The Sheikh's Virgin(Desert Rogues, Book 13)(26) by Susan Mallery
She spoke defiantly, as if she did expect him to believe her but knew he would never take the time.
What was the truth? It would be relatively easy to investigate her past and determine what had actually happened. And as soon as he had the thought, he realized he did believe her. At least about that.
“I was going back to the States,” she continued. “I was going to figure out what to do with my life and open my own business. You can ask Maggie. That’s Qadir’s fiancée.”
“I know who Maggie is.”
“She’s my friend. She knows what I was thinking.”
“Nadim would not have made you happy.”
“You mean because he’s lacking a personality?”
He did his best not to laugh. “That is part of the problem.”
“Let me guess. The other part is he’s male. Your gender has some real issues.”
He stared at her. “Must I remind you who I am?”
“No, but I have a feeling you will anyway.” She shook her head. “I didn’t try to trick either of you. I didn’t even want to fall in love. I saw what it did to my mom. Love is for suckers.”
He sensed she believed the words. “You’re too young to be so cynical.”
“And yet, here I stand.” She moved toward him. “Kateb, I’m not pregnant. It was one time and the odds are seriously against it. At the risk of providing you with too much information, I just finished my period last week. That makes it even more unlikely. I understand you want to be sure. So do I. But I’m not playing you. I never was.”
Her blue eyes promised she spoke the truth and he found himself wanting to accept her words.
“We will see,” he said instead.
Victoria sighed. “I guess so. So now let’s talk about Rasha and the jewelry. This would be good thing for the village. Weren’t you talking about diversification? Plus, the women need a little power.”
“How do you know?”
“It’s El Deharia. Sure, the country is very forward-thinking, but come on. Are you saying they get an equal vote at home?”
Her suggestion had merit and he would be a fool to ignore it simply because of the source.
“Bring me a business plan,” he said. “I will consider it.”
She grinned, which made him want to kiss her—which annoyed him.
“Great. I even know how to write one. There wouldn’t happen to be a spare computer anywhere?”
“I will have one delivered to your rooms. Anything else?”
“M&M’s? Any color. I’m not fussy.”
“You want candy?”
“I want chocolate. There’s a difference.”
He sighed. “You may go now.”
She turned and left.
He found himself watching her walk across the room. His gaze dropped to her ridiculous high-heeled sandals. They were impractical and foolish and they suited her perfectly.
For a moment he wondered if the same held true for her? That she suited him perfectly.
Kateb heard the loud clacking sound in the hallway and knew that Victoria approached. He hadn’t seen her in several days, which was to his liking. The less contact they had, the better. Unfortunately not seeing her had not removed her from his mind. He couldn’t seem to go an hour without images of her haunting him. Memories of her naked body filled his dreams at night causing him to awaken hard, hungry and restless.
He heard voices outside his office, then the door opened and she strolled in. He looked at her and raised his eyebrows.
“I know, I know,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Yusra brought it to me. Apparently it’s traditional and as I’m your mistress, I’m the one stuck wearing it. I had a hard time finding the right shoes and I don’t know what to do with my hair. What goes with the ‘Hey, look, I’m the local harem girl’? I was thinking of just leaving it loose. Your thoughts?”
He took in the two-piece outfit that was more costume than clothing. The top was part bikini, part short vest, done in quilted silk and heavy beading. Her midsection was bare, and the silky trousers sat low on her hips. There was more beading in front and at the bands that hugged her ankles. Everywhere else, the fabric was sheer.
“Yusra has a sense of humor,” he murmured, knowing the old woman wasn’t the least bit subtle. She wanted him to consider Victoria as more than a temporary fixture in the palace.
“You think?” Victoria turned so he could see the sheer fabric in back, making her rear completely visible. “I’m not comfortable with the whole world seeing my butt.”
She was close enough to naked that his body reacted predictably. He tried telling himself it was because he hadn’t been with a woman in so long. Except he had…just last week. And the wanting wasn’t about biological need—it was about being with Victoria again. Touching her and tasting her. Pleasing her and being pleased.
He moved behind his desk so his condition was not obvious.
“How did you get here?” he asked. “Or is palace staff different than the entire village?”
“I have a cloak. Desert fashion seems very cloak oriented. This one is beautiful. The beading matches. Shoes were a problem.” She held out a foot, showing him her high-heeled sandals.
He glanced at them, then wished he hadn’t when his gaze traveled up her bent leg to her thigh. He quickly looked at the report on his desk.
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