The Sheik's Kidnapped Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 1)(41) by Susan Mallery
“What do you want from me?” he asked. “Fine, I lied. I convinced you to marry me, using false pretenses. We’re married now. So we’ll make the best of it. We’ll start over.” He reached for her. “Dora, some of what I told you was true. I think you will make a fine wife. You will be a good mother my sons, and you have the perfect body to allow my sons to grow healthy inside of you.”
She sucked in her breath. It wasn’t enough that he ripped out her heart—now he wanted to talk about her hips, too? “No. I don’t want to be married to you. I want to go home.”
“Where is home? With Gerald?”
She flinched, but didn’t back down. “Anywhere but here. I won’t stay.”
“You don’t have a choice.” He moved closer and reached out to touch her.
Despite her desire to stand up for herself, she backed away quickly, knowing that if he stroked any part of her body she would be lost.
“Don’t,” she told him, folding her arms over her chest. She needed time to think.
Except he wasn’t going to give her time. Even as she struggled to collect her thoughts, he advanced.
She took another step back, then another. The pain was still there. She didn’t know what to believe. He hadn’t wanted her. He hadn’t longed for her. He’d picked her because she was a convenient virgin. That was hardly the basis of a successful marriage.
But that wasn’t what hurt the most. What ripped her open and left her bleeding was that she’d done it to herself. She’d been a fool…again. First with Gerald and now with Khalil. With Gerald, she’d been so lonely that she’d allowed herself to believe that he had qualities that didn’t exist in him at all. The small conciliation was that with Khalil, he’d fed her deception with pretty words.
His warm hand settled on her shoulder. She gave a sharp cry and ran toward the entrance. Once outside, she realized she was in the middle of the desert with no idea which direction was home. Probably because she wasn’t sure where home was. El Bahar? Of course not. Los Angeles? Not anymore. Where did she want to go?
Khalil grabbed her arm and pulled her back inside. “Do not run away from me again,” he growled.
“Or what? You’ll have me locked up or maybe beaten. You seem a very practiced bully.”
Dark eyes flashed with fire. “I have never bullied you.”
She hated that he spoke the truth. “You used me.”
“You let yourself be used. You welcomed me into your bed.”
Color flooded her face. She swallowed her shame. “Don’t make the mistake of thinking that’s ever going to happen again. I want a divorce. I want to leave you and this country.”
He leaned close until his face nearly touched hers. “Never.”
“I won’t let you destroy me.”
He laughed cruelly. “Destroy what?” he asked mockingly. “You were wandering around at an airport when I found you. You had nothing. Your fiancé had left you, you had no job, no money. I saved you. I married you and brought you to my country where you have a chance at a life beyond anything you have ever imagined. Here you will have wealth and power and a title. You are an honored member of the house of Khan. Do not forget that. You will be my wife, and you will bear me many sons.”
“I would rather be married to a dirt farmer than you, prince or not, and I will never have your children because I will never let you touch me. I want a divorce.”
“Never. You are mine.”
“I am not a possession.”
“You are my wife and my woman. Do not make the mistake of challenging me because I will always win.”
“Not this time—not with me.”
“Wife of mine, you are wrong.”
She sensed his intention before he moved, but she was too slow. Even as she tried to step away, he grabbed her arm and pulled her up against him.
Anger, pain, sadness, loneliness, betrayal all blended inside of her, draining her strength and her will to fight.
“I want you,” he said, his mouth inches from hers. “I will have you.”
“You’re going to have to force me, because I’m not going to do this willingly.”
His dark eyes gleamed. “Didn’t I just warn you about challenging me?”
Then he kissed her. Not the soft, tempting kiss he’d used the first time they’d made love, but a powerful, claiming kiss that forced a response, even as it promised the sweetest of rewards for giving in.
“No!” She pressed against his shoulders, trying to push him away.
He laughed, his lips still against hers. “Fight me, my desert cat. Fight me, then claim me as your rightful mate.”
But even as she breathed the promise, she felt the first tendrils of desire coiling through her. Heat hot enough to melt resolve, even hot enough to warm the very ice from her bones, crept through her like dawn would creep across the thick, plush carpets. It moved slowly, filling her from the inside out, sucking away her will.
His tongue swept across her lower lip, back and forth, back and forth, whispering for admittance. She wanted to resist. She told herself to be strong—that she hated him, that he was horrible, that he’d used her and hurt her and…and…
He untied the tiny bows that held her robe together, then slipped his hand through the gap in the heavy silk. Even as she swore to herself that she would stand firm against him, his fingers brushed against the tight bud of her nipple. At the same moment his tongue slipped between her suddenly parted lips.
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