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Authors: Suzie Grant,Mind Moore

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BOOK: For the Sake of Sin
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She giggled and scooted to the edge. “Let me get some clothes on.”

Gabriel pulled her up to squeeze her tightly to his chest. “No, let’s stay just like this.”

What?” She laughed. “We can’t! Someone will see us.”

He grinned. “Who cares?” Kissing her mouth, Gabriel nuzzled her neck. “Come on, live a little dangerously. It’ll be fun.”

How could she resist such boyish charm? “All right. You win.”

He gave a shout of joy and swung her around in his arms. When he set her feet on the floor she raced from the room with him hot on her tail, laughing like children. They made it to the kitchen without running into anyone, grabbed a plate of fruit, and raced back to the bedroom. Entering, Ava slammed the door shut, giggling and breathing heavily from their run.

Realization struck her like a fist to the gut, she’d been dead as well. All these years, she’d simply survived each day. For the first time since her childhood, Ava smiled with genuine joy, rejuvenated and carefree.

She clasped Gabriel’s hands after he deposited the plate of fruit onto the bed and drew him closer. “I guess I need to thank you as well.”

For what?”

For bringing me back to life.”

And he captured her mouth in a fierce kiss, backing her into the wall. “Then let me make you come alive once more,
mi princesa




Gabriel woke her once more with kisses down her back and Ava smiled. Rolling over, she smiled as he took up the kisses across her chest. She wrapped her arms around his neck and sighed. “That’s a wonderful way to start the day.”

I’ll say.” He smiled. “It’s hard to resist such a beautiful woman who smiles in her sleep.”

Her gaze widened. “Was I smiling?”

He nodded. “Oh, yes, and I want to know what you were dreaming about.”

Sunlight slanted across the floor and speared the side of his face, casting a golden glow across his tousled, dark brown hair. “Very likely it was last night.”

Care for a repeat?”

Perhaps,” she whispered and drew him atop her.

She captured his mouth in a scorching kiss. His large hands clasped her hips and flipped her over onto her knees. She gasped at the sudden change of position and then moaned as the head of his cock swept along her dampened cleft. He eased his body inside, leaned down and bit one shoulder gently. Ava arched as delicious heat snaked through her veins. The man simply amazed her. He set a slow pace, a driving, but unhurried motion that drew her across a sensual torture rack. Blinding hot desire shuttered her lids in ecstasy. She tossed her head back and his lips coasted along her jaw line to her mouth. Turning, their lips melded, sealing all sound.

His deft fingers crept around her hips and between her thighs and toyed with her soft button. She bucked in response and moaned. He slid forward again in an agonizing measured tempo. His growl created shivers down her back. He was losing control. Ava lowered her chest to the bed and spread her hands to clutch at the sheets so that her rear arched in a sensual slope. Gabriel reared up, seized her hips in his fierce grip and hammered inside her.

She gasped and panted as raw lust took over. In seconds brilliant lights burst behind her eyelids as tiny cries ensued from her mouth. Her sheath tightened and convulsed around him, sending him over the edge as well. Together they trembled and strained as their climax shook them to the core. Together they collapsed to the bed.

They lay in silence, their harsh breath mingling. Finally, he moved to her side. “Are you all right? I didn’t mean to hurt you if I did. That was pretty powerful.”

She chuckled. No man had ever cared whether he’d hurt her or not, during sex. Most just rolled over and went to sleep. His compassion was a charming characteristic she’d never encountered before. It endeared him to her even more.

She smiled and rolled onto her side. The idea of living the rest of her life in his arms flitted through her mind for a second.
A simple, unrealistic dream.
She must never forget the reason they were both here.

He was a retired assassin.

She was a murdering courtesan. Or at least she would be once she killed Marco. Setting her course years ago had eliminated any chance of a happily-ever-after. Only the slightest pang of regret slithered its way inside.

The slow draw of his fingers down her side and then back up once again lulled her to sleep. “Are you sure you want to go through with this?”

She stirred at his voice. His intense gaze studied her. “You mean killing Marco?”

He nodded.

Ava sighed and drew the sheet up to her chest. “Yes, I haven’t changed my mind. Why?”

Gabriel leaned close and kissed her shoulder. “It’ll change who you are, Ava. Do you realize that?”

I don’t care.” She scooted to the edge of the bed and adorned her housecoat to cover her nakedness. “I can’t let him live! It’s only a matter of time before he does to someone else what he did to my
. Don’t you understand? Don’t you think if I could be assured that he would never kill anyone again, that I would never risk my life this way? But he will kill again. I must kill him before he does.”

An ache, a memory surfaced and a need to make things right drove her. For the last decade or more, Ava had planned her life. And things were working in her favor. She refused to let Marco go free. She would die making sure no one else ever had to endure the same pain and loneliness as she had.

My father worked for him for years. But Papa tried to quit. He rushed home to pack us up, but we didn’t leave fast enough.”

Tears burned her eyes and spilled down her cheeks. “I was the youngest. My sister shoved me into a wicker basket when Marco came to find my father. I was forced to watch his men slaughter my father and mother like animals and rape my sister before my very eyes. She was ten and she leaned against the basket to help hide me. I saw everything. As she died, she wrapped her fingers through the wicker to touch mine.” She choked on the words. “It was her way to say goodbye.”

Ava sobbed into her hands and drew her legs up as pain wracked her. Gabriel’s arms wrapped around her and drew her onto his lap. He held her as she cried and for the first time since the death of her mother, she allowed someone to comfort her. She reveled in it.

She missed her parents and sister so much. Nothing could ever heal the wound Marco had dealt her, and nothing short of his death would ease the pain. She would do everything in her power to make sure he died as brutal a death as they had, even if it meant sleeping with the enemy.

