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Authors: Suzie Grant,Mind Moore

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BOOK: For the Sake of Sin
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What are you doing here so early?” she asked between kisses.

I could not wait until tonight.”

Then it is good news that my nine o’clock appointment called off for there would be two of you in my bed at once. I do not think you would like that so much.”

It would not take long to determine who the real man is, dulce uno.”

She chuckled. “How do you know it is a man?”

He withdrew and studied her face. “Then I stand corrected, and I must say I am incredibly intrigued.”

Ava winked at him and withdrew to toss her fan on the table. Of course, she’d jested but his widened gaze and surprised grin, indicated she’d stoked his imagination. And his desire.

Ava called out orders to her household and mounted the stairs. The opulence of the dual mahogany stairwell bespoke the riches to be found throughout the rest of the house. Expensive paintings adorned the adobe walls — many of them of her — naked. Marco had an eye for great art, and he loved to watch an artist stroke her every detail onto a piece of canvas.

Afterward, he would take her before the man could even pack the rest of his belongings and leave. He’d paid for all of this...the house, the belongings, the extravagant clothes and most of all...her. His most prized possession. And yet he allowed her to live alone.

Secretly she enjoyed the freedom, perhaps a little too much. Perhaps that was what kept her from finalizing the deed, her fear of being dependent on another man. After all, Marco never abused her. He thrilled her in bed and gave her everything she ever wanted, including freedom.

Many married women couldn’t boast of such a life. The life of a courtesan might seem horrifying to some but she knew differently. It gave a woman power. It gave her control. Ava chose when and whom. Not the other way around.

He came up behind her, his chin tucked into the hollow of her throat to kiss the flesh there. “You are ignoring me.”

Does that bother you?”

Yes,” he hissed and pushed her up against the wall. She gasped as his hands captured both breasts and yanked the front of her gown to reveal them to the warmth of his hands.

His breath tickled her ear. “You will take me here — in view of everyone?”

Yes. You are mine to take are you not?”


He thrust his lower body against her. “That damnable word. You know I detest it.”

Marco captured her mouth in a sweltering kiss. His tongue plunged inside and her heart thundered inside her chest. Surely he heard it too.

Lifting her skirts, Marco’s palms sought and found the prize between her legs.

But what he did not know was the moisture was not due to his presence. No, the slick readiness had come from the man she’d just left — a man named Stone — and the mystery surrounding him.

The very man she’d asked to kill her lover.


As soon as a beautiful woman entered a room full of men and the hounds bared their teeth, sniffing after the bitch in heat. Gas lights gave a golden hue to the adobe walls. The crush of bodies increased the temperature or perhaps it was the woman within the throng of men.

Gabriel had followed her.

He’d had known he wouldn’t like what he found.
A courtesan
. He should have guessed. A woman unprincipled enough to engage a hired gun to kill her lover could only be a courtesan. And yet, he couldn’t resist the lure of Sin. Now that he knew who and what she was, he found himself infatuated with her.

After his first meeting with her, he had sought her out and located her home. Watching. Waiting. The woman had simply taken his breath away. Her beauty was beyond all his imaginings and he’d become addicted to her. Obsessed. Why hadn’t he left well enough alone and moved on with his life as he’d intended to? Was it the plea in her voice? Or her enticing scent?

Either way, he could not resist.

To be surrounded by water but dying of thirst was a fate worse than death, and yet that is exactly how he felt. Close enough to touch her and yet still unreachable. The courtesan named Sin glided into the room full of guests and the throng of men parted like the Red Sea. Music from the band twinkled in the distance but very few danced. This wasn’t a traditional ball; instead it was an orgy of flesh, one man’s exhibit of his most prized possession.

And the trophy outshone every other courtesan there. She dazzled her audience and they played right into her hands. The dusky rose of her dress bore the sweetest resemblance to what he imagined the tips of her breasts would look like. Even a saint would forsake all his ideals for the sake of Sin. The spectators converged around her and closed in like sharks circling their prey.

Only she didn’t cower in fear. Oh, no. Her soft sultry chuckle indicated pleasure at the attention. Its huskiness incited something primal in him. He wanted to hear her voice next to his ear.

Gentlemen, please, give my lady some room and remember who she sleeps with this evening.” The dark Spaniard with the scarred cheekbone handed Sin a glass of champagne. “My lovely.”

Perhaps it’s my new perfume that is attracting so much attention.”

The Spaniard chuckled. “If you wish to call it that.”

Several guests chuckled with a salute. Did he plan to auction her off to the highest bidder? And was she aware of it? An intriguing pink color blossomed on her cheeks and it drew every man’s attention. A courtesan who still blushed. The irony.

Sin’s gaze swept the room and collided with his. Gabriel nodded and raised his glass to her. She paused and narrowed her eyes, tilting her head in the slightest way. She studied him. He set the empty glass on the server’s passing tray and headed for the entrance.

He’d had a belly full of Marco Santiago’s display of opulence, especially when it was bought with blood of other people. As self-appointed mayor of the small town called Iniquity, Santiago had made a small fortune from its residents. Word spread that he had ruled with an iron fist for more than a decade.

A breeze cooled the heat from Gabriel’s face as he exited the stuffy hacienda and waited for his horse to be brought around to him. Why had he come? To torture himself?

You left before we could be introduced,” the voice whispered from behind him. He didn’t turn, because he knew who it was. He would always remember that sultry tone.

For a reason.”

And why is that?” She eased around, facing him. He peered down into silver—grey eyes. Unusual for a Spanish girl.

