Authors: Lili Valente
Dirty Twisted Love
By Lili Valente
ll Rights Reserved
Filthy Wicked Games
© 2015 Lili Valente
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. This erotic romance is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners. This e-book is licensed for your personal use only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with, especially if you enjoy hot, sexy, emotional novels featuring Dominant alpha males. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work. Cover design by Bootstrap Designs. Editorial services provided by Leone Editorial.
: This book is rough and raw, sick and twisted, and hot enough to set your panties on fire. Read with caution (and spare panties).
through hell before, but she’s never met anyone as wickedly sexy as the man her ex has become. Clay is one twisted bastard. The only thing more twisted is the way her body ignites every time they touch.
he can’t say no
e won’t say yes
nd both of
them are determined to be declared the victor in the filthy, wicked game they play.
ut sometimes even the
sexiest games turn deadly, leaving innocent lives caught in the crossfire…
ilthy Wicked Games
is the second installment in the Dirty Twisted Love romance series. It is a spin off of the Bought By the Billionaire series, but can be read as a standalone romance.
This is a SERIAL story, with a CLIFFHANGER ending.
If you don’t like being teased, steer clear.* *
Dedicated to R. Leone who never gives it to me gently.
Six years ago
t was another hot
, humid night in the hell that was Virginia in July. The muggy evening air had transformed Harley’s blowout into a frizzy tangle, the sea breeze held the hint of dead fish swept onshore by last night’s summer storm, and her legs ached from a two-mile hike along the coast with yet another man who was unhealthily obsessed with exercise.
But even sticky, sore, and fish-scented, Harley couldn’t remember the last time she’d enjoyed a date this much. She felt like a normal girl on a walk with a normal guy—no darkness or head games involved.
Because normal girls always make it their mission in life to seduce their boyfriend’s best friend.
“What’s so funny?” Clay’s hand came to rest at the small of her back, guiding her to the side of the trail as a couple on a tandem bike raced toward them, taking up more than their fair share of the sandy strip of pavement.
“You,” she lied, staying close after the couple had zipped past. This time, Clay didn’t move away. He was weakening, weakening, more with every passing day. “Sleepwalking naked when you were ten years old is really your deepest, darkest secret? The
embarrassing thing you’ve done in your entire life?”
“It is.” He shoved his hands into the pockets of the cargo shorts that rode low on his hips, stretching the fabric tight, emphasizing the delicious curve of his ass.
Damn, but that thickly muscled ass was a thing of beauty.
She couldn’t help sneaking peeks at it when he wasn’t looking, even though she knew it wasn’t time to take her seduction to the next level. Luring him into her bed certainly wasn’t going to be any hardship. She wouldn’t have to grit her teeth and pretend to enjoy herself the way she did with Jackson. She already knew that she and Clay would be combustible together.
All she had to do was break through the wall he’d built to keep himself from falling for his best friend’s girl.
“I was traumatized for years,” he continued. “I set up booby traps between my bed and the door so I would trip over something and wake up before I could strip down and make it out of my room.”
“Are you laughing at my pain?” He shot a mock glare her way.
“I am,” she said, grinning. “And I don’t feel even a little bit bad about it.”
Clay laughed that deep rumble that reminded her of the crunch of tires on gravel, one of her favorite sounds when she was a little girl. For a moment, she was tempted to tell him that. To tell him how she would order her driver to roll down the windows every morning on the way to school, no matter how cold the winter air, so that she could hear the tires munching the rocks on the long drive down to the road.
But she couldn’t tell Clay that particular truth. To him, she was Harley Garrett, struggling cocktail waitress, not Harley Mason, artist and heiress, and that was how things had to stay, no matter how much she would like to let down her guard. She’d never been tempted like this before, but something about Clay made her want to forget the darkness that had brought her here, to forget that the sun rose with the ruins of our past mistakes glued to the horizon casting inescapable shadows.
She blinked the weak thought away. If she wasn’t careful, she would be as soft and useless as her sister by the end of the summer. “Seriously, though, you shouldn’t be embarrassed of anything that happened when you were a kid. I bet you were an adorable naked sleepwalker.”
“My big sister and everyone at her sweet sixteen birthday party would probably disagree,” he said, grinning as he ran a hand through his closely shorn hair, the gesture so effortlessly sexy it made Harley feel flushed all over. “But I appreciate the get out of shame free card.”
