Read Endangered Hearts Online

Authors: Jolie Cain

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Erotica, #Contemporary

Endangered Hearts

Atlantic Bridge

Copyright ©2007 by Jolie Cain

NOTICE: This work is copyrighted. It is licensed only for use by the original purchaser. Making copies of this work or distributing it to any unauthorized person by any means, including without limit email, floppy disk, file transfer, paper print out, or any other method constitutes a violation of International copyright law and subjects the violator to severe fines or imprisonment.

Published by Liquid Silver Books, Imprint of Atlantic Bridge Publishing, 10509 Sedgegrass Dr, Indianapolis, Indiana. Copyright 2007, Jolie Cain. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the authors.

This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author's imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.


At first, Jack just stood in the doorway and took in all the details of the room: the clothing scattered across the floor, the empty condom wrapper on the bedside table, the smell of spent sex mixed with a familiar perfume. Everything whirled around in his brain, as if by focusing on the minute details of the moment he could somehow block out the reality of what was right in front of him. The couple entwined on the bed was oblivious to his silent observations. The woman's fingernails dug into the bedspread and panting moans erupted from her parted lips. Long dark hair spread over the white silk sheets like melted chocolate as she urged the man on with hoarse demands of “Faster, faster.” Legs wrapped around his hips, she bucked up into his furious strokes.

Jack turned and made his way into the living room, panting moans and gasps of pleasure following his heavy footsteps down the hallway. After pouring himself a stiff Scotch, he quickly downed it. Then he sat on the leather sofa, crossed his legs, and waited. Fifteen minutes and another drink later, he heard voices coming closer. His fiancée entered the room, laughing up at the man whose arm was clasped around her waist. He bent to whisper in her ear before looking up. He froze when he saw Jack.

"Hi, Dad. Have a good time?” Jack asked, lifting the drink to his lips for a bracing swallow. No one spoke. Jack thought humorlessly that they must look like a scene from some sappy made-for-TV movie. He emptied his glass and set it on the table in front of him. His father's face flushed, and he looked down shamefaced, but Lauren didn't even bother to pretend to feel embarrassed by what she—or rather they—had done.

Strolling further into the room while she tightened the belt on her blue silk robe, she slanted a smile at Jack. Finally she spoke, breaking the uncomfortable silence that had settled over the room. “Well, I guess he had to find out sooner or later, didn't he, darling? It's not as if we could keep this a secret forever.” She turned to his father and tucked her hand around his arm before gazing back to Jack, her eyes taunting. “It's past time you knew the truth, Jack. Robert and I have been seeing each other for a few months."

His father started to speak. “Jack. Look, son, I know how this must seem..."

Jack held up his hand. “Don't bother, Dad. Really. Just don't.” He wasn't interested in fumbling excuses. “There's nothing that you can say to me that could possibly excuse what I saw. Jesus Christ, didn't you even care that I was engaged to her? Or is that a stupid question? Of course, you didn't care. Why should that stop you?” Nothing could hide the disillusion in his voice.

"You don't understand, Jackson. Lauren and I never wanted to hurt you, didn't mean for this to happen, but we ... we fell in love. We just couldn't help ourselves."

Jack let out a bark of laughter. “In love? Please. Neither one of you has any idea what love is. All you know is how to play your sordid little games. And I was just the poor idiot who got caught in the middle of it."

Again, his father tried to explain. “No, Jack, it wasn't like that. I swear to you, son. I don't know how it happened. It just did. If we could have stopped it, we would have. But...” again he halted, seeming to struggle to find the right words. “We didn't know how to tell you. I tried several times, I just...” he shook his head. “Anyway, Lauren and I ... well, we're going to be married."

Jack had thought it couldn't get any worse, but there it was. He felt like he'd taken a punch in the gut. Lauren was going to be his stepmother. He had fucked his stepmother. Sonofabitch. Jack ran his fingers through his hair. The whole scene had an unreal quality to it, and he couldn't quite seem to grasp what was going on. He felt like his life had just turned into a bad romance novel.

His eyes moved to Lauren's face, and he saw the self-satisfied look she wore. He felt sick as realization hit. Suddenly it was all clear to him. She had never loved him, never cared for him at all. She had played him for a fool, and he had fallen for it. It was all about the money, and she had hit the mother lode with his father. Robert Cole not only owned one of the most successful electronics firms in the United States, but he had also inherited money from his mother's family. Now
magazine had named him one of the wealthiest men in the Southeast. And apparently, that's what Lauren wanted—money and everything that went with it.

Jack realized there was nothing he could say. Nothing more he wanted to say. All he wanted was to get the hell out. “Congratulations. I'm sure you'll understand why I won't be around to witness the happy event."

"What do you mean?” The confusion on his father's face looked sincere, but Jack had a hard time believing that his father was surprised. Surely, he didn't think that Jack would simply accept Lauren as his new stepmother. But apparently, that's just what he did think. “You can't just leave. The company needs you.
need you, Jack.” He crossed over and tried to place his hand on Jack's shoulder in a placating gesture, but he shrugged away from his father's arm and walked over to the door, passing Lauren where she stood with a feigned look of compassion on her face.

She added her pleas to his father's. “Yes, Jack. You have to stay. I couldn't bear it if I thought that I was the cause of your leaving. I never wanted to come between the two of you. I know how close you've always been.” Lauren's insincerity was obvious to Jack, but it seemed his father believed every lying word. “Your father needs you. If you go, what will happen to the company? You know Robert is getting ready to retire. He's promised me a trip around the world for our honeymoon."

Jack refused to listen to any more and headed for the door. He had to get out of there. “I'll be cleaning out my desk tomorrow. And quite honestly, I don't give a damn about the company."

"Now, son...” But it was too late. The slam of the door was the only reply Jack gave.

