Guilty pleasure, p.1

Guilty Pleasure, page 1

 part  #11 of  Bound Hearts Series

 

Guilty Pleasure
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Guilty Pleasure
Page 1

  Prologue

  "Traitorous fucking bastard!"

  Marty Mathews stared at her boss, division chief Vince Deerfield, with a hidden sense of surprise as he threw the thick file on Khalid el Hamid-Mustafa across the desk.

  The dull, yellow folder hit, slid, then fell from the desk to scatter loose sheets of information and pictures at her feet.

  Khalid el Hamid-Mustafa. The bastard son of a Saudi sheikh suspected of terrorism. His father, Azir Mustafa, was a religious hardliner, a man who ruled one of the more barren sections of Saudi Arabia, on the Iraq border. He had tarred his sons with his own brush and in doing so had subjected Khalid to years of suspicion by the United States.

  It was the reason Marty had been tailing Khalid for the past two years. As an FBI agent, one on the low end of the totem pole as far as her boss was concerned, Marty had been stuck playing babysitter and peeping Thomasina to one of the most sexually active men she had ever laid her eyes on.

  A dark, brooding, dangerous man. There was no doubt in her mind that Khalid Mustafa would be a very dangerous man to cross. If she had doubted it, then the information her godfather had given her over the past years would have confirmed it.

  There was a reason why she had never reported any of the more suspicious activities Khalid had engaged in. Quite simply, it was because he engaged in them at the orders of her godfather, the director of the FBI.

  "No comment?" Vince snarled, his heavy brows lowered, his hazel green eyes spitting fire and brimstone back at her.

  "I'm the agent who's followed him for the past two years," she replied politely. "As my reports state, there's no evidence to support the suspicion that Mr. Mustafa has any ties to a terrorist community. "

  Vince threw himself back in his chair and glared at her now. That glare was nerve-racking. It boded ill to any agent on the receiving end of it. Unfortunately, she was the agent in question.

  "Two years," he snapped. "I gave you two years, Agent Mathews, to find just a shred of evidence to support the suspicions we have against him. Two years. I could have convicted a five-year-old with that amount of time on my hands. "

  No doubt he could have but, on the other hand, he wouldn't have had a godfather who was director of the entire FBI going over his reports, editing them and deleting minor points that could have supported that suspicion because Khalid was currently his favorite mole.

  "A five-year-old wouldn't have the decadent lifestyle Mustafa has. " She rolled her eyes at the thought of it. "I rather doubt the man has the time to consort with terrorists. He's too busy playing with his little friends. "

  That was more truth than fiction, actually, no matter how much her godfather liked to smile and deny it.

  Her boss stared back at her as though she were a slug under a rock that somehow had dared him to touch her. The very fact that he couldn't fire her without bringing down a heavy barrage of interest in his office was only the tip of the iceberg of reasons he hated her.

  The man was slowly committing career suicide and didn't seem to have a clue. Her godfather was Zachary Jennings, the director of the FBI and Deerfield's boss. She didn't run crying to Daddy Zach, but that didn't mean he wasn't well aware of the treatment she had been receiving in this office since being assigned to it.

  "Well, you can stop protesting the assignment," he bit out, his tone malevolent. "You're off. The operation is dead in the damned water, thanks to your godfather and your incompetence. What did you do, go crying to him?"

  Marty sat up straighter, a frown line forming between her brows at the accusation she had thought of only moments before. "I've never discussed this assignment with my godfather," she informed him, bristling at the insult, but thanking God that her godfather had taught her how to lie when she was young. "And I stopped crying to him when I was three. "

  "Then I don't have to worry about a protest on my desk when I tell you that you have to be one of the lousiest agents I've ever had in my division," he stated derisively.

  "The only report you have to worry about is the one I may file, sir. " She stared back at him, fighting to hide her anger. "Perhaps it wasn't my lack of skill so much as your lack of foresight and inability to accept the fact that Mustafa is guilty of nothing but his own sexual excesses. "

  She kept her tone respectful. She assured herself there was none of the animosity that brewed inside her leaking into it.

  He sneered back at her, and it was all she could do to keep from telling him what a fruitcake he had become over the years.

  His determination to find any shred of evidence that he could procure against Khalid had become a running joke within the office. He refused to listen to reason, refused to see that there was nothing to tie Khalid to any terrorist. Except those that her godfather had him secretly meeting with.

  Now wasn't that fucked up?

  "My lack of foresight has never been an issue. " He rose to his feet and paced to the wide windows that gave views out over D. C. as he blew out a hard, disgusted breath. "Either way, the operation has been shut down. You're off the case, Mathews. You can finally begin the vacation you've been crying about for the past two years. "

  Crying about? She rather doubted it. She had submitted the request the month before she had been assigned to Khalid, and had merely resubmitted it every six months. She deserved her vacation. She hadn't had one in over three years.

  "Thank you, sir. " She just barely managed to keep the mockery out of her voice.

  Not that Deerfield was fooled. He glared back at her as he clasped his hands behind his back and straightened his shoulders to stare down his hooked nose at her.

  "You're excused. " He grimaced, as though there was a smell that offended him. "I'll see you back here in one month. Hopefully by then I can find an assignment worthy of your mediocre skills. "

  Damn. She could wait longer than four weeks before returning to this office or Deerfield's questionable mercies. The man was a fiend. She would have nightmares while on vacation concerning her return.

