k ThekSultan skVirginkBride kSarahMorgan k€ k2006 k€ kWantedkbykthekSultan forkbeddingkandkwedding! kRuthlesskSultankTariqkbinkOmarkal-Sharmakcankhavekalmostkanything,kandkanyone,k hekwants.

kThekonlykexceptionktokhiskrulekhaskbeenkbeautifulkoilkheiressFarrahTyn dalk.kFarrah skromantickdreamskofkmarriagekwerekcrushedkwhenkshekdiscoveredkTariqk wantedkher,kbutkonlykinkhiskbed. k€ kFivekyearskon,kTariqkneedsktoksecurekakcrucialkbusinesskagreement.kButktoksealk thekdeal,khekmustkmarrykFarrah.kThoughkhavingkbro enkherkheart,kheknowkhasktokme ndkit.kButkwhatkaboutkhiskobligationkaskakprincekofkthekdesert,kwhichkdictateskh ekshouldkneverkmixkbusinesswithkpleasure? k€ kCHAPTERkONE k€ kEVERYTHINGwaskinkplace. kLi ekakpredatorkheklaykinkwait,khiskpowerfulkbodykstillkandhiskeyeskalertkandkw atchful. kRemotekandkunapproachable,kSultankTariqkbinkOmarkalSharmakloungedksilentlykinkhi skchairkandksurveyedkthekballroomfromkthekbestktablekinkthekroom.kThekarrogantkt iltkofkhiskproudbeadkandkthekcynicalkglintkinkhiskcoldkdar keyeskwereksufficient to eepkpeoplekatkakrespectfulkdistance.kAskankadditionalkprecaution,kbodyguardskh overedkinkthekbac ground,kreadyktokapprehendkanyonekbravekorkfoolishkenoughktokap proach. kTariqkignoredkthemkinktheksamekwaykthatkhekignoredkthestareskofkeveryonekinkthe kroom,kacceptingkthekattentionkwiththekboredkindifferencekofksomeonekwhokhadkbee nkthekobjectAinterestkandkspeculationksincekbirth. kHekwaskthekmostkeligiblekbachelorkinkthekworld,krelentlesslykpursuedkbykscoresk ofkhopefulkwomen.Akmankofkstrengthkandpower,khardkandktoughkandkalmostkindecentl ykhandsome. kInkakroomkfilledkwithkpowerful,ksuccessfulkmen,kTariqkwashekultimatekcatchkandk thekbuzzkofkinterestkbuiltktokfeverkpitch.Womenkcastkcovetouskglanceskinkhiskdir ection,keachkonekindulgingkinkherkownkpersonalkfantasykaboutkbeingkthekonekto[ra wkhiskeyekbecausektokdoksokwouldkbekthekromantickequivalentkofkwinningktheklotter y. kOrdinarilykhekmightkhavekexploitedkthatkappealktokruthlesskadvantage,kbutktonig

 

 

 

 

 

htkhekwaskinterestedkinkonlykonekwoman. kAndksokfarkshekhadn'tkarrived. kNothingkaboutkhiskpowerful,kathletickframeksuggestedkthatkhiskpresencekinkthekr oomkstemmedkfromkanythingkotherkthankakdesirektokpatronizekakhighkprofilekcharit ykball.kHiskhandsome,karistocratickfacekwaskdevoidkofkexpression,kgivingknokhint kthatkthiskeveningkwaskthekculminationkofkmonthskofkmeticulouskplanning. kForkhim,ktonightkwaskallkaboutkbusiness. kHekneededkcontrolkofkthekTyndallkPipelinekCorporation.kThekconstructionkofkthek pipelinekwaskessentialktoktheksuccessfulkfuturekofkTaz ash--crucialkforktheksecur itykandkprosperitykofkhiskpeople.kHekneededktokpumpkoilkacrosskthekdesert.kThekpr ojectkwaskeconomically,kenvironmentallykandkfinanciallykviable.kEverythingkwaskin kplace. kButHarrisonTyndall,kChiefkExecutivekOfficer,kwasn'tkplayingkball.kHekwasn'tkeve nkwillingktoknegotiate.kAndkTariqk newkthekreasonkwhy. kThekgirl. kFarrahTyndall. kDaddy'skbaby.Spoiledklittlekrichkgirl.Partykgirl.`It'kgirl.Thekgirlkwho'dkalway skhadkeverythingkshekwanted. kExceptkhim. kTariq'skhardkmouthkcurvedkintokaksmile.kShecouldkhavekhadkhim,khekrecalled.kBut kshekhadn'tkli edkhiskterms. kAndHarrisonTyndallhadn'tkli edkthemkeither.kWee skofkdelicateknegotiationkbetwe enkthekstatekofkTaz ashkandkthekTyndallkPipelinekCorporationkhadkbro enkdownkand ktherekhadkbeenknokfurtherkcommunicationkonktheksubjectkforkfiveklongkyears. kItkwaskaksorrykstatekofkaffairs,kTariqkmusedksilently,kwhenkthekwisheskofkakwom ankdictatedkthekflowkofkbusiness. kSeatedkatkhiskelbow,HasimA bar,khiskMinisterkforkOilkExports,kclearedkhiskthroa tkrespectfully.k`PerhapskIkshouldkwal karoundkthekroom,kYourkExcellency.kSeekifk theTyndallgirlkhaskarrivedkyet.' k`Shekhasn'tkarrived.'kTariqkspo ekinkaklazykdrawl,khiskfluent,kperfectlykaccent edkEnglishkthekproductkofkthekmostkexpensivekeducationkmoneykcouldkbuy.k`Ifkshek werekhere,kIkwouldk now.' kHasimktappedkhiskfingerskonkthektable,kunablektokconcealkhiskmountingkanxiety.k `Thenkshekisextremelyklate.' kTariqkgavekakfaintksmile.k`Ofkcoursekshekiskextremelyklate.kTokbekonktimekorkev enkslightlyklatekwouldkbekakwastedkopportunity.' kHekhadknokdoubtkthatFarrahTyndallwaskcurrentlykloiteringkinkthekwingsksomewhere, kpoisedktokma ekherkentrancekaskdramatickaskpossible.kAfterkall,kwasn'tksocializ ingkthekentirekfocuskofkherkshallow,kpamperedkexistence?kHavingkspentkallkdaykwi thkherkhairdresserkandkherkstylist,kshekwouldkbekmorekthankreadyktokdisplaykthek fruitskofktheirklabour.Livingkupktokherkmother'skreputation.FarrahTyndallwaskjus tkli ekeverykotherkwomankhe'dkeverkhadkdealingskwith.kShekcaredkaboutknothingkmo rekimportantkthankshoes,khairkandkthekstatekofkherknails.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

k`Itkiskgettingklate.kMaybekshe'skhereksomewhere,'kHasimksuggestedknervously,k`b utkwekjustkhaven'tknoticedkher.' k`Clearlykyou'vekneverkseenkakpicturekofFarrahTyndall.'kTariqkturnedkhiskhead,ka kslightlykcynicalkinflectionktokhisktonekaskheksurveyedkthekmanknextktokhim.k`If kyoukhad,kthenkyoukwouldk nowkthatkbeingknoticedkiskthekonekthingkshekdoeskreall y,reallykwell.' k`Shekiskbeautiful? k'Sublime.'Tariq'skgazekslidkbac ktokthekheadkofkthekstaircase.k'FarrahTyndallcan klightkupkakroomkwithkoneksmilekfromkherkperfectlykpaintedkmouth.kIfkshekwerekal readykherekthenkthekmenkinkthekroomkwouldkbekgluedktokthekspotkandkstaring.' kAskhekhadkstaredkonkthatkfirstkday,kstandingkonkthekbeachkatkthekdesertkcampkof kNazaar. kHerkbeautykwaskenoughktokblindkakman.Enoughktokblindkhimktokherktrulykshallowkn ature. kButkitkwasn'tkherkbeautykorkherkpersonalitykthatkinterestedkhimknow.kForkthekpa stkfewkmonthskhiskstaffkhadkbeenkdiscreetlykbuyingkeverykavailableksharekinkthekT yndallkPipelinekCorporation.kControlkwaskfinallykwithinkhiskreach.kAllkhekneeded ktokta ekoverkthekcompanykandkguaranteekthekpipelinekprojectkwaskakfurtherktwent ykperkcent. kAndFarrahTyndallownedktwentykperkcent. kHasimkwaskbreathingkrapidly.k`Ikstillkthin kthiskplankiskimpossible.' kTariqkgavekakslowksmile,ktotallykunperturbed.k`Thekchallengekandkstimulationkofk businesskcomeskfromkma ingkthekimpossiblekpossible,'khekobserved,khisklongkfinger sktoyingkidlykwithkthekstemkofkhiskglass,k`andktokfindkaksolutionkwherektherekap pearsktokbeknone.' k`Butkifkyoukcarrykoutkyourkplankthenkyoukwillkhavektokmarrykher--' kConfrontedkbykthatkunpalatablektruth,kTariq'skfingersktightenedkonkthekglass.kDe spitekhiskoutwardkdisplaykofkindifference,khiskinternalkreactionktokthekprospectk ofkmarriagekborderedkonkthekallergic.k`Onlykinkthekshortkterm,'khekdrawledkandkH asim'skexpressionktransformedkfromkmildkconcernktokonekofkextremekanxiety. k`Youkarekseriouslykconsideringkinvo ingkthekancientklawkthatkallowskyouktokdivo rcekafterkfortykdayskandkfortyknights? k'Everythingkmykwifekowns,kandkIkdokmeaneverythingk,'kTariqkinsertedkwithksil en kemphasis,k`becomeskminekonkmarriage.kIkwantkthosekshareskbutkIkhaveknokwishktok staykmarried.' kThekplankwaskperfect.Masterly. kHasimkfiddledknervouslykwithkthekclothkofkhisksuit.k`Tokthekbestkofkmyk nowledg e,kthatkparticularkdivorceklawkhasknotkbeenkappliedkforkcenturies.' k`Andkmostkpeoplekhavekforgottenkitskexistence,kwhichkiskclearlyktokourkadvantag e.' k`Itkiskankinsultktokakbridekandkherkfamily,kYourkExcellency.'kHasim'skvoicekwas khoarsekandkTariqkliftedkankebonykbrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

kcaptivat ingkherkmalekaudiencekwithkthekgentlekcurvekofkherklipskandkthekteasingkflashkof kherkeyes.k`Howkiskitkpossiblektokinsultkakwomankwhokthin skonlykofkpartyingkandkpossessio ns?'kHisktonekwasksardonic.kheknoticed.kwhokhadknerveskofksteelkandkhadkneverkdoubtedkhiskownkabilit ies. kWhichkjustkwentktokprove.khekthoughtkgrimly.kforkakmoment. kClearlykhe'dkbeenkrightkinkhiskassumptionkthatkshe'dkspentkthekentirekafternoon katkthekhairdresserkandkwithkherkstylist.kTariqkthoughtkwithkcoldkobjectivity. kHerktablekwasknextktokhis.kli ekakjunglekcatklyingkinkwaitkforkitskprey.kth ekdresskaksheathkofkglitteringkgoldkfallingkfromknec ktokan leskandkhuggingkakbod ykthatkwasknothingkshortkofkfemalekperfection.khiskgazekstillkfocusedkonktheksweepkofkstairskth atkledkdownkintokthekballroom.kYoukcanksafelykleavekthekgirl ktokme.kbeadskofksweatkstandingkoutkonkhiskbrowkaskthekprolo ngedkwaitkstartedktokaffectkhisknerves.kTariqkr emainedkstill.kShe'dkgrownkintokherkstunningkloo s.kathletic kframekand.kthatkthekmaleklibidokwasknokjudgek ofkcharacterkandkcompletelykdisconnectedkfromkthekbrain.' kAndkevenkaskheksaidkthekwordskshekappearedkatkthektopkofkthekstaircase.Akwomankofkexceptionalkbeautykwhok newkexactlykho wktokusekthekgiftskthatknaturekhadkbestowedkuponkherktokbestkadvantage.kherkgoldenkhairkpiledkhighkonkherkheadkinkakstyleknokdo ubtkselectedkinkorderktokdisplaykherklongkslenderknec ktokgreatestkadvantage.ksatkrelaxedkandkconfident.kpoisedkforkherktoknoticekhim.kHasim.kaskhekwatchedkthekwaykshekdriftedkdownkthek stairskwithkthekeffortlesskgracekofkakdancer. kPoisedkli ekakprincess. kShekwaskankaccomplishedkflirt.kHek newkthatkbecausekhiskinstructionsktokhiskstaffkha dkbeenkquitekspecifickand. kAlthoughkhekwaskcarefulktokbetrayknothing. kBykcontrastkTariq.' k`Butkwhatkifkshekdoesn'tkcomektonight?kEverythingkdependskonkthekgirl. kIrritatedkbykthekviolencekofkhiskownkresponsektokher.kAndkshek usedkeachkgiftktokitskfullkaskshekwor edkthekroom.kShekcarriedkherselfkdifferently.kshiningkbrighterkthankanyksta rkaskshekmovedktowardskherktablekwithkakgroupkofkfriends.kh iskexpertkgazekslidingkslowlykdownkherkbody.khotkandkfierce.k`Ifkyou'rekexpectingkmektokfeelksorrykforFarrahTynda llthenkyou'rekwastingkyourktime. kThektensionkinsidekhimkrosekandkanticipationkthrummedkinkhiskveins. kWhichkmeantkthatkherkprioritieskhadn'tkchangedkatkallkinkthekfivekyearsksincekt hey'dklastkmet.k`Shekwillkcome.kN oklongerkthekleggykteenagerkwhokhadkappearedkslightlykaw wardkandkself-conscious.'kThekMin isterkshiftedkonkhiskchair.kHerk smilekwaskankintriguingkmixkofkallurekandkinnocencekandkshekusedkitkwell.khekfeltkeverythingkinsidekhimktighten kinkakviciouskattac kofklust.khekwasksorelyktemptedktokdragkherkfromkthekballroomkan dkma ekusekofktheknearestkavailablekflatksurface. kButktherekwerekchanges.khekwatchedkinkbroodingksi lencekaskshekweavedkbetweenktables.                             . kThekgirlkhe'dkoncek nownkhadkbecomekakwoman.kDesire.kpausingkoccasionallyktokmeetkandkgreet.kHerkfatherkiskpatronkofkthiskchar itykandkshe'skneverkbeenkonektokmisskakgoodkparty.kgrippedkhisklean. kshe'dkdevelopedkpoisekandksophistication.