“Shame is a wasted emotion,” she murmured, still distracted by the way he affected her, without even seeming to try.
“I agree.” His hand returned to the small of her back, guiding her to the left as the trail split in two, setting her blood to pumping faster. “Remorse can be good if it inspires a change for the better, but shame poisons everything it touches.”
She glanced up at him, heart lurching as their gazes connected. With his hair glowing gold in the setting sun and his blue eyes glittering with a mixture of intelligence and compassion that made him seem so much older than twenty-six, there were times when he literally took her breath away.
And she had no earthly idea why.
Harley had dated dozens of beautiful people and was currently sleeping with a marine whose body put an action hero’s to shame, but none of them measured up to this golden man who shone from the inside out. She had never felt so moved, so out of control, or so disinclined to care if Clay Hart was breaking through her defenses, getting close to the walled city inside of her where no man had ever set foot.
Hell, she didn’t spend much time in there herself. She preferred to ignore the last bastion of goodness left inside of her, where Innocence, Hope, and Integrity huddled behind crumbling walls, wondering when it would be their turn to be crushed beneath the weight of her sins.
“What are you thinking?” Clay’s fingers curled lightly into her hip, making her acutely aware of how much she wanted him to touch her somewhere else,
else. She wanted his light burning through the darkness, making her feel human again, making her feel something that wasn’t ugly or angry or sad.
“I don’t know.” She fought the urge to lean into him and wrap her arms tight around his waist.
It was too soon. He was close to breaking, but he still needed more time. And he had to be the one to make the first move—or at least think that he had—for her plan to work.
But God, she wanted to touch him so badly. She wanted his taste in her mouth and his strength filling her up and his warm hands trailing over her skin, banishing the cold that seemed to follow her no matter what the season.
“Liar,” he whispered, setting her heart to racing again. “Tell me.”
“I’ve been listening to a song over and over again on the way to work,” she said, the words tumbling out without her permission. “There’s this one line about innocence, how it dies howling
” She laughed, a soft, fearful sound that threatened to give her secrets away. “I think about it all the time. And I don’t know why.”
Just like I don’t know why I can’t stop thinking about you.
Dreaming about you.
Waking up in the night reaching for you and wanting to cry when it’s Jackson there instead.
Clay leaned down, the light in his eyes fading as he bent his head closer to hers. “I know something’s wrong, Harley. I know that something, or someone, is scaring you. I don’t want to push, but if you want to talk, I’ll listen and do whatever I can to help.”
She swallowed hard. He was so smart, so perceptive. She had only dropped the tiniest of hints about Jackson’s “abuse,” not wanting to play her hand too soon, but Clay had already picked up on them.
He was making her job so easy. She should be thrilled.
Everything was ticking along right on schedule. Clay was so close to giving in to the chemistry that crackled in the air between them. Before the summer was over, she would convince him that his best friend was a monster who beat and terrorized her. And then Clay would have permission to stop thinking with his honorable heart and start thinking with his dick, like every other man on earth, and he would be putty in her hands.
He was practically conning himself, but for some reason, the worry in his eyes didn’t make her want to rush home and break out the champagne. It made her want to cry, to press her face against his chest and confess all the dirty secrets she was keeping.
She had never believed in religion or divine forgiveness, but she believed in Clay. If someone so good could care about her, forgive her, then maybe she wasn’t beyond redemption after all.
“Don’t cry,” he whispered, his big hand coming to cup her cheek. “I can’t stand to see you cry.”
She blinked away her tears, willing herself to get a fucking grip. This wasn’t the time for the big breakdown. She had to stick to the plan and make sure she had bruises to back up her claims before she pulled the trigger on phase two.
“It’s nothing.” She stepped back, putting some much-needed distance between them. “I’ve just been working too much, pulling too many late nights in a row.” She shrugged, the ghost of a smile flickering across her face before it vanished, evaporating into the muggy air. “Makes me a little morbid, I guess.”
“Are you sure that’s all?” he pressed. “You can tell me anything, Harley. I hope you know that. I’m not the kind of person who runs when things get hard.”
“I know,” she said because she did.
