Tempted (Masters and Mercenaries #26.5) Read Online Lexi Blake

Categories Genre: Contemporary, Insta-Love, Novella, Suspense Tags Authors: Series: Masters and Mercenaries Series by Lexi Blake

Total pages in book: 61
Estimated words: 57423 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 287(@200wpm)___ 230(@250wpm)___ 191(@300wpm)

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake comes a new story in her Masters and Mercenaries series…

When West Rycroft left his family’s ranch to work in the big city, he never dreamed he would find himself surrounded by celebrities and politicians. Working at McKay-Taggart as a bodyguard and security expert quickly taught him how to navigate the sometimes shark-infested waters of the elite. While some would come to love that world, West has seen enough to know it’s not for him, preferring to keep his distance from his clients—until the day he meets Ally Pearson.

Growing up in the entertainment world, Ally was always in the shadow of others, but now she has broken out from behind the scenes for her own day in the spotlight. The paparazzi isn’t fun, but she knows all too well that it’s part of the gig. She has a good life and lots of fans, but someone has been getting too close for comfort and making threats. To be safe, she hires her own personal knight in shining armor, a cowboy hottie by the name of West. They clash in the beginning, but the minute they fall into bed together something magical happens.

Just as everything seems too good to be true, they are both reminded that there was a reason Ally needed a bodyguard. Her problems have found her again, and this time West will have to put his life on the line or lose everything they’ve found.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you'll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

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One Thousand and One Dark Nights

Once upon a time, in the future…

I was a student fascinated with stories and learning.

I studied philosophy, poetry, history, the occult, and

the art and science of love and magic. I had a vast

library at my father’s home and collected thousands

of volumes of fantastic tales.

I learned all about ancient races and bygone

times. About myths and legends and dreams of all

people through the millennium. And the more I read

the stronger my imagination grew until I discovered

that I was able to travel into the stories... to actually

become part of them.

I wish I could say that I listened to my teacher

and respected my gift, as I ought to have. If I had, I

would not be telling you this tale now.

But I was foolhardy and confused, showing off

with bravery.

One afternoon, curious about the myth of the

Arabian Nights, I traveled back to ancient Persia to

see for myself if it was true that every day Shahryar

(Persian: شهريار, “king”) married a new virgin, and then

sent yesterday's wife to be beheaded. It was written

and I had read that by the time he met Scheherazade,

the vizier's daughter, he’d killed one thousand


Something went wrong with my efforts. I arrived

in the midst of the story and somehow exchanged

places with Scheherazade – a phenomena that had

never occurred before and that still to this day, I

cannot explain.

Now I am trapped in that ancient past. I have

taken on Scheherazade’s life and the only way I can

protect myself and stay alive is to do what she did to

protect herself and stay alive.

Every night the King calls for me and listens as I spin tales.

And when the evening ends and dawn breaks, I stop at a

point that leaves him breathless and yearning for more.

And so the King spares my life for one more day, so that

he might hear the rest of my dark tale.

As soon as I finish a story... I begin a new

one... like the one that you, dear reader, have before

you now.


Ally Pearson looked over the glittering lights of Los Angeles and wondered how long it would be before she saw this view again. She loved her Los Feliz home on the hillside. When the realtor had brought her here, she’d known in an instant she would buy it. It wasn’t nearly as luxurious as her parents’ place in Santa Monica. That was a mansion. This was a really nice house, but it felt like home. When she’d stepped over the threshold, it had felt like a new beginning.

It had felt like she was leaving the past behind and concentrating on her real work, her real self.

The past, it seemed, wasn’t finished with her.

“Hey. I brought you some tea.” Her mother stepped onto the terrace. It was attached to the primary bedroom and overlooked the pool and the hillside.

Some mornings she sat out here and drank coffee and thought about how good it was to have a safe place.

It wasn’t safe anymore.

She took the tea from her mom. “Thanks.”

Her mother was silent for a moment. It was how Ally knew she was steeling herself for a talk. They always cut those long moments out of the reality TV show they’d starred in for years. When her mom had one of her mom talks with her, they would cut away from that long moment before she began. The producers wanted her to look more assertive, but there was something intimate about that moment. Her mom rarely had a filter. She said what was on her mind and didn’t care what anyone thought. Except when she paused like this, Ally knew it was serious. Whatever her mother said next meant something.

She was glad they did those cutaways because this moment was meant for her and her sister and her stepdad. Not for the fans of Match Made in Hollywood. She’d loved the show and sharing it with her mom and stepdad, but it had been a relief to shut down the day-to-day production. She’d bought this place when she’d moved out of their mansion in Gillette Regent Square. Los Feliz had been her new start, and she loved it because it was full of accomplished people and up-and-comers. She fit in here better than her parents’ old-money neighborhood.

But she had the feeling she wasn’t staying here for long.

“Your stepfather and I have been talking,” her mom began. “Sweetheart, this can’t go on. Do you know what could have happened tonight?”

She took a deep breath and then turned her mother’s way. “I think murder could have happened. At least that’s what the cops think. Maybe if the guy had cut my head off they would do something about him.”

She strode back into the bedroom, stubborn will settling in even though she knew she would give in eventually. But damn it, she should be safe in her own home.

Her mom walked right behind. “Don’t talk like that. Allyson, this is the third time we know that he’s been close to you physically. It’s one thing to troll you on social media. It’s another thing to follow you to events. This is getting serious. He’s escalating.”