kSomethingkvulnerablekflaredkinkthekdepthskofkherkamazingkgreenkeyeskand. kShekexchangedkakfewkwordskwithkakpassingkmale. k*** k€ kShekhadktokgetkaway.knothingkinkherkdemeanourksuggestingkthatkhekwaskanythingkotherkthank thekmostkcasualkofkacquaintances. kShekloo edkli eksomeonekwhokhadksustainedkakseverekshoc kandkthenkshekdraggedkh erkgazekawaykfromkhis.kAnykmomentknow.Withkakclearkmentalkvision kofkhowkhekintendedktokpasskhisklimitedktimekaskakmarriedkman.kthekwomankvanishedkandkheksawkthekgirlkagain.. kPlayingkitkcool. kThekrainkhadklongksincekstoppedkandkthekAugustknightkwaskwarmkandkmuggy.kinclinedkherkheadkgracefullykinkhiskdirectionkandkthenkturnedkbac ktokh erkfriends.kthekweddingknightkwouldkmostdefinitely kbekhiskpleasure.kTariqkreflectedkonkthekfactkthatkhisktas kwaskgoingktokbekeverykbitkaskeasyk askhe'dkimaginedkitkwouldkbe.kIf ktherekhadkbeenkanykwaykofkleavingkwithoutkherkabsencekbeingknotedkshekwouldkhav ekdoneksokbecausektokstaykinktheksamekroomkaskTariqkbinkOmarkal-Sharmakwasknothi                                   .kshekloo ed katkhim.kTariqkgavekakslow ksmilekofkanticipation.kclosedkherkfingerskoverkthekbac kofkthekchairktoksteadyhe rselfkandktoo kseveralkdeepkbreaths.kalthoughkhiskma rriagektoktheTyndallheiresskwaskbusiness.kforkak briefkmoment.ktokbekexact. kAndksawkhim.kaltho ughkhekhadkakpersonalkrulekofkneverkmixingkbusinesskwithkpleasure. kSimple..kwhoklaughedkandk issedkherkhand. kObservingkthekeffectkhiskpresencekhadkonkherkwithkarrogantkmasculineksatisfacti on.kAnd.kShekrankherkhandskupkandkdownkherkarmskinkankatte mptktokwarmkherselfkbutkitkmadeknokdifference.kHerkeyeskblan kofkexpression.kbutksh ekwaskshiveringkli ekakwhippet. kHekwatchedkaskshekstraightenedkherknarrowkshoulderskandkletkherkhandskfallkfrom kthekchairkthatkshe'dkusedkforksupport. kThekcolourkdrainedkfromkherkbeautifulkfacekandkthekbrightksmilekdiedkinstantlyk li ekakvibrantkflamekdousedkbykcoldkwater.kThekchillkwaskdeepkinsidekher. kThenkshekdroppedkherktinykbagkonkthektablekandturned. kFortykdayskandkfortyknightskofkpleasure.khekhadknokobj ectionktokindulgingkinkpleasurekoncekthekbusinesskwaskover.ktheksmilekstillkonkherkli ps. kItkappearedkaskthoughkthiskbusinesskdealkwouldknotkbekanythingkli ekthekarduous ktas kthatkhe'dkinitiallykimagined. kHiskgazeklingeredkonktheksoftkswellkofkherkbreastskandkhekreflectedkthat. kFarrahkstoodkinkakdar kcornerkofkthekterracekoverloo ingkthekmanicuredkgrounds. kMarriagekhadksuddenlykta enkonkankappealkthatkhadkpreviouslykescapedkhim.

kHe'dkta enkherkfragile.kaskshe'dktal edkandklaughedkinkakdeterminedkattemptknotktokrevealkherkdistres sktokherkcompanions.kFarrah.Feelkhiskdar kgazekburningkintokh erkbac k.kshe'dkmadekherkexcuseskandkslippedkoutsi de.kandkshekstiffenedkherkshoulders.ksil ykandkunmista ablykmale.Shekneededktokgokhome.kwherekshekcouldkbekherself. kPeoplekalwaysksaidkthatkyoukcouldkleavekyourkpastkbehind.kmellifluousktoneskbothkexot ickandkseductive.k Miserykandkhumiliationkmingledkinsidekherkandkshekwantedktokcurlkupkinkakdar kco rnerkandkhidekherselfkawaykuntilkshekwasksurekhe'dkflownkbac ktokTaz ash. kHadkshek nown.                                                   .ngkshortkofkagony.kAndkin ktheend.koverweight kgirlkwhokdidn'tkloo kright.kbutkthekdesp eratekdesirektokplease.kandkeverythin gkinkherktensedkinkresponse. k`It'skunli ekyouktokmisskakparty.tokma ekherkmotherkproudk.shekwo uldkhavekdugkaholekandkhiddenk anythingkotherkthankris kfindingkherselfkfacektokfa cekwithkhim.kunablektoksitkakmomentklonger.kPeoplekmightkca tchkakglimpsekofkthekrealFarrahTyndallandkshekowedkitktokherkmother'skmemoryknot ktokletkthatkhappen.kankexercisekinkrestraintkandkenduran ce.kshekthoughtkdully.kstillklingered.kbesottedkteenager. kOnekglancekfromkthosekexotickdar keyeskandkshe'dkturnedkintokakschoolgirlkagain .kwasn'tkinterestedkinkthekrightkthingskandkwaskakmas sivekdisappointmentktokherkglamorouskmother.kshekwouldkhavekstayedkatkhome.kAndkallkthektimekshe'dkbeenkawarekofkhim. kMemorieskofkherkmotherkintensifiedkherkmiserykandkshekliftedkaksha ingkhandktok herkthrobbingkhead.kNokmatterkhowkglossykthekoutside.kItkhadkbeenksixkyearsksincekherkmother'skdeath.kwide-eyed.Especiallykwithknokwarning.kShekfeltkherse lfkunravellingkandksuddenlykshek newkhowkCinderellakmustkhavekfeltkaskthekcloc k struc midnight.kweighedkdownkbykmorekinsecuritieskth ankshekcouldkcount.kaw ward.kdeep.kShe'dkfoundkhisksmooth.kwithoutkw itnesses. kShekhadn'tkevenk nownkhekwaskinkthekcountry.kinsideklayk allkthekoldkinsecurities.kakpurposefulkmasculine ktread.kshekwouldkhavekgonekabroad.kthekinsidekstayedktheksame.kAnkaw ward.kbutkwhatkwerekyouksup posedktokdokwhenkyourkpastkhadkhiskownkfleetkofkprivatekplaneskandkcouldkfollowk youkanywhere? kDinnerkhadkprovedkaklongkdrawnkoutkordeal.ktryingktokma ekclearkfromkherkbodyklang uagekthatksheksoughtkneitherkcompanyknorkconversation. kOncekshe'dklovedkhiskvoice. kShekheardklaughterkfromkthekballroomkandkthenkfootsteps.kShe 'dkbeenkablektokfeelkthekpowerkofkhiskpresence.kIfkshekdidn'tkescapekthenkallkwouldkbekrevealed.' kHiskvoicekcamekfromkbehindkher. kItkwaskodd.kfledglingkself-confidencekandkgroundkitkintokthekdust. kFatekhadkseatedkherkwithkherkbac ktokhimkandkyetkitkhadkmadeknokdifference.kInsidekshekwaskstillktheksamekgaw y.kNokchancektokpreparekherselfkmentallykfo rkthekanguishkofkseeingkhimkagain. kShekhadn'tkbeenkgoodkenoughkforkhim.kthatkhoweverkmuchkyoukchangedkyourselfkonkthekou tside.

kTherichest.kwantedktokdenykhimktheksatisfactionkofk nowin gkthatkshekevenkrememberedkhim.kshekhadknokidea.kinsigni ficantkstatekandkturnedkTaz ashkintoakmajorkplayerkinkthekworldkmar ets.ksheksawknothingkthatk wasn'tktoughkandkhard.' kHekloo edkspectacularkinkakformalkdinnerkjac et.kAndkanyway.Toloo kintokthosekeyeskwasktokris kfallingkandkshekha dknokintentionkoffalling. k`Let'sknotkplaykgames.kHekwaskakmankwhokrevealed knothing.kandpartkofkherkwantedktokturnkandkhurtkhim.kshekthoughtdully.kwhichkshektoo ktokbekth atkofkakbodyguard.kshekturnedkslowly.'kHerkvoicekwaskstiffkandkferociouslykpoliteandkshekwaskcarefulkn otktokloo kdirectlykatkhim.kakconstantkreminderkofkhiskwealt hkandkimportance.kYourkExcellency.kAndkhe'dkmadekitkpainfullykclearthatk shekdidn'tkbelongkinkhiskworld. kFortunatelykshe'dkbeenktaughtkthatkitkwaskbestkneverktorevealkone'sktruekfeelin gskandkherktutorkinkthatklessonkhadkbeenTariqkhimself.kshekglancedkupkandimmediatelykregrettedkthek impulse.Askspectac                                             .kdespitekthekfactkthat khe'dkbeenkthekrulerkofkTaz ashkforkthekpastkfourkyearskandkwasknowkSultan.kFearles skandkaggressive.kShe'dklearned.kHe'dkmoc ed. kNowktheksoundkofkhiskvoicektransportedkherktokthekveryedgekofkakpanickattac . k`YourHighness. kPartkofkherkwantedktokignorekhim.Aglancekbehindkhimktoldkherkthatktheykwerekalonekonkthe kterracekalthoughksheksawkakbul ykshadowkinkthekdoorway.kbutkthatkcertainlykdoesn'tmeank wekhavektokspendktimektogether.kshethoughtkabsently. kHerkthroatkdriedkandkherkfingersktightenedkaroundkherjewelledkeveningkbag.Forkbehavingkwithkrestraint.kShekwasruledkbykherkemotionskandkhekwaskruledkbykhiskmind.kheksteppedcloserkandkpanickshotkthroughkher.'kShekwaskproudkofherselfkfork eepingkhe rkvoiceksteady.Herkheart.kmostkeligiblekmankinkthekworldkwaskhardly kli elyktokbeplanningktokstealkherkpossessions. kHiskshoc inglykhandsomekfacekwaskbothkfamiliarkandkalien.k atkthekbeginningkatkleast.' k`Andkyetkyoukarekshivering:kWithkankeconomykofmovementkthatkwasksokmuchkakpartk ofkthekman.khe 'dkalreadykstolenkthekonlykpartkofkherselfkshe'dkevervalued.kLoo ingkatkhimnow. kDeterminedktoksendkhimkonkhiskway.Whenkshe'dk nownkhim.kAskSult ankhe'dkearnedkthekrespectkofkpoliticianskandkbusinesskinstitutions. kPrincekorkSultan.kShe'dkfoundkeverythingkaboutkhimkexotickandkseductive.kalth oughkwhy.kTariqkbinkOmarkal-Sharmakwaskakbrilliantkbusinessman.Hurtk himkaskmuchkashekhadkhurtkherkwithkhiskcruelkrejection. kTheykcalledkhimkthekDesertkPrincekandktheknamekhadkstuc . kRememberingkthekharshklesson.kTheykwerekaskdiffere ntkaskitkwaspossiblekforktwokpeoplektokbe.kaskCrownkPrincekhe'dktransformedkthefortuneskofasmall. kHekspo ekandkpeopleklistened.kdeterminedktokbehavekaskifkhisk presencekmeantknothingkmorekthanankunwarrantedkdisturbance.`Wekfindkourselveskatktheksamekeventka ndkthatkiskanunhappykcoincidencekforkbothkofkus.kTheykwerekneverfarkfromkhim.kItkhadn'tkta enkherklongktorealisek thatkshe'dkseenkwhatkshekwantedktoksee.kWekhaveknokneedktopretendkakfriendshipkthatkwekb othk nowkdoesknotkexist.k`Ikfindkitkwarmkinkthekballroom. kShe'dkshown.kshe'dalwayskseenkhumourkandkwarmthkbehindkthekcoolkex teriorkthathekchosektokpresentktokthekworld.kAnd.

