Previously released and available as a full-length novel, Guilty Pleasure is now available as a three-part e-serial for those who want to savor the pleasure…
Welcome to The Club. A secretive, select group where uninhibited desires and forbidden fantasies run wild, in the first part of #1 New York Times bestselling author Lora Leigh’s novel Guilty Pleasure.
Marty Mathews has always known about the secret, forbidden pleasures that the women she grew up with enjoy. Women whose husbands or lovers are members of the exclusive Club, where they take a selected "third" into their beds. And there is one man—a dangerous, forbidden man—who is part of this world and who has haunted Marty's dreams for years....
About the Author
#1 New York Times bestseller, LORA LEIGH is the author of the Navy SEALS, the Breeds, the Elite Ops, the Callahans, the Bound Hearts, and the Nauti series.
"Lora Leigh writes compelling, red-hot romance." --Sacramento Book Review
Read an Excerpt
By Lora Leigh
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Lora Leigh
All rights reserved.
Heat surrounded Marty. A sizzling, sultry, humid heat that washed over her naked body, lapped at her sensitive nipples, and tingled at the juncture of her thighs. It glistened and shimmered over her oil-coated body and sank inside her flesh, almost reaching that spot inside her that always seemed empty, always dark.
Behind her closed eyelids soft color existed, compliments of the sun pouring down around her. There was just the summer surrounding her, heating her, causing her to tingle from the tips of her bare toes, over her waxed pussy and her pale breasts, to the top of her head.
She stretched beneath the heat, luxuriating in it as she hadn't been able to do for far too long.
She should have joined her mother and aunts in France, she thought. They were sunning themselves on the beach, drinking fruity little drinks with umbrellas in them, and relaxing. If she'd had any idea of the surprise her insane boss had intended for her yesterday, then she definitely would have made plans to join them.
She would have enjoyed the laughter that always resulted when her mother and aunts got together.
Instead, she was lying here, wondering what she was missing and why the hell she was here alone.
Just as she would have been doing if she were in France, she thought with amusement. She would have fussed internally every day she was there as she wondered what she was missing at home.
She would have wondered what Khalid was doing. Sexy, charming, brooding, secretive Khalid.
She blew out a heated breath as the image of him rose behind her closed lashes. So tall, broad-shouldered, lean-hipped. A fantasy come to life if all a woman was looking for was the pleasure to be had from sex alone.
There were times she wished she could settle for just the sex. The stolen moments in the darkness of night, a few hours of satisfaction before she went on her way. If she were more that type of a woman, she wouldn't be as tormented by one man as she was by Khalid.
Stroking her fingertips along the bare flesh of her abdomen left a sense of sensual weakness washing over her. There were days, nights, when she ached for his touch. When every nerve ending in her body, desperate for his caress, seemed to throb just under the skin. A touch she had never known.
She almost laughed at the thought. She was pathetic, and the older she got, the more the ache seemed to intensify. She couldn't get him out of her fantasies, or out of her mind. She wondered if she was obsessed.
Marty never obsessed over anything, and definitely never over a man. Khalid seemed to be the exception to her rule. Rolling over on the thick towel cushioning her from the cement surrounding the pool, Marty drew in a hard, deep breath and tried to force the ever-present erotic images of Khalid out of her mind.
She had decisions to make while she was on vacation, decisions that did not include Khalid's arrogance and sexuality. Decisions that could change her life as well as the direction she had once chosen for it.
The private security firm she had been approached by last month had made an offer she found hard to refuse. An offer she might yet accept.
Climbing the ladder in the bureau was beginning to look next to impossible. Her godfather's position as head of the federal offices held her back in ways she hadn't anticipated. She was protected and watched over, and then Deerfield had the nerve to accuse her of "crying" to Zach when things didn't go her way.
The wall to advancement that she was facing at times seemed insurmountable.
The private security firm, on the other hand, looked promising. She had no blood relation working there, no friends, and, even better, her father and godfather weren't involved in any way. She would have a sense of freedom, fewer rules and regulations, and more action and satisfaction. It seemed like a win/win situation so far.
She hadn't told her fathers about it yet, she hadn't discussed it with her mother, and every time she considered doing so, something stopped her. As though the thought of it were suddenly abhorrent. But she was an adult; she wasn't going to feel like she had to ask permission to play on the other side of the playground.
And while she was considering options, was she going to pull her towel over her naked body sometime before Khalid Mustafa stepped from the family room to the patio where she lay?
Peeking from beneath her lashes, she watched as his shadow lingered for long seconds at the French doors before he stepped into the brilliant rays of the sun.
Like a shadow come to life. Black eyes, black hair, deeply bronzed flesh. The man was like a living sex god. Hard muscle shifted beneath the white silk shirt he wore, just as lean, powerful legs flexed inside the form-fitting jeans that covered them.
"You're going to burn." His shadow eased over her, dulling the heat that had been sinking slowly into her back.
