The Sheikh's Virgin(Desert Rogues, Book 13)(9) by Susan Mallery
She glanced down at her fashionable boots with their four-inch heels. “These are stunning.”
“They are impractical.”
“They were on sale. You would seriously die if I told you how much I’d saved.” She looked at him, then away. “Or maybe not.” Something told her Kateb wasn’t the type to shop. Or care about a sale.
She heard a sharp cry in the distance. A louder call answered nearby. Whatever made it sounded large and wolflike.
Her instinct was to run for safety, but Kateb didn’t move and none of the other men reacted.
“Is that something we should worry about?” she asked.
“Not if you stay close to camp.”
Suddenly their location seemed more thought-out than she’d first thought. With the cliffs at their back and the trucks forming a semicircle, it would be difficult for someone to attack from any direction.
While she appreciated the planning, she hoped it wasn’t a necessary precaution. If they were attacked, she wouldn’t be good for much more than shrieking panic.
What on earth was she doing here, in the middle of the desert with a man she didn’t know? What had she been thinking, throwing herself on Kateb’s mercy and offering to take her father’s place? Dean had earned some time in jail. He’d cheated at cards and offered her as payment. She shouldn’t care what happened to him.
Only she hadn’t done it for him, she reminded herself.
She looked at Kateb, wondering what he expected of her. What would he want her to do? Did he really plan to take her to his bed? Fear claimed her, making it difficult not to bolt for freedom. Not that the desert provided much more safety.
“Is one of those tents mine?” she asked.
He pointed to the one in the middle.
“Excuse me,” she said, and walked toward it.
Inside she found a cot with bedding. Her luggage had been piled against the other cloth wall. She supposed by tent standards, it was very nice. There was certainly enough room.
But she didn’t care about any of that. Instead she sank onto the cot, then rolled onto her side and curled up in a ball. The unknown loomed like a circling vulture, ready to pick her bones clean.
She sniffed. Okay, that was a bit melodramatic, but she was scared. Down-to-the-core terrified.
Outside she heard the men talking. A while later, the tent flap opened and one of the cooks told her that dinner was ready.
“Thank you,” she said as she pushed up on her elbow. “I’m not hungry.”
He said something she didn’t understand and backed out of the tent. Seconds later Kateb stalked in.
“What is your problem?” he demanded.
“I’m not hungry.”
“Are you pouting? I will not tolerate an emotional tantrum. You will get up and come and eat.”
His obvious contempt drove her to her feet. She put her hands on her hips and glared at him.
“You don’t get to judge me,” she snapped. “I’m having a really bad day, okay? I’m sorry if that reality upsets you, but you’re going to have to deal with it.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Sure you do. You think I’m trash. Worse than trash, because you don’t think of me at all. I’m just an…I don’t know what. But from my perspective, I just sold myself to you. I don’t know you from a rock and I don’t know what’s going to happen. I sold myself for a man who doesn’t deserve it and now I’m here with you in the desert. You said I have until we get to the village. What happens there? What are you going to do to me? Are you going to…r-rape me?”
Her voice started to shake and she could feel her eyes burning, but she refused to look away or back down.
Kateb sucked in a breath. “I am Prince Kateb of El Deharia. How dare you accuse me of such things?”
“It’s actually pretty damned easy. You won me in a card game and now you’re dragging me into the desert to be your mistress for six months. What am I supposed to think?” She glared at him. “Don’t you dare tell me not to be upset. I would think, under the circumstances, I get to be a little nervous.”
He grabbed her arm. “Stop.”
A single tear escaped. She wiped it away and was still.
“I will not hurt you,” he said quietly.
“How do I know that?”
Their eyes locked. She wanted to see something on his face, something yielding or gentle. There was only the darkness and the sharp edges of the scar. Kateb turned and left.
She stood alone in the center of her tent, not sure what to think. Exhaustion made her sit on the edge of the cot. Now what?
Before she could figure out what to do next, he returned carrying a plate along with a bottle of water and an odd-shaped black box. It was about the size of a small loaf of bread.
“You must eat,” Kateb told her, handing her the food. “You don’t want to get sick.”
The scent of meat and vegetables made her stomach growl, but she was too afraid to eat.
“What’s that?” she asked, pointing at the box.
“A battery-pack converter.” He turned it so she could see the shorter side. When he lifted the flap, there was a plug, just like a regular outlet. “For your curling iron.” He set it on the floor of the tent.
She couldn’t believe it. “Really? I can curl my hair?”
“You seem to find that very essential.”
She was still afraid, but didn’t seem so desperate now. Her stomach growled again, and she thought maybe she could eat. Answers continued to elude her, but for now, that was all right.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online