The Sheikh and the Runaway Princess(Desert Rogues, Book 4)(13) by Susan Mallery
Something dark sparked to life in his eyes. “As my slave, you will have certain…responsibilities. To fulfill them you will need to dress to please me.”
She blinked at him. “You can’t be serious.” She replaced the book and for the first time really looked at the room. At the chaise and the very large bed. Her throat tightened.
“Uh, Kardal, really. This is a game, right?” She backed up until she pressed against the far wall. “I mean, I’m Princess Sabra. You have to think this through.”
He walked over to her, striding purposefully until he was directly in front of her. Close enough to touch. Which he did by cupping her jaw.
“I am aware of your identity so there’s no need to play the innocent with me.”
The implication of his words hit her like a slap. She flinched. “Did it ever occur to you that I’m not playing?”
One corner of his mouth turned up. “Your lifestyle in California is well documented. I might not approve of what you’ve done, but I intend to take advantage of it…and you.”
His fingertips barely grazed her cheek, yet she felt his touch all the way down to the pit of her stomach. He stood too close—it was nearly impossible to breathe. Fear combined with a sense of disbelief. He couldn’t really be saying all this. He couldn’t mean to…to—
“We can’t have sex,” she blurted.
“I will not be a selfish lover,” he promised. “You will be well pleased.”
She didn’t want to be pleased, Sabrina thought frantically. She wanted to be believed. Tears burned but she blinked them away. What was the point? Kardal would never listen, no matter how she protested. He thought she was some party girl who slept with every man who asked. Telling him she was a virgin would only make him laugh.
“I doubt my pleasure will be enough payment for what you have in mind,” she said bitterly.
“You’re making that judgment before you’ve had your way with me.”
“The only thing I want is to go back to the palace.”
He dropped his hand to his side. “Perhaps in time. When I grow tired of you. Until then—” He motioned to the room around them. “Enjoy your stay in my home. After all, you’ve finally found your heart’s desire. You now reside in the City of Thieves.”
He turned and left.
Trapped, she thought dully. She was well and truly trapped. She had no idea where she was, and didn’t know a soul to help her.
Sabrina slid down the wall until she sat crouched on the stone floor. He was right. She had found what she’d been looking for. Which reminded her of that old saying. The one about being careful about what one wished for. The wish might come true.
“I can’t believe it,” Sabrina muttered as she stared at her reflection in the gilded full-length mirror in her bedroom. “I look like an extra in a badly made sheik movie.”
“The prince was most insistent,” said Adiva, the soft-spoken servant sent to help Sabrina “prepare herself” for Kardal’s return.
“I’ll just bet he was,” Sabrina said, then sighed. There wasn’t anything to be done and she refused to get angry at the young woman who had been so kind.
She glanced at Adiva. The young woman, barely eighteen, stood with her eyes averted. She wore a conservative tunic over loose trousers and had pulled her thick, dark hair back in a braid. No doubt the teenager had all the retiring qualities that Kardal admired in women. He would think nothing of defiling Sabrina, while he would treat Adiva like a saint.
Sabrina returned her attention to her reflection and tried not to choke. She wore gauzy, hip-hugger trousers that were fitted at her ankles. Except for the scrap of lining low on her belly, she was practically naked from the waist down. The thin fabric concealed nothing. The top half of her outfit wasn’t any better. The same pale, gauzy fabric draped over her arms, while all that covered her br**sts was a bra-style lining in gold. Adiva had caught her long, curly red hair up in a ponytail that sat high on her head. It was held in place with a gold headband.
Adiva stepped back and bowed slightly. “I will leave you to await our master,” she said quietly.
“I really wish you wouldn’t,” Sabrina told her, trying to ignore the nervous jumping in her stomach. All costumes aside, she wasn’t in the mood to be ravished. Not that the Prince of Thieves was going to ask her opinion on the matter.
Adiva either didn’t hear her plea, or didn’t believe it. Or maybe there was nothing the girl could do. She bowed again, then turned and left Sabrina alone.
The long room turned out to be perfect for pacing. Sabrina stalked from one end to the other, cursing Kardal, calling herself an idiot for setting out yesterday alone. If only the storm hadn’t come up. If only she hadn’t lost her horse and her camel. If only Kardal weren’t going to force her to have sex with him.
He was in for a surprise, she told herself, trying to keep her sense of humor and not panic. He was expecting Bathsheba, and instead he was about to get the virgin Sabrina. At least she would have the satisfaction of knowing that after he defiled her, he would be killed. However, that was small comfort. What would please her more would be a way to prevent the situation from occurring at all.
She reached the window and tried to find beauty in the view of the courtyard below and the marketplace in the distance. It was growing late and most people were hurrying home. She wished she could do the same. She turned to retrace her steps.
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