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His Tormented Heart (Island of Ys #3)
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Ryu’s plans are nearing fruition…but he can’t take any joy in this progress. Not now that he knows the identity of the man responsible for all he and his siblings’ pain. Someone far closer than he could have dreamed. The only solace he finds is watching Delilah dance.
Delilah’s attraction to Ryu makes no sense, and she would have been happy to ignore it if not for the threats she’s received. Threats against her little sister. Threats to hurt her if Delilah isn’t able to find out more information on the Horsemen.
Ryu and Delilah don’t trust each other–and with good reason–but they can’t deny the chemistry that sparks to life every time they touch. As they grow closer and closer, so does the danger to Delilah’s sister…and to the Horsemen.
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Ryu shouldn’t be in the club. There were a thousand and one things to handle, and double that number he couldn’t bear thinking about. After the events of the last couple weeks, he didn’t know if the Horsemen were planning an assassination … or a war. And, because he didn’t know, because the truth of their enemy shredded him to pieces again and again over every waking hour, this was where he gravitated to. This was who he gravitated to.
To watch her dance.
She moved around the stage as if she owned it, as comfortable in a tiny thong as most people were fully clothed. Her dancing …
It defied description. Strength and beauty and a very specific kind of power. Each motion radiated it to the extreme. Add in the gravity-defying moves she pulled off with ease on the pole and Ryu was like every other person in this place.
Most importantly, distracted.
When he watched Delilah spin her web of desire through the room, he wasn’t thinking about the next step in their plan. He wasn’t going damn near cross-eyed from yet another hour on the computer, looking for answers Ryu wasn’t sure existed. And he sure as fuck wasn’t dealing with the truth that had set fire to whatever he thought he knew of this world.
In the darkness of the corner booth, he could be anyone. Some random rich asshole who patronized the Island. The kind of man who hadn’t a care beyond where he’d make his next million.
She regained her feet lifted her arms over her head, putting her body on full display. Her light brown skin glowed with perspiration, leading the mind to all kinds of filthy fucking. Small, high breasts with brown nipples gone taunt in the icy air conditioning. Muscles moved with every sway, belying the strength and training it took to do what she did. A white lacy thong which almost, almost gave a glimpse of her pussy.
Ryu forced himself to lean back, to breath the tension from his body, but he couldn’t look away as she twisted and bent at the waist, putting her ass on display in a way that made his breath catch.
Every. Single. Time.
And then it was over. The music trailed away and she gave a brilliant smile which seemed like it was only for him. A final wave and she sauntered off the stage, ignoring the piles of cash the other customers threw at her. One of the other employees would come pick it up before the next set and deliver it to her backstage.
Ryu reached for his drink with a hand that shook, just a little. He didn’t pick up the glass, didn’t need more alcohol. He’d had more than normal tonight. Not just tonight. Every night since the day they learned the name of their enemy.
Or, as Ryu and Amarante knew him—Father.
He shuddered and grabbed the glass, downing the rest of the scotch, wishing it could burn away his memories the same way it burned his throat. Ten years of his childhood filled with pain and suffering beyond comprehension. Another fifteen spent planning their revenge. Only to discover the person who put them in that hellhole was their own goddamn father.
He hadn’t come to terms with that truth. Ryu didn’t think a person could come to terms with a truth that reprehensible. So here he came, night after night, seeking out the one thing that lightened the weight he carried.
A woman he hadn’t exchanged two words with. One who didn’t even know his real name. One employed by the Horsemen. Three very good reasons to turn around and leave. To find something else to do on the nights when the truth rode him too hard. Every night.
He didn’t leave.
He never left.
Instead, Ryu finished his drink and climbed to his feet. This was his chance to make the right choice, to head back to his rooms and sleep off the sick feeling in his chest. He didn’t go back to his rooms. He never did. Instead, he headed for the private dancing rooms they had situated around the club.
Technically, club wasn’t the right word. The business was part of Pleasure, one of the two casinos the Island of Ys hosted. Outside this darkened room, there were a thousand and one ways to gamble and drink and fuck your way out of a truly absurd amount of money. Most of that profit went into the Horsemen’s pockets, but they ensured that their people were paid and paid well.
The dancers at this club didn’t have sex with customers. If the people lingering on the darkened floor, waiting for the next show, wanted the sort of entertainment that came with touching privileges, there were other places in Pleasure to have
their needs met. Similarly, if the dancers wanted to indulge, it was arranged as required. There were rules for a reason.