The Sheik and the Princess Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 8)(30) by Susan Mallery
He nodded. “She was not someone I wanted to be the mother of my children.”
That sounded a little imperious but she understood his point. “Was it really hard to get over her?” she asked, liking how he kept circling her palm with his thumb. “I mean with your heart broken and all.”
“My heart was not broken.”
“I don’t understand. You can’t just turn off love.”
“I did not love her.”
The waiter arrived with their bottle of red wine, which gave Billie some time to work on getting over being stunned. Jefri didn’t love the woman he married?
“How is that possible?” she asked when they were alone again. “She was your wife.”
“Yes, and she could have been the mother of my children. There can be respect and mutual understanding, but love is not required.”
“Hello? I’ve seen your brothers. They’re wildly in love with their wives.” So much so that she’d felt a twinge of envy.
“There is passion between them,” he admitted. “But love? I doubt it.”
“I…You…” She grabbed her wineglass. “That’s just crazy. How can you marry someone you don’t love?”
“A royal match has certain requirements from both parties.”
“What about being swept away? What about wanting to be with someone so much you can’t think of anything else?”
His eyes darkened. “That I completely agree with. Despite these trappings of civility, I am at heart, a man of the desert. My blood runs hot.”
She nearly dropped her glass. They’d gone from talking to something very different in the space of a heartbeat.
“You know what I want,” he said, his voice low. “Tell me what you desire. If it is for me to leave you alone, you only have to speak the words.”
And if it isn’t? But she already knew the answer to that. No one had ever asked her a question like that. No one had put it all on the line. She felt Jefri’s barely concealed passion and it excited her. That he wanted her enough to plainly state it made her quiver.
As for her…She knew her heart’s desire. The sensible side of her brain warned her that there was no happy ending in this. That if she allowed herself to care, she would only get her heart broken. She knew who and what he was as well as she knew she would never fit in his world. Worse, he was a man who had married because it was the right thing to do, and not for love. She wanted a husband who was completely devoted to her and their family.
So this wasn’t going to lead to a happily ever after. Was she still willing to take what he offered?
She stared into his eyes. “All my life I’ve been fearless in the skies. There is no plane I won’t fly, no barrier I’m not willing to break through.”
But in her personal life, she’d allowed herself to be ruled by her brothers’ pronouncements and maybe a little by her own fear.
“I don’t want you to leave me alone,” she said, her voice barely a whisper.
“Are you sure? We can call for the plane or stay the night.”
She glanced around at the elegant restaurant. “Right here?”
He smiled. “I have a villa on the edge of the sea. It’s beautiful and private.”
She knew what she wanted. One night with him would be a memory she would always treasure.
“A villa, huh? Do you want to go now, or do you want to wait until after dinner?”
Jefri stared at her for several seconds, then raised his hand to the waiter. “We would like the check, please.”
If she’d had time to picture a villa owned by a sheik, she wouldn’t have been able to imagine a place as beautiful as the one on the edge of the sea. Their car dropped them off in front and Jefri used a key to let them in.
From the foyer, she could see through to the dark lapping ocean. The marble floor was the color of the inside of an oyster shell, the walls, a pale peach.
Instead of overhead lights, there were candles everywhere. Candles and rose petals and the scent of promise.
“You planned this,” she said, not sure if she should be upset or not.
“I hoped. There is a difference.”
He came up behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders. At the same time he moved her hair aside, then leaned down and lightly kissed her neck. Instantly her skin puckered and her blood heated. She felt the desire course through her.
Muscles tensed and between her legs, a faint throbbing began.
She decided she needed to keep her wits about her as long as possible. Even if that meant only for the next fifteen seconds.
“So, ah, do you bring women here often?” she asked.
He chuckled as he kissed his way to her spine. “You are my first, but not the first. This villa belongs to the king of El Bahar. It was built nearly five centuries ago as a home for the king’s mistress.”
He whispered the words in her ear, then lightly bit her earlobe.
“Because a harem isn’t enough?” she asked, barely able to speak.
“This offers what the harem does not. Privacy.”
Ah, yes. Something that seemed like a very good idea.
“So you called him early today and said ‘Hey, Your Highness, I have this girl I’d like to impress. Mind if I use the love shack?’ Or words to that effect?”
Jefri turned her in his arms so they stared at each other. “Why do you mock me?”
“Because I’m nervous. Is that against the law?”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online