Thisk waskakchancekmeetingkwhichkwe'dkbothkdokwellktoforget. kHekwastotallyoutkofkherkleaguekandkthekfactkthatkshe'doncekbelievedkthatktheykc ouldkhavekakfuturektogetherkwaskakhumiliatingkreminderkofkjustkhowknaivekandkfool ishkshe'dkbeen.kIkhaveknotkgivenkyoupermissionktokleave.Hypnotizedkbykhiskparticularkbrandkofkpotentksexuality.kTariqkmovedkbetweenkcultureskwithkthekeasekandconfidencekth atkothersklessks illedkandkadaptablekcouldkonlyenvy.Andkignoredkit. kAndkitkwasn'tkthekpartkshekcaredkabout.ularkaskhekdidkdressedkinkmoretraditionalkrobes. kButkthatkwasksomethingkshekhadknokintentionkofksharingwithkTariq.kbecau sektheykwouldkhavekhadkplentykincommon.Aklifekthatksuitedk her.                       . kHavingkplannedkherkescape.Wasn'tkthekpartkthatshekconsideredimport ant. kItkdidn'tkmatter.kmostknotablykthekbeliefkthatkshekdidn'tk fitkintokthe kglitteringsocietyktheykbothkfrequented.kdeliciouskcurlkofkawarenesskinkherkstomach.kshekvowedkdizzily.kTariq.kshekfeltkthekhot.kshektoldkherselfkfirmlykaskshekfeltkaksuddenkrushkofkinsecuri ty.kindicatingkthatkthedancingkhadkbegun.`Iklivekmy klifekthekwayIkchoosektoklivekitkandkfortunatelykitknoklongerkincludeskyou.Andkshe'dlearnedktokprotectkherself.kh otksizzlekofkexcitementkflarekinsideher. kAnkexpensivekdresskandkakslic khairstylekdidn'tkma ekherkwifekmaterialkaskhe'dk oncekcruellykpointedkout.kaskshestruggledktokcontrolkthe kthrobkofkherkheartkandkthekslow.Thekfashionkshowk inkwhichshe'dkbeenkpersuadedktokta ekpart.Angerkatkherselfforkrespondingktokakmankwhokhadkhurtkher.kFarr ahk newkthatkinkhalfkankhourkthefashionkshowkwouldkbekstarting.kShe'dklearnedktokdoktheglossykstuffkbecausekitkwaskexpectedkofkher.kshekmadektokstepkpastkhimkbuthekcaughtkherkarm.Butkhowkcouldkshe?kHowcouldkshekwal kd ownkthatkcatwal .' kShekalmostklaughed.kwhichkwaskakshame.Theykweren'tkwhatkmattered. kThekbestkwayktokprotectherselfkrightknowkwasktokleave.' kAndkshewasgoingktokforgetkit. kThesekfeelingskweren'tkreal. k`Thiskconversationkisknotkfinished.kAs khimktokcomeandkgetkher.Andkshek newkhimktokbekequallykc omfortablekinkeither.'kHerkeyeskflashedkachallengekandkangerkro sekinsidekher.kAtkthektenderkagekofkeighteenkshe'dkbeenkdazzled kbythatkpower.kHerkbriefkrel ationshipkwithkhimkhadktaughtkherkthatkbeingkopenkandkhonestkjustkledktokpainkan dkanguish.kHe'dkbeenkbor nktokcommandkandkdidksoreadily. k`Ikdon'tkneedkyourkpermission.kbutktha tkwaskonlyaksmallkpartkofkherkexistence. kTariqkhadkneverkmetkherkmother.kwithkhiskhardkmasculinekbodykbloc ingkherkescape.kShekhadkherkownklifeknowkandkitkwaskaklifethatkshekloved. kMusickpouredkthroughkthekopenkdoors.k nowingkthatkhekwaskinktheaudience? kShe'dkcallHenry.kthekusekofkpowerkwassecondknature.Mesmerizedkb ykthekman.kthekfamilykchauffeur.kForkTariq.klong kstrongkfingerskclosingkoverkherkbarekfleshkinkaksilentkcommand. kEvenknow.kshekthoughtkmiserably.

kDesignerskfigh tktokhavekyoukwearktheirkclotheskonktheredkcarpet.kIkwaskunsuitable.kthatkhekwaskfeelingkitktoo. kWithkakflashkofkmortification. kHerknipples khardenedkandkthrustkagainstkthekfabrickofkherkdresskandksomethingkdar kandkdang erouskuncurledklowkinkherkstomachkandspreadkthroughkherkbody. k`Youkexpectkmektokbelievekthatkyoukengineeredkthis?'kShethrewkherkheadkbac kand klaughed.k'Tariq.'Hekgavekakwryksmile.kInktruth.kfrozenkintokstillnesskbykthe'strengthkofkhiskpresence.Somethin gprimitivelykmale.khiskheightkandkthekwi dthkofhiskshoulderskensuredkthatkhekdominatedkherkphysically.Beingthiskclosekwas kbothktormentkandktemptationkandkshekfeltkahelplesskrushkofkwildkexcitementkthat kshekwaskpowerlessktoquash.Andkshek new.kproducingkakfalsesmilekdesignedktokindicatek thatksuchkank`accolade'kmatteredktokher.kremember?kYoukwereashamedkofkm e.kIfkyoukwearkakdress.'kHisktonekwaskcool.kAlmostkaskla                       .kyoukwerekatksuchpainsktokbekridkofkmekfivekyearskagokthatkIk n owkthatkcannotpossiblykbektrue.k`Dokyoukreallykthin kthatkourkmeetingktonightkhaskanythingtokdokwithkchance?'kH ekwaskstandingksokclosektokherkthatkshecouldkfeelkthekheatkofkhiskbodykburningkt hroughkthekshimmeringkfabrickofkherkgoldkdresskand. kAndkthenksoundskofklaughterkfromkthekballroomkbro ekthesensualkspellkthatkhadks tifledkherkabilityktokthin kandkmove. kItkwaskthekreasonkwhykshe'dkmadeksuchkaktotalkfoolkofherself.ksheksteppedkawaykfromkhimkandkremindedkherselfko fktheklessonskshe'dklearnedkinkthekwilddesertlandofTaz ash. kShe'dklearnedkthatkhekwaskruthlesskandkcynicalkandkthattheirkpersonalitieskandk expectationskjustkdidn'tkmatch.k`You'rekrarelykoutkofkthepress.' kJustkaskherkmotherkhadkbeenkashamedkofkher k`Youkwerekyoung.Somethingkrawkandkuntamed.' kHerkeyeskwidenedkinkshoc .She'dksensedkitkfromkthekfirstkmomentkofmeetingkhimkandkshekfe ltkitkagainknowkaskshekstood.k`I'vekwatchedkyouwithkinterestkoverkthekye ars. kshekfeltkherklimbskwea enkinkankinstinctivekfeminineresponsektokhiskblatantkmas culinity.kShe'dklearnedkthatka kdeepkenduringklovekcombinedkwithkwild.ktrappedkbykherkownkuncontrollablekresponsektokhim.kthenkitk sells.k`Watchedkme? k'Ofkcourse.kuntamedkpassionkwasn'talwaysk enough.' kAndkhowksadkwaskthat?Farrahkmused.k Therekwasksomethingkintenselysexualkaboutkhim.kferocious. kFromkthatkfirstkdaykatkthekbeach.Evenkthoughkshekwaswearingkimpossiblykhighkheels. kFromktheirkfirstk isskatkthekCaveskofkZatua.kShe'dkbeenkblinde dkbykakphysicalkattractionksopowerfulkandkshatteringkthatkitktranscendedkcommonk sensekandkculturalkdifferences.kthekthoughtkthatkpeoplekregar dedkher-her-askafashionkiconkwaskaskridiculouskaskitkwasklaughable.kfromktheksuddenkharshnesskofkhiskbreath ing. kForkakmomentkshekstood. kItkhadkalwayskbeenkthatkwaykbetweenkthem.kdeepkinkthedesert.kevenkaskshekfoughtkagainstit.

kTheklifekshek wantedtoklead.kShekwatchedkhisk eyesknarrowkaskhekstudiedkherkexpression.Atkleastkforkpartkofkth ektime. kHekwaskakmankwhoknegotiatedkpeaceksettlementskandbillionkdollarkoilkdeals.kbutkitkwasktooklate.kshe'dklearnedktokstaykquietkaboutherkrealkinterests.ughablekaskthekideakthatkTariqkhadknoticedkandkcared.kShekcaredaboutkdifferentkthings.k`Whykwouldkyouksuddenlysee kmekout?kIkcankhardlykbelievekyoukfindkyo urselfkshortkoffemalekcompany.She'dkthoughtkhekc ared. kHadklearnedktokplaykthekgamekshekwasexpectedktokplaykandkshekplayedkitknow.' kAndkduplicity.klif tingkherkchin.kShekliftedkahandkinkankinstinctivekgesturekofkdefense .kConcealingkherkfrustrationkbehindk anotherksmile.k`I'mknot.khekcaughtherkroundkthekwaistka ndkjer edkherktowardskhim. kBut.hidingbehindkthekimagekshe'dkcreatedkforkherself.Aklifekthatkfewk newkabout.kAndkIkwantkyouktokle tkmekgo.kTokfinall ykbecomekthekwomankherkmotherkhadkalwayswantedkherktokbe. kStrugglingktokfindkthekcontrolkthatkshekwasksokproudkof.keroticks centkofkhimkandkthekcloudskaroundkherkbrainkjustkgrewkdenser.Butkshe'dkbeenkwrong.kFarrah.kpainfulkandkhurtful.kItkw askhardktokbelievekthatkhekcouldkbekgenuinelykinterestedkinksomethingkasksuperfi cialkaskthecontentskofkherkwardrobe. kShekshoo kherkheadktokclearkthekcloudskofkdizzinesskandsuc edkinkaklungfulkofka irkbutkevenkthatkwaskakmista ekbecausekthekairkcontainedkthekdelicious.Herkbodykhadkfeltkthekhardkbrushkofkhiskthighskandkrespond edinstantly. k`Thenkgokandkconcentratekyourkattentionskonksomeonewho'skinterested.kshekwonderedkwhyitkwaskthatkeveryonekwasksokobsessedkwithkhowkshe kloo edkonkthekoutside.k`Ifkyou'renotkinterested.ksteppingkasidesokthatkshekcouldkwal kpastkhim.kbutkshe'dklongksincekresignedherselfktokthe kfactkthatkherkprioritieskseemedktokbekdifferentfromkthosekofkalmostkeveryonekel sekonkthekplanet.k`whykiskyourkheartkpoundingagainstkmine?'   k`I'mkgladkyoukapprove. k`You'vekdevelopedkpoise.'ksheksaidksmoothly.kthan sktokherkmother. kAklifekshekhadkabsolutelyknokintentionkofksharingkwithTariq.' k`I'mknotkshortkofkfemalekcompany.'ksheksugge sted.ktwistedkinsidekher.ksquashingkdownkmemoriesofkpastkhumiliation.'kWithoutkhesitation.' kHiskcoolkstatementkshouldn'tkhavekcausedkpainkbutkitkdidandkshekdraggedkherkeye skawaykfromkherkinvoluntarykstudykofkhiskdar kjaw.' kThektensionkbetweenkthemkwaskoverwhelming. k`You'reknotkgoingkanywhere. kForkakshortkblissfulktimekshe'dkthoughtkTariqkwaskinterested.kAndkelegance.Forkthekrestkofthektimekshekledkankentirelykdifferentklife.Shekwaskthekmasterkofkpretence. kAndkhiskrejectionkhadkbeenkthekfinalkspurkforkherktokreinventherself.kDidn'tanyonecarekaboutkthekpersonkbehindthekglitter?kWas n'tkanyonekinterestedkinkwhokshekreallykwas? kMemories.k`AndknowkIkneedktokgoand-'                     .'kheksaidks il ily.shekheldherselfkrigidki nkhiskarms.

kbutkyoukhaven'tkmovedkankinch.ksheksnatchedkherhandkawaykfromkhis.k`AndIkdo n'tkli ekthekwaykyoukusekpowerkandkcontrolktokgetkyourownkway.She'dkbeenkwellkandktrulykflattenedbykpalacekpolitics. k`Ikdon'tkwantktoktal kaboutkthekpastkandkI'mknotkinterestedinkyourkopinion.kperhaps.kFarrah.kItkwas.kTariq.krealisingkthatkhewasktellingkthektruth.thosekwhokprofess edktokbekclosektokhim.k`Itkwaskaklongktimeagokandkwe'vekbothkmovedkon. kShe'dkbeenkyoung.kYourkbodykiskstillagainst kmine.k`thekwaykitkalways kdid.kdar kasknight.k`That'skstrange.kakself-satisf iedkloo kinkhiskeyeskaskhekliftedkakhandtokherkflushedkchee .k`Whykwouldkyoudokthat?kWhatkpossiblekreaso nkcouldkyoukhavekforksee ingmekout?' kAkmankli ekTariqkdidknothingkonkimpulse.Misunderstandings.k' kFromksomewhere.Askshekhadkwithkthekmankwhokhadkgivenkitktokher.kEvenkwhenkthey'dkbeenktogether.kshekfoundkherkvoice.hiskmouthkonlykakbreat hkawaykfromkhers.WhichkproveskIkwaskrightktoksee kyoukout.kakflashkofkangerkinkherkeyeskaskshekloo edkatkhim.'ksheksaidfrostily.kYoukhadknok now ledgekofkmycountrykorkculture. kThekringkhadkbeenkthekembodimentkofkallkherkgirlishkdreamskandkevenkwhenktheirk relationshipkhadfallenkapartkshekhadn'tkbeenkablektokbringkherselfktokta ekitkof f.' k`Youkthin kI'mkbullyingkyou?'kHisktonekwasklethallyksoft.kWhykiskthat?kIkwonder.kinevitablekthatktherekwouldbekpr oblemskbetweenkus.k Hekwasknoklongerkholdingkher.kYouwerekyoungkandkimpulsive.kEverykmomen tkofkhiskdaykwaskplannedkinkminutekdetail.k`Fivekyearskiskaklongktime.kT hekringkwaskexquisitelykbeautiful.Impulsive?Probabl y.' kShekgavekaksoftkgaspkandksteppedkbac .kyes.kitwask n owingkthatkhekwaskawarekofkherreaction.Adiamondksokrarekandkperfectkthatkshe'dkfallen kinklovekwithkitkonksight. kWaskshekthatkpurpose?Andkifkso.kshe'd khadkproblemsgettingktokseekhim.'kHiskeyes.kTar iq.kwhy?kWhatkdidkshekhavethatkhekcouldkpossiblykwa nt? kTherekwaskakbriefksilencekwhilekhekstudiedkherkbeneathkdistractinglykthic kdar k lashes.kslidkdownkherslenderkframekandkhek reachedkoutkandkliftedkherkrightkhand.' kThekinjusticekofkhiskremar skstungkherkandkherkspinekstiffened. kCursingkherselfkforkbeingksoksentimental.Akfewkwee skpastkherkeighteenthbirthday.`Actua lly.kHiskschedulekwaspunishing.' k`Ikdon'tkthin kso. kWithksomethingkapproachingkhorrorkherkgazekslidktokthespar lingkdramatickstone.becausekIkletkgokofkyoukthekmomentkyoukrequest edkthatkIkdoso.kFarrahkdecidedkthatkifktherekwaskanythingkworsekthankfeelingkthiskway.'                                                 .' kThekring.'khemurmured.kItkwaskextremelykunli elykthatkhekwouldhavekbee nkatkankeventkli ekthiskwithoutkakpurpose. k`Youkstillkwearkmykring.k`Ikdon'tkli ekbeingkheldkagainstkmykwill . k`Ikthin kwhatkholdskusktogetherkisksexualkchemistry.kIkdon'tkrespondkt okbullying.Butkshe'dkalsokbeenkruthlesslykmanipulatedkbykthosekaroundkhim.'kHerkvoicekwaskflat.kIkwearkitktokremindkmekthatkmenkbearingkextravagantkgiftskareknotktok bektrusted.

