Risks of Temptation (Behind Closed Doors #6) - Maggie Cole



Someone wise once said all things connect. What they failed to add is that the connection only happens when the end is near.

For the last few years, I felt the shift happening. I continued my role, hiding who I am and what I'm doing from my brothers. We aren't blood like Gustave and me. But it doesn't diminish our bond. They are the only people on earth I trust besides Gustave. But no one could know what I was involved in. And their roles were vital, they just didn't know it. The missions we took part in were essential to furthering Gustave's and my agenda. My brothers' ignorance of what I'm a part of was a critical component to get to the end.

Deals made behind closed doors were coming to fruition. All secret alliances of the Global Leaders were running with all the fuel they had. Each side was making moves to be the first to get to the top. It would end the marathon of blood and greed, at least until the wave of their leadership around the world began.

Then Emilia showed up.

It wasn't part of the plan. Santiago wasn't supposed to kidnap her. She was innocent, and it put a wrench in everything meant to happen.

The days leading up to meeting her, there was a buzzing in my blood. I couldn't understand why I felt what I did. I didn't expect her. It's as if my body knew I was about to collide with the only missing piece that could make me whole.

As much as I wish she could, she couldn't stop the role I had to play. And I should have endured the ache, but the risk of giving in to the temptation of her won.

The moment I saw her, I got dizzy. It was only a photo. But I still didn't anticipate the intensity of our attraction or the pulsing temptation that would overpower my every attempt to resist her.

She's ten years younger than me. An entire decade of innocence yet to be tainted by the sins of the world.

And I hate that I'm part of an accelerated trajectory of her education into the underworld.

She shouldn't even have to know about the depths of sadistic greed. Her past already shed light on the evil existing in the world. As painful as it was for her, it was only a sliver of what's out there. Now, every day, I take her farther and farther into the current. And once you're in it, there's no going back.

I should have delivered her and kept what she learned to a minimum. I had every intention to do so. When Andre and the other guys made plans to meet in Omoa, I was heading there with her. I would take her to Omoa and wherever else my brothers and I decided was safe. Once she was delivered, and the others were able to protect her, I would resume my role and work on putting in place everything that needed to be set up for Gustave to take over.

But I wasn't strong enough to resist her advances. My actions tainted her naivety.

One plea to give her the thing she needed was all it took. I told myself I couldn't deny her. In hindsight, I couldn't deny myself. She was a ripe piece of fruit. Once you bit into it, you couldn't just toss the rest of it away. You had to have all of it. I suppose that's how Adam felt when he took the bite of the apple from Eve.

Pandora's Box opened. She got a taste of things she never had before. Then she needed more.

I needed more.

Even now, her insatiable desires aren't something I stand a chance against. I couldn't when it started, and I can't now. She's a cat grabbing a ball of string, and watching her run with it is fascinating.

And dangerous.

The risks only get higher. Whenever I think she can't handle it, she surprises me. It's as if her sweetness is a shield to fool those around her. Underneath her sugar is the need for sin. I've seen it. I understand it. I've been living my entire life with it.

The more power she gets, the stronger her cravings become. For years, she's kept them at bay, not tapping into them, creating a drought in her soul. It's only made her thirstier. Now, every sip comes with a longing for a bigger and more potent one.

I shouldn't let her have any more. But once a tap is turned on,