The Sheikh and the Runaway Princess(Desert Rogues, Book 4)(57) by Susan Mallery
She recalled a conversation she’d overheard between her mother and another woman. They’d talked about how being with one man made them want to be with all of them. Sabrina hadn’t understood their feelings then and she still didn’t. As far as she was concerned, she would be happy to have Kardal be the only man in her life for always.
For so long she had tried to be unlike her mother and now she knew that she’d succeeded. Perhaps they had always been different and she had never noticed before.
“What are you thinking?” Kardal asked as he gently stroked her hair.
She snuggled closer, savoring the heat of his body and the way the hair on his legs tickled her skin. “That I don’t have to worry about turning into a wanton.”
He was silent for a moment, his expression confused, then he smiled. “You were worried that making love with me meant you were like your mother. You see that you are your own person instead?”
She nodded, her chin brushing against his bare arm. “I have no interest in another man.”
He shifted so that she was on her back, her head pressed into the pillow. He bent down and kissed her.
“That is as it should be,” he said arrogantly. “I have told you—you are mine. No one else will ever have you.” He grinned. “Not even the troll prince.”
His words broke the fragile protective wall she’d erected. While they’d been making love she’d been able to ignore the fear gnawing at her but it crashed into her, filling her with apprehension.
“Kardal, you can’t joke about that,” she said frantically, pushing him away and sitting up. She pulled the sheet with her so that she could cover herself. “You don’t understand.”
He sat up as well. “Do not trouble yourself. All will be fine.”
“Will it? What do you think will happen when my father finds out about this? And the troll prince? He’s not going to be happy that I’m not a virgin.”
Panic filled her. She tugged the sheet free and wrapped it around herself while she hurried to her closet.
“Why are you pretending this doesn’t matter?” she asked as she reached for her clothes. There had to be a solution. What would her father do to Kardal? Would he simply threaten him or would there be actual violence? And what about the troll prince? What kind of man was he? If he had a temper…
She spun back to face Kardal. Tears burned at her eyes. “You have to do something. Go away. Maybe just for a little while until all this blows over.” She pulled on panties and a bra, then slipped into a sleeveless dress.
Kardal didn’t seem to appreciate the seriousness of the situation. Instead of getting up and dressing, he stretched out on the bed and beckoned her to his side.
“I have told you,” he said lazily. “You need not worry. I will be fine.”
He was so handsome, she thought as the first of her tears fell. So strong and such a good leader for his people. She’d never met anyone like him and she never would again.
Sabrina leaned over him. “Kardal, you have to listen to me.”
He touched a tear on her cheek. “You cry for me?”
“Of course.” She wanted to shake him. “Don’t you get it? I love you and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you.” The tears fell faster. “Dammit, Kardal, get up, get dressed and get out of here.”
She hadn’t thought about what would happen if she confessed her feelings, but she never expected him to sit up and start laughing. His reaction was so unexpected, she stopped crying and stared openmouthed at him.
He kissed her cheek. “How sweet you are to worry about me.” A smile curved his mouth. “And I’m glad that you love me. It is always important for the woman to love the man. Loving him makes her happy. Obedient as well, but I doubt you will ever be that. Still, you have many good qualities and you will be an excellent wife for me.”
She heard the words. They physically entered her ears and moved to her brain. She was even somewhat confident that he was speaking English. Yet nothing made sense.
“W-what?” she asked, barely able to form the question.
“Haven’t you guessed?” His smile turned into a grin. “I am the troll prince.” He chuckled. “At first I was quite insulted that you would call me by such a disrespectful name, but now I find it charming.”
She took a step back from the bed. She tried to recall her conversation with her father. The one during which he’d announced her engagement to a stranger. She hadn’t stayed around long enough to find out anything about the man. But Kardal?
He shrugged. “I know. You are happy now. That is as it should be.” He got out of bed and reached for his clothes.
A large object sailed toward him. Kardal barely had time to duck out of the way before a vase crossed the place where his head had been just the second before. He stared at Sabrina who stood by the table at the foot of the bed. Fury darkened her face and fire flashed from her eyes.
“You bastard,” she said in a tone of outrage. “How dare you?”
He quickly pulled on his trousers, then held up his hands in protest. “What’s wrong? Why are you angry? You should be happy that there is no troll prince.”
“You knew!” She pointed at him as if he’d just stolen something precious. “You knew we were engaged, but you never told me.”
Her mouth opened, then closed. “That’s why you claimed me as your slave. You wanted to know what I was like. And that’s why my father didn’t come get me. It’s not that he didn’t care that I’d been kidnapped. I hadn’t been kidnapped at all.”
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