Wicked Pleasure (Bound Hearts Series #9)by Lora Leigh
With his twenty-year high-school reunion looming, Paul Loughton dreads seeing the one person who could tempt him to stray from his path. Small-town mayor, lawyer and budding politician, Paul can't - won't - admit he's gay, even to himself. Years of denial and lies are now threatened by an inevitable
Two opposite men, two different lives, two sets of past lies.
With his twenty-year high-school reunion looming, Paul Loughton dreads seeing the one person who could tempt him to stray from his path. Small-town mayor, lawyer and budding politician, Paul can't - won't - admit he's gay, even to himself. Years of denial and lies are now threatened by an inevitable encounter. With his denial slipping, he has to come face-to-face with temptation.
Randy Martin left his small-town roots behind before the ink on his diploma was dry. The cliquish world of his childhood didn't have room for the weird kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Rumors of his sexual preferences made life that much more difficult. Now, twenty years later, he should be anxious to rub his wealth and success in the faces of his former classmates. Except with one of them, the urge to rub something else hasn't diminished over the years.
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By Lora Leigh
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2008 Lora Leigh
All rights reserved.
Sometimes life just came full circle, whether a woman wanted it to or not. It was inevitable. And life had definitely come full circle for Jaci Wright.
The party was different. The stilted, gossipy political crowd was nothing like the raucous booze-laden crowd that had inhabited the last party where one of the Falladay twins had waylaid her.
She wasn't a woman-child now. She was a mature woman with more hang-ups than a closet and just as many reasons for running as hard and as fast from them now as she'd had seven years ago.
But this time, she knew she wouldn't run.
"It's definitely a party your mother would approve of." Chase Falladay stepped up to her. She had always been able to tell the Falladay brothers apart. Chase was dressed in an evening suit, his thick black hair brushed back from his strong features, his light green eyes watching her with a hint of laughter as a smile tugged at his sensual, sexy lips.
Sun-darkened flesh was stretched tighter over his face, it seemed, than it had been seven years ago. There were laugh lines at the corners of his eyes, but those eyes — such a light green they were mesmerizing — seemed more shadowed now. Haunted. And he still looked much too much like Cameron — the one man that haunted her dreams and her thoughts, even when he shouldn't have.
"Yes, Mom would approve of this party," she murmured, staring around for a second before her gaze was drawn back to him.
He was just as handsome as he ever had been. Just as bold as Cam and just as much out of her league. As she stared at him, she felt the past wash over her. The face that stared at her was the right one, but the man wasn't.
"Fancy meeting you here." She let a smile curve at her lips before raising her champagne glass and sipping at the sparkling liquid. She should have felt uncomfortable, hesitant, but she didn't. She was more intrigued than she should be.
"Hmm. Providence perhaps?" He lifted a dark brow and leaned against the wall beside her, one hand pushing into the pockets of his dress slacks while the other held his champagne glass negligently. "Should I rescue you from this one, as Cam did the last one?"
The mention of that last party, the cool autumn night, the hot male body, and everything she had walked away from when she walked away from him and Cam, flashed through her. Heat whispered over her skin but it wasn't embarrassment.
"Courtney might kill us both," she whispered as though they dare not let their hostess hear those words. "I had to promise her I'd mingle, under the threat of dire consequences."
Courtney was her dearest friend. She, along with Sebastian De Lorents, had saved Jaci's life on a dark street in England, years before, when a mugger decided to get ugly.
Courtney and Sebastian were both here now, in Squire Point, Virginia. Courtney had married an American businessman, and Sebastian was working for him. Just as Jaci would be doing soon.
"I'm sure Courtney would understand," he offered suggestively. "And if she doesn't, then I'll have Ian explain it to her. He seems to have some small measure of control over her."
There was a hint of laughter in his voice. Sexy, certain of himself. Confident.
"Chase Falladay." She shook her head, still bemused to be standing there, talking to him as though the years had never separated them. "What are you doing here?"
He leaned forward several inches. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
He was close now. So close that all it would take was the smallest movement from her to touch him.