Chapter One

Two years later

Jack leaned back against the rough wooden railing and took a sip of his coffee. The air was heavy with the crisp smell of pine, and he could hear mockingbirds calling in the distance. As he gazed over the panoramic vista, a smile of satisfaction creased his hard-featured face. Most who knew him would have been surprised. He was not a man who smiled easily. These days about the only thing that brought a smile to his face at all was his mountain.

He supposed it was rather arrogant for one man to own a whole mountain, but he had needed his privacy after the catastrophe of his broken engagement. Total privacy was what he had sought, and he had carved it out for himself here in this isolated spot. Tree by tree and nail by nail, he had immersed himself in the physical labor needed to clear the land and build two cabins. To his surprise, he didn't really miss anything about his fast-paced life in Atlanta. Only now and again, when he thought of the close relationship he had once had with his father, did he wish things could have been different.

Of course, there had been plenty of people who were against his self-imposed exile. Ironically, Lauren had been one of the most vocal protestors. She had accused Jack of everything from deserting his father to total lunacy. She could not, or
not, understand his aversion to being around her and his father. She'd even come by his apartment one afternoon when his father was still at work and offered to keep their sexual “relationship” going. She had assured him that his father could not compete with Jack in the bedroom.

"I still love you, darling. It's just that your father has more to offer me than you do. I was quite willing to settle for less when I didn't think I had any other choice. But I have to be practical.” She'd laughed at his astonished expression. “Oh, please, you can't be that naïve. Remember, I know what you're really like. No limits, remember? You're such a great fuck. I loved all those wicked, wicked things we did together. And you've got a great body, so hard and firm,” her eyes skimmed over him, and she licked her lips, “not soft like Robert's."

Crossing the room, she'd reached out to trail her fingertips down his cheek and just underneath the collar of his shirt, rasping the skin with her nails. “So, you see, there's no reason at all why we can't continue to enjoy each other. Your father never has to know. It'll be our little naughty secret. Now quit acting like such a child."

He'd stood there unmoving as she'd flicked open the first two buttons and leaned in to lick his neck and pull on his skin with an erotic suckling that made his stomach muscles clench. She pressed a passionate kiss on his mouth, her tongue pushing past his teeth with wet demand, and reached between them to cup his dick and stroke it up and down until she got the response that she wanted.

Unwillingly, he felt his cock harden. Oh, yes, she knew all the right buttons to push. He stood there hands at his sides, neither encouraging nor discouraging her. Briefly he thought about telling her to stop, but he wanted to know just how far she'd go. He also admitted to himself that he liked what she was doing to him. He liked it very much, damn her. Smiling wickedly, she began unfastening the fly of his pants, dragging out the process with pretended fumbling and brushes against his cock that had him straining for release.

By the time she held his erection enclosed in her fist, he was lost to reason. Her hand began to move, tugging up to the head before pushing down again, quickening the pace on each stroke. Her eyes never left his face. He grew even larger in her grasp, and he couldn't muffle a moan when she dropped to the floor in front of him. After unbuttoning her own shirt so that the fabric parted over her swollen breasts, she leaned forward to place a wet kiss on the tip of his erection, her hot breath skimming over the sensitive flesh. She swirled her tongue around and around the head in a tantalizing caress but drawing back each time he thrust forward.

"Don't play with me, Lauren,” Jack growled. Roughly, angry at himself for letting her do this, yet unable or unwilling to stop what was happening, he reached up to catch the back of her head in an inflexible grip. She laughed as he pulled her forward, and her mouth enclosed the plum-shaped head. She sucked him greedily into the moist cavern of her mouth. Her agile tongue and mobile lips worked on the head at the same time her hand came up to squeeze his balls and roll them delicately between her fingers. His hand on her head quickened the pace of her sucking rhythm until he knew he couldn't hold out any longer. With a harsh cry, he jettisoned his cum down her throat.

When he finished, she rose to her feet, licking her lips to find and swallow every drop of his sticky offering. “Delicious, darling.” She moved forward as if to wrap her arms around him, but he stepped back. He had never felt such disgust at his own actions. What kind of bastard had he turned into? Not that his father didn't deserve it after what he had done. Still, it felt wrong, and he just wanted her to leave while he still had a little self-respect left.

"What's the matter, Jack? You know you want more. You can't fool me, lover.” Her gaze drifted down to focus on his still-erect penis and she smiled in anticipation. “I know what you need, baby. You still love me and what we do together. You can't hide this from me.” Her hand reached out to stroke over his cock. “Now, let's go into the bedroom and pick up where we left off. I feel like getting really wild with you today, baby. God I've missed you."

Jack pushed her back and shook his head, quickly fastening his pants so she couldn't touch him again. “Only a boy lets his dick do his thinking for him, Lauren. I have a little more control over what I do with mine. What just happened ... well, it was a mistake. A huge mistake that I don't intend to make again. So, thanks for the blow job, but that's it for me. There's no way I'd ever let you back in my bed. Let's face it, you're nothing but a high-priced whore that my father bought and paid for.” He pulled her hand up and looked at the enormous diamond that rested there. Quite a contrast to the elegant little stone he himself had given her. “Nice. And definitely not cheap."

Her face reddened at the insult, and she slapped him, her handprint standing out vividly along the side of his jaw. Jack just stood there and smiled, not a trace of humor in his bleak-eyed stare. “I guess I deserved that for what I just let happen. But that's it. We're even now. You've got what you wanted—money. And you taught me a lesson I won't soon forget.” His hand came up to grasp her chin in a tight grip, forcing her eyes to meet his. “And you're wrong. I don't love you. I feel nothing for you at all. I'm actually sorry for my father. He's getting the worse end of this deal. Now, I think you'd better leave.” He pushed her away.

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