she didn’t want to admit to, dreams that she didn’t like facing in the cold light of day. Dreams that now held her spell bound in the darkness with him.

“You should go back to whatever you were doing,” she finally whispered as she glanced through the darkness at the lights of his estate. “I’m sure it’s more interesting than standing here in the dark.”

“Perhaps you should go back with me.”

There was the invitation. She had known it was coming. As she watched him come toward her in the darkness, she had known that tonight she would have to make a choice.

As she stared up at him he lifted his hand, palm out to her. Broad, strong, his fingers were long and masculine with an inherent male grace that she rarely saw.

What to do? She wanted to turn away. She wanted to deny him, she needed to deny him because she was terribly afraid that once would never be enough. Once would only begin a cycle she may not be able to stop.

Yet her hand lifted. She watched, as though she were watching someone else, as she placed her hand in his, her gaze never straying from the midnight black of his.

Somber and intense now, he watched her as though he had expected something more than the agreement she gave him.

“Come.” He pulled her to him with one, simple word.