She shook her head, forcing herself to smile as she stared out over the crowd once more.
Fate was definitely being fickle at the moment. Not only were her two biggest headaches at this party, but also the identical twin of her greatest torment. Now, how was that for her life? She dreamed of Cam, but here was Chase. And perhaps, as he suggested, it was providence — a sign, Fate laughing its silly ass off and showing Jaci how fickle its favor could be.
"I don't know," she finally answered as she turned back to him. "I've been known to be pretty gullible at times. Tell me your tale, and then I'll decide if I believe it."
She liked to believe she was much less gullible than she had once been. She had seen the world; at times, she had seen more of it than she wanted to. And she had learned lessons she never imagined she would be faced with.
His eyes gleamed with laughter. "I wouldn't want to make you blush. I hear it's impolite."
Sexy, charming. He was devilishly amusing, and the laughter was just as hard to contain as it had been seven years ago.
Chase had always been the joker, Cam the more serious one. Cam's dark wit and almost dangerous sexuality had drawn women to him like flies to honey, just as it had drawn Jaci.
"As though that would stop you." She had to force back the laughter, but it was hard. Chase had always had a way of making her laugh. "You delighted in it once. You made everyone laugh, while Cam made certain he made everyone angry." She looked around again, her heart thumping hard in anticipation. "Where is Cam?"
Shockingly, she felt the remembered heat of that night so long ago. Cam's kiss stealing her mind, and then later, his voice breaking her heart with the knowledge that he wouldn't be her lover alone.
For so many years she had wondered if she had made a mistake in running from him that night. If she had stayed, so many things would have changed. And perhaps she wouldn't have spent seven years wondering.
"Cam's around." His voice softened, the dark cadence gentling as she turned back to him. "He'll enjoy seeing you again. It's been a long time."
It had been. It had been too long. And yet, not long enough. Because she still felt that warmth low in her stomach as it threatened to turn into a burn. A reaction only Cam, or the thought of Cam, could cause to build inside her.
And regret. There was always regret.
Bolder than brass, strong, muscled, larger than life. That was what Cam had always been to her. Until the night she realized exactly how bold he could be.
Chase had been her friend, though. Even later, during her odd visits home, he had been there. Flirtatious, yet knowing. He had teased her and laughed at her when they met up; but that spark, that hidden flame had never been the same with Chase.
"It has been a long time," she nodded.
She felt uncertain now. She could feel the nervous tension rising inside her.
Cam was here, and so was Chase. And so much had changed, and yet so much hadn't. But she remembered Cam's warning clearly. He would kill over her. He wasn't a man that made false declarations. And he never forgot a promise. That was a dangerous thing for a woman who knew her past was about to catch up with her.
Now she was going to have to find a way to hold her own fantasies, as well as the men, at arm's length, because the promise Cam made her still had the power to terrify her. God help her, the Robertses, and Cam, if he ever learned what truly happened that night. Blood would spill, and the mere thought of that gave her nightmares. He had sworn he would kill any man that hurt her, and he kept his promises.
It had kept her from contacting Cam, from running to him, for years. The knowledge that she knew he would kill because of her, the look in his eyes that night, the primal intensity, the dark power, assured her he wasn't joking.
She had known him and Chase for too many years even before that night. She knew they were both men that other men knew to be wary of.
She swallowed nervously and felt the flutter of panic in her stomach as her gaze moved around the room. She hid in the shadows of the room throughout the evening, hoping to avoid the Robertses. Now she knew she was going to have to get the hell out of there.
"I can't believe you're this nervous around me, Jaci." Chase's head tilted a fraction as he stared back at her knowingly.
"Who says I'm nervous?" She was. She accepted it. But not because of the past.
Those sexy lips quirked again. "Courtney has an exceptional garden outside." He extended his hand toward the doors that opened out between the two sprawling wings of the house. "Would you like to walk out with me?"
"Courtney will miss me." She gave him a polite smile as she tried to plan the best route out of the ballroom to where she could call a cab and return to her hotel. "She threatened me, Chase. I'm to mingle."
