The Sheikh and the Virgin Secretary(Desert Rogues, Book 10)(4) by Susan Mallery
She set her pad on his desk and placed her fingers against his palm. She had an impression of warm skin and strength as he gently pulled her to her feet.
He towered over her, and she had on pretty high heels. He smelled clean, just soap and man, and even though it felt strange to have him continue to hold her hand, it was more good-strange than bad-strange.
His dark eyes seemed to see down to the very depths of her being, as if he could read all her secrets. Not a good thing, she thought. She wasn’t the secret type and anything he found down there would be pretty pitiful.
She drew in a deep breath. “What’s the question?”
“This,” he said, and lowered his head.
She hadn’t thought he would kiss her. Maybe she should have. After all, she was offering to be his mistress, which meant an impressive level of physical intimacy, and kissing was the first stop on that road. But here? At the office? In the afternoon?
As his mouth gently brushed against hers, he tugged on her hand and drew her closer. She didn’t know what to think, what to feel. She’d been numb since discovering Eric with that woman, so she doubted she was going to be able to respond to Rafiq’s kiss.
Only, she had to. This was the final test to see if she was mistress material.
As she knew deep in her heart she wasn’t; she was going to have to fake it. But how?
Frantic thoughts raced through her mind. She felt awkward standing there, not sure what to do with her arms, her hands. Should she embrace him? Should she go for a wildly enthusiastic tongue kiss? Should she grab his free hand and put it on her breast?
Rafiq raised his head. “You have very noisy thoughts,” he murmured.
“Can you hear them?”
“Not the specifics, but the general rumble. You are free to change your mind.”
Meaning she didn’t have to be his mistress. She knew that. “I want to do this.”
He stepped back and sat on the edge of his desk. “Chemistry is important in circumstances such as these.”
“What with sex being the point,” she said, aware that so far they’d yet to create even a spark, let alone a passionate fire.
“Is that what you think?” he asked. “That the whole point is sex?”
He studied her for several seconds. “Perhaps you would like to kiss me.”
Oh! Wow. Kiley drew in a deep breath. It hadn’t actually been her first choice, but she could guess why he would suggest it. If she couldn’t kiss him, she certainly couldn’t do anything more interesting.
“I would like to,” she said as much as to convince herself as him.
He sat without moving, although he watched her. She had the sense of being stalked, which was crazy. Rafiq wasn’t dangerous. Not exactly. He was powerful and good-looking. A great body. Eric was a little on the skinny side, but Rafiq had serious muscles.
Rafiq was a man who knew women—he’d had plenty and they’d all been reluctant for the affair to end. Some had called her to beg her to put in a good word for them. Some had talked about his prowess in bed. Some had accused her of being the other woman.
She’d wondered about him, of course. He was a fabulously wealthy, handsome prince who had been involved with some of the most beautiful women in the world.
What, exactly, was he like in his personal life?
But that musing had been curiosity, not the interest Eric had accused her of.
Funny how many times she’d defended herself against the very actions she was about to take.
She moved closer, slipping between his parted thighs and placing her hands on his upper arms. She felt the crisp coolness of his cotton shirt and the heat and strength of his body below. He stayed relaxed and didn’t try to hurry her. A faint smile drew the corners of his mouth upward. Then, with her eyes fluttering closed, she leaned in and kissed him.
His lips yielded slightly but did not part. She kept the kiss brief and chaste before moving to the left and lightly kissing his cheek. It was early enough in the day that his skin was still smooth, but she felt the hint of stubble that would arrive later.
She rubbed his cheek with hers, then kissed his jaw and the small spot right below his ear. Some tension inside of her uncoiled a little. Breath flowed more easily. She returned to his mouth, and this time she tilted her head and pressed her lips against his with more enthusiasm.
He responded but didn’t try to deepen the kiss. Instead he put one hand on the small of her back. The warm pressure gave her the courage to wrap her arms around his neck and lightly brush her tongue against his bottom lip.
He parted for her. She had the brief thought that she hadn’t kissed another man in five years. Only Eric. Then curiosity and a wave of pleasure had her slipping her tongue inside to explore what he offered.
He tasted of coffee and something sweet. His heat surprised her, as did his restraint. He let her touch him. She was the one who discovered the smoothness of the inside of his lower lip. She sought out his tongue and brushed it with her own.
The hand on her back never moved. He neither urged her forward nor suggested retreat. Not sure what to do next, she broke the kiss, dropped her arms to her sides and straightened. He did the same.
Rafiq’s dark expression hadn’t changed. No one walking in at this moment would guess anything unusual had happened. Yet Kiley felt a deep shift in the rotation of the universe.
She’d liked kissing Rafiq. Okay, maybe she hadn’t seen stars, but she was still dealing with a lot of stuff. The fact that she’d felt anything at all was pretty amazing.
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