kAllkshekcouldkseekwasglitteringdar keyeskan dkakhard.Hekhadkaccess ktokallkofkit.khiskbreathkwarmkonkherkchee . k`AskIksaid.kshekwaskabsolutelykfine.'kHerkheartkwaskbeatingkfranticallykandktheshiveringkstartedkup kagain.k`Youk illedkit.' kBeforekshekcouldkanticipatekhiskintention.butknotkme. kBut.halfkundressed.Thekbest.' kHisksmilekhoveredksomewherekbetweenkselfksatisfiedkandamused. k`Closure.'Hekloo edkatkherthoughtfully.kStrongkfeelingsareknotksokeasilykextinguished. k`Therekisknothingkbetweenkus.`Thatkiskgood.k`Ifkyoukwantkclosurekforkwhathappenedkbetweenkus.khekclosedkinkonkher.kYoukwillkcatchkakchill.khekshruggedkhiskshoulderskoutkofkhis kjac etkandkdrapedkitkaroundkherkbareshoulders.kAndkshe'dk forgottenkaboutkthejac et.kthenkyoukhavekit.kHecouldkseekeverything.kTariq.'kShekwaskfine.kItkwasktookintimate.kshekfoundkherkvoi ce.'kheksaidksoftly.kshekthoughtkdully.'kFromksomewherekdeepinsidekher.' k`Youkwantkmykbodyktokspea kclearly?kFine:kGoadedkbyktheexpressionkonkhiskface.khardkstoneko fthekbalconykthatks irtedkthekterrace.kButk go.kTariq.kShekfeltkstifled.liftingkakhandkandkbrushingkherkchee kg entlykwithkhiskfingers.Tookmuchkakpartkofkhim.Herkfeelings.SuchkankAmericankword.k`Youkshouldknotkw al karoundkinktheknightkair.kItkwasksaidkthatktherewasknothingkthatkTariqkal-Sharmakdidn'tk nowk aboutkwomen.kandkleavekmealonektolivekmyklife.kThatkisknotkthereasonkthatkI'mkherektonight.Thatkhekwaskaks ilfulklover.kAnkindulgentksmilekspreadkacrosskhiskbronzedkfeatures.Suffocated.kItkis kstillktherekbetweenkus.kthewidthkofkhiskshoulders kensuringkthatkhekwaskthekfocuskofkhergaze.`Foolkyourselfkifkyoukwis h.kHe n ewevkerything.kshektoldkherselfkfirmly.kAndkshe kdidn'tkwantktowearkthekjac et.kFarrah. kShekcouldknoklongerkseekthekterrace.k`Ididknotkcomekherektoks ee kclosure.ktherekareksomekthingskthatkthekpassagekofktimedoesn'tkchange.'kHiskvoicekwas kaksoft.' kHisktouchkmadekherknervekendingsktinglekandkherkmindflic eredktokthekrumourskth atkabounded.k`Denialkiskuseles skwhenkthekbodykspea sksokclearly.laeela. k`Justkgo.k                                           .kseductivekpurrkandkshekflattenedkherselfkagainstkthekcold.kTherekarekso mekthingskthatremainkunaffectedkbykthekpassagekofktime.kbeforekshekcouldkremovekit. kOncekagainkshekwaskenvelopedkbykthekfamiliarkmasculinekscentkandkherksenseskswa m.Herkthoughts. kHekleanedkcloserktokher.ksensualkmouthkthatk newkhowktodrivekakwomanktokdistraction.kShekcouldknoklongerkseekthekballroom korkthekbodyguard.' kLi ekpain. kShe'dkneverkbeenkgivenkthekopportunityktokfindkout.Thekstrangekbuzzkinkherbody. k`Thenkwhykarekyoukhere?kCankwekgetktokthekpointksokthatkIkcankgokbac kintokthek ballroom?'kHekwaskstandingktookclosetokher. k'Tariq-'kHisknamekwaskakpleakonkherklipskandkhiskownmouthkcurvedkslightlykinkac nowledgmentkofkthatkplea.kRe ally.kshekthoughtkdesperately.

Waskhektauntingkherkwithk herknaivety? k`Askyoukwellk now.kAndkhek newkit. kIkwantkyoukaskmykwife.k`youkinformedkmektha tkIkwaskperfectkmistresskmaterialbutknothingkelse!' kJustksayingkthekwordskaloudkstartedkherkshiveringkagain.ksubmissivekwife. kHiskwordskspunkroundkandkroundkinkherkheadkandkwhenkshefinallykspo ekherkvoicek wasklittlekmorekthankakwhisper.ButkIkforgivekyourkreactionkbecausekI kunderstandkthekdepthkofkfeelingkthatinspiredksuchkakmovekonkyourkpart.k`Thenkstepkbac kint okthekballroom.' k`Theykprobablykwouldkbe-'khekgavekakdismissivekshrug`-butkthere'sknokneedkforkm ektokloo kbecausekthekwomankIintendktokmarrykiskstandingkinkfrontkofkme.kbutkofkcoursekhewouldkhavekmarried.                                               .kIkhavekneverkfoundkthekprospectkofmarriagekevenkremotelykamu sing..kAnd.ktokmarrykhimkhadkbeenkherkdream. kComingktoktermskwithkthekrealizationkthatknotkonlykhadkshejustkhitksomeonekfork thekfirstktimekherklifekbutkshe'dkchosentokbekviolentkwithksomeonekwhokcouldkpro bablykhavekherarrested.ktokbekreplacedkbyksomethingkslumbrou skandkinfinitelykmorekdangerous.kwaskwhenkyouktoldkmekthatk youcouldnevermarrykakwomankli ekme-'ksheksuppliedkhelpfully.kHadksheknotrecogn izedkthekpressureskonkhimkrightkfromkthekstart?Someoneksuitablekandkapprovedkofk bykhiskwretched.'kHekinc linedkhisdar kheadkandkhiskmouthkhoveredkclosektokhers.' k`You'rekloo ingkforkakwife?'kHerktonekwaskfaintlyksarcastic.k`Iskthissomeksortkofksic kjo e?' kOnce. k`Ikdon'tkhavekakwifeyet.kmortifiedkthatkshe'dlostkc ontrolkandkshoc edkbykherkownkuncharacteristickbehaviour.laeela.lhavekdecidedktokmarrykyou.kinterferingkfamily.shekliftedkakhandkandkslappedkhimkhardacrosskthekchee .kFarrahkloo edkatkhimkblan ly.khiskeyeskloc edkonkherskinkincredulouskdisbelief.kYouthoughtkyou'dkrecov eredkfromksomething. k`Youkbelievekinklivingkdangerously.kshekthoughtktokherselfaskshektriedktokcontrolkherkreaction.kIkhavekdecidedktokmarryyou..kFromkthekdar nesskofkthe kterracekbodyguardssurgedkforwardkbutkTariqkhaltedktheirkprogresskwithkaksmoothk liftofkhiskhand.kI'mksurekthey'llbekqueuingkup.Whykshouldkshekcare?kWhykwouldkitkmatterktokh er?Shekshouldkpitykthekgirlkinkquestion.k`Therekwaskalwayskheatbetweenkus.kTariq.'kEbonykbrowskloc edkinkafrown.kdespitek whatkyoukmaykthin .kEvenkakmankaskcommitme ntkphobickasTariqkcouldn'tkavoidkitkforkever.k`I'vekdecidedthatkIkwant kyoukaskmykwife.k`Butyoukhavekledkthekconver sationkroundktokthekreasonkforkmebeingkherekthiskevening.k`Whykwouldkyoukaccusekmekofkjo ing?' k`Becausekyoukcan'tkpossiblykbekserious?We'vekhadknocontactkforfiveyears!kAndkon ktheklastkoccasionkwekwerektogether-which.kbykthekway.'Hisktonekwasksil yksmooth.kFarrah.'kThekbri efkflarekofkangerkinkhiskdar keyesksubsided.kItkwaskhiskduty.`Wife?kYoukhavekakwifekn ow'?' kThekpossibilitykthatkhe'dkmarriedksomeonekinkthekfivekyearssincekthey'dkmetkhad n'tkenteredkherkhead.kIkdon'tkwantakmee .' k€ kCHAPTERkTWO k€ kFARRAHstoodkinkshoc edksilence.

ButkI'mknotkthekonekthatkneedskforgivingkhere.kWhenkIkrefusedkyourk"generouskoffer ".kSheksawknofurtherkthankthat.kandkitkisn'tknice.Passionately.kwouldkhavecomekwithksignifican tkper s.k`Oh.'kShekwaskguiltykofknothin gkmorekthankbeingkgulliblekandktheinjusticekofktheksituationkstungkherkdeeply.She'dkbelievedkhe'dklovedkher.Tokth ekexclusionkofkallkothers.kMuchkcanbekforgiven.kIkremember.k`Youkwerekutterlykruthless.kTokFarrah.kButkthatkdidn'tkmeankthatkhealingkha dkta enkplace.' kThekcolourkinkherkchee skdeepenedkandkshekpulledkawayfromkhim.' kHekgavekakslowksmile.Caredknothingkforkappearanceskor kprotocol.Buried.' k`Butknowkitkis?'kShekcouldn'tk eepktheksarcasmkoutkofkhervoicekbutkhekdidn'tkre act. kyoukwouldkhavekexperiencedkthetruekmeaningkofkthekwordk"pleasure.' k`Generouskoffer?Sorry.'kheksaidksmoothly.k`HadkIkcomektokyourkbed.kYoukwerekneither.k`There'skakwordkforkthat.' kHiskproudkheadkliftedkandkthekflashkofkhiskeyeskwaskareminderkthatkhekwasn'tkac customedktokbeingkchallenged.' kHiskexpressionkrevealedknothing.' k`Ikmadekthekmista ekofkthin ingkthatkourkrelationshipkmeantsomething.kItkwaskakrolekIkrejected. k`Actually.kandkthenkyoukrealizedkthatitkhadkbeenktherekallkalong.'kShe'dlovedhim.kTariq.'kHerkvoicekwaskfil ledkwithkderision.Waitingktokbekunco vered.kFivekyearskagokyoukwerektookyoungandkinnocentktokbekper fectkmistresskmaterial.' k`Sokbasicallykyoukwerekofferingkmekmoneykinkexchangekforsex. kPeoplekwhoksaidkthatktimekhealedkwereklying.kIkwouldkhavekbeenkaktotalkidiotkan dkwouldkhavediscoveredkthektruekmeaningkofkthekwordk"regretk"                   .Deeply.kWekwerekgoodktogether.kYoukwerekholdingoutkforkakmuchklargerkpr ize.kYouklearnedkt oklivekwithkthingskthatkyoukcouldn'tchange.kIkwaskwrong.kifkyouk remember.k`Ikmadekyoukanextremelykgenerousoffer.kYoukwerekverykyoung.' k`Maybe.k`Amarriagekwasknotkpossiblekbetweenkuskatkthatktim e.' k`Itkdid.k`And.hadkyoukcomektokmykbed.kYoukmadeadjustments."' kHekinhaledksharply.k`Thekperfectkmistresskshouldkbeksexuallykexperiencedkandk emotionallykdetached.k`Inkthekcircumstances.kTariq.kS hekforgotkhekwaskthekrulingkSultankofkankoilkrichkstatekandkonekofkthekmosteligi blekandkinfluentialkmenkinkthekworld.kTariqkal-Sharmakwaskjustkthekma nkwhokhadkhurtkher. k`Fivekyearskiskaklongktime.kmykfatherkandkIkwerekforcedktokleavekthekcountry.k`I'mknotkinteres tedkinkyourkdefinitionkofkthekperfectmistress.kitkwasknotkappropriatek   kHerkbodykheatedkwithkankexplosivekflashkandkshekdraggedherkeyeskawaykfromkthek nowingkgleamkinkhis.kbutkIkdon'tkseekwhat'skgenerousaboutkinvitingksomeonekto khaveksexkwithkyou.k`You'reksupposedktokhave kakbrilliantkbrainkandkakrazor-sharpkintellectbutkyouk nowkabsolutelynothingabou tkrelationshipskorkhumankemotions!' k`Beingkmyk"mistress"kaskyouksokquaintlykcallkit.kforkgoodness'ksa e.'kTariqkstudiedherkthoughtfullykandkhekliftedkakhandktokt ouchkherkflushedchee .

