Sinful pleasure and forbidden desire rule in the final part of #1 bestselling author Lora Leigh's novel Only Pleasure, previously published in trade paperback and now exclusively in ebook format.
When Chase opens Kia up to a whole new world of lust and pleasure, her world can never be the same again. But when danger looms closer and Kia's life is threatened, Chase will stop at nothing to keep his lovely Kia safe...and burning with desire in his arms forever...
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
Only Pleasure: Part Three
By Lora Leigh
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Lora Leigh
All rights reserved.
Chase escorted Kia into the lobby of her apartment building, his hand riding low on her back as they moved to the elevator.
He was aware of that glimmer of amusement and confusion that had filled her eyes at breakfast, that resisted his determination to get her to pack her bags and move in with him.
He didn't like it. Realizing she didn't trust him bothered him. He could feel the sexual tension building inside him, as she continued to defy him on a level he hadn't known existed.
He wanted her in his bed. His bed. He wanted her in the home he had been building for years, close to his brother, close to family. Where she would be safe. Where he could try to beat the odds and never lose her as he had lost his parents, as he had nearly lost his brother.
She didn't trust him enough to move in with him.
Damn her. He had no intention of walking away from her now and she should know it. At this rate, he would be the one moving in with her, and though he liked her apartment fine, something screamed out at him that she liked his a hell of a lot better.
"You know you're being stubborn just for the sake of being stubborn," he told her as the elevator made its ascent.
"I'm certain that's what you believe, Chase," she told him calmly. Her tone had remained calm through every argument he had presented her with.
"Kia, if you don't stop using that patronizing little tone with me, we're going to have problems here," he told her, staring down at her, wishing he could be angry with her.
A part of him was amazed at how easily she had dealt with first his male outrage, and then his brooding silence through breakfast, and finally his arguments on the drive to her apartment.
"I haven't begun patronizing you yet," she pointed out, a hint of a smile curving her lips. "I can begin early if you like. I was waiting until you began pouting for that one."
"I do not pout."
"Of course you don't, Chase." Now that was patronizing.
He grunted at the amusement in her gaze. "It's going to be damned inconvenient moving my stuff into your place," he informed her.
"You haven't received an invitation," she pointed out.
"I haven't received a refusal either," he growled. "And if I think I'm going to hear one, you may not be able to speak for a very long time, Kia."
"You'll gag me?" Her brow arched.
"The idea has its merits, but I thought more along the lines of something more pleasurable."
The elevator doors slid open. Chase kept his hand at her back, tensing as they started down the hall.
Something was off. He could feel it. He stared around the narrow hallway, the closed doors leading to her corner apartment.
The security cameras followed their progress, and for a moment, he couldn't pinpoint exactly what bothered him. It took precious seconds before his hand tightened on her hip and he pulled her to a stop just before reaching her door.
"Stop." The command was low, his tone intense enough that even he nearly winced.
Kia flinched and stared up at him before glancing around the hallway.
"Kia, your door is open."
Chase stared at the display on the security pad by her door. It was active, and appeared normal. He saw the slightest crack at the joint. The door hadn't closed firmly.
"It should be closed." Her voice was whisper soft, filled with trepidation, as he moved her back quickly. "I always check the door, Chase."
He knew that. Kia was a grown woman, well aware of the dangers of leaving doors open, of not watching out for herself.
He continued to pull her back until they reached a turn in the hall that led to the other side of the building. With the protection of the wall between them and her apartment door he jerked his cell phone from his hip and hit the speed dial.
"Hey, bro, I'm leaving Ian's. Where are you?" Chase heard something in his brother's voice, some knowledge, a sense of the bond they had once shared as boys.
"Kia's apartment. Door's open, security's been jacked. I'm calling Detective Allen but I need you here."
"It's going to take me at least twenty," Cameron informed him briskly, obviously moving at a fast pace. "Are you secure?"
"As possible," he grunted. "I want to watch the door, but the only cover we have is the bend in the hall. I doubt that whoever got in is still there, but I want this covered, and I want Allen checking for prints."