"I never burn." She fought to keep the arousal that whipped through her out of her voice as she lay beneath his gaze. "What are you doing here? Zach's at Dad's house. Next house down the street, if you're not sure where that's at."
"I know where it's located." Deep, dark, his voice washed over her senses with a velvety rasp that shouldn't have had the power to send her juices spilling from her vagina.
Why Khalid? she asked herself. What was it about him that made her so damned hot she rivaled the sun, when other men seemed to leave her cold? So cold that the thought of actually having sex with one of them was impossible to consider.
"Then why are you here?" She lifted herself up on her elbows and raised her head as he squatted in front of her, his dark head tilted, his thickly lashed eyes narrowing on her.
"You look like a virgin sacrifice. Laid out, naked, and tempting the sun to ravage as it chooses."
Wow. He sure as hell had a gift for words. She had known that about him; she just hadn't expected to have him use it to pay homage to her in quite that manner.
"It hasn't ravaged me yet." She looked up at him. "No matter how much I tempt it."
What was that flaring in his gaze? There was more than simple lust there, though the lust was there in spades. A hunger echoed through her body, tightened her nipples, and caused her abdomen to clench in anticipation of pleasure.
And how the hell was she supposed to know it would be pleasure? She had to be the only twenty-seven-year-old virgin left in the country. A woman who knew more about sex than the highest-paid call girl and yet had never known the touch of a lover, because she had to be the most stubborn woman in the world, too. She wanted Khalid. She had wanted him since she was fifteen, and no other man was going to do.
"Some would say you're tempting it as you speak," Khalid stated, his gaze flickering down to the rounded curves of her breasts.
Marty swore she could feel the swollen mounds hardening further, her nipples aching, throbbing with the need for his touch.
This was what he did to her. What he had always done to her. "Tempting it as I speak?" She glanced up at the clear blue sky before turning her gaze back to him. "So far, it hasn't responded."
His lips lifted in a half-smile. "You might be surprised."
"I rather doubt it." Rolling over she sat up, drew the light robe from her side, and pulled it over her as she rose to her feet.
Turning to face him once again, she reminded herself that this man was way out of her league and a damned sight more male than she might be able to handle. That didn't keep her from wanting to try.
"So why are you here if you know Dad and Zach are at the other house?" she questioned, as she gathered up the towel and her gun and the tanning oil beside her towel. "Shouldn't you be there?"
His gaze flickered to the holstered gun before coming back to her.
"I didn't say I knew they were there. I said I knew where it was. Your father is scheduled to meet me here soon. He did not mention the meeting changing to his home."
"You'll have to wait, then." She shrugged.
"I can see this becoming a problem."
Response slammed through her. The rough edge of his voice was just enough to slice through any doubt she may have had that for the moment his attention was focused solely on her.
"It looks like you're stuck with me until he returns then." Her heart was racing, and excitement was building inside her until it felt almost impossible to contain.
"That it does," he agreed.
"No objections then?" Stepping through the French doors, she turned and headed to the kitchen. "That's quite an about-face. The last I noticed, you enjoyed making certain there was an absurd distance between us."
He rarely spoke to her, especially during the past two years while she had been following him on her rabid boss's orders.
"It could be well measured," he chided her, as she stepped to the fridge and pulled it open. "And perhaps that distance is best for both of us."
And he had stated that several times. As they danced at the parties they both attended. Or during her visits to Courtney Sinclair's home on the Sinclair estate that housed the men's club he was a member of. Each time they had come in close contact, he had warned her against it. Warned her until she did no more than roll her eyes at the warnings now.
"Fine. It's not wise. You can leave now." Pulling a pitcher of sweet iced tea from inside the refrigerator, she shot him a look that dared him to go.
Did she have the courage, she wondered, to be the woman she wanted to be? Seducing him was her dream, but did she have the courage to face possible rejection? More than once?
Pulling two glasses from the cupboard, she poured the tea before setting the pitcher on the counter and giving the glass to him.
"Thank you." His eyes locked on hers as he lifted the glass to his lips and sipped.
There was pure sexual hunger in his gaze. Lust filled it, shaped his sexy lips, and tightened the skin over his cheekbones. He watched her like a hawk watches its prey: narrow-eyed, intent, hungry.
"How much longer are you going to wait, Khalid?" She set the glass on the counter as she confronted him. "Forever?"
He stared back at her silently for a long moment.
"What do you want, Marty?" he finally asked, his tone darker now. "You can't know what you're getting into here. You can't know what you're actually reaching for."
"I want you."
Yes, she knew exactly what she wanted, who she wanted. Just as she knew he wanted her. He could deny it until hell froze over, but the truth was there in his eyes, in the hard contours of his face and the sensual fullness of his lips. He seemed to freeze. Like a predator suddenly catching scent of prey, his nostrils flared, his gaze narrowed as it flickered over her and seemed to reflect an intent, dangerous hunger.
