The Sheikh's Impetuous Love-Slave(5)

By: Marguerite Kaye

The blade winked cruelly, its edge gleaming in the reflection from the tiles. Spellbound, Juliette watched as he closed in on her, her heart beating wildly in her breast. Was he going to slay her? Was she going to die, bleed to death here on the carpet which had been her gift wrapping?

Prince Khalid’s eyes, glittering like the blade, watched her from under hooded lids. They watched her like a hunter watches his prey. Mesmerizing. The blade was raised. Her blood ran cold, but she did not shrink away from it. She would not be mesmerized. Despite appearances, despite the steely blade and his remorseless eyes, she did not really believe he would kill her in cold blood. It was a test. She would not fail it. She would not!

‘Do it,’ she said, her voice trembling but her gaze unwavering. ‘Do it, I dare you.’

She trembled. He saw the instinctive flinch, the plea for mercy being bitten back and his admiration for her grew, completely subsuming his anger. With a movement so swift that it was over before she could even cry out, the dagger in Khalid’s hand arced through the air, slicing cleanly through the bonds around Juliette’s wrists, before continuing down, in a swooping hiss, to those at her ankles.

With a startled cry she fell back, the blood rushing to her feet making her stumble. Her wrists were throbbing, the welts left by the bonds angry-looking. Juliette rubbed her aching wrists, eyeing him warily.

He could not blame her. Forced upon him as she had been, she was nevertheless his guest. Honour decreed that he treat her with respect. A lesser man would have had no compunction in teaching her, in the age-old way of things, just how little control she had over her destiny. Khalid had no harem, nor any desire for one. Nor did he feel any need whatsoever to prove his power in such a way. At least….

The more he looked at her, the more his body liked what he saw. He wanted to tame her. Knowing she would not be easily tamed made his desire increase, but stronger still was the knowledge, which came to him of a sudden, that he wanted her to submit of her own accord—not through fear, nor in order to barter for her freedom, but because she desired him. Confused by such atavistic emotions, realizing that his own physical desire was manifesting itself in a most uncomfortable and obvious way under his tunic, Khalid eyed his prisoner uncertainly.

‘What do you intend to do with me?’ Juliette asked, backing away from him. He was so tall. Too tall. And really, the way he was looking at her—as if he would devour her. The very idea of it made her go first hot then cold. Fierce as he was, Prince Khalid was doing something to her insides that was making her want, quite contrarily, to ignore the impulse to flee. She was not accustomed to being looked at in such a way, with such interest, such intent. It threw her off balance. For some reason, it made her blush. ‘I warn you, if you lay a hand on me…’ She faltered, first because she had no idea what she would do, and second because the idea of his laying a hand on her was, just for the tiniest fraction of a second, alluring.

‘You will what?’ Khalid asked, doing just exactly that. One hand reached out for her hand, pulling her towards him. The other arm snaked round her back, effectively preventing her from moving. The length of his body was hard against her own. The hilt of his scimitar dug into her belly. ‘What will you do, Juliette de Montignac?’ he asked. ‘Scream?’

Grey eyes clashed with blue. Khalid smiled. There was no humour in that smile, only victory. Juliette opened her mouth wide to scream, not because she was afraid, but because that was the last thing he expected her to do. She took a deep breath, but just as she began to release it, his mouth descended on hers, and his kiss knocked the breath from her.

Warm and hard, his lips were on her. Warm and hard, his hands were, too. No one had ever dared. No one had ever tried. Try as she might, in the dark of night, fired by the erotic pictures glimpsed in some ancient and forbidden book, or painted on a temple wall, she had never been able to imagine what a kiss would be like. Pleasant, she had conjured, but not much more. This was not pleasant. It was passionate and masterful. His mouth commanded hers; his hands ordered a response from her body. She should fight, but she wanted to submit, just as she had yearned to, deep in her darkest dreams. Shock gave way to an astounding surge of pure, unadulterated pleasure. For one delightful moment, Juliette surrendered, her mouth blossoming under his caress, her blood coursing rapidly through her veins, her heart pounding. For one delightful moment she had a glimpse of the pleasures of the senses, then Khalid wrenched himself free of her and the colours, the textures, the heady delights she had almost tasted melted away like shadows.

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