  "Thank you, sir. " Rising to her feet, she gave him a short-lived, less than sincere smile. "I'll see you in a month. "

  Marty turned on her heel and walked quickly to the door, desperate to get away from the malevolence she could feel pouring from her boss.

  Running to her godfather wasn't going to be a problem, though, because she had a feeling her time at the agency was history. At the moment, she was being courted by more than one private protection firm and she was seriously considering one very lucrative offer.

  Closing the door behind her, Marty strode quickly from the bureau's unassuming offices and into the heated warmth of a D. C. summer day.

  The first day of her vacation. A month free of strife and Deerfield's screaming rages because she hadn't managed to come up with so much as a shred of suspicion against Mustafa.

  If the man only knew exactly who Khalid was to the bureau. His code name was Desert Lion and the missions he had successfully completed for the bureau had been imperative, both nationally and in the Middle East.

  But why didn't Deerfield have the information that Khalid was one of her father's independent agents? Why had she been told but he hadn't been? That was information that Zachary Jennings still hadn't given her, but she had her own suspicions.

  Deerfield was likely on his way out, if she knew her godfather. Otherwise Vince Deerfield would have been given the information that would have exonerated Khalid of the suspicions Deerfield had against him.

  While she was striding along the sidewalk, a small smile tipped her lips. Two years investigating Khalid and she knew more about him than she may have known about herself. She knew the brooding, dangerous reflection of the man that hid be
hind calm, often amused black eyes. She knew him for the male sexual animal he was, and as the aloof "other" lover he played in his relationships.

  And often she wondered what would happen if she wasn't an agent, if she wasn't shadowing him, if she wasn't the goddaughter of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a woman who he knew wasn't content to merely "play"?

  Would he be in her bed or simply demand to be a third, should she choose a lover within the circle of his friends who shared their lovers?

  It sounded depraved. Perverted. Marty knew the protective and loving lifestyle environment her parents had created for her instead. Her father, her mother, and her godfather.

  Walking into the parking lot behind the FBI offices, she moved quickly to her car, engaged the auto lock, and pulled the door open before sliding inside.

  Her hands gripped the steering wheel as she stared along the walkway in front of her, the profusion of flowers and shrubbery holding her gaze with their splashes of color. She had one month to attempt the seduction of a man who seemed determined to remain as aloof as possible.

  She had four weeks to steal his heart. If he had one to steal.

  THE CLUB, SINCLAIR ESTATE

  VIRGINIA

  Khalid watched as U. S. Senator Joe Mathews and the third he had chosen more than thirty years ago, FBI director Zachary Jennings, walked into the bar of the club, glancing around until they spotted Khalid.

  Lifting his glass of whiskey, Khalid took a sip of the dark liquid as he tracked their progress through the room to the small seating area where he sat. If their expressions were anything to go by, then the news was good. Perhaps. The somber seriousness that had tightened their faces for the past two years had eased, and with it, hopefully, their tempers as well.

  The two men were both trim, fit for their ages. The senator was nearing sixty, the director was only a few years behind, but both men appeared years younger. They swore it was due to a peaceful, stress-free home life.

  There were days Khalid sincerely doubted that. He knew who they claimed as a daughter.

  "Khalid. " Zach sat down in the settee across from the leather recliner that Khalid was currently relaxing in. The senator took a seat in the chair beside the director, leaned back, and allowed a self-satisfied smile to tip his lips.

  "Consider your problems over," Joe announced softly, his deep voice tinged with amusement as Khalid's brow lifted in curiousity.

  "Really?" he drawled. "All of them?"

  "The majority, perhaps," Zach chuckled. "The FBI has dropped their investigation of you. Deerfield was forced to pull the assignment this afternoon. Marty's on her way home for a vacation, and I'll be submitting my report on Deerfield next week. We should have his resignation within the next month. "

  "Before Marty returns to the office, I assume?" Khalid felt his fingers tingle with the need to curl into a fist at the thought of the hell Deerfield had been putting her through.

  There were agents in the club, men who reported to Jennings, and who had revealed information concerning Marty to Khalid. Those men had kept them both apprised of the insults Deerfield had heaped upon her concerning her inability to find evidence against Khalid and his supposed terrorist activities.

  "Before Marty returns to the office. " Zach nodded, his expression tensing with anger. "The bastard has stepped over the line one time too many. "

  "And still your daughter refuses to file a report against him," Khalid murmured.

  Zach nodded heavily. "Marty's not a snitch. I can get his resignation without her, but it would have helped. "

  "And have you asked her for her help?" Khalid sipped at the whiskey as he glanced at the two men.

  Zach shook his head emphatically. "If she finds out we know about her problems with her boss, then she'll begin to question our sources. I don't want that. Keeping an eye on that girl isn't always easy. I don't want her to know just how well I keep tabs on her. "

  Khalid refrained from objecting. He wasn't a believer in hiding information in this situation. Marty was an intelligent woman who lived a potentially dangerous life, despite her godfather's attempts to ensure that she was protected. She would only be hurt and angry if it appeared that her father had no faith in her abilities.

 
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