Carl Allen, a detective who had also been given membership into the club years before, was the only one Chase trusted at this point. After the fiasco that summer, Moriah's death and Carl's efforts to cover the fact that Chase had fired the death-dealing bullet, Chase knew he could trust him to cover this as well.
"Get him there." A car door slammed at Cameron's end. "Ian's with me, and I'm putting a call in to Khalid. They share ownership of the building and can make certain everything goes smooth for Allen as well as Kia if there's any trouble. Stay in place, we'll be right there."
"Twenty isn't 'right there,' brother," Chase grunted. "Allen will be here in less. I'll let his men enter before assessing the damage. Get your ass here, though. I don't know yet what we're looking at."
He cut the call off, then hit Detective Allen's number.
"Allen here." The detective answered on the first ring.
"It's Falladay. I need you at Kia Rutherford's apartment." He gave the detective the name and address of the building. "Bring some men with you. Someone's tampered with the security and left her door open."
"Did you enter?"
"I'm not stupid," he snapped back. "She was mugged a week ago, but the locks and key code were changed that night. Something's not right here, Carl."
"We're headed your way," Carl told him. "You caught me at the office. I have a team coming in. We'll be there in about five minutes. Stay away from the door and wait where you are."
"We're on her floor at the corner of the hall, to the left of the elevators."
"Got it. In five."
Chase disconnected the call before glancing down at Kia's pale face. She was staring back at him, the same knowledge in her eyes that he felt burrowing through his brain.
"It wasn't a mugging, was it?" she whispered past lips that had gone nearly as pale as her face.
"We don't know that yet, Kia."
"They took my purse." She shook her head. "I didn't think. I should have had the locks changed immediately."
"Ian took care of it," he said. "The pass code to your security was changed as well as your locks the night it happened. Whoever did this did it after they were changed."
"But how?" She stared up at him, fear in her eyes now.
That fear enraged him. It had him wrapping his arms around her, pulling her close, and wishing he'd brought a weapon with him.
He would be better prepared in the future, he promised himself. He should have learned his lesson last summer. He had trusted Moriah and cared for her, and she had nearly killed Cameron and Jaci.
"I don't know how, baby." He held her tight.
"Why would anyone want to hurt me?"
Drew. Chase knew of only one person who would want to hurt her, who had any reason to be angry at her.
Kia tried to force back the shudders that worked through her body as she stared up at Chase's face. His expression was pure, murderous savagery. She had never seen anything so dark, so vengeful, on anyone's face.
"Chase, I haven't done anything to make anyone want to hurt me."
"Drew." The word passed his lips like a curse.
She shook her head. "Drew wouldn't do this."
"He hit you before, Kia. He nearly raped you before you threw him out. Don't tell me he wouldn't do this." Fury lined his expression, filled his eyes.
"Chase, he doesn't have this in him." She swallowed tightly, fear filling her. "To hit, yes. To be the asshole of the decade, certainly. But Drew wouldn't kill."
"Don't defend him to me." His hand rested on the back of her neck as he held her in place. "Damn you, Kia. He'd destroy you if he had the chance and you stand here defending him to me?"
"I'm not defending him." She fought to keep back tears. "I'm trying to keep you from making a horrible mistake, Chase. There's murder in your eyes, and it's directed to the wrong person. Drew wouldn't try to harm me like this. He'd confront me, he'd hit me, he'd humiliate me. But he wouldn't try to kill me."
And whoever had hit her a few nights before had attempted to do much more damage than simply stealing her purse, or hurting her. She could feel it. The knowledge of it was sinking into her bones.
Chase's lips thinned as he stared down at her.
"If I find out it was him, he'll pay for it, Kia."
"As long as you wait on the proof." She wouldn't ask for more; she knew it would do no good.
The darkness she glimpsed inside Chase went deeper than just sex. It went far deeper than his sensuality. It was at the core of him, and she knew on an instinctive level that it would never stay silent should anything or anyone Chase claimed be threatened.