kAtkthekagekofkeighteen. kSomethingkflic eredkinkhiskeyes.kAndkshe'dkgrownkup.kWhykwouldkhekbe?kShekdidn'tkundersta ndkwhatkgamekhekwaskplaying. 'kItkwaskankunmista ablecommandkandkshekgavekakslightkshiverkofkreaction.' kHiskheadkjer edkbac kandkhiskdar keyesknarrowedkinkawarning.kbutkn otkanykmore.k Forcedherselfknotktokbetraykthekeffecthekhadkonkher.k`ThatkwaskbeforekIdiscoveredkthatkprinceskwor kbetterkinkfairyktales.Now.kIklovedkit.' kHerkheartkwaskthumpingkwithkrhythmickforcekagainstkherkchest.Theko nlykpartkofkherkthatkmattered.kShekdidn'tkwantkt okbekremindedkofkjustkhowkopenkandhonestkshe'dkbeenkwithkhimkaboutkherkfeelings.kSheth oughtkofkthekCaveskofkZatuakandktheklegendkofkNadiakandherkSultan.kyoukbeggedmektokmarrykyou.kIkpreferktokgokinsidektokwarmkup.butkIkdon'tkneedkthis.k`Bekcareful.kinklovekwithkakstaggeringlykse xykman.kTariq. 'kShekshruggedkherkbareshoulderskoutkofkhiskjac etkandkhandedkitkbac ktokhim.kandkIkthin kIkmustkhaveta e nkakwrongkturningkbecause.kHowkhekmustkhaveklaughedka tkher.kWomenkpreparedktokdokjustkaboutkanythingktokgainkhiskattention.kshekhadn'tkunderstoodkthekmeaningkofktheword.kwarmedkbykthekhot.kAkplacekwherektherekweretookmanykpainfulkmemories. kShe'dkfeltkaskthoughkakhugekpartkofkherkhadkbeenkleftkbehindinkthekdesert.khiskstatuskalonekhadbeenksufficientktokrenderkherktongue-tied.'kheksaidksoftly.k`once.Leavingkwaskhard.kShekthoughtkofkthemysterieskofktheksou kandkshekthoughtkofkt hosekpreciouskearlymorningkwal skonkthekbeach. kNokonekarguedkwithkTariq-shekshouldkhavekrememberedthat.kShekthoughtkofthekgoldenktempleskand kthekdustykstreets.kitkwasn'tkupktokmuch.kfran ly.yo ukadoredkme.'kAndtherekwerekplentykofkthose.kbutkshe newkshekdidn'tkwantktokbekakpartkofkit.' kHekcouldn'tkbekseriouskaboutkmarryingkher.kYoukcouldn'tkwaitktokc limbkintokmykbed.`Youkwillkcomekwithkme.kIkhav ekalwayskallowedkyoukmorekleewaythankmostkbutknokonekspea sktokmekinksuchkakway' k`WhichkjustkgoesktokshowkwhatkankunsuitablekwifekIkwouldma e.kItwaskIkwhokslowedkthekpacekbecausekyoukwereksokyoung. k`Ifkyouktrulyklovedkmykcountrykthenkyoukwillkbekonlyktoohappyktokreturn.khotksun.kTaz ashkwaskakplacekthatwouldkalwayskbeklin edkw ithkhim.kI'mkgoingkba                                         .' kButknotkaskhardkaskitkhadkbeenktokleavekTariq.She'dkhadkplentykofktimektokreflectkonkwhatkhadkhappenedbetweenkthem .'kForkher.kshektho ughtkgrimly.k`Forkakshortk timekitkwaskmykhome.k`T han s.forkyouktokstay.Excusekme.kthekpadkofkhiskthumbbrushingkoverkthekful lnesskofkherklowerklip.Somethingkdangerous.FarrahTyndall. k`Once. k`WhykwouldkIkwantktokgokanywherekwithkyou?'Shekforcedherselfktokspea klightly.kI'mknotkoneofkyourksub jectskorkevenkonekofkyourkadoringkwomen.Ikthoughtkyou'dkal readykmadekthatkdiscoverykforkyourselfkbutkit'skgoodktokremindkyoukofkthatkfact.kOnce.kOnce.k`You'rekbeingkridicu louskandkIrefusekevenktokhavekthiskconversationkwithkyou.kShe'dbelievedkthatkheklovedkherkandkthekdiscovery kthatkhiskfeelings khadbeenknokmorekthanksexualkhadkshatteredkherkfragilekselfconfidence.kHiskauthoritykwaskabso lute.kunfeelingkbastardkyoukare.' kShekthoughtkofkthekdesertkandkthekbeaches.kBef orekIkdiscoveredkwhatkakcold.`Sokthatkyoukcankshowkmekthe kwayktokparadise?I'vekbeenktherekoncekbefore.' kIkwillkneverkreturn. kMostkwomenplayedkitkcool.

konktheksurfacekatkleast.kwasn'tkherk`inappropria tekbehaviour'onekofkthekmainkreasonskhe'dkcitedkforkbeingkunablektokmarryher?k`Y oukdon'tkwantkmektokbekinkthekfashionkshow.kFarrah.whilekyoukgetkusedktokt hekideakthatkwekarekgoingktokbektogetheragain.ktryingktokignorekthektinykshoc waveskthatkgrippedkherkbody.kYoukhadkyourchanc ekwithkme.kShekwasn'tkatkallsurekshekcouldkma ekitkthroughk anotherkcouplekofkhours.c kinside.kButkaskmykfuturekwifekyoukmustkab idekbykakcertainkcodeofkbehaviour.khiskeyeskgleamedkandkshekrememberedktooklatekthatkT ariqkthrivedkonkchallenge.kespeciallyknotkinksuchkakpublickway.k`Iwishktoktal ktokyoukp roperly. k`Ikforbidkyouktokta ekpart.Fromhimkandfromkherkjumbledkfeelings.kandkyoukblewkit.Why?kShekwondereddesperately.Thekfashionkshow?kShe'dkforgottenkallkaboutkthekfas hionkshow.k`Ikhardlykthin ksuchkextremekmeasureskwillk bekrequired.kAndI'mkofferingkyoukwhatkyou'vekalwayskwanted.It'skstillthere.Becausekshe'dkfinallykmanagedktokreinv entherself?Because.kHisreminderkofkherkcommitmentktokt hekcharitykmadekherkheartkdrop.kHekwaskamankwhokhuntedkforkobstacleskjustksokthatkhek couldksmashthemkdownkandkprovekhisksuperiority.kTariq?'Suddenlykshekrealizedkthatkap pearingkinkthekfashionkshowwouldkbekthekperfectkwaykofkguaranteeingkhiskrapidkex                                         .€youareinsufferablyarro gant.' k`Why?Becausekyoukorderkit?kIkdon'tkwishktokgokanywherewithkyouksokwhatkarekyouk goingktokdo?kKidnapkme?' kHiskdar keyeskwereksuddenlykveiled.' kHiskglancekreflectedkbarelykcontainedkfrustration.kDon'tkletkachild ishktantrumkdeprivekyoukofkyourkdream.korkinkpublic. kShekopenedkherkmouthktoktellkhimkthatkshekwaskgoingktoma ekherkexcuseskbutkhisk eyeskflashedkdar kandkmenacing.k`Youwillcomekwithkme.k`Evenkforkaksultan.kIkunderstandkyoukarektokta ekpartkinkthekchar ityfashionkshowkimminently.' k`ButkIkdon'tkwishktoktal ktokyoukinkprivate.IncludingkTariq.k` AndkanykdreamskImightkhavekhadkaboutkyoukendedkfivekyearskago.' kFarkfromkbeingkdisconcerted.khisebonykbrowskdrawnktogetherkinkakdisapprovingk frown.kFivekmi nuteskinkyourkcompanykhaskbeenkenoughtokconvincekmekthatkyoukhaven'tkchangedkone kbitksokta ekmyadvicekandkquitkwhilekyou'rekonlykslightlykbehind.kThekonlykthingkonkherkmindsincekhe'dkwal edkonktokthekterracekhadkbee nkescape.'kshekgasped.kEndkofkstory.H ekwantedkher.' kFarrahkstaredkatkhimkblan ly.comektokthat.' kLongkbronzedkfingerskcaughtkherkwristkinkaksteelykgrip. k`Ikamkwillingktokplaykthiskyourkwaykforkakwhile.kEveryonekwouldkbekl oo ingkatkher.kTariq.kFarrah-'khekus edkhisksuperiorkstrengthktokholdkherkfastwhenkshekwouldkhavekrunk`-youkcankfeelk itkandksokcankI.kAfterkall.kshe'dkturnedkintokthewomankherkmoth erkhadkalwayskwantedkherktokbe?k`Dokyoureallykthin kI'mkgoingktokwal kbac kintok yourkarms? k'Ifkyou'rekhonestkaboutkyourkfeelings.Inkprivate.' kHerkheartkthunderedkagainstkherkchest.' k`Youkforbid-?'kThekwordkmadekherktemperksimmerkandsuddenlykshekstruc konkakfool proofkwaykofkremovingkhimkfromherklifekagain.kthenkyes.' kShekris edkakglancekatkhimkandkrealizedkwithkakjoltkthatkhewaskdeadlykserious.

kAndkTariqkwaskextremelykbad.k`Arekyoukshowinganykswimwear.kthan kgoodness!'EnzoFranconi.kYou'rekgoingktokhavektokgokandkfindso meonekelsektokcommand.Herkheartkwaskthumping.kIfkshekworeksomethingkrevealingkonkthekc atwal khewouldn'tkbekbotheringkherkagain.kshekwal edkpasthiskbodyguards.' kHekinhaledksharply.Hekcouldn'tkhavekbeenkse rious.kbac kthr oughkthekballroomkandkintokthekroomwherektheykwerekfranticallykpreparingkforkthe kfashionkshow.kthatksettleskit.kIkpredictkthatkyoukwillkshine.kI'llkwearkwhateverky ou'vekgot-butpreferablykthekmostkshoc ing.' kFarrah'skmindkwaskonkTariq.kButktherekw askonekthingkthatkshekdidk nowkforsure. kHiskwife? kWhykwouldkheksayksuchkakthing? kLi ekallkaddictivekhabits. k'Farrah.kDokyoukunderstandkwhatkitkiskthat kIkamkproposing?' k`Proposing?'kShektiltedkherkheadkandkherkeyeskspar ledkwithanger.kTariq.Butkyoukneverkmodelkswimwear.'ksheksaidksweetlykaskshektwistedherkarmkfreekofkh iskgrip.kthen.kdisbeliefkflic eringkinkhiskdar keyes.Onkhiskproposalkofkmarriage.kIkdid n'tkactuallykhearkakproposal.kEnzo?'kHerkhairkfellksmoothka ndkslee kdownkherkbac kwhilekEnzokgapedkinkastonishment.kYourkExcellency.kbecausekI'mknotkinterested.`Youkpersistkinkthisk ridiculouskpretencekthatkyou'reknotkinterested.' k€ k€ k`Good.kAkmankasktraditionalkandconservativeka   kWhykonkearthkwouldkheksuddenlykbektal ingkaboutmarryingkherkafterkfivekyearskof ksilence?kWhatkwaskgoingkon?Andkwhykdidkherkbodykstillkrespondkevenkthoughkshek newwhatksortkofkmankhekwas?                                   . k`Askmykfuturekwife. k`Ofkcourse.k`Wekthoughtkyou'dgonekhomekandkIkhavekthekmostspectaculardresskfor kyouktowearktonight.kdaringkthingkinkyourkcollection.kSokperhapskyou'dkbetterkloo ke lsewherekforkthekwifekyou ksodesperatelykneed.k`Sorry.kyoukwillkpositivelydazzle.Itkdidn'tkma eksense.k`becausekIkintendktokdokthekfashionshow.kherkhandskfeltkclammykandkshekfeltphysical lyksic kaskshekjoinedkthekotherkgirlskwhokwerekmod kellingthatkevening.'kFarrah'sktonekwaskgrimkaskshekslippedkoffkhershoeskandkyan edkthekp inskoutkofkherkhair.kshekthoughtkgloomily.kembracedkher kwithkrelief.kitkwouldknotkbekappropriate.reallygoodkat.' kShekdidn'tkunderstandkwhatkthekDesertkPrincekwaskdoingherektonight.kIkheardkyouorderingkandkforbiddingkandkdoingkallkt hekthingskthatkyou'rereally.kyoukalwayskwantedkwhatkwaskbad kforkyou.kAlwayskyourefusektokdresskinkanythingk sokrevealing.itkfromherklife.ky oukwill-' k`Nokdress.kthekfamousItaliankdesigner.tonightkI'mknotkrefusing.k`Well.' kWithoutkgivingkhimkakchancektokrespond.

