The Sheik's Kidnapped Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 1)(14) by Susan Mallery
He turned the handle, and the door opened silently. Dora lay curled up on the bed like a child. She’d pulled her knees to her chest, and her hands covered her face. Her sobs had quieted, but her shoulders shook. Once again he could feel her pain and knew that she’d been stabbed down to her very soul. Perhaps she was not whom he would have chosen, but she was better than many others. A man could do much worse.
That decided, he crossed to her bed and sat on the mattress. She jumped and half sat up, then cried out and jerked the covers to her shoulders.
“Khalil, I don’t understand. What are you doing here?”
Tears covered her face. Her eyes and mouth were swollen. She was not at her most attractive, yet Khalil found himself strangely drawn to her. He reached out and cupped her cheek, then used his thumb to wipe away her tears. Her skin was soft and damp, and oddly appealing.
“I couldn’t stand it,” he said. “To hear your pain. Sweet, sweet Dora.”
He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close. Her shock was a tangible presence in the room. He suspected that if he hadn’t caught her so off guard, she would never have allowed herself to be drawn against him.
She held herself stiffly. Instead of hugging him back, her arms hung limply at her sides. Yet the feel of her this close was not unpleasant. Until now he’d never noticed the feminine scent of her body. Instinctively he knew the smell didn’t come from any expensive store, but was instead her own private perfume. The heady fragrance made him think of warm sunlight and laughter. An odd combination considering it was the dead of night and she was in tears.
“I don’t…You can’t…” She sniffed. “Khalil?”
“I understand,” he told her, again cupping her face, but this time with the intent of kissing her. With the light spilling in from the hall, he could see the outline of her br**sts under the cotton gown she wore. How innocent was she? Had any man seen those curves, touched them, tasted them?
He found himself aroused, not just at the thought of her innocence, but by the feel of her womanly body against his. He could already feel the heat of his own growing desire. Making love with Dora was going to be surprisingly easy. In one single act of possession, he was going to solve both their problems.
Dora fought against the emotional fog that clouded her brain. She couldn’t think clearly. Obviously she was caught up in some dream—or was it a nightmare—brought on by her own exhaustion and Gerald’s phone call. Because there was no other explanation. No way was Khalil actually in her bedroom, sitting next to her and holding her close.
Except her dream was far too real. She could feel the hard planes of his chest, the strength of his arms, and the fiery heat of his body. Long, male fingers stroked her face, brushing away tears she hadn’t realized still spilled from the corners of her eyes.
“Hush, my love. Hush.”
She couldn’t be quiet. There were too many questions. “What are you doing here?” she asked again, trying to ignore the fact that he’d called her “love.” She looked at him. “Are you drunk?”
For a second, something hot and wild tightened his expression. She had the oddest sensation that he wasn’t going to say a word, but instead pull her close and kiss her. Rather than being horrified, she found herself leaning toward him, wanting his kiss, regardless of whether or not this was a dream.
“Of course not,” he told her. He rose to his feet and crossed to her door. A protest formed in the back of her throat. Was he going to leave her? But he didn’t. He pulled the door shut, then flipped on the light switch. Instantly the lamp on her nightstand came on and flooded the room with light.
Dora briefly closed her eyes in horror at the thought of what she must look like. No doubt her skin was red and blotchy from her crying, while her hair was a mess, and she was curled up in bed like an invalid. What must Khalil think of her?
Before she could come up with an answer, or even speak the question aloud, her brain reasserted itself, and she realized she still didn’t know what he was doing in her room in the middle of the night.
She’d thought he might turn on his heel and leave. She’d thought he might start speaking. She even imagined him beginning a detailed conversation on crop management. But she never expected him to cross to the bed, sink back onto the mattress, take her hands in his and begin kissing her fingers.
She blinked several times, wondering if the blood flow to her brain had been interrupted by her crying jag. Or maybe she’d had a small stroke or seizure. There was no way she was really staring at Prince Khalil Khan of El Bahar sitting on her bed, holding her hands and deliberately, passionately kissing her skin.
But even as she doubted her eyes, she couldn’t doubt her senses. Shivers rippled up her arms as heat flooded her. He pressed his mouth to each sensitive fingertip, then nibbled on the pad of her thumbs. Sounds collected in the back of her throat, but she could not speak. Air filled her lungs, but she could not exhale. Her legs stirred restlessly as her brain jumped from sensation to sensation, not sure which to settle upon. Between her thighs she felt an unfamiliar pressure, a heaviness and warmth. Her br**sts seemed to swell, her ni**les ached. Was this really happening to her?
“I will destroy him,” he murmured against her skin. “I will have him shot.”
“What?” she breathed. “Shot? Who?”
“That son of a jackal. That eater of camel dung. Gerald.” He practically spat out the name.
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