The Sheik and the Princess Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 8)(3) by Susan Mallery
“Get down,” he said and pointed to the floor of the tent.
Muffin made a sound very much like a huff, turned her back on him and curled up in a ball. On the chair. He reached for her, but before he could pick her up, she growled.
“I would kill for a bath,” Billie said with a sigh, and Jefri allowed himself to be distracted. “But we don’t actually travel with a tub. Doyle says it’s too inconvenient. Oh, sure, we can move millions of pounds of jets and computer equipment with no problem, but one lousy tub is difficult. What is it with guys? Why don’t you get the whole point of a nice long soak?”
As she spoke she stepped out from behind the screen. Jefri began to answer, when his senses went on alert. For the first time since she’d climbed down from the jet he actually looked at her.
Girly girl didn’t begin to describe things.
She was a centerfold fantasy come to life—big blond hair, big blue eyes and bigger br**sts. Her sundress hugged her impressive curves before falling to midthigh. High-heeled sandals gave her a little height, but she still barely cleared his shoulder.
After giving him a smile bright enough to be listed as an energy source, she crossed to the fur ball and gathered it in her arms.
“How’s my pretty girl?” she asked in a baby voice. “Did you say hello to the nice prince?”
Billie held the dog’s paw in her hand and gave it a little wave. “Muffin says hi.”
Prince Jefri of Bahania had never had anyone pretend to speak for an animal before. He glanced from the woman to the dog and back.
Billie grinned. “Okay, so you’re not a ‘talk to the animals’ kind of guy. I can accept that. Doyle swears he hates her but I see him sneaking her treats every now and then.”
She walked toward the tent flap and pushed it open. “I thought it would be cooler here, given the time of year. I guess not, though. It’s the desert and all.” Still cuddling the dog, she walked out into the sunlight. “Not to be too pushy, but your time is ticking away. Didn’t you have more questions to ask me?”
Questions? Jefri followed her out, then saw the rows of fighter jets. Yes, of course. He’d had dozens of things he wanted to know, but he couldn’t think of any of them. Not when the hem of her form-fitting dress drew his gaze to her perfect thighs, and the sway of her hips made his blood boil.
He was unused to such strong physical reactions. Women had always been easy for him. He saw, he wanted, he was offered. But Billie seemed oblivious to her appeal, nor did she see him as more than an eager student.
She spun around and faced him. “What?” she asked, her blue eyes wide with amusement. “I know I haven’t intimidated you, so out with it. What do you want to know?”
He had a thousand requests for information. How soft would her skin feel under his fingers? How would she taste when he kissed her? How low would she moan as he pleasured her over and over, because his fantasies about Billie were about making her surrender with desire?
“Why do you do this?” he asked. “Why do you fly?”
“Because I love it. I’ve always loved it.” She grinned. “And I’m damned good at it.”
“Yes, you are.”
Two airplane mechanics walked by. Both of them eyed Billie. They bent their heads together and exchanged words he couldn’t hear. But he could imagine.
Jefri looked at the large tents, the open camp and then back at Billie. This would not do.
“You cannot stay here,” he told her.
Her smile faded. “Excuse me? You’re throwing me out of your country?”
“No. Of course not. I’m saying you can’t stay in this camp. It’s not safe.”
Her good humor returned. “I appreciate the concern, but I’ve been living in camps just like this since I was eleven. They’re a little rough on the outside, but still plenty fun. It’s sweet of you to worry, but you don’t have to. I usually have three brothers and a father hanging around. This time there’s only Doyle, but he’s plenty burly and he’ll make sure I’m well protected.” She rubbed her cheek against the dog’s shoulder. “Too protected. Isn’t that right, little Muffin girl?”
He ignored her conversation with the dog. “You and your brother will be my guests in the palace.”
She blinked at him. “Did you say palace?”
“Yes. There are several dozen guest rooms. You would be very comfortable there.”
“Do these rooms have bathtubs?” Temptation thickened her voice.
“Large enough to swim in.”
She made a low noise in her throat. The sound made his blood surge.
“Gee, a real bed, walls, a roof and a sand-free life,” she said. “Color me there. Doyle objects, I’ll have to deck him.”
“This is a complete waste of time if you ask me,” Doyle muttered as the long, black limo drove between large wrought-iron gates. “We’ve never stayed with a client before.”
Billie gazed out at the extensive and well-manicured lawns. “We’ve never had a royal client before. It’s a palace, okay? This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. No one’s forcing you to suffer through the indignities of pure luxury. Go back to our tent city by the airport if it makes you happy.”
Her brother glared at her. “You know Dad would kill me if I wasn’t around to keep an eye on you.”
“I’m twenty-seven, Doyle,” she said. “At some point you’re going to have to acknowledge that I’m all grown-up.”
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