The Sheik and the Princess Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 8)(13) by Susan Mallery
“I have always loved flying. My father indulged me with lessons when I was twelve. I’m sure he thought it was something I would outgrow.”
“But you didn’t.”
“You’re right. The more I flew, the more I loved it. I wanted to join an air force, but we did not have one here in Bahania and no other country would allow me to train. They did not want the responsibility of a king’s son.”
“Huh. I never thought there would be discrimination against royalty.”
“You would be surprised.”
“Maybe, but don’t expect any sympathy.”
“I am not.” He turned so he faced her. “Your life has not been traditional.”
“I know. I’m glad for what I’ve experienced, but it hasn’t come free. I’m going to be thirty in a few years. I’d like to get married and start on the whole baby thing, but I don’t actually meet the kind of guys who would be interested in me.”
He frowned. “What are you talking about?”
“It’s the whole blow up in the sky thing. Most men don’t like it and compensate one of two ways. They get way too aggressive with me on the ground, or they ignore me. No one is ever just a guy.”
Although Jefri was making a good showing, she thought. If only he wasn’t a real prince.
“You are not making any sense,” he told her.
“Sense or not, what’s what is. The men I work with don’t see me as an available female.”
“Perhaps they are not willing to take on your brothers.”
Billie stared at him. “Excuse me?”
“Your brothers. Doyle warned me away from you this afternoon. After our flight.”
She heard the words, but she couldn’t believe them. “He what?”
“The message was extremely clear.”
“I…He…” She pressed her lips together and reached for a rational, coherent thought. “That lying, cheating, scummy pinhead,” she muttered.
Was it possible? Were her brothers the reason no one ever asked her out?
She thought about how possessive they were of her. Of the things they said and how they worried about her.
“This is so like them,” she said, feeling her temper rise. She couldn’t believe it. She’d been date-free for years. How many guys had wanted to take her out only to be headed off by one of her brothers?
“I’m going to make them pay.”
“I would request that you not make them suffer too much.”
“Because they have kept other men away from you.”
“Oh, right and that’s a good thing, how?”
“You are still available to me.”
Billie barely had time to process the sentence, which was probably for the best because the most eloquent thing she would have come up with was “Huh?” As Jefri spoke, he drew her into his arms and pressed his mouth to hers, so whatever else she was going to say faded into a soft, soul-stealing kiss.
He claimed her with a combination of passion and tenderness. Firm lips moved against her own, discovering, heating, delighting. Her temper faded as if it had never been, while liquid desire took its place.
She sighed and melted against him, letting her body lean against his and her arms rest on his strong shoulders. He smelled of cognac and night and mystery.
He drew her closer still until they touched as intimately as their mouths. One of his hands tangled in her long hair while the other roamed over her back.
Instinctively she tilted her head, to make the kissing easier. He responded by brushing his tongue against her lower lip. Anticipation raced through her and she parted for him. But instead of deepening the kiss, he moved away. He kissed her cheek, then along her jaw. When he reached the sensitive skin below her ear, he licked that spot and made her shiver. He took her earlobe in his mouth and gently grated his teeth.
Fire raced through her. Her br**sts swelled as her ni**les puckered into tight sensitive points of need. She felt overdressed and jumpy, as if her skin was suddenly too tight. Heat settled between her legs. She wanted to rub against him, she wanted to touch and be touched, she wanted to beg.
He returned his mouth to hers. Again she parted for him, but he kept the kiss chaste, barely touching, moving back and forth. Need filled her, unfamiliar yet welcome. The wanting grew.
At last, when she thought she was going to have to scream or maybe throw herself off the balcony, he slipped his tongue inside her mouth and circled it against hers.
Yes, she thought, giving in to the exquisite sensations that filled her. Arousal shook her, making her need so much more than this kiss. Yet she didn’t want the kiss to end. She wanted him dancing with her like this for always.
But it was not to be. Eventually he drew back and she knew it was important to act with dignity and not whimper. In the faint light from her room, his eyes glowed with a need that both thrilled and frightened her.
“You are a woman of many surprises,” he said as he stroked her cheek.
“The same could be said of you. Not the woman part,” she added, feeling more than a little foolish. “You’re a man of surprises.”
He brushed his thumb across her mouth. “I look forward to what tomorrow brings,”
he said. “Sleep well.”
She waited until he disappeared into the darkness before stepping into her room.
Sleep well? With her body on fire and her mind swirling? Between the kiss and what he’d told her about her brothers, she wasn’t sure she was ever going to
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