Gabriel shushed her until she quieted and when she awoke next, she realized he was gone. Disappointment tore the center of her heart, right down its center as brilliant sunlight cast the truth around her. Gabriel had gone to kill Marco, and she would likely never get the chance to see him again.


Marco entered the courtyard and strode to Ava. As beautiful as ever, she rose from the stone bench like an angel cast amongst the garden of Eden. She smiled at him and straightened her white skirts around her legs. “Did you have a good trip?”

Of course.” He lifted her face for a kiss and asked, “how was your time off, my sweet. Did you miss me?”

She chuckled. “Of course.”

His hands tightened and he forced himself to ease his hold. She sensed his mood for her eyes widened. “I have heard you enjoyed yourself immensely in my absence.”

She stiffened in his arms. “I did as a matter of fact, as I always do.”

He leaned down into her face. “Who is he? He isn’t one of your regulars. I do not know this man.” He shook her. “Who is he?”

Ava yanked from his embrace, frustration furrowed her brow. “My clients are none of your concern, Marco. The last time I checked we were not married and therefore you do not own me.”

He seized her again, clasping her to his chest, his hand pointing to their surroundings. “You forget yourself, my love. All of this that you is mine. This courtyard is mine.” He moved with her to the archway and they entered the bedroom. “This is mine.” He yanked her back around to face him. “That means you...are mine!”

She gasped at the force of his tone. “Let me go,” she whispered.

The power you pretended to wield over me was because I allowed you to have it!” He shook her by the upper arms. “Everything that you have...I gave it to you!”

She panted now and fear widened her gaze. He soaked it in and reveled in the power it gave him. Struggling to free herself, Ava pushed at his chest until he let her go and she plummeted to the floor. She gasped and peered up at him. “He was just another man, Marco. There is nothing to be jealous about.”

He smiled. “You think it is jealousy?” He chuckled and strode over the sideboard to pour a drink. Turning, he leaned a hip against the mahogany piece as she climbed to her feet, straightening her skirts. “My driver tells me you met with him out at the
San de la Vega

She nodded. “That was our first meeting, yes. He wished to discover our compatibility. You act as if I haven’t slept with other men before.”

My maid has informed me of the letters.”

She stilled visibly and then continued brushing out invisible wrinkles. “They’re just letters, Marco.”

Marco swallowed the whiskey and tossed the glass into the fireplace, shattering against the mud bricks. She jumped and screamed. He strode to her and clasped her upper arms once again. “Do not lie to me, Ava. I have made you what you are today. You are rich beyond imagining and you could retire today, living the rest of your life in the lap of luxury. Do not be foolish enough to bite the hand that feeds you.”

I-I don’t know what you mean, Marco.”

You hired an assassin to kill me.”

Her eyes widened to the size of the desert sun and she slowly denied it, shaking her head. “N-no, I swear. You’ve been misinformed.”

He rattled her until she sobbed. “Do not lie to me!”

She yanked from his hold, her eyes narrowed. “All right! I did try to hire him. He refused me. Says he’s retired. So you have nothing to fear.”

Marco gritted his teeth. “Nothing to fear? Do you really think I am afraid?” He struck her cheek and she collapsed at his feet. “Do not be a fool. I could care less if he tries to kill me. I am furious that you’ve betrayed me. I’ve given you everything your heart desires and this is how you repay me?”

Tears streamed down her face when she peered up at him, but she clenched her jaw in defiance. “You must first offer loyalty in order to betray someone.” She climbed to her feet. “You wanted a fuck and I gave you one whenever you so wished. Do not speak of betrayal to me. This was business. It has always been business and I earned every damn penny you gave me.”

Marco smacked her again and she cried out. “You bitch. You made me care for you, pant after you, and then you hire someone to kill me?” He grasped a handful of hair and leaned into her face. “Tell me why I shouldn’t kill you now? I’ve killed people for less.”

Then do it and be done with it!”

His heart pounded against his chest and he seized her neck, squeezing the air from her lungs and hating the pain in his heart as he did so. He shouldn’t care for her. He should never have come to care for her.

She was a weakness he must rid himself of now — while he still could.

But his hand released her as she choked, swallowing air into empty lungs. He’d killed every person who’d ever betrayed him. Why couldn’t he kill her?

Just tell me why?”

She seemed to hesitate. “My father was father Estevan de la Vega. He was a man of God, and you slaughtered my family and raped my sister!”

The ghost of a name that had haunted him for more than a decade caused him to gasp, and stumble back in surprise. De la Vega was the only regret he’d ever carried. Fearing God’s wrath, he’d made sure no one would ever utter the man’s name again. He’d forgotten that day, placed it in the back of his mind and erased all memory of it, but it easily resurfaced with just a hint of breath.

He strode away from her and exited the room, heading for the entrance to the house. She was De la Vega’s daughter. He must get away. An explosion threw him back several feet as the entire front of the house was consumed by a fire ball. He tumbled to the floor with a jarring thud. The east side of the house quivered with aftershocks as the dust settled in a cloud.

Marco coughed and tossed debris off, climbing to his feet. Soot covered his hands and arms — and likely his face — and his shirt lay in tatters. Glancing over one shoulder, Ava scrambled away from the door and he loped after her.

If someone were trying to kill him, they’d have to kill her first.


Ava tripped over the fallen bookshelf and headed for the open courtyard. Marco’s footsteps pounded behind her and just as she reached the archway, pain shot through her scalp. He yanked her back by the hair and she fell into him. “You’re not going anywhere.”

Peering up into his blackened face, fear slithered up her spine. “Please stop, Marco!”

And now you beg?” He laughed. “It’s a little late for that, Ava.”

BOOK: For the Sake of Sin
2.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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