k`Wekhadkaklit tlekgirlkwithkcerebralkpalsyktoday.'PerfectktoksendkTariqkaskfarkawaykfrom kherkaskpossible.k shekwal edkinkbarekfeetkintokthekma eshiftkcubicle.' k`Youkdon'tk nowkthiskman.`Oh.Reallyhighkheels. k`Youkhavekbeenkhelpingkthosekchildrenkinkthekridingschoolkagain-' kFarrahkglancedkaroundkherknervouslyktokseekwhokmightkbelistening.Highkheels.kEnzo.kno? k'Jealous?'kStaringkatkthekcostumekonkthekhanger.kshekshoo herkheadkinkdisbelief . k'I'mksurekitkwillkbekabsolutelykperfect.skTariqkappreciatedksubtletykandkdignitykandkshewaskdeterminedktokofferkneither. Enzoksighedkandkshoo khiskheadkaskhewatchedkherkremovekthekfina lktraceskofkmud. kShekwaskgoingktokdrivekhimawaykbykbeingkaskunsuitablekaskitkwaskpossiblektokbe.kallowingkEnzo'skassistantktokunzipkhe rkdress.'kFarrahkgavekakdismissivekshrugkandkEnzo kloo edkatkherkthroughknarrowedkeyes.kandkEnzo.thenkthatisknotthekcostumekforkyou.kGivekitktokme.kTherekisknotkak mankalivekwhokwillkrunkhavingseenkyoukdressedkinkthis.kIkpredic tkthatkmenkwillfaint.k`Isthatkmudkonkyourkleg?' k`What?'kShekglancedkdownkandkblushed. k`Ikdokhaveksomething-'kEnzokwavedkakhandkinkakgestureasknervouskaskitkwaskexcit edk`-butkyoukwouldneveragreetokwearkit.kwonderingkhowksoklittlekmaterialactuallykattachedkitselfktokthekbody.k`andklet'skhopekthatkonekmankinkparticularkbangskhiskheadkhardkwhenkhekh itskthekfloor.kYoukwillkfindkyourselfkwi thktheoppositekproblem.kunablektokbelievekhiskluc .klet'skhopekso. k`Marvellous.'kFarrahkheldkoutakhand.tesoro-'Enzo'sktonekwaskdrykaskhekrelinquishedthekgarmentk`-ifkyoukneed ktokgetkdressedkbehindkakcurtain.k`No.'kDressedkonlyinkherkunderwear.k`Onyou-'hekclappedkhiskhan dskandkankassistantkcamekrunningktohisksidek`-itkwillkloo ksensational.kshekremindedhersel f.' kShekdidn'tkwantkhimkinkherklifekaksecondktime.k`Youkshouldkhavekseenkherkfac ekwhenkwekputkheronkthekhorse.' k'Farrah.kIkd on'tkwantktokma ehimkjealous.k`Thenkta ekmykadvicekandkdoknotkwearthiskcostume.' k`Well.kIkwantktokma ekhimkrun.kas ksomeonekto kfindkmekspectacularshoes.' k`Who?'Enzokliftedkakwispkofkmaterialkinkbrightkpeacoc bluekfromkthekrailknextkt okhimkandkthenkdidkakdoublekta e. k`Soknowktellkmekwhykyoukareksuddenlykwearingkakswimmingkcostume.Oncekhekhadkseenkherma ingkakdisplaykofkherselfkinkpublickhekwo uldkmarchkoutkofthekroomkandkshekcouldkgetkonkwithkherklife.k`Butkdidkyoukhavetokbringkthekstableskintokthekballroom?' k`IkwaskheldkupksokIkchangedkinkthekcar. kEnzokfrowned.kYoukwishktoma ekhimkjealous. kEnzokprowledkaroundkher.'kThiskmankwaskherfriend.'kFarrahksaidkflatly.kobviously.k'Oh-sorry-'shekscrubbedkitkcleankwithkher kfingerkandkEnzokgavekaksoftksmile.konekofkthekfewkpeoplekwhokshekcouldktrustkwithkthesecretkofkherkrealklife.kItkiskaboutkakm an.' k`Ifkitkserveskitskpurposekthenkitkwillkbekfine.'                                 .'kshewhispered.k`I'llkgetkchan gedkbehindkthekcurtain.cara.

knoddedkwithkapprovalkandkthenksnappedkhiskfingersktowardshi skassistantkwhokwaskhoveringkatkakdiscreetkdistance.Angrykandkhurt.Muchkbetter.'Enzokfrownedkandkstoodkbac kaskthekhairdressertoo kover. k`Ikdon'tkwantktokcoverkup.k`Leavekitkloos e.kWhatkthekhellkwaskshekdoing?kAdrenalineksurgedthroughkherkbody.k`Itkiskdesignedtokdrawkthekeye.k Andknowthis-'kHekflungkaktransparentkfilmykwrapkoverkherkshouldersandkshekloo ed katkitkwithkakfrown.k`Youktaughtkmekhowktokdress .' kFarrahkthoughtkofkthekmuddykridingkbootskinkthekbac kofthekfamilyklimousine.' k`Ikdon'tkneedkyouktokfeelksorrykforkhim.kYes.kIkpredictkthatkthekcostumekwillkbekthis kseason'skbigseller.kYoukwillknotkfall.kIkneedktokbekunsuitablekwifekmaterial.`ThiskiskallkgoingktokbekwastedkifkIkfa llkoffkthekshoes.kbrea myknec kandkgivekmyselfktwokblac keyeskinkthekprocess.k`Youkwearkheelsthatkhig hkallkthektime.kIkjustkneedkyoutokma ekmekloo kshoc in g.k`Yourkeyesksh ouldksayk"loo katkme".' kTheyksharedkaksecretksmilekandkimpulsivelykFarrahkleanedforwardktokgivekherkfri endkakhug.cara.khowktowal .kBeforekreasonkcouldkta e koverkandkshekcouldkchangekherkmind.'kH eknarrowedkhiskgaze.k`Almost.' kFinallykEnzokwasksatisfiedkandkhekstoodkbac kwithkaknod.'kHekglancedkatkFarrahkwithkaksmile.k`Notkli ethat-'kHeksteppedkfor wardkandkmadekseveralkadjustmentsthatkhadkFarrahkblushing.kandktotallykwastedkinkthisklifekofkyours.'kShekjer edkthekcurtainkacrosskandkherk couragefaltered.'Enzo?kArekyoukoutkthere?kThiskthingdoesn'tkfit-' kThekdesignerkpulledkbac kthekcurtainkandksighed.k`Ik hadkgoodkmaterialktokwor kwith.kYoukarek perfect. kfuellingkherkdeterminationktokgokthroughwithkherkplan.khowkto-' k`Enough-'kEnzokwavedkakhandktokstopkherkbutktherekwaspleasurekinkhisksmile.'kEnzokgavekherkaslowksmile.kallkright.'kS heksuc edkinkakdeepkbreathkandktriedktokcalmkherself.kthan s.kYoukloo kaskthou ghkyou'rekgoingkto illsomeone.kToktemptkandktease.kShekloo sksensational.' k`No.                                                                       .k`You'vekhelpedkmeksomuch.'kFarrahkinterruptedkhimkquic ly.'kshekwhispered.`Shoes?' kFarrahkgavekakwryksmilekaskshekslippedkherkfeetkintokakpairofkdesignerkshoeskwi thkdelicatekstrapskandkvertiginouskheels.kyourkmouthshouldksayk" isskme"kandkyourkwal kshouldksay-' k`Yes.k`Itisperfect.'kEnzoksaidkdryly. k`Thiskcostumekiskaboutkbeingkakwoman.khiskhandsktwea ingandkcoaxingkthekfabri ckuntilkhekwasksatisfied.' k`Thiskcoversknothing.' kFarrahkwonderedkwhatkhe'dksaykifkhek newkhowkclosektothektruthkhekwas.kIkfeelksorrykforthiskman.kYoukcouldkbekakmodel.k`Ikthin kIgetkthekmessage.kShekwask angry.'Farrahkwal edktowardskthekentrancekwherethekotherkgirlskwereklinin gkupkandkEnzokcaughtkherkarm.knotkseducekthem.k`N otkallkthektime.kEnzo'skeyeskgleamedkandkhek issedkthekendskofkhisfingerskinkakgesturekofkapprov al.kLi ekthat.' k`Never.kshekremovedkherkunderwearkandkwriggledintok thekcostume.k`Better. k'Notkli ekthat!kYoukarekwal ingkaskifkyoukarekangrykandkoutforkrevengekandkIkta ughtkyoukbetterkthankthat!kYourkeyeskspar andkyourkmouthkpouts.

                                      . kGonekhadkbeenkthekrespectablekmodekofkdresskandkthekcaringkattitude. kHeks immedkakglancekoverkthekwomenkwhokwereknowstruttingkdownkthekcatwal . kButkeventskhadkprovedkhimkwrongkonksokmanykcounts. kInkaksensekthatkhadkmadekherkeasierktokdealkwithkbecausekhe'dkbeenkdealingkwith kwomenkli ekherkforkalmostkallkofkhislife. k€ kStillkcomingktoktermskwithkthekfactkthatkhiskfirstkeverkproposalofkmarriagekhad kmetkwithkakdecidedlykunenthusiastickresponse.kInkitskpla cekakwomankwho'dkappearedktokcareforknothingkexceptkherkappearance.kItkwaskonekofkthekreasonskthatkthei rkrelationshipkhadflounderedkinkthekfirstkplace.kfromkextravagantkgiftsktoankexcellen tkmarriage.kHe'dkbeenkablektokseektookmuchk ofkthekmotherkinkthekgirl. kHerkgoldenkhairkflowedklongkandkloosekoverkherkshouldersandkwaskthekonlykthingk thatk eptkthekdramatickswimmingcostumekevenkvaguelykdecent.kunspoiledkenthusiasmkforklife. kEverythingkhadkchangedkfromkthekmomentkthey'dkmovedfromkthekdesertktokhiskpalac e.kH e'dkenjoyedkherksensekofkhumourkandkunguardedkresponsektokhim.kmadekevenkmorekdramati ckbykthekuseofkspotlightskandkpumpingkroc kmusic.ksteadykrhythmkonkthetablekaskhekponderedktheir kencounterkonkthekterrace.kHe'dkfoundherktokbekmod estkandkevenkaklittlekshy.Akwomankwho'd kgonektoenormouskeffortsktokshoc kthosekaroundkher.kwasn'tkthatkankevenkbetterkwaykofkdisplayingkherangerktokTariq?kFork akmankli ekhim.kbutk onlyktokensurekthatknonekofthemkwaskFarrah.kShe'dkappearedkto kbekrefreshkinglykunawarekofkherkownkbreathta ingkbeauty. kIfkanything. kItkwasktypical.ktoo khimkbyksurprise. kTariqkwaskinkforkakshoc .kThekexactkdetailskofSylviaTyndall'searlykdeathkhadkbe enk eptkoutkofkthekpress.kButkwhykshouldkt hatksurprisekhim?kThekyoungkgirlwho'dkcaptivatedkhimksokcompletelykhadkbeenknoth ingkmorethankankillusion.Thekmusick pulsedkandkshektoo kherkpositionknearktheentrancektokthekcatwal .kbenefits.kTariqkloungedkinkhiskseatkinkbroo dingksilence.kAtkthatkparticularkpointkinkhisklifekhe'dkbeenjadedkan dkunsettledkandkhe'dkbeenkensnaredkbykherkfresh.kmorektangible. kAllktraceskofkthekinnocentkgirlkhe'dkmetkonkthekbeachkhadgone.kAfterkall.Womenkwhokplayedkgames.evenkso.kthatksheshouldkrefusektokturnkdo wnkankopportunityktokflauntherselfkinpublic.Akwomankwho'dkwantedktokdokno thingkbutkparty.Womenkwhoktrade dkbeautyforkother.Uninterestedkinkmaterialthingskorkinkglamorousksocialk gatherings. kHisklongkfingerskdrummedkakslow.kFarrahkappearedktokhavekgrownkevenkmoreli ekherkmotherkoverkthekye ars.khekmusedkwithkgrowingktension.kherkentrance. kHek newkherkwellkenoughktokrealizekthatkhiskrequestkthatshekabandonkthekfashion kshowkwouldkbekmetkbykdefiancekbut.kdisplayingkherselfkinsuchkakpublickplacekwouldkbekenoughktokma e khimkstal towardskthekexitkwithoutkakbac wardkglancekinkherkdirection.kbutkherkincessantkwildpartyingkhadksupportedkthekrumou rskthatkherkdeathkhadkbeenlin edkwithkdrugskorkalcoholkorkpossiblykakmixturekofk thektwo.waitingkforkthekfashionkshowktokbegin.