"She'll survive, and so will you."
She inhaled roughly as he caught her free hand and tugged her from the side of the ballroom toward those open doors.
Ian Sinclair and his wife, Courtney, had an exceptional home. The main mansion, built over a hundred years ago, was huge. Later additions included the two wings that sloped back to each side of the main house, creating a hidden, private garden inside.
Dusk was falling as Chase drew her outside, where the music was more muted, more romantic. The haunting strains of the piano whispered through the air as Chase drew her farther into the shadowed, dimly lit garden.
She hadn't expected to see him here. She knew he and Cameron lived in Alexandria, of which Squire Point was a suburb, but she hadn't thought she would see him here, at the Sinclairs'.
She had thought she could take this job, do the work it entailed, and maybe, before she left, she would give an old friend a call.
Her lips quirked at the thought. She was lying to herself then and she was lying to herself now. She was dying to see Cam again. Dying for one more chance to taste his kiss, to feel his touch. To see if anything had changed, if he had grown possessive, if perhaps he had grown out of that need to share with his twin. And if he hadn't, she wondered if perhaps she had grown out of her fear of it. Because the fantasies that had haunted her over the years had nearly driven her insane. Dark dreams and wicked desires had been instilled in her that night. Escaping them wasn't an option.
Knowing she was going to have to avoid the Falladay twins until the job was over, and that the Robertses would surely interfere in any relationship she developed, was quickly changing her plans. If Cam and Chase were close friends with the Sinclairs, then the potential for disaster had just grown exponentially.
She would kill Courtney for not warning her they would be so close.
As they moved onto the wide, flagstone path that weaved and branched off into hidden grottos, Chase drew her alongside him, his hand settling against the small of her back as they walked deeper into the shadows.
The other guests hadn't wandered this far yet. There was a faint tinkle of a fountain nearby. Night birds sang their songs and crickets chirped happily. If she closed her eyes she could almost feel that hot summer night seven years earlier, and she could almost pretend Chase was Cam.
"Are you bringing me out to the gardens in an attempt to seduce me, Chase?" she drawled with a smile, the seriousness of her question hidden beneath the subtle laughter in her tone.
She had forgotten how much fun it could be to flirt with and tease Chase, what it felt like to be with a man that a part of her instinctively trusted, rather than distrusted.
She had learned over the years not to trust anyone, especially good-looking men. And that, she often thought, was an incredible shame. A woman her age should have had more adventures than she'd had so far.
His chuckle stroked her senses.
"I want to catch up with an old friend, nothing more," he promised her. "Damn, Jaci, when did you become so suspicious?"
"When it comes to you and your brother? Seven years ago." She glanced up at him, amused at the accusation. "You're not old enough to have forgotten, surely?"
She hadn't forgotten a moment of it, and she knew Chase — he would never let her hide from it if he thought for a minute that she was trying to. Better to get it out in the open now. And she couldn't resist it anyway. Seeing him, knowing Cam was close, the needs were rising inside her with all the dark promise of the dreams that had haunted her.
"Now you're just being mean." He gave her a mock glare before pulling her to a vine-covered swing that sat beneath a wide arbor. "Here we go. We can just sit here and visit."
Jaci sat down, carefully smoothing the material of her black evening gown down her thighs as Chase sat down beside her.
The gown, which had felt so alluring when she put it on, now seemed too sexy, too revealing. It made her feel too feminine. The thin straps held the draped bodice over her breasts. Maybe she should have worn a bra. The side slit ran to her thigh. It showed an indecent amount of leg.
Chase chuckled again.
She lifted her gaze and felt the grin that tugged at her lips, as he watched her knowingly.
"You and Cam always made me too nervous," she admitted with a soft laugh. "Sometimes I've missed that."
She had missed the twins after she left town within weeks of the night of the party. She had snapped up an offer to attend a design school in California and headed out as fast as she could. And every day she planned the trip, she'd had to fight herself to keep from going to Cam, to keep from accepting an offer she knew she couldn't handle. Just to be in his arms. To feel his kiss again. To see what she was missing.