She laid her head against his chest, accepting that about him. She had to accept him as he was; she always had. She had always known there were things about Chase that would never be comfortable.
The sound of the elevator sliding to a stop had her flinching at the sudden sound. Chase held her close to his side as she tried to pull away. He peered around the bend in the hall as Detective Allen and several officers stepped out.
"Carl." He wrapped his arm around Kia's waist and drew her with him as the short, hard-eyed detective stepped into the elegant hall. "Her apartment's the last one on the right, corner apartment." Chase nodded to the door.
"Jimmy, get started." Carl motioned the uniformed officer behind him toward the door. "I want prints first. Do a thorough sweep."
The dark-haired officer nodded quickly before he tightened his grip on the case he carried and headed for the door.
"Matt, check that security pad when he's done," Carl ordered another man. "I want to know how they got in."
"Key code and locks were changed on that door the night Kia was mugged outside the building," Chase informed him. "She's been with me ever since."
Carl Allen's brown eyes turned to her. He was a little portly, his expression a bit hangdog. His eyes were hard, but beneath that hardness, Kia convinced herself, she glimpsed compassion.
He had taken her statement in the hospital before Chase had taken her home with him the night of the attack.
"You doing okay, Ms. Rutherford?" That hint of compassion slipped into his voice. Maybe she hadn't imagined it.
She nodded slowly, as Chase pulled her more firmly to his side.
"I'm fine, thank you, Detective."
He nodded and turned back to Chase. "Do we have a situation here?"
Chase shook his head. "Not that I'm aware of, Carl. I have no idea what the hell is going on here."
Carl tugged at the waistband of his slacks before pushing his fingers through his thinning hair and glancing back at the door. "Okay then, let's go see what we have. Don't touch anything, don't get in the way."
They moved to the apartment as the officers moved back, storing the prints they had taken from the security pad and the door. As they neared, Carl nodded to one of the men, and he pushed the door open slowly.
Kia stepped inside behind them. Her heart expanded in her chest, nearly blocking her ability to breath. Complete horror filled every cell of her body as she stared at the entry, living room, and open kitchen.
It was destroyed. The flat-screen television on the wall had been smashed, her couch slashed until it was less than ribbons of stuffing and upholstery. Red paint streaked the walls and floor; at least, it smelled like paint, but it looked like blood. And the words die bitch were spelled out on the wall of windows that led to her balcony.
She was vaguely aware of Chase cursing at her side. All she could feel was the complete and utter horror racing through her.
DIE BITCH. In big letters, like blood, covering the windows. Everything was trashed. There was nothing salvageable.
"Kia, let me get you out of here." Chase's arm tightened around her as she tried to move through the rest of the house.
She shook her head and moved slowly through the rooms.
Her bedroom door was open, and she could already see the destruction there. Once she entered the room, she saw it was worse.
Her clothes were destroyed. The walk-in closet was filled with ripped and shredded cloth. Shoes were cut apart, boots sliced and purses ripped. Lingerie spilled from dresser drawers along with gowns and silken robes and more casual clothing. All ripped and torn, destroyed.
Her jewelry box was open. Gold chains were broken. On the dresser it appeared as though the rings themselves had been beaten with a hammer. Gems were in fragments, the bands curled.
Everything she had owned was gone. And this time, on the wall over her bed, the word WHORE was emblazoned in red.
She moved into the bathroom. The smell of perfumes and makeup still strong. Destroyed. It was all destroyed. Five years of her life shredded and ground to dust.
She was barely aware of the tears that fell from her eyes as she glimpsed the little teddy bear that had been tossed in the tub, shredded. She had brought it from home. She'd had it since she was a baby. The first gift her father had bought her.
She shook her head as she stared at that pathetic little bear. "Who would want to do this to me?" she whispered, her lips numb, shock seeping into her as she stared up at Chase. "Who would want to? Drew couldn't, he wouldn't do this."