He wasn't a man to play with; she had known that for years. There was something intrinsically predatory about him, a silent warning that nothing about him was as it seemed. Unfortunately, that something drew her in ways she couldn't fight.
"Stop tempting me, precious. You may not like what you find on the other side," he said harshly.
Marty inhaled slowly, allowing her tongue to run slowly along her lower lip, as though hesitant, as though considering his warning.
His gaze flared with hunger, with dark, gleaming lust.
Oh yes, he wanted her. Perhaps almost as badly as she wanted him.
She let a smile curve her lips before lifting the tea and sipping it slowly. She wasn't going to argue with him any longer. There was nothing to argue about. They both knew what lay between them like a fire threatening to blaze out of control.
"I understand." She finally nodded. "I'm not a woman who already has a lover. It's rather hard to remain unconnected from a woman when she's your lover rather than another man's."
He was known to share other men's lovers instead of having one of his own. He was the perfect third, from what she understood. Kind. Caring. Considerate. And having absolutely no desire to capture the heart or the loyalty of the woman he slept with.
"Perhaps," she continued, "I should simply find someone willing to consider my choice of a third. Would you be interested then, Khalid?"
She had to admit that the thought only infuriated her. It was Khalid she wanted, totally. His bed she wanted to share, his life she wanted to be a part of.
"I may become murderous," he murmured, before cursing himself for allowing the words to slip free.
Khalid watched Marty now in ways he hadn't allowed himself to before. The threat of another man coming into her life pricked at the darkness that brewed inside him. A sense of possessiveness, of dominance that he had sworn he would never feel again, roiled inside him like a beast struggling to break free.
He had fought too many years to stay the hell away from her. The fascination with her that had built inside him. It was a desire that ate at his soul.
He shouldn't allow himself to touch her. He should never tempt himself as he did now. To touch her would be to risk her, and he knew exactly the cost of that risk.
As he watched her, he realized not for the first time how incredibly fragile and delicate her small body was. It made him see how easily she could be taken, broken. And he had enemies who, though they had remained silent in the past ten years, would strike at her at the slightest opportunity. But even the knowledge of that couldn't still the hunger tearing through him or the desperation that thickened his cock and left his balls pounding with lust.
"I completely understand how such an offer could frighten you, Khalid." Her tone was as gentle as a Southern rainfall, and yet as cutting as ice. "After all, I do believe such things are against club rules, aren't they? The member himself chooses his third. Perhaps I should stick with a lover with a tad more possessiveness."
He almost laughed in surprise. The little wench had managed to turn this around on him and leave him scrambling to find his balance.
"Fear is not quite the emotion I would attribute to what I'm feeling at the moment." He let his gaze rake over her, remembering in exact detail how she had looked glistening beneath the sun, as she lay by the pool's edge.
He watched her flush and saw the innocence, despite the knowledge in her gray eyes. She was self-aware, independent, and, her father swore, willful. But she wasn't a woman who shared herself easily; he rather doubted she had shared herself at all. Yet here she stood, daring him to take her, challenging him with those quicksilver eyes of hers and that damned mocking smile.
They had been playing this game for ages, it seemed. The thrust and parry, the challenge and retreat had gone on so long that he had nearly given in more than once. Until he had learned that she was investigating him.
Did she know, he wondered, how he had missed the flirting, the teasing, the choice that had been taken from him when he'd learned he was a suspected enemy of his country?
There had been nights when he had thought of nothing more than touching her, than filling her eyes with knowledge rather than curiosity, with lust rather than innocence.
The nights he had nearly broken down, had prayed that his past was that, in the past, and that he could reach out for her.
It was that past that held him back. The knowledge of the horror and the blood that could so easily repeat itself. Yet still, he longed for her with a hunger that was nearly impossible to resist.
She had been built for touch, for pleasure. Her sweetly compact body, the full, high breasts, and the gentle curve of her hips were God's gift to any man who set eyes on her. She was beautiful in ways that other women could only hope to be.
From her button nose and pouty lips to her determined chin and stubborn expression, he could see the willful, independent little minx she was. But her eyes. Those eyes truly were the windows to her soul. If the look in them was any indication, then he knew she would burn him alive.
He let his gaze travel over the delicacy of her body once again. He wondered if her skin was as soft as it appeared, if her nipples tasted as sweet as they looked?
His entire body clenched at the thought, while his cock throbbed in heated anticipation. He could touch her, he thought. He could taste the sweetness of her and still pull back, he could still walk away.
He'd never intended to develop more with her than a very close friendship. A friendship that would allow him to share her with whichever lover she eventually chose. If she ever chose one. He'd be damned if he wasn't getting tired of waiting. Of wondering.
Excerpted from Guilty Pleasure by Lora Leigh. Copyright © 2017 Lora Leigh. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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