"We've missed you." His arm stretched behind her, his fingers playing with the strands of hair that escaped the decorative clip that held it in the back.
We've missed you. Not I. Jaci caught that one quickly.
She ducked her head, hoping to hide her response to that statement as she inhaled with a slow, deep breath.
"You ran out on us, Jaci."
Jaci swallowed tightly, her head jerking up as his tone hardened.
"There was nothing to run out on." She kept her voice firm, steady.
The shadowed landscape lighting gave his expression a darker, more dangerous cast. His eyes gleamed in the low light, piercing into hers.
His fingers paused at the nape of her neck where they had been playing with the hair that drifted down from the clip. His expression became intent, determined.
He nodded slowly. "I guess you're right. There was nothing to run out on." His lips quirked humorlessly. "We still missed you like hell, though. Life wasn't the same without your laughter."
It hadn't been the same without them, either. She had been their friend, when other women were no more than novelties — she knew that. Until one night destroyed that friendship. She had never looked at Chase the same after that, and she had never seen Cam again.
The thought of Cam had her insides burning, rioting with fear and with need. She kept checking the shadows for him, kept expecting him to step into view. And the hunger to see him was growing within her in burning waves.
"I need to get back inside." She rose to her feet, her fingers tightening on the small purse that hung from her shoulder. "It's almost the witching hour for me. I have to get up early in the morning."
She needed to get away from him, to think. It had been too damned long since she had seen Chase or Cam, too long since she had allowed herself to think about the Falladay twins, either separately or apart.
"Let me take you back to your hotel, or are you staying here?" He nodded to the mansion.
"I'm at a hotel. But I'll be fine."
"We could talk — just talk, Jaci, I promise." He smiled. The charm and sensuality that was so much a part of him wrapped around her, encouraged her to join in, to let herself be seduced.
"I don't know."
"Just the two of us."
He said it so easily, with just a hint of amusement, a promise of sensuality. There was a shade of mockery in his tone, an acknowledgement of her hesitancy and the reasons why.
Jaci looked around the thick foliage of the grotto, the scent of summer, of sultry heat wrapping around her, the scent of the man sinking into her. And she weakened. He wasn't Cam, but he knew her. He wouldn't betray her or deliberately hurt her. And she was tired — tired of being alone and wishing for things she couldn't have. Tired of dreaming of one man and regretting one night.
Finally, she nodded. A slow, hesitant movement, a part of her holding back, the other part reaching out for him.
His smile was slow, confident, and for a moment Jaci wondered if she had somehow just stepped into something she didn't have a chance of handling.
"You can't change your mind." He caught her hand and drew her back along the path.
Rather than heading back into the ballroom, he drew her instead to a glass door that opened into the private wing of the house.
"I need to let Courtney know I'm leaving," she said as they moved through the short hall and into the kitchen and formal dining room, before turning into the foyer.
"Matthew will let her know." He drew her to the front door where the butler stepped from the small room that connected to the private wing as well as the main mansion.
"Mr. Falladay. Miss Wright." Matthew nodded his head politely.
"Matthew, please let Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair know we've left. Tell Ian I'll contact him tomorrow about those files."
"Of course, Mr. Falladay," Matthew acknowledged impassively. "I'll inform them immediately."
Excerpted from Wicked Pleasure by Lora Leigh. Copyright © 2008 Lora Leigh. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
Lora Leigh is the author of Live Wire, Forbidden Pleasure, and Enigma, among many others. Writing is her passion, her peace, and her lifeline, and she can often be found daydreaming and plotting and planning with the varied characters that fill her imagination. When she isn't writing, she tends her flower gardens, watches horses romp outside her home, or spends time with the family and pets she fills her life with. She lives in the rolling hills of Kentucky.
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A definite story of menage, that's for sure! And the whole concept of two equally good looking guys--wow! This story by Lora Leigh drew me in and held me captiave--until I finished it! It was very good, to say the least and I'd definitely recommend it for those who like stories of menage or who are just curious.
