The Sheik's Kidnapped Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 1)(52) by Susan Mallery
His direct gaze burned down to her very confused heart. Until that moment, Dora had assumed that Khalil was going to find a way to divorce her. She still didn’t understand all the circumstances of their marriage. She knew what she’d believed and what Amber had said, but the truth remained a mystery. Did he really plan to keep her in his life?
“I will not let you go,” he told her. “El Bahar does not permit a royal wife to divorce her husband without his consent, and I will never agree.”
Oddly enough, his words comforted her. Despite their differences, or maybe because of them, she didn’t want to go. A part of her was still hoping for the dream of a fantasy prince to love her forever. Which only proved she hadn’t learned a damn thing, despite having her heart broken by two men in less than two months.
“You were amazing last night,” he said, abruptly changing the subject. He continued to stare at her, and she saw the fire glowing in his eyes. Fire that instantly sparked an answering flame deep in her woman’s place.
“Thank you,” she murmured. Last night she’d been bold. Once he’d broken through her initial reserve, she’d attacked him, touching him, taking him in her hands and then in her mouth. She still remembered his shocked cries of pleasure.
The memory made her squirm against her seat. Her panties grew damp as her br**sts swelled. “Khalil…”
He smiled, the slow, satisfied smile of a male who had won. “I knew you would come around. You want me. Admit it.”
Her passion fled as quickly as it had arrived. She straightened and stared at him with cold disinterest. “Just because I’m your wife doesn’t mean you have the right to sexually harass me, Khalil. While we’re in the office, I want to discuss business and nothing else.”
He straightened and glared at her. “How do you do that? How can you want me one minute and then freeze me out the next? Why won’t you give in on this? You know I will win in the end.”
“Will you?” She shrugged. “I happen to think I’m going to win. I can be very stubborn.”
“I know. It’s not your most attractive feature.”
“Would you like a list of your own faults?”
His look of surprise nearly made her smile. “I have no faults.”
She leaned back in her chair. “Honey, you have a list so long, I’d get a cramp in my hand if I tried to write it.”
“Not true,” he said. “I remind you that I am your husband, and I will be treated with respect.”
Well, it was an improvement to the “I’m Prince Khalil Khan, etc.” which he’d been throwing in her face since they first met. “Nine to five we work together. No chit-chat about sex. I mean it, Khalil.”
“What? Do you think you can take that tone with me and get your way?”
She thought for a moment, then smiled. “Absolutely.”
He glared. “You are an impossible woman.”
“Yes, but I’m your impossible woman. Now get back to work, and leave me alone.”
“We’re dining together at twelve-thirty,” he said as he headed for the door. “And I’m leaving because I have things to do, not because you told me to.”
“Of course. Just as long as you’re leaving.”
He paused to look at her. “Do not think you have more power than you do, my desert wildcat. I will still be the one you submit to this night.”
“I will never submit.”
He shrugged. “You may play your game of resisting at the beginning, but we both know that you will soon be in my arms, begging me to touch you and take you to paradise.”
Then he was gone. And Dora was left with the uncomfortable realization that he spoke the absolute truth.
Fatima accepted the cup of tea Khalil’s assistant offered, then waited until the young man had left them alone in his office. Khalil stretched out his legs in front of him and waited. His grandmother had requested this meeting, and she would get to her point in her own time.
She didn’t keep him in suspense long. “Your father has begun to speak of Dora in terms of grudging respect, which I assume means that she’s doing extremely well in her work.”
Khalil couldn’t help giving his grandmother a satisfied grin. “Right now she’s meeting with a computer manufacturing company and instead of walking in dictating terms, as they’d expected, they’re conceding on every point she’s brought up.”
“So you are pleased with her as well.”
Pleased didn’t begin to describe his feelings. At first Dora had been cautious and hadn’t expressed many opinions. He’d made the mistake of assuming she was going to be timid and not much use…as had the men she’d met with. But by the end of the first week, she’d been asking for more than they wanted to give and standing up to them when they refused. A major European bank had received a thumbs-down from her. Khalil had backed up her decision, even though he’d thought she’d gone too far. Three days later that bank’s competitor had come in with a package that would fund El Bahar’s budding computer chip manufacturing industry. Two hotels were bidding for property east of the city and there was talk of a cooperative venture between two American universities and the leading El Baharian hospital for several research projects. All this in less than a month.
“She is an asset to us all,” he said at last. “Despite her lack of formal training, she is a shrewd negotiator. I’ve watched her use American casualness to lull her opponents into trusting her, then turn into a royal princess to intimidate at exactly the right moment.”
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