The Sheikh and the Virgin Secretary(Desert Rogues, Book 10)(7) by Susan Mallery
Everyone is very normal. We’re your basic hearty, peasant stock. Not a drop of royal blood anywhere.”
“Why would that matter?”
“I doubt it’s what you’re used to.”
“I adjust very well to different circumstances.”
She angled toward him. “I’m one of three girls. The youngest, in fact. My father is a firefighter. My mom works in a gift store. They’ve been married thirty-one years and have lived in the same house for nearly twenty of them. It’s a four-bedroom ranch-style built in the seventies.”
“What is wrong with that?” he asked.
She laughed. “Nothing. My point is, you don’t have a ‘bondy story’ to go with mine. What are you going to say? That the smallest family castle only has eleven bedrooms?”
“I believe it has fifteen, but I’ve never counted.” Rafiq stared into Kiley’s blue eyes and liked the amusement he saw there. “But I understand your point. We come from different worlds.”
“I’m thinking it’s more like different planets.”
“Yours sounds very nice.”
“It is,” she said. “But yours has better jewelry.”
He chuckled. “That is true.”
She reached for her glass of champagne and took a sip. He watched her and knew the exact moment the humor faded and the nervousness returned. Her grip on the glass tightened and she refused to look at him.
“Kiley, we will not be making love tonight.”
Her relief was nearly as tangible as the building itself. Tension dropped from her body, as she sagged back against the sofa. “Really?”
“We need to get to know each other first.” He was amused by her reaction. Did she really think he intended to take her so quickly? Much of the pleasure lay in the anticipation, in watching her move and imagining her hands on his bare skin.
In listening to her voice and knowing how it would sound when she begged him for more.
“Okay. Good point,” she said. “It’s just I’ve never done anything like this before. Obviously. In addition to the whole never-been-a-mistress-before thing, there’s the fact that I’m not all that good with men.” She wrinkled her nose, then took another sip of the champagne. “I didn’t date much in high school. I was more the buddy type.”
The information didn’t surprise him. While Kiley was very attractive, hers was a more-subtle beauty. Still, the flower one must discover was more special than the one simply thrust in one’s path.
“You met Eric in college?” he asked.
“My senior year. We were friends for a while, then we started dating. There were a couple of guys before him but no one special.”
The women in his life were usually much more experienced. Not that Rafiq minded her relative innocence. “As I said, we will get to know each other,” he told her. “Progress leisurely.” He paused, then said, “I assume Eric was your only lover?”
He didn’t mind the competition, he simply wanted to know how slowly he should move.
Kiley blushed and turned her head. “He, ah…”
“I do not mind if there have been more.”
“Yes, well…” She finished her glass of champagne and set it on the coffee table.
It was only when she raised her gaze to his that he saw the truth.
Not more lovers. Less.
She was a virgin.
Rafiq was less startled by the news than by the fierce need to possess her that swept through him. The primitive emotions startled him with their intensity. In his day-to-day life, he rarely felt his desert heritage, but at that moment he was one with his ferocious history.
“I know it’s really old-fashioned, especially now,” she said, speaking quickly.
“Socially, it’s not something I really talk about. I don’t even know where the idea came from. My mom always talked about the first time being with someone I loved, but never that I should wait. Still, I wanted to. I wanted to give that to the man I married. I wanted to be a virgin on my wedding night.”
She stared at the floor. “Eric knew, of course. He was all for it, the bastard.
In a way that’s what made it worse. I’m not a saint or a sexless creature. We would kiss and touch and I wanted to do more. I thought I was being strong and noble, and sometimes it was really tough. I thought he believed, too. Instead I would go home frustrated and he would head off to sleep with somebody else.”
Rafiq had never had an opinion on Kiley’s fiancé until she told him what he’d done. Then he’d felt mild annoyance and contempt. Now he wanted to hunt down the other man and horsewhip him into a bloody pulp. How dare he reject such an incredible gift with thoughtless callousness?
“It is better you didn’t marry him,” he said, careful to keep his anger from his voice.
“Agreed. He was a jerk and I’m lucky I found out before the wedding.” She looked into her glass. “I just don’t feel very lucky. I feel stupid. Like I did this really big thing and no one noticed or cared.”
Her admission of innocence made him want her more. He wanted to be the first to touch her and pleasure her in the unique way a man could please a woman. But to defile a virgin…
“You must reconsider our arrangement,” he told her, even as he longed to pull her close and take her. “Someone who was willing to wait so long should not give her gift so easily.”
She stared at him. “You’ve changed your mind? But you can’t.”
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