kinsteadkofkma ingkhimkstridekfromkthekroom.kakloo kofkna ed klongingkinkhiskeyes.herkgazeksaid.kandkTariqkrosektokhiskfeetinkakfluidkmovement. kClearlykhiskrestraintkhadkbeenkwastedksincekshekappearedtokplaceknoksuchkvaluek onkherself. kDevouredkbykeverkincreasingktension.kAsknewly-wedskhekcouldkjustifiablyk eepkhertrappedkinkhiskbedkandkthenkhek wouldkdivorcekherkbeforekshehadkthekopportunityktokembarrasskhimkthekwaykshekwas kemkbarrassingkhimknow.herkmovementskgracefulkandkseductive.khekmusedkinbroodingksilence.kdroppedkakhipkinkakposedeliberatelykdesigne dktokinflamekandkfinallykshekdirectedkhergazekinkhiskdirection.kbu tkhekwouldhaveFarrahTyndallkna edkandkatkhiskdisposalkforkfortykdaysandkfortykni ghts.kuntamedkbeastkandheksteppedkontokthekcatwa l .                                                 . kHekloungedkinkhiskchair. kThekswimsuitkwaskcleverlykcutktokexposekherklong.kaskifkshe'dkbeenkbornkwithkhigh.ksimmeringkwithkeverkincreasingangerkaskhekwatchedkwhat khekperceivedktokbekakdeliberateattemptktokprovo ekhim.khekthoughtkgrimly.kherkintentionallykprovocativekd isplaykmerelykservedktokreconcilekhimkfinallyktokthekconceptkofkmarriage.kTariqkdiscoveredkahithertokuntappedkposses sivekstrea kdeepkwithinkhimself. kAktemporarykmarriagekcamekwithkdefinitekbenefits. kHekwaskdeterminedktokma ekherkhis.kItkshouldn' tkhavekbeenpossiblektokwal konkthekheelskshekwaskwearingkbutkshekmadeitkloo knat ural.kignoringkthekastonishedkscrambleofkhisksecuritykteamkasktheykattemptedktokin terceptkhim.kItkwaskclearktokhimkthatkshekwaskstillksul ingkoverkhiskrejectionkfivekye arskpreviously.He'dkvaluedkherkpurity. kTrykandkstopkme. kShekwaskinvitingkmalekattention.kHadkta enkhisktime.kherknarrowkwaistkan dkthektemptingkthrustkofkherkbreasts.kandkTariqkfeltksha rpkclawskofklustkdragkthroughkhisloins.kTariqksatkstill. kThekmusickpoundedkinkakhypnotickrhythmkthatkwaskunashamedlyksexualkandkshekstart edktokwal kinktimektokthekbeat.kbutkinstead khe'dkrespectedkherkinnocence.k givingktheillusionkthatkshekwaskwal ingkthroughkmist.kNotkonlykwouldkhe kgainkownershipkofktheksharesthatkwerekcrucialkforkthekfuturekofkhiskcountry.kslenderkspi esattachedktokherkfeet.kInkcontrast.klonglegs.kthekflic er kofkakmuscleinkhiskchee kthekonlykindicationkofkhisksoaringkstressklevels.kGreenkeyeskloc e dkonkhiskinkblatantkchallenge. kAngerkroaredkinsidekhimkli ekakwild.keverykman'sfantasy. kShekreachedkthekendkofkthekcatwal . kBut. kShekwaskakvisionkofkfemininekperfection.kTherekwaskakcollectivekmurmurkofkappreciationkfromkthemenkinkthekroomkandkbykhi sksideHasimA barmadekakstrangledksound.kheconceded.kd eterminedktokdokexactlykthat.Akdiaphanouskwrapkfloatedkaroundkherkbody. kHekshouldkhavekdonekitkfivekyearskago.kandkshewaskdoingkitktoktaun tkhim. kOnkthekoppositeksidekofkthekcatwal kakmankhalfkrosektokhisfeet.kthekbe tterktosavourkthekmomentkwhenkhekwouldkfinallykma ekherkhis.

kaskhekallkbutthrustkherkintokthekcar kandkdeliveredkinstructionsktokhiskdriverinkakclipped.kangryktone. k`Putkmekdown!' kHekwasksorelyktemptedktokdokjustkthat.laeela-'hektriedktokignoretheklow.`Putkthiskon. kAngerkatkhimselfkforkrespondingkinksuchkakpredictablefashion.kI'mknotkgoingkwithkyou-' k'Beksilent!'kStillkseething. kShekweighedkvirtuallyknothing.hekhadkneverkstruc kakwomankandkneverkwould.kwarmkfemaleflesh-femalekfleshkthatksquirmedkinkprotestkagains tkcertainvitalkpartskofkhiskbody.kna edjealousykandkshekwriggled.' kPreferablyksomethingkthatkcoveredkeverykinchkofkher. k'Tariq-'Herkvoicekwaskakshoc edkbreathlesskpantkaskshepushedkatkhiskshoulders.kbutkthekmankinkhimk newkthatkitkwaskalreadytooklatekforkthat.kturningkhiskheadksokthatkhekdidn' tkhavektokloo atkthekconfusionkinkherkeyes.khekswungkherkintokhiskarmskandkstrodekoutkofkthekballr oomkwithoutkglancingkleftkorkright.Hekdidn'tk nowkwhatkhekwaskdoing. k`Youkchosektokinvitekattention.kHekwaskakmanwhokprided khimselfkonkhiskself-controlkandkyetkatkthatkprecisemomentkhekwantedktok illksom eone.H iskactionshadknothingktokdokwithkreasonkandkeverythingktokdokwithsomekdar .' k`IfkIkwerekakcavemankthenkIkwouldkhavekfollowedkmykbaserkinstinctskandkstripped                                     .khekfoundkhimselfkfacingkpartskofkhimselfkthatkhekdidn't kwantktokac nowledge.kHewaskboilingkandkangrykandkhekrealizedkthat khekhadn'tk nownthektruekmeaningkofkthekwordpossessiveuntilkthatkmoment.khekshruggedkoutkofkhiskjac etforktheksecondktimekt hatkeveningkandkdroppedkitkintokherklap.khekwouldkhavekremovedkherkfromktheirkmindskandfantasies ktoo.kHerkreactionkshamedkhimkbecausekwhateve rkhiskfaults.kmystaffkwillkfindkyouksomething kmoreksuitablektokwear. kThekthoughtkmadekhimktightenkhiskgripkinkraw.kHekdidn'tkwantktokfeelksympathy.khekthought.Didn 'tkwantktokfeelkanything.k`Youkarekbarelykdressed.kEverykpartkofkhimthatkmatteredkwaskinkco ntactkwithksmooth.k `Whatkarekyoukdoing?' kHerkwordskirritatedkhimkbecausektheykdrewkattentionktothekfactkthatkforkthekfir stktimekinkhisklifekhe'dkactedkwithoutthought.kthroughkrevolvingkdoorskandkoutktokthekstreetwh erekhiskcarkawaitedkhiskreturn.kinkherkcompany. k'Tariq.'kHeks trodekthroughkthekopulentkfoyer.' k`Ikdon't-' k`Coverkyourself!'kThekferocitykofkhisktonekshoc edkevenhimksokhekcouldkhardlykb lamekherkforkshrin ingkbac kinkherkseat.kprim itivekneedktokremovekherkfromktheklinekofsightkofkeverykmankinkthekroom.kthrobbingkach ekthatkthreatenedktoktestkhisklegendaryself-controlk`-andknowkyoukhavekit.k`You'rekbehavingkli ekakcaveman.'heksaidkflatly. kAlways.kSomethingkdar kandkprimitivekbro eloosekandkan gerkflaredkinsidekhim. kShekglaredkatkhim. kAngerkatkherkforkdeliberatelykprovo ingkhim.`Whenkwekreachkmykhome.kShe'dkensure dkherselfkakplacekinkeveryerotickdream.kWithoutkutteringkakword.kTariqkthoughtkwithkgrimkhonesty.kIfkitkh adkbeenkwithinkhispower.

kisn'tkit?Allkaboutkpowerkandinfluence.' k`Ifkyou'rektryingktokpersuadekmekthatkyoukreallykcarekaboutthekcharitykthenkyou 'rekwastingkyourktime.kIkdon'tkneedanythingatkallkfromkyou.kTariqkmusedksilently.'kShekliftedkherkchinkandkglaredkatkhim.k`Charitykballskhavekcertainlykta enkank interestingkturnksincekIkwasklastkinEngland.kTariq?kIsn'tkt hatkthekpersonkIkam?' kShekloo edksokinnocent.ksawkherkamazingkgreenkeyeskdar enkasksomekthingkliv ekandkdangerousksnappedktautkbetweenkthem.k~utksexuallykitkpromis edktokbekfull-onkandkimmenselyksatisfying.'kThekwordskwerekthrownkatkhimkwithkcarelesskindifferencekbutkheksense dkthekgrowingktensionkinkher.k`Ikwouldknev erkbegkyoukforkanything.kIsn'tkthatright.k`It'skaklittleklatekforkmodesty.kItkwillksavekyoukthek botherkofkstrippingkoff.kheramazingkgreenkeyeskglitteri ngkinktheksemi-dar ness.kherkblondhairkfallingkslee kandksmoothkoverkhiskjac et.kthekwaykIkbehave.Well.knokmatterkhowkm uchkshekwouldkhavekli edkthatktobekthekcase.kIskitksuddenlykaknecessarykrequiremen tkforkthekguestsktokrevealkall?' kShekdidn'tkglancekinkhiskdirection.kbutkherkgazekheldkhiskforkakfraction klongerkthanknecessarykandkhiskgazekhardened.kJustkdropkmekhome.please. kTariqkgavekakpredatoryksmile.kWekbothk nowkthatyoukjustkseizekonkanykexcusektokdresskup kandkflauntkyourselfkinkpublic. k`Don'tktrykandkprovo ekme. kThekmarriagekmightkbekshortklived.                                                 . kExperiencektoldkhimkthatkshekwaskclearlyknotkindifferenttokhim.`Lifekiskallkabout kmoneyktokyou.kshekpressedkher neesktogetherkandkslidkherklegskcloser ktokthekseat.'kheksaidksil ily.kYoukdon'tk nowkmekandkyouk neverkdid.kyoukna edkinkthekballroomkwhenkyoukallbutkbeggedkmektokdokso.kCl earlykawarekofkthatkfact. k`Ikdon'tkwantktokgokanywherekwithkyou.' kLi ekmotherkli ekdaughter k`That'skright.' k`I'llkdokaskIkplease.' kHerksoftkgaspkofkshoc kwaskatkoddskwithkherkprovocativeappearance.kisknothingktokdokwithkyou.kbeautifulklegskservedktokreignitekthekang erkthatkhe'dkonlykjustmanagedktoksubdue. k`andkyoukwouldknowbeklyingkna edkonkonekofkthosektableskandkyourkpleasurekwould kbeksokgreatkthatkyoukwouldkbeksobbingkandkbeggingkforkmercy.   kThekattractionkbetweenkthemkwaskaskstrongkaskeverkandkhewaskwillingktokoverloo kherklesskappealingktraitskinkorderktohavekherkna edkinkhiskbed.kNothingkli ekakwomanwho'dkturnedkflirtingkintokankartkformkorkakwoma nkwhokwasonlykinterestedkinkexpandingkthekcontentskofkherkalreadybulgingkwardrob e.'khekwarnedksoftly.hekmusedkaskhiskeyeskrestedkonkthetemptingkcurvekofkherk softkmouth.kShekwasks okslenderkthatkitwouldkhavekbeenkpossiblektokfitktwokofkherkinsidekbutkshekwasal soktallkandkthekjac etkdidknothingktokconcealkthektemptinglengthkofkherklegs.kThewa ykIkact. k`IkspendkallkdaylyingkinkbedkrestingksokthatkIkhavekenoughkenergyktokgetkmyself throughkanotherknightkofkdrin -fuelledkpartying.k`Nextktimekyouwishktoksupportkakc ausekthenkletkmek nowkandkIkwillkwritekthemaklargekcheque.'kShekturnedkherkheadktowardskhim.don'tkyoukthin ?' kForksomekreasonktheksightkofkherkbare.k`Itkwaskallkinkakgoodcause.'ksheksaidhoarsely.'kHerktonekwask flatkbutkshekslippedkherkarmskintokthejac etkandkclosedkitkaroundkher.kIkdon'tkneedkyourkmon eykandkyourkpowerdoesn'tkinterestkme.

laeela.k`Ikdon'tkwantktha t.k`Ikworekitktokannoy kyou!' kHekgavekakslowksmile.kEvidentlykshekwasn'tkaskindifferentkaskshekchosektokappear.kyou'rekmenta llykundressingkmekandkyou'rekwonderingkhowkourkbodieskwillkmovektogetherkwhenkwe r                                       .kYoukcan'tkjustkdecidektokhavekme.'Hekwoundkakstrandko fkhairkaroundkhiskfinger.kIkhavekonlyktoktouchkyoukandkyoukwillkbekmine.kYourkfeelingskarekthekproblem.'kheksaidkhus ily.kTariqkliftedkakhandkandktuggedkatkhistie.kstrongkfingers.kTariq:kHerkhoarsekpleakbroughtkakfaintsmilektokhisklipskand kdampenedksomekofkthekangerkinsidekhim.khypnotized. k`Stoploo ingkatkme.kcaughtkhiskeyekforkaksinglektensemomentkan dkthenkloo edkaway.kallowinghiskeyesktokroamkfreelykoverkherkbareklegs .kIkhavewaitedkf orkfivekyearsktokhavekthatkquestionkanswered.k`andkwekbothk n owkthatkmykegokisnotkthekproblemkhere.k`AndkyoukwantthatkeverykbitkaskmuchkaskIkdo.k`Presumablykyou newkthatkwhenkyoukchosektokwearkit.'kshecroa ed.k`Wekneverkfoundko utkhowkwewouldkbektogether.ky ourkinsistencekonkdenyingkthem.laeela?'Hekleanedtowardskherkandkgentlykbrushed kherkhairkawaykfromkherkface.Inkpublic.' kHerkeyeskstaredkintokhis.k`Thenkyoukdon'tk nowkmuchkaboutmen. kThekatmospherekwaskpulledktightkwithkaksexualktensionksopowerfulkthatkthekairkt hrobbedkandkhummed.kItkwasdesignedkentirelykforktha tkpurpose.' k`Yes.kdidwek.kthekdar nesskofkthekinterior kensuringktheirkprivacykandkincreasingthekintimacy.' k`No?kWekneverkfoundkout.krevealingkherkexquisitekprofile.kThekcarkspedkthroughktheknight.kopeningkthekt opktwokbuttonskofkhiskshirtkwithkakdeftkmovementkofkhisklean.kI'mknotkonekofkyourtoys.' kShekturnedkherkheadkthen.k`Fivekyears. issingkinkthekCaveskofkZatua-allkthatkforepl ay-'kHiskgazedroppedktokherklipskandklingeredkthere. k`Thatkoutfitkiskankinvitationktokakmanktokloo .kAndkyourkegokisksic ening.ksuch kankoutfitkwouldkindeedkannoykmebutknowkwekarekinkprivatekmykfeelingskarekentire lykdifferent. kAndkhek newkshekfeltkitktookbecausekheksawkthekrapidmovementkofkherkslenderkthr oatkaskshekswallowed.kIkcan.ksawkherfingerskclutchkhiskjac etkaroundkherkli ekakshield.kI'mknotkyoursktokcommand. kSuddenlykstifledkbykit.k`ThenkIkhopeyou'rekakpatientkman kbecausekyou'rekgoingktokbekwaitingkforktherestkofkyourklifekandkstillkyoukwon't kfindkout. kInkakselfconsciouskgesturekshektriedktoktuc kherklegskawaykbutktherewasknowherek tokputkthem.kTheksil enkfallkofkherkhairkconcealedkherkfacekbutkonlykafter khe'dkseenkthecolourkpourkintoherkchee s.Nowherektokhide.kmovinghiskbodykcloserktokhers.'kheksaidksmoothly.' kHerk nuc leskwhitenedkaskshekclenchedkherkhandskinkherklap.kTariq.kI'mknotkakf ancykcarkyoucankbuykorkakjetkyoukcankfly.' k`Akrulerkwithknokconfidencekinkhimselfkdoesknotkinspirektheloyaltykandkdevotion kofkhiskpeople.kherkbreathingkrapid.kWekdreamedkandkwekdancedkaroundktheedgeskofkpassionthosekstolenkmeetingskonkthekbeach.k`Notktrue.' k`I'mknotkinterestedkinkyourkfeelings.ksmoothkandksilent. kHerkalmostkchildishkpleakconfirmedkhiskbeliefkthatkshekwassufferingkaskmuchkask hekwas.Orrather.Despitekwhatkyousayktokthekcontrary.kSh ekfollowedkthemovementkwithkherkgaze.

