The Sheik and the Princess Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 8)(52) by Susan Mallery
Like how softly he kissed her, yet how firm his lips were. How she could feel the heat from his body surrounding her like a blanket and how her skin felt extra sensitive.
He shifted, dropping the hand that had been cupping her chin to her waist. She felt his individual fingers and the way he squeezed her.
He drew back. “Put your hands on my shoulders.”
She opened her eyes and stared at him. “We shouldn’t be doing this.”
“Because of the prince?”
“Let him get his own girl.”
“I am his girl.”
“Not until I see a ring. Now either put your hands on my shoulders and brace yourself for another kiss or run back inside like a good princess-to-be.”
Tahira stared at him. The choice was very clear. The part of her telling her to run seemed to be getting more and more quiet while the part of her that wanted to keep on kissing Doyle got louder and louder.
Slowly, tentatively, she raised her arms until she could rest her hands on his shoulders. He was big and muscular and solid. She liked that. She liked a lot of things.
“What did you think about the kissing?” he asked.
She ducked her head and blushed. “It was very nice.”
“Ready for more?”
“Ever hear of French kissing?”
Her breath stuck in her throat. Of course she had. In books. And sometimes other girls talked. About how a boy…or in Doyle’s case, a man…would put his tongue…They would kiss with…
“Tahira, look at me.”
She forced herself to raise her head and meet his gaze. The kindness there eased her embarrassment.
“You’re a beautiful woman. I like you and I want to keep on kissing you. I’m sorry if that makes your life more complicated, but I can’t get all worked up about that. What I do care about is making you uneasy. I don’t want to rush you or make you uncomfortable.”
Her heart swelled until her chest ached. He liked her! He cared about her!
“I think you should kiss me now,” she said.
“Bright girl,” he murmured, right before his mouth claimed hers.
Billie wandered through an unfamiliar wing of the palace. It was her day off and while she’d planned on spending it in town, an unexpected rain storm had trapped her indoors.
It wasn’t that she couldn’t be out in the rain—although humidity did have a way of making her hair go flat—it was that the rain made her sad, which made her want to curl up and think, which under her current circumstances, was not a good thing. So she had decided to take Muffin for a long indoor walk through the wonders of the palace.
On the fourth floor, in the back, she found what looked like an old schoolroom, complete with a few desks and a blackboard. Dozens and dozens of books filled several low bookcases. There were shelves with toys and plenty of windows to let in light.
While Muffin investigated corners, Billie walked into a large playroom. Several airplane models hung from the ceiling.
“Big mistake,” she whispered as she touched the plastic prop on one. She had a good idea of who had painstakingly built them, and then hung them. Of course it was silly to spend time in the palace and expect to escape from thoughts of Jefri.
Still, she kept getting blindsided by thoughts and wishes and dreams. Funny how a whole month after that single night, she still remembered everything about their time together. She still missed him and was coming to grips with the concept that she might have made the mistake of falling in love with him.
If there were—
A soft sound caught her attention. Odd notes of music. She turned in the direction of the sound and walked down the corridor. The music got louder. She pushed open a door and found herself in an old-fashioned nursery. Emma, Reyhan’s very pregnant wife, stood by a crib. She held a music box open on her hand.
“Hi,” she said as Billie entered the room. “Exploring?”
“A little. It seemed that kind of day.”
Emma glanced out the window. “Rain does that to me, too. Most people just want to curl up and read, but I get restless. Reyhan came in for some meetings and insisted I accompany him.”
Billie stared at the other woman’s huge belly. “When are you due?”
Emma grinned. “In three weeks.”
“No doubt he’s terrified you’ll give birth while he’s gone.”
“I promised I wouldn’t, but did he listen?” She closed the music box. “Besides, I like it better at the desert palace. It’s more like a house than this place.”
Billie laughed. “You say that like it’s a good thing.”
“Into the palace, huh?”
“Let’s just say I love my bathroom more than I should.”
Emma nodded. “It’s very beautiful here. I’ll admit that. I mean look at this nursery.”
Billie had to admit the room was amazing. There were mobiles and murals. A long changing table stood against one wall. The decors—blue and pale gray—screamed boy.
“So they really do hate women here,” Billie said with a laugh.
“Nope. There’s a fussy pink nursery next door. They certainly had the room to do both.”
“What are you having?” Billie asked. “Do you know?”
“I wanted to be surprised,” Emma told her. “Reyhan is convinced we’re having a boy. Of course Sadik was sure of that as well, and Cleo had a girl.” She touched her belly. “At this point I don’t care if it’s puppies, I just want it out.”
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