From what I could see, you had your hands full with enough men.”

A slight grin tilted her lips. “I could never get enough of men,” she teased him though he didn’t return the smile. “Maybe I should introduce myself—”

I know who you are, Sin. There’s not a man in that room who doesn’t know exactly who you are and who you belong to.”

Sin frowned. Long, dark strands of hair escaped her coiffure to trickle down her neck. He tamped down the impulse to drag them away and kiss the tender flesh of her collar. “Then perhaps you can clear up the mystery as I have no idea who you are.”

He chuckled. “Is that what drew you all the way out here? The fact that there was a man in the room you hadn’t met before?”

She paused and scrutinized his face. “No,
mi cielo
. Your face is so arresting I couldn’t help but notice you. And then I feel as if...I have met you.”

His heart quickened at those words. She remembered him. Somehow, she sensed him, like an animal sensing its mate. It had been two weeks since their last encounter and somehow she’d known who he was.

Gabriel smiled. “Impossible. I would remember a face such as yours.”

And so would I, but I still I feel as if we have met.”

He reached for her hand. The first contact of skin sent a jolt of awareness through him and, like lightening, his heart thundered inside his chest. Her quick intake of breath indicated she’d felt it too.

Lowering his lips to her gloved hand, the heat of her palm seeped through the fabric and his only thought was to peel the silk away. He lingered over her hand far too long but she said nothing. Instead, she seemed as entranced as he.

When he straightened, their gazes collided each searching for answers within the other’s eyes. Her lips parted and her breath escaped. Wind fluttered the threads of hair across her ruby lips, and she brushed them away.

I fear I’ve lingered too long, and I hate to pull you away from your...guests. Good evening,
mi princesa

Good evening,” she whispered.

Gabriel turned on his heel and headed down the driveway.

Stone! Will I see you again?”

He stopped at her use of his name. He neither turned nor answered because she already knew the answer to that question. As did he.

There was little that could keep him from holding Sin in his arms...just once.




A breeze fluttered the sheer wisp of bed curtains through the opened doorway. Alone, Ava stretched deliciously against the soft, white sheets.

Marco had to leave town and would return in two days. Freedom danced through her body and giddiness forced a smile from her lips. Two days to do whatever she wanted. Delicious freedom.

Marco had diminished her clientele over the years to two. For some reason she’d refused to give them all up despite the fact Marco paid the most. She held onto those last two clients for simple rebellion. Independence. It was her secret weapon. But she’d cleared her schedule for the next two days. She wanted no distractions, no responsibilities.

Just freedom. Exhilaration. Her own little paradise.

Afternoon faded into a sweep of dusky colors across the sky and she turned onto her side, gazing out the window at the picturesque scene of the desert at dusk. Nothing stirred her blood quite as much as the West Texas landscape. Red jagged peaks speared into the brilliant blue skyline leaving her speechless. Its rugged beauty reminding her of the man named Stone.

Desert magic wrapped its sultry fingers around her and dampened her skin. She sighed and closed her eyes. An image of the mysterious cowboy reappeared and with it a tingle of sensation traveled the length of her body. She shivered despite the desert heat.

A noise clattered from outside the archway leading to the courtyard. Ava bolted upright. Her ears strained to detect any sound. The courtyard fountain’s trickle whispered through the door. Sliding through the sheer panels of fabric, Ava slipped on her slippers and clasped her housecoat to her chest before sliding it over her sleeveless camisole.

She crept out the adobe archway, the gurgle of the fountain greeting her. Brilliant roses climbed the walls, a splash of color in an otherwise neutral surrounding. Her heart pounded in an increasing rhythm as awareness doused her in cold chills. Someone was watching her.

Who’s there?” She searched the shadowed alcoves, but nothing moved. Unease infused her with uncertainty. “Answer me, who’s there?”

Ava hovered close to the door, and then he separated himself from the shadows. Long, tall and wrapped in mystery. “Mr. Stone. Do you add spying to your list of vices?”


Curiosity drew her closer until his features below the wide brim of his hat came into focus. “Why are you here?” she whispered.

I don’t know.”

His deep tone flooded her every sense and chased all reason away. Whatever his purpose, she no longer cared. All that mattered was that he was here, and something they could not name drew them together. “I am glad you came.”

Are you?”


He circled her in slow strides, his gaze never wavering. A sense of being stalked entered her. He smiled, a soft lift of the corner of his mouth. Dangerous. “You knew I would come. It’s the reason you sent him away.”

Ava lifted her chin. “Perhaps.”

He stopped midstride. “I like it when you say that word,” he whispered.

Stunned silence followed his statement. Confusion furrowed her brows. Surely, he couldn’t have known Marco said the exact opposite of those very words. “Call me Gabriel.”

Gabriel,” she said, testing his name. It slid across her tongue as if it’d always belonged there.

Yes, I heard him say he doesn’t like it when you say that.”

Surprise lifted her brows. “H-how?”

He crossed the courtyard in two strides until he stood directly before her. Nose to nose. Chest to chest. And yet, their bodies did not touch.

I refuse to take another case where I don’t know every detail.”

You refused to take on the case, if I remember correctly.”

He studied her. His eyes scanned her features then down her neck and hovered over her body. Her nipples tightened in response to his attention. “I may have changed my mind.”


He circled her once again, his eyes straying to every inch of her flesh as an erotic thrill shot through her. So close and yet still so far.

You failed to mention you were his lover.”

BOOK: For the Sake of Sin
3.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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