I love the background for the "Wicked..." novels. The Club outside Washington D.C. is a long-standing and extremely private organization. Its members share a certain notoriety that comes from being Fortune 500 CEOs, congressmen, and other famous movers and shakers. Its members also share the need to engage in sexual ménage activities with their female lovers/wives. Therein the extreme secrecy attached to The Club. Members sign confidentiality agreements and The Club has a `punitive committee¿ composed of very powerful individuals who can and will ruin anyone betraying their secrets financially, socially, and politically if needed. However, The Club is more than just a sex club; it¿s also a social setting for like-minded men. Women only gain admission as `guests¿ of members. Our heroine, Jaci Wright, has recently been hired to do some decorating renovations to the interior of The Club.
Cameron and Chase Falladay are identical twins in charge of security for The Club. The story of why these two sometimes need to share a woman is slowly revealed throughout the novel. They are also members of The Club and have been waiting for Jaci for seven years. Waiting for her to acknowledge her own needs and accept what they need from her. Now that her new job has put her within reach, Cam is done with waiting. He knew she was `the one¿ for him from the time he was 18 and she was 13. He left for the military at 18 and returned home wounded in both body and spirit. He is tormented by memories, anger, and dark lusts¿but more than anything, he¿s tormented by the thought of losing Jaci.
Jaci has her own problems and issues. She¿s managed to make some pretty powerful enemies and is torn by her love for, and need to protect, Cam. She doesn¿t understand why he needs to share her with his brother. This `unnatural desire¿ is what scared her away seven years ago. But now, THIS time, she feels smarter and stronger¿surely she can make Cam, and only Cam, her own. Her efforts to tame Cam (and sometimes Chase) and her struggles to be independent and solve her own problems without relying on Cam drive him nuts!
These two (okay three) certainly have a lot of issues to iron out. The intense love scenes and powerfully erotic power struggles are part and parcel of the story. I have been a fan of Ms Leigh¿s books since I read my first e-book by her. This is yet another of her stories that will have a spot on my keeper shelf.
I have read most of Lora's books and I particularly enjoy her TEMPTING SEALS series...but her BOUND HEARTS series usually doesn't do much for me - in the way of strong, interesting plot lines. This book in particular was disappointing. I found the beginning of the couples adult relationship that includes the brother too far fetched and way too quick.
I have read other books by this author, and loved them I didn't think this book was good at all. It was very far fetched, ridiculous and pointless. I would not recommend this book, but some of her others are quite good!
This is the first book I've read from Lora Leigh. I loved this book!!! I was drawn in right from the very beginning. I love how the relationship between the twins and Jaci grew right from the start. It was inevitable for them to find themselves torn with emotions and a need to be with one another. The intimate moments shared in this book was HOT and EROTIC. Get your fan out before reading this book!!! :)
Lora Leigh has a way of bringing her characters to life, hero's who are a bit mixed up but real "He" men. You are caught up in what happens to the girl who finally saves the guy from himself and get him to love her. There is also the love triangle of two brothers who like to share their women, and this woman in particular doesn't like being shared. The other players in the club that all the powerful men in this town live in is so secretive that they police their members for inappropriate conduct with partners( as it is a menage club) the husbands /wives and their respective third;s all behave in a safe environment which is great, but wouldn't be my thing personally.
This was a first read of Lora Leigh for me. I will certainly be back for more. It was a bit shocking with all that was going on in the book, but I really did enjoy it. Now knowing what to expect from her I think I will be less shocked. It was a good shocked though!! The plot I felt was hard to believe and was just filler for the real story. Hot threesomes! Enjoy.
If you are looking for a hot read this one may burn you! When Jaci Wright is tangled back with Cameron and Chase Falladay after a long separation the heat is still there, for all of them. Cam and Chase are twins who decide to share everything including their affection with women. There is a lot of pleasure to be had when these two men decide to reunite with Jaci and see how it all plays out. Trouble for Jaci is always two steps behind with her past knocking on the door trying to run her out of town. Cam is going to defend her to the end regardless of who has to be taken down. With both Chase and Cam covering her back and front Jaci is one well-protected woman.
