The Sheikh and the Virgin Secretary(Desert Rogues, Book 10)(25) by Susan Mallery
“I think you will be a good mother.”
She sighed. “Thank you. I know I’ll try. I feel as if I could easily love a couple of dozen kids, but there is the reality of keeping track of everyone.”
She offered him the bread basket, then took a roll for herself.
“I keep thinking about how it’s going to be,” she said. “I want to have the house where all the neighborhood kids comes to play. I want to make Halloween costumes and bake and decorate for the holidays. I want a Christmas tree filled with ornaments made out of Popsicle sticks and a couple of dogs making trouble.
A suburban fantasy.”
“It sounds very nice.”
“Oh, right. So speaks the prince.”
“Do you think I’m not interested in a domestic situation?”
“I don’t know. Are you?”
“I will marry and have children.”
“That’s right,” she said. “We’ve discussed your need to find the proper woman at the princess store. How’s that working out?”
Before he could tease her back, the waiter appeared with the wine. He opened the bottle, then poured them each a glass. When they were alone, Kiley leaned toward him.
“I have a question,” she said in a low voice, staring at his shirtfront rather than his face.
“Is it really just business that’s kept us apart? Physically, I mean?”
He reached across the table and took her hand. “Are you concerned?”
“A little. Last weekend we, um, made some progress and since then, well, nothing. Did I do something wrong? I’ve been thinking about it and I wondered if maybe you thought I was being selfish. The whole thing was about me. I feel really bad about that. I just didn’t think…” She bit her lower lip. “Pleasing the man in my life isn’t something I’m used to.”
Her combination of worry, concern and nervousness charmed him. He squeezed her fingers.
“You are the innocent in the relationship,” he told her. “I don’t expect you to be aware of my needs or responsible for them. Had I wished things to go differently, I would have told you.”
“Okay. But it’s been a week. Things were really hot and heavy before.” She glanced around, as if making sure no one could hear them. “Are you unhappy with me? Do you want to change your mind about the whole mistress thing?”
If they’d been alone, he would have claimed her right at that moment. He was delighted that she missed their physical contact.
“You are the one I desire,” he said, staring into her eyes. “Only you.”
Her mouth parted, but she didn’t speak. He felt her pulse quicken and heard her breathing increase.
“Wow,” she whispered at last. “That’s good.”
“So you really have been busy? It’s just that?”
“Mostly. Also, I thought we were moving a little quickly. I wanted to give you time to get used to our intimacy.”
“Now? You take me to the pleasure planet, then pull back? It hardly seems fair.”
He smiled. “Then we can change things. You only have to let me know. Or better yet, show me.”
Her eyes widened. “As in, seduce you? I’m not sure I know how.”
His body clenched at the thought. “You would figure it out.” In truth, it wouldn’t take much, but she didn’t need to know that. Just sitting here with her, talking about making love, was enough to get him hard.
“Really?” She pulled free of his touch, clapped her hands together and shimmied in her seat. “I like that. I like the thought of bringing a big, powerful prince to his knees. Figuratively, of course.”
“Of course. Maybe this weekend we can—”
Rafiq glanced to his left and saw Eric standing next to their table. Annoyance destroyed his good mood.
Kiley jumped. “Eric! What are you doing here?”
Her surprise seemed genuine. As much as Rafiq wanted to grab the smaller man by the shirt and pummel him, he deliberately decided to wait and see what happened.
If Kiley needed his help, he would step in—otherwise it would be better if she took care of Eric herself.
“I have to talk to you,” Eric said, ignoring Rafiq. “Come outside.”
“I’m not going anywhere with you. Go away.”
Not the words of a woman mourning a relationship, Rafiq thought with relief.
“You’re making a fool of yourself,” Eric said, glaring at her. “Can’t you see that?”
“The only fool here is you,” she told him. “You didn’t realize what you could lose. It’s gone now and there’s no getting it back. I’m sorry if that hurts, but…” She frowned. “No. I’m not sorry. I’m glad it hurts you. I hope it hurts a lot. You treated me terribly. I’m not interested in you or our past or anything you could say to me. My biggest regret is that I wasted three years of my life waiting to marry you. The bright spot is I found out the truth before the wedding.”
Eric turned on Rafiq. “This is your fault. You seduced her. How long were you screwing her before all this happened?”
Rafiq started to rise, but Kiley put her hand over his. “I appreciate it,” she said, “but I can handle this.”
He nodded and sank back in his chair. He would let her be in charge…for now.
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