Chase grimaced. His eyes were like ice, his expression savage. "I don't know, baby, but I'll find out." He pulled her against him, holding her close to the warmth of his body. "I promise I'll find out."
She could barely feel his warmth now. She felt frozen, inside and out, felt as though something vital had been stripped out of her.
"I'm getting you out of here." He pulled her from the bathroom, keeping her against him, moving her quickly through the apartment. "I'll get someone in here once the police are finished, and we'll get it cleaned up."
She shook her head.
"Don't argue with me." He turned to her, gripping her arms, his stare fierce, his expression so determined now that she knew better than to argue. "You can't stay here, Kia. And I'll be damned if you'll stay anywhere else but with me. Do you understand me?"
She stared up at him helplessly. She didn't want to be anywhere else. Right now, she knew anywhere else would be terrifying.
She nodded slowly. She couldn't argue with him; she didn't want to argue with him. She wanted to go home with him, hide in his arms, and pretend this hadn't happened until she could get a handle on the fear that sparked inside her.
"Let's go. Cam's downstairs with Ian and Khalid checking the security tapes. With any luck, we'll get the bastard."
* * *
There was no luck that day.
Kia sat on a small upholstered bench in the hallway, several other residents of the apartment building looking on curiously as uniformed officers moved from the elevator to the apartment and back, packing samples taken from it. Carl Allen stood with Chase, Cameron, Ian, and Khalid in front of her.
The security tapes were missing, Cameron reported. A full three hours' worth of auto-saved discs were missing from the security office where the equipment was held.
"Check Drew Stanton's whereabouts first," Chase was telling the detective. "He's her ex-husband and he's one of Rutherford's security experts. He maintains and installs all their security software for their offices and their warehouses."
There was no point in arguing further with Chase. A small part of Kia admitted she was afraid that perhaps Drew had been angry enough to do this. She hadn't seen it, though. Drew had a pattern to his anger, and he hadn't shown an escalation into rage.
Detective Allen had his own electronics investigator in there now, she heard him report. And still, she couldn't figure out why this has happened.
"Kia? Little one?" Khalid knelt in front of her as Chase and Cameron talked, only a few feet away from her. "You should let Chase take you back to the apartment. Get drunk. Get mad."
He touched her hands where they lay folded in her lap.
"My limo is just outside," he told her. "Fully stocked. You can drink until you get there."
She stared into his black eyes and sniffed at the tears that began to run down her face again.
His expression creased painfully. Reaching into his suit jacket he pulled free a handkerchief and wiped her eyes gently.
"Ah, little one, I would make this all better if I could." His eyes were filled with anger.
Kia shook her head before taking the handkerchief he pressed into her fingers.
"I'm okay." She cleared her throat, aware of Chase watching her now, concern heavy in his face. "I'll be okay."
Excerpted from Only Pleasure: Part Three by Lora Leigh. Copyright © 2016 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Part 3 of book 10 of The Bound Hearts series. Surprise! PLOT TWIST! I love The Bound Hearts series! Men and women with strong characters, amazing friendships, love, family and the respect among them that is awe inspiring. The sex is off-the-charts scorching! Chase's self discovery is emotional. Fabulous read! I can't wait for the next book in this fantastic series.
This is the conclusion of Chase and Kia's story and it is fantastic. Whether you read this book all at once or in the three parts (definitely read in order) you get the same amazing story that starts with some amazingly sizzling sex and ends with a long lasting love between Chase and Kia. This entire story if filled with mystery, danger, and some seriously sizzling sex. Don't miss it!
And the mighty have fallen again! Great conclusion to the story. Chase finally realizes he won't ever be able to walk away from Kia and I loved how protective he was over her when danger was lurking. Once again, seeing all the previous players from other books in the series makes me want to read their books as well. I've only read Cameron and Chase's but I've really enjoyed this dynamic of people and want to know how they all met and became who they are. Really good series and I highly recommend it! ARC provided by NetGalley.