She’d only met Clay a month ago, but he’d already proven that he was braver than any man she’d ever known. He was a decorated marine, who had been awarded the Purple Heart when he was wounded saving another soldier’s life, but it wasn’t his military prowess that impressed her. It was the way he knew himself, inside and out. Only a person who had looked long and hard at the deepest, darkest parts of his own soul could know his heart that well.
Most mornings, Harley was terrified of her own reflection. She would never have Clay’s courage or even Jackson’s. At least Jackson knew what he wanted, even if he was too stupid to see that she hated every minute she spent pretending to enjoy his bossy bullshit in the bedroom.
Harley had no idea what she wanted, not really.
She was doing her best to take revenge against the man who had ruined her mother because she had been taught to ruthlessly and efficiently punish her enemies. It was one of the ways she prepared herself to take her place as head of the Mason family. Her sister Hannah was too weak, too sweet, and too forgiving to fill their father’s shoes. A rough, cruel world required a cold, heartless captain at the helm. Harley was that captain and she had never hesitated to make the sacrifices necessary to ensure that she remained at the top of the food chain.
But maybe there was more to life than dominance and control.
Maybe there was something to be said for kindness, for gentleness, for…love.
Her heart rustled uncomfortably in her chest.
She knew what it felt like—she loved her sister and her mother, too, even if it had been years since Emma Mason had looked at her with anything but pain and regret in her eyes—but Harley had never expected to feel that particular emotion for a man. Men were to be used for pleasure, gain, or influence and discarded when they were no longer useful. Men were easily led, but not so easily ruled and should never be trusted with important, breakable things like hearts or souls, hopes or dreams.
Harley didn’t even love her own father. She admired him, aspired to be like him, wanted to please him, but she didn’t love him. She’d realized at a young age that Stewart would never love her back and even as a child Harley had been too practical to waste her time or energy on lost causes.
But Clay wasn’t a lost cause, and when she was with him, she could almost believe that she wasn’t either.
She tilted her head back, the mixture of worry, hope, and confusion in his expression assuring her it was time to readjust her plans. Clay was already in the palm of her hand. She had never expected to fall in love with him, but now that she had, it was easy to see the same emotion reflected in his deep blue eyes. He loved her, he truly did, and for once, the thought of a man loving her didn’t make her want to run away.
“I’m in love with someone,” she said, her voice trembling with very real emotion. “But I’ll never be able to be with him.”
“Why?” Clay asked, his voice soft.
“Because Jackson is never going to let me go. At least not in one piece,” she whispered, the flash of recognition in Clay’s eyes assuring her she wasn’t jumping the gun.
He had been expecting to hear something like this. Now all she had to do was give him the last piece of the puzzle and he would be hers.
She stepped closer, until his warmth caressed the front of her body and his evergreen and soap smell filled her head. “Especially not if I tell him that it… That it’s you.”
Pain and relief flashed across Clay’s features. “Jesus, Harley.”
“I’m sorry.” She pressed her lips together, pretending she didn’t understand that he was already in too deep to get away from her now. “I know you can’t possibly feel the same way. I know you and Jackson have been friends for forever, but I can’t—”
“Stop.” Clay’s arms went around her waist, pulling her against him, sending an electric shock of awareness dancing across her skin.
She had never been this close to him and it was every bit as delicious as she’d imagined it would be. Her nipples pulled tight inside her bra, aching to be skin to skin with this man, to know what it was like to make love to someone who was so completely beautiful, inside and out.
“I do feel the same way,” he said, his voice rough with emotion. “I’ve been trying to deny it, but you’re all I think about, all I dream about. And every time we say goodbye, I’m fucking miserable until I see you again.”
“Me too,” she said, lips tingling as she tilted her head back. “I want to kiss you so badly it hurts.”
“I’ll never hurt you,” Clay said, bending his head closer to hers. “And I won’t let him hurt you, either. I won’t let anyone hurt you ever again.”
Their lips met and fireworks exploded behind Harley’s eyes. Her head spun and her cells ignited with an inferno of need that made every other lustful moment of her life pale in comparison. His arms tightened around her, lifting her off the ground as his tongue swept through her mouth, stroking against hers.
By the time his hands drifted down to her bottom, molding her flesh in his palms as their kiss grew wild, almost frantic, she knew she wouldn’t be going home alone. By the time he slammed the door to her apartment behind him and rolled her beneath him on the carpet just inside the door—they were both too desperate for each other to make it to the bedroom—she knew she would never feel this way about another man.