The Sheikh's Secret Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 3)(16) by Susan Mallery
Between the opulence, her racing heart and the heat rolling through her body like the tide, she was afraid she was going to pass out right there on the thick Oriental carpet that was probably older than the United States and worth more than a car. Then she remembered why she’d come in the first place.
Facing him and planting her hands on her hips, she said, “I don’t know what rules you’ve lived by in the past, nor do I care. I suppose you’re used to having your way and damn the consequences. Let me assure you I’m not someone to be trifled with, and I don’t care if you’re a prince or a king or the ruler of the universe. You will not use my daughter in your traitorous scheme. She is a wonderful, intelligent, active girl who deserves to be treated with respect. How dare you play with her emotions?”
Malik stared at her for several heartbeats. “Are you quite finished?”
“I haven’t even gotten started. I’m not afraid of you or your power. They mean nothing to me. It’s bad enough that you’ve brought me and Bethany here against our will. As I’m sure you know, I’ve spoken to Mr. Birmingham at the school and he’s informed me that you’re a member of the board. The inference was very clear. Either I do what you say or you have me fired. I can accept all of that, but to think you’d sink so low as to use an innocent child to get what you want. It’s disgusting. How dare you try to weasel your way into her affections—bribing her by offering to teach her to ride? She might be young and inexperienced and therefore gullible, but I am not.”
“A weasel?”Malik questioned. “Interesting choice. I’ve not seen a weasel, at least not in person. Now meerkats are something different. I’ve seen them in Africa. On a tour.”
He spoke blandly, as if they were discussing the weather.
Liana wanted to stamp her foot in frustration. “Are you even listening to me?”
“To every word, more’s the pity.” He took a step toward her and loomed over her. “The problem is you’re not making any sense.” With that, he wrapped his arms around her and drew her close.
Liana was so stunned she actually stopped breathing. All the air left her lungs, but she couldn’t seem to draw any back in. She went willingly because she couldn’t command herself to move away. No messages were getting through to her nervous system. What was he doing and why was he doing it? She hated being this close to him, hated the way…
Suddenly, his mouth came down on hers. The action shouldn’t have surprised her, yet she couldn’t believe it was happening. The warm pressure of his lips moved against her in a way that left her feeling branded and impossibly aroused. His grip on her was firm and unyielding, forcing her up against him until they touched completely from shoulder to knee. Her br**sts flattened against his broad chest and her hands were trapped between her hipbone and his thigh.
She told herself to protest, to object, to squirm and pull away…but it had been a long time since a man had done this to her, and she was too weak to fight him.
Malik shifted, freeing her arms. He used one hand to brush against her back and the other to cradle her head, as if he feared she might pull away.
There was something about his lips—the heat, the firm softness, the way he took control while at the same time inviting her to come along on a sensual journey she couldn’t begin to imagine. Or maybe it was his body, right next to hers, hard and unyielding to her feminine curves. Her br**sts felt so good pressing against his chest. Her ni**les were hard points of desire. Her hips seemed to be pulsing and thrusting of their own free will. She didn’t understand her body or herself for not pushing away. In fact she found herself raising her arms until they encircled his neck. She drew herself up on her toes so that her body fit better against his.
He was kissing her with slow, sweet kisses that were almost innocent, yet incredibly seductive. The masculine scent of him surrounded her, filling her with an intoxication that she knew she would remember for the rest of her life. It was not just that she would now be able to find him in the dark—she would crawl over broken glass for the privilege of inhaling that scent one last time before she died.
Then he brushed her lower lip with his tongue. One slow, deliberate act of passion that nearly made her cry out. Without thinking she parted her lips to admit him, aware that she was crossing a line, and that once she did so, there could be no retreat. She wanted him with a desperation that left her shattered and afraid. Yet, as he entered her, she welcomed him with darting brushes of her tongue against his.
And then whatever civility still existed between them disappeared, burned to dust by the explosion that rocked through her like lightning cutting through a tree. She shook violently as he invaded her mouth. No longer gentle or smooth, he plunged and explored like a man on an urgent mission. He discovered the secrets of her mouth, what made her surge toward him, what made her gasp. He buried his fingers into her thick hair and moved them up and down her back. He slipped lower and cupped her behind, squeezing the full curves and making her pulse against him in a way designed to make them both think of the ultimate act of love.
She found herself wanting to tear off her clothes, to expose herself to him so that he would know how much she wanted him. She thought about them making love right here, on the sofa, or perhaps on the dining-room table. She needed him the way she needed air, and knew that if she didn’t have him right now, she wouldn’t survive.
The sense of being out of control was so unfamiliar that it shocked her into stepping away from him. Without wanting to, she raised her fingers to her mouth and pressed them against her throbbing skin. Her body still trembled and the heat continued to pour through her, arousing her to a fevered pitch.
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