The Sheikh's Secret Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 3)(61) by Susan Mallery
Instead she looked around in amazement at the roses decorating every surface. White and pink and peach and deep red. Yellow and plum and shimmery silver. They stood in bowls and vases; their petals littered the floor and their fragrance invaded her senses.
Malik stood in the center of the room, his expression as unreadable as usual. But she sensed his tension, his need for her to be pleased.
There was a chair by the door and she set down her clothes. “It’s been less than a half hour since I told you I was moving in,” she said, then waved at the roses. “How is this possible?”
“I work quickly.”
“You couldn’t have had the flowers here all this time.”
“No. They’ve been in a large refrigerator. They’ve been replaced two or three times while I waited for you to make up your mind.”
It was a silly, expensive, romantic gesture and she didn’t know if she should thank him, burst into tears or tell him not to waste that kind of money on her. Instead she walked over the petal-littered floor until she stood less than a foot in front of him.
“Will I ever understand you?” she asked.
“Do you understand me?”
He smiled. “You are a woman. You and your kind will always be a mystery to mere mortal men.”
He reached into his jacket pocket and drew out a small jeweler’s box. Her breath caught as he opened the velvet top to show her a brilliant marquise-cut diamond set on a diamond and sapphire band.
“I never gave you a wedding band,” he said by way of explanation, then slid the ring on to her finger.
“It’s beautiful.” Liana didn’t know what else to say. Was she supposed to thank him? A wedding ring. Somehow that made their marriage feel all the more real.
“Be with me,” he said, gathering her close and kissing her. He pressed his mouth to her lips, then her cheeks, her forehead and finally returned to her mouth.
She felt him shaking in her embrace, as if her being here really mattered to him. All her doubts fell away, as did her questions as to whether she should have given in or not. Need filled her. Not just passion and the desire to be with this man, but a longing to understand him and heal him. To be his haven. She wanted to empty herself into him, to fill him up and take away all his pain.
It was as if her feelings were so large and overwhelming that she couldn’t keep them to herself. She kissed him back, opening her mouth and welcoming him, touching him, teasing him, beginning the dance that would bind them together in unforgettable passion.
She reached for his shirt buttons. He shrugged out of his jacket, then stilled her hands.
“Not here,” he said. “In my bed. I need you there.”
She looked at him. His face was all harsh angles and planes. A muscle twitched by his mouth, and she saw the tremors in his fingers. He was already hard and his arousal pressed against the front of his trousers.
Her power over him humbled her. She wanted to promise that she would never take advantage of her ability to transform him from proud prince to mortal lover. But her throat was too tight for her to speak.
“I need you,” she breathed as he led her toward the hallway.
“And I, you.”
Without warning he picked her up and carried her into the bedroom. He placed her on the bed and began to remove her clothing. She found herself fumbling first with his buttons, then her own. He pulled her shirt from her slacks and she did the same. She had one shoe on and had lost the other somewhere.
They were kissing and undressing and trying to touch at the same time. She pulled off her blouse and unfastened her bra. He slipped down the lacy cups and began to suckle her br**sts. She fumbled with his fly, then drew him out and wrapped both her hands around his silky, hard length.
Finally they were naked, and he was pressing himself into her. She was wet and ready. It had been too long—perhaps all of a week, but it felt like a lifetime.
“More,” she gasped as he entered her. She drew back her knees.
Malik reached between them. Even as he plunged in deeper, he rubbed her small center, bringing her immediate pleasure. She screamed out his name and he swallowed the sound with a kiss.
Over and over he drove into her, taking her back to the point of release, making her writhe and beg and gasp. As he neared his own completion, he opened his eyes and stared into her face. She could see to his soul.
Both of their bodies tensed. “My wife,” he breathed as the first waves of pleasure swept over him.
“Husband,” she managed, then lost herself to one final shuddering release.
Then they were caught up in each other, joining in a timeless union of man and woman. Carried forward on surrender and promise.
After they’d both regained their ability to breathe and had settled under the covers, Liana snuggled close to Malik and rested her head on his shoulder.
“I should have moved in long ago,” she teased. “If you’d been clear about what I could expect I might not have fought you so hard.”
“I doubt that. You can be very stubborn.”
She laughed. “As if I’m alone in that. You were determined to have your way in this.”
He looked at her. “I had no choice.”
There was always a choice, but she wasn’t about to debate that with him. Not now, with her body still pleasantly relaxed and her muscles all liquid and rubbery from the lovemaking.
“Who are you, Malik Khan?” she asked idly as she rubbed her hand over his chest. “You say that in time I’ll begin to understand you, but I’m not so sure. Sometimes I feel as if I know everything you’re thinking, but other times you’re a complete stranger.”
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