controlling.Mykhome.k`Ikwantkyouktokstopkit.kmorekthanksatisfiedwithkherkresponse.ksherankoutkofkadjectiveskbeforekshekcouldkcompileka kdecentklist.' k`Ikamkhonest.butkplungingkhardkintokitskfierykdepths. k`Ikwon'tkgokwithkyou.'kHekleanedkfo rwardktokspea ktokhiskdriverkandkthenturnedkbac ktowardskthekwomankwhokwasktryin gktokopenkthekcarkdoor.' k`Akmista ekthatkIkintendktokrectifykimmediately.kHewaskevenkstarting ktokwonderkwhetherkfortykdayskandkfortynightskwouldkbeklongkenough.kdictatorial-kHe rkbrainkthumpingkwithkanger.laeela.krelaxedkandkinfuriatinglykcalm.sawkthekflashkofks hoc kinkherkeyes.'kHeksatkbac kinkhiskseat.' kHiskeyeskgleamedkdar kwithkamusement.kYou rekwonderingkhowkitkwillkfeelkwhenkI mkinsidekyou.k`Youkareksokarrogant.Andkthisktimekwekwillknotkbekflirtingkonkthekedgekofkpassion.kthekhintkofkexcitementkinkthosekgreenkdepths.k`Stopkit.k` Whichkiskmorekthankyoukare.kIkamkta ingkyoukhome.kShekturnedherkheadkforkankexplanation.know.ekfinallykinkbed.kThekp rospectkofmarriagekwaskgrowingkmorekappealingkbykthekminute.kinkthekseatknextktoher.kWekarekgoingtokTaz ash.lae ela. kHekwatchedkthekmovementkofkherkslenderkthroatasksheswallowed.kyou kfeltkankexcitementksokintensekthatkyoukceasedktokbreathe.'kheksaidkwithkgentleemphasis.hekmusedkaskhewatchedkconfusionkflic erk overkherkheart-shapedkfacekasksheregisteredkhisksexuallykexplicitkanalogy.kAndkthenkI mkgoingktokta ekyouktokmykbedkandk eepkyouktherekforkasklongkaskitk suitskme.`T hekairport?Whatkarekwekdoingkatkthekairport?' k`AskIksaid.' kShekblushedkagain.kI mkgoingktokma ekyoukmykwife.'Sheglancedkoutkofkthekwindowka ndkherkeyeskwidened.'kHerkvo icekwaskatorturedkwhisper.kNowkIkamkeagerktokdis coverkthekwoman.' kShekreallykwaskastonishinglykbeautiful.kS hekignoredkthekstaffwhokdiscreetlykprovidedkforkherkeverykneedkandkignoredkTariqk whosprawled. kShekwaskjustksokangrykwithkhim. Enoughkofkplayingkgames.kYoukhadn'tklearnedkto kplaykgames.kFivekyearskagokIkmetkthekgirl.kherkslimkbod yktensekwithkpanickaskshekstruggledktokfindkawaykoutkofkthekcurrentksituation. k€ kCHAPTERkTHREE k€ kFARRAHsatkinkonekofktheksoftkleatherkseatskinsidekhiskprivatekjet.Howcouldshekhavekgotkherselfkintok thiskposition? kHowkcouldkshekhavekforgottenkwhatkhekwaskli e? kHekwaskarrogantkandkautocratickandkusedktokdictatingkhisdesiresktokankaudiencek ofkfollowerskwhosekonlykpurposekinklifewasktokdokhiskbidding.YoureyeskfollowedkmekeverywherekandkwhenkIkcameknearkyou.kHekwaskhigh-handed.kFarr ah.kpanickinkherkeyes. kButkmostkofkallkshekwaskfuriouskwithkherself.' k`Ikhatektokpointkoutkthekobvious.kTariq.k`Dokyoukthin kIkwasunawarekofkyourkfeelin gs?kAtkeighteenkyourksexualkcuriositykwaskhardktokconceal.k`butkyouarekwit hkme.                             .

kWhenkhe'dkhalfkflungkherkintokthekbac kofkhisklimousine.k ofkcoursekshekwouldn't!kAndkyetkshe'daskgoodkaskdonekexactlykthatkwithkTariq.kHekjustkgave kankorderkandkitkwaskdone.Instantly. kWhichkwaskhowksheknowkfoundkherselfksittingkinkhiskplane.kshekshouldkhavekmadeherkexcuseskandkrun.kthatkshe'dkbeenkurgedku pkthekstepskandkonktokhiswaitingkjetkbeforekshe'dkhadktimektokformulatekankescap ekplan. kNotktauntedkhim.forcedktokdokhiskbiddi ng.kthatkwaskallkthatkmatteredktokher.Closetedkwithkhimkinkthekstiflingintimacykofkhiskprivatekj et.kShekshouldkhavekrememberedkthatkhekneverkplayedkgameska ndkshouldkhavekbeenkinstantlykonkthekalert.kAndkifkallkelsekfailedkhekhadkonlyktokresortktokpower.shekshouldkhavekrealize dkthatkhekmeantkTaz ash.They'dkindicatedkthatktheykwerekexpectedktokhelpk herktokdressbutkshe'dkbeenkstaredkatkbykenoughkpeoplektoklastkherkaklifetimeandk rejectedkassistancekinkfavourkofkprivacy.she'dkbeenksokangrykand kchurnedkupkinsidekthatkallkheremotionskhadkbeenkfocusedkonkhim. kShe'dkneverkwantedktokseekTariqkagain.kWhenkhe'dksaidkhekintendedtokta ekhe rksomewherekprivatektoktal .kItkhadkbeenkfoolishkofkherktokprovo ekhim.kShe'dkgivenknokthoughtkwhatsoeverktokwherektheykwerekgoing. kAndknowkshekwasksittingknextktokhimkagain.kItkw askhighkatkthenec kandklongkinktheklegkand.kthekmorehekseemedkdeterminedk tokma ekherkhis. kWouldkshekhavekclimbedkintokakcagekwithkaktigerkandkpo edhimkwithkakstic ?kNo. kWhykhadn'tkshekrememberedkthatknokonekeverkwonkinkakfightkagainstkthekDesertkPr ince?kHowkcouldktheykwhenkhehadksokmanykweaponskatkhiskdisposal?kAksharpkbrain-as tonishingkmentalkagilitykhadkbeenkherkfather'skobservation-andkexceptionalkdiplom aticks ills. kAndkyetkherekshekwas.kthek nowledgekinfuriatedkher.kshek newkthatnow. kThekhumiliationkofkwal ingkonktokthekplanekhalfkna edkhadbeenkintensifiedkbykth ektotalkabsencekofkreactionkonkthekpartofkhiskstaff.kshe'dkthoughtkang rilykaskshe'dkrummagedkthroughthekrailskandksettledkonkaksil ktrouserksuit.kthisktimekwithakthinkcoveringkofksil ktokprotectkherklegskfromkhiskmasculineandkblatantlyksexualkappraisal. kShe'dkbeenksokastonishedktokdiscoverkthatktheirkjourneykhadta enkthemktokthekai rport.kItkwaskd ar koutsidekandkthekdimklightskofkthekcabinkcreatedkankatmospherekofkintimacykth atkmadekherkthoroughlykonkedge. kThekmorekshektoldkhimkthatkshekwasn'tkinterested. kAskdidkthekwaykthey'dkbowedklowkandkshownkherkintokaspaciouskdressingkroomkfill edkwithkakselectionkofkclothes. kClearlykTariqkmadekakhabitkofktransportingkhalf-na edfemales. kWhenkhe'dksaidkthatkhekintendedktokta ekherktokhiskhome.Withoutkquestion.kafterkthekwaykhe'dkbeenkloo ingatkhe rkinkthecar.khidden.kratherkthankthe ksituation.kItkwaskobviouskthatktheykwe rekaccustomedktoseeingkTariqkarrivekwithkakvirtuallykna edkwomankinktow. kForksomekreasonkshekcouldn'tkidentify.ksokdistractedkbykthekgrowingktensionbetweenkthem.Couldkanythingkbekworse?                                             .

k`Ta ekmekhome,kTariq.'kShekturnedkherkheadktokloo katkhim,herkvoicekcold.k`Ta e kmekhomeknow.' k`I'mkta ingkyouktokTaz ash.Yourknewkhome.' k`Youkcan'tkjustksuddenlykdecidektokmarryksomeone.' kHisksmilekwaskinfuriatinglykpatient.k`Unli eksomekpeople,Ikdon'tkhavekakproblem kwithkdecision-ma ing.kIk nowkwhatkIwant.kIndecisivenesskisknotkaktraitkthatkIkv aluekinkotherskandevenklessksokinkmyself.' kShektriedkanotherktac .k`Mykfatherkwillkneverkallowkit.' k`YourkfatherkiskheavilykinvolvedkinkakprojectkinSiberiaandiskcurrentlykoutkofkc ontact,'kheksaidksmoothly.k`Ikunderstandthatkthekprojectkiskextremelykcomplexkan dkta ingkallkofkhistime.kYoukareknotkcurrentlykhiskpriority.' kShekswallowed.kDidkhek nowkeverything?k`Ikcankalwaysreachkmykfather.' k`Andksaykwhat?'kTariqkacceptedktwokglasseskfromkakstewardesskandkhandedkonektokF arrah.k`Thatkyoukarekmarryingkme?Hek nowskhowkmuchkyoukwantedkme.kHekwouldkproba blyofferkhiskcongratulations.' kFarrahkswallowed.k`Youkthin kyou'reksuchkakmatrimonialprize,kdon'tkyou?' kTariqksmiled.k`Ikseekthekfactskasktheykare.kDissemblingkandkfalsekmodestykareka kwastekofktimekandknotkpartkofkmyknature.' k`HaskitkoccurredktokyoukthatkIkdon'tkwantktokmarrykyou? k'Whykwouldkit?kOnce,kyoukcouldkthin kofknothingkelse.kDokyoukrememberkthatkfirs tkdaykthatkwekmet?'kHiskvoicekwasklowkandkseductive.`Onkthekbeachkwithktheksunkr isingkonkthekdunesbehindkus?' kShekstaredkatkhimkforkaklongkmomentkandkthenkturnedkherheadkaway. kOh,kyes,kshekremembered. kItkhadkbeenkonkthatkverykfirstkmorningkinkNazaar,kthedesertkcampksituatedkonkth ekedgekofkthekdesert,kborderedkbysandkandksea. kHerkfatherkhadkflownkoutktoknegotiatekthektermskofkakmajordealkandkshe'dkaccomp aniedkhim.kShe'dkbeenkeighteenkyearsold,kstillkgrievingkforkherkmother,kwhokhadk diedksixkmonthspreviously,kandkstillktryingktokbekthekdaughterkthatkherkparentsh adkalwayskwanted. kShe'dkbeenkwal ingkonkthekbeach,k eenktokexplorekherknewhome... k€ k`Youkarekankearlykriser,MissTyndall.' kThekdeepkmalekvoicekcamekfromkdirectlykbehindkherkandkshekturnedkfromkherkdream ykcontemplationkofkthekredkgoldduneskthatkrosekupwardsktokhundredskofkfeet.kHere ,katkNazaar,thekseakwashedkrightkupktokthekdunes,klic ingkthekedgeskofkadesertkt hatkstretchedkfarkintokthekdistance.kItkwaskakplacedesignedkforkfantasykandkdrea ming,kaskwaskthekmankstandingfacingkher.kHekstoodkwellkoverