The Sheikh's Virgin(Desert Rogues, Book 13)(51) by Susan Mallery
“Start at the beginning and talk slowly. Why is there a challenger? Who is this guy? Is it personal? It feels personal.”
He touched her face. “Why would you say that?”
“Because it’s coming up at the last minute. What? He woke up this morning and thought ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to fight Kateb to the death?’ I don’t think so. If this wasn’t about you, why not challenge back when you were named? Or go to the elders before? Everyone knew they were going to pick you.”
“You are right. It’s personal. His name is Fuad and he is the son of the man I killed.”
She gasped. Her gaze settled on the scar on his face. “When you were kidnapped?”
“Yes. Fuad’s father had come up with the plan to kidnap me and hold me for ransom. When I tried to escape, he and I fought.” He rubbed his cheek. “He nearly won, but in the end, I prevailed. He was killed, the men with him imprisoned.”
“His family shamed,” she whispered, remembering what had happened to Sa’id after his father had only stolen a few camels. “So this Fuad grew up seriously mad at the world in general and you in particular. He wants revenge for his father.”
That was bad. Even worse than she’d thought. “You can’t fight him. He’s got something to prove.”
Kateb looked weary. “I will not take pleasure in defeating him. Fuad is only a boy. Maybe eighteen or twenty. But it is the law.”
“The law is stupid.”
“Saying that doesn’t change it.”
“So you change it.”
“I will. After I am leader.”
“Which means you first have to kill Fuad.”
What if you don’t? Victoria didn’t say the words, but she couldn’t stop thinking them. What if Kateb was killed?
“You worry too much,” he told her.
“This isn’t the 1800s. No one does this. You have to make it stop.”
“I will. I will win.”
“With a boy’s death on your hands?”
“There is no other way.”
“There has to be. Go to the king,” she begged. “Tell him. He’ll forbid you. There’s no shame in that.”
“The king will not interfere with our ways and neither will you.” He touched her cheek again. “Fear not. I am good with a broadsword and I will practice.”
“You have two days.”
“That is enough time.”
Was it? Wouldn’t Fuad have been practicing for the past ten years?
Fear clawed at her chest, making it hard to breathe.
She wanted to tell him to just stop and be sensible about all this, but knew he wouldn’t listen. He would go forward with the challenge because it was how things had always been done. He was a prince of the desert. He didn’t fear death, but then he wouldn’t be the one left behind.
She leaned forward and kissed him. She needed his mouth on hers, his hands touching. She needed to be with him one last time. Before the battle. Before he sent her away.
She’d thought he might resist. That he might still be angry, or assume the worst about her. But he cupped her face and kissed her back.
She parted for him immediately and he swept inside. Their tongues brushed together in a dance that was as arousing as it was familiar. Only Kateb, she thought, trying not to cry, even as her body melted against his.
He broke the kiss and pulled her to her feet. She went willingly and he led her into the bedroom.
If he saw the open suitcases on the floor, he didn’t say anything. Instead he drew her to the side of the bed, then kissed her again.
His mouth was more gentle this time, offering as well as taking. He swept his hands down her back and over her hips before sliding them up to her br**sts. There was a tenderness in his touch. Almost loving.
They quickly removed their clothes, then fell together on the bed. When he would have slipped his fingers between her legs, she shook her head.
“Just be inside of me,” she whispered. “That’s what I want.”
The connection, she thought, determined to remember everything about this moment. The joining.
He put on a condom, then knelt between her thighs. She reached for him and guided him inside.
She was already wet and swollen. Just the thought of them making love was enough. Today she wasn’t interested in her own pleasure, although it was there. She wanted to be one with him.
He filled her slowly, stretching her. Nerve endings quivered with delight. Wanting burned through her and she found herself moving with him, unable to resist the call of her release.
But she held back, focusing instead on staring into his eyes. On every part of what they were doing.
Without warning, he pulled out and rolled onto his back. Then he urged her on top. She straddled his hips and eased herself down on his erection. While she braced herself on her hands, he reached up and cupped her br**sts. Then he smiled.
“Better,” he whispered.
He teased her ni**les, which made her insides clench. Powerful desire swept through her, making it difficult to think about anything but how he made her feel. She rode him up and down, finding the perfect rhythm, wanting all he had to give her.
He continued to tease her br**sts. They stared at each other. She felt herself getting closer, pushing harder, going faster. He moved with her, driving in deeply, filling her until she had no choice but to give in.
Her climax claimed her with a rush of pleasure that made her cry out. He dropped his hands to her hips, guiding her up and down until he, too, groaned. They came together, eyes locked, both panting and straining. It was the most intimate moment of her life.
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