The Sheikh and the Virgin Secretary(Desert Rogues, Book 10)(8) by Susan Mallery
“I have not,” he said gently, hating the need to do the right thing. His body told him to take what was offered without question, but his soul demanded Kiley make the choice. “You said yourself you should be in love the first time.”
He smiled. “It is different for a man. We are eager to dispose of our virginity.”
“Gee, that’s what I’m thinking. I want this, Rafiq. I wouldn’t have asked you if I didn’t.”
Honor demanded he give her an out. Now that he had and she’d refused it, he wouldn’t ask again. “Then we will go on as planned,” he said. “With one small change.”
She frowned. “What’s that?”
“I had thought we would wait a few days to become intimate. Now I think we will move even more slowly.”
“You don’t have to because of me.”
“Oh, but I do.” He moved closer and touched her cheek. Her skin was smooth and soft.
Based on what he’d heard about Eric, Rafiq would guess the other man hadn’t been interested in teaching Kiley the possibilities.
“There are many ways for a man to please a woman,” he said, staring into her eyes. “We will explore all of them together. I will show you the way it should be, and when you are ready, we will be lovers.”
Kiley felt equal measures of relief and disappointment. On the one hand, she appreciated that she didn’t have to get naked right this moment. On the other hand, there was something about Rafiq that intrigued her.
Maybe it was the way he talked—speaking of possibilities and pleasure. Moving slowly toward an ultimate goal. A shiver of anticipation raced up her spine.
Maybe this was going to be fun.
“Would you like to see the house?” he asked. “There are some beautiful pieces I brought from Lucia-Serrat.”
The change of topic left her blinking. Couldn’t they keep talking about how great he was going to make it? Unfortunately there was no way she could ask, and as he stood, she would guess he hadn’t read her mind.
“That would be nice,” she said.
She accepted the hand he offered and let him pull her to her feet.
“This small chest was built in the sixteenth century,” he told her, pointing at a small, carved chest by the end of the sofa. As he spoke, he rested one hand on the small of her back and placed the other on her upper arm.
Both points of contact were warm. Nice, she thought. More than nice.
Interesting. Appealing. He moved his fingers back and forth, stroking her like a cat. As he continued to tell her the history of the chest and touch her, she found herself relaxing.
They circled the living room. He pointed out several works of art painted by people even she recognized. They passed through a large, well-appointed kitchen filled with the delicious scent of cooking dinner. Rafiq pointed to the oven.
“Sana, my housekeeper, has left us dinner. Are you hungry?”
As he asked the question, he put his hand back on her hip. She found herself wanting to step closer. How odd. Until this morning they’d never touched, except by accident as she passed a file or they walked together down the hall. Now he had the right to touch her whenever he wanted, and she could place her hand on him.
“What? Oh, dinner. Let’s wait a bit. If I eat when I’m too nervous, really bad things happen.”
He chuckled. “We don’t want that.”
She looked at him, at his broad shoulders and the thickness of his chest. Hard muscles under warm skin. What would he be like to touch?
“What are you thinking?” he asked.
She looked at his face. “That these are very unusual circumstances. When two people date, things start out slowly. Hand holding, then kissing and so on. With a few words we’ve given each other permission to do whatever we’d like, physically.”
“What would you like to do?”
She laughed. “I’m not sure. It’s just that I can. Does that make sense?”
“Yes. What would you like to do?” he asked again.
What would she?
She turned so she stood directly in front of him, then raised her hand to cup his cheek. The skin was smoother than it had been earlier when she’d kissed him.
“You shaved,” she said, more than a little surprised.
“Yes. I grow a heavy beard and didn’t want to scratch you.”
Because he’d assumed they would kiss. He hadn’t wanted her to be uncomfortable.
She wasn’t sure why she found the thoughtful gesture so intriguing, but she did.
Maybe it was because he’d imagined them kissing. Had the idea been fleeting or had he considered it for some period of time? Did he feel anticipation? He did want her?
Her stomach clenched at the thought. Right now a man wanting her seemed very important. If Eric had ever wanted her, he’d managed to keep his feelings to himself. Or perhaps he’d simply burned them up in another woman’s bed.
She lowered her hand from his cheek to his chest and splayed her fingers. He was as hard as she’d imagined. Sculpted. She had a sudden vision of touching his bare skin and her breath caught.
“The tour,” she said, stepping back. “What’s next?”
He stared at her for several seconds before taking her hand. “The bedrooms.”
As they went down the hall, Rafiq pointed out several pictures. She saw a photo of his father, the crown prince of Lucia-Serrat, and one of Rafiq dressed for riding. He stood next to a beautiful horse. There were more paintings and objets d’art, a few antiques and a tapestry. He pointed out his home office, a very-well-equipped gym, a lavish guest room and then they stepped into what could only be the master bedroom.
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