I've read a few of this author's books before and was disappointed with the shallowness of the characters. But Wicked Pleasures is a step up in that the personality of the heroine is well developed and the male characters show mature emotions. The ménage parts -which seem obligatory in Leigh's work- are much sexier this time round, and I feel it is because of the consideration given to realistic character development. I think for readers who like juicy erotica between multiple characters this one will definitely please.
I loved this book. This is probably number one in my favorite erotica books of all time. Definitely a must read. Be warned, this book is a m/m/f menage... so dont read it if you dont like those!
I enjoyed the book. It had some sort of a story line and wasn't all sex. Even though there was quite a bit. Very steamy!!! Sorta disappointed in the ending, but what can you do?! :)
I was disappointed in this book. Though the main characters were interesting, the plot was weak, and it was totally overwhelmed by the strong sexual component of the story. It seemed like the author rushed through the ending of the book, which lead to a conclusion that seemed very disjointed. I've read several books by this author, and I have to say that they always seem to be very poorly edited - lots of typos, sentences that don't make sense, dialogue where you can't tell whose speaking, etc. That was evident in this book as well. It appeared to be a book that was written in a hurry without think through the details. I imagine that die-hard Lora Leigh fans will love this book anyway, but others might just want to leave it on the shelf.
For the most part this is a well written book. Jaci and twins Cam and Chase all have pieces of their past they want kept secret, esp Cam and Jaci. Secrets in relationships do not go together. The big problem I have with this book is that Jaci is whiney and can't seem to make upher mind over anything. She will decide she does not like how she's being treated and yet gives in to Cam the second he comes near. The book could have been about 3 chapters shorter and would have worked better.
Reviewed by Patti Book provided by the publisher for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book Wicked Pleasure was worth every minute of sleep I missed because I wouldn’t put it down. I must admit that I was hooked right from the start. Lora Leigh has written numerous books and I have read a quite a few of them. The last one I read left me disappointed, so I am happy this one grabbed me. I am pretty sure that even the best of us can’t please everyone all the time, so I would never let that keep me from reading another. Ménage is not for everyone but just reading the blurb for this makes it pretty clear that the book is a ménage so no one should be surprised. It is definitely written well here. Jaci Wright seemed to be someone I would want to know better and I just kept reading to find out more about her. The book starts out with a small back story of Jaci as a young teen knowing that she wants Cam Fallady and that he is the only man for her. The only problem is he is eighteen, a bad boy and off limits. She loves him with her whole heart and soul, the way only a teenager can. When the book really gets going with them as adults, her feelings for Cam are just as strong, she still wants him and only him. She comes to the realization that Cam has certain sexual needs, he has a twin named Chase and they come as a pair. Jaci has to decide if she can handle everything that Cam is and what a relationship with him requires. Cam’s angst and his tenacious grip on a dream of the future with Jaci in it just tore at my heart. I could see how much Cam really loved Jaci in his heart but couldn’t actually have an actual relationship with her. Cam is so conflicted and is battling with such shame, anger and unresolved pain he can’t possibly sustain any kind of healthy long lasting bond with anyone. I do love how his soul knows that his salvation is Jaci and if he can just figure out how to navigate the obstacle course of a relationship and recovery he will attain the happiness he seeks. I enjoyed the interaction with the secondary characters very much and really appreciated the twists and turns the plot took. I also liked getting a glimpse of some people I hope to see more of in the future. The attraction between Jaci and Cam was undeniably hot; adding Chase to the mix just makes it burst into flames. Wicked Pleasure is sure to entertain and make you want more. As long as Lora Leigh keeps writing books like this, I will be reading into the wee hours of the morning and then having very hot dreams for a very long time.
Lora Leigh never fails to deliver! Highly addictive,very hot on the erotica, but amazingly very emotional. Looking forward to reading more from Ms. Leigh!