The Sheik's Kidnapped Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 1)(46) by Susan Mallery
He would ignore her for a while, he thought. That would teach her. Except…visions of their lovemaking the previous night filled his mind. Memories of how it had been to touch her, to be touched. She’d been stubborn and unyielding to the end, refusing to tell him that she wanted him. But even without words, she’d let him know how much she desired him. Her body had spoken eloquently and without sound when she’d clung to him, begging him to go deeper, faster, harder.
He shook off the erotic images filling his brain and had to consciously slow his breathing. Perhaps he was hasty in his decision to ignore Dora. Perhaps there was a better way to reach her. Perhaps he wasn’t giving her the benefit of the doubt—if she was so smart, she would figure out that he’d made the best decision for both of them. She would see that their marriage was the right thing for her, and she would be grateful to him for all that he’d done on her behalf.
As they neared the palace, he glanced at her again. She wore a long-sleeved dress that Rihana had packed for her. Both of their wedding robes were in the back seat. She’d brushed her short, dark hair away from her face, exposing her profile to him.
She wasn’t beautiful like Amber or many of the other women who had been a part of his life, but she was quite lovely in her own right. He liked the way her eyes flashed when she grew angry with him and the way her mouth betrayed her when she was trying not to smile. He looked forward to speaking with her, hearing both her words and the sound of her voice. He welcomed the feel of her soft skin pressing against his, and the hot dampness that greeted his entry. She might not have been his first choice, but she was all things a man could want in a wife. He’d been fortunate to find her.
When they drove into the courtyard and he turned off the engine, he tried to think about what he should say to start their lives together on better footing. Some words of, if not atonement, then reconciliation. He could say that while he didn’t understand or agree with her position he believed she thought it was important, so he would respect that. Maybe if he mentioned—
She opened the passenger door and stepped out. Instantly one of the servants was there to help her. She thanked the man and started walking toward the entrance to the palace.
Khalil stared after her. She hadn’t waited for him. How dare she go striding off, as if he wasn’t anyone more important than the chauffeur.
“Dora,” he called as he scrambled to open his door and step outside. He brushed off the servant’s greeting and hurried after her. “Dora, where do you think you’re going?”
She paused to glance over her shoulder. “I would have thought that was obvious. I’m going to my rooms.”
He caught up with her in the grand foyer. The sound of running water from the main stone fountain provided idyllic background music. He touched her cheek. “You don’t live in the harem anymore, my little wildcat. You live with me.”
Her brown eyes widened at the news. She glared. He could almost see her temper rising inside her, and he held back his grin. They would fight, then they would make up. He looked forward to both events with equal anticipation. He hadn’t thought that being married would require so much energy, but then he also hadn’t realized the rewards.
Rihana appeared from the shadows and bowed low. “Welcome back.” She gave Dora a shy smile. “I have moved your belongings into your husband’s rooms. May I please show you the way?”
“No,” Dora said sharply, not taking her gaze from Khalil’s face. “Please take my things to the guest suite I was shown to when I first came to the palace. I’ll be staying there.”
Khalil frowned. “Dora, this is ridiculous. What do you hope to accomplish by this game? You’re my wife.”
Her gaze turned icy. “I am, aren’t I. That makes me a princess. As such, I assume I’m allowed to give the servants instructions, and I can expect those instructions to be followed. Is that correct?”
She’d boxed him neatly into a corner. If she was his wife and therefore a princess in the palace, the servants would be expected to obey her. As her husband, he could not take away her power on her very first day. If he did, that decision would affect her position in the palace for the rest of her life.
He gritted his teeth and glared at her. They would have to take this up another time.
“Rihana, you will do as my wife requests,” he said stiffly.
Rihana looked troubled, then nodded slowly. “This way, Princess,” she said and turned away from the corridor leading to his rooms. Dora gave him a smug smile before she left to follow the girl. Khalil stood there alone, wondering how the hell everything had gone so wrong and what he was supposed to do about it now.
Dora stood alone on the balcony, staring out at the sea. She’d spent the past six hours alone in her suite of rooms, trying to savor her victory. But it didn’t taste as sweet as she’d thought it would. She was away from Khalil, which is what she wanted, but she was also by herself. The rest of the day stretched long and lonely in front of her, as did all the days in her future. What was she going to do with herself?
She turned her back on the glorious view, and paced toward the French doors leading into her living quarters. How long would Khalil keep her in El Bahar before realizing their marriage was a mistake? She believed it was just a matter of time until he came to his senses and divorced her. Then she would be free. Until then, she would make the best of a bad situation by enduring her solitude. There had to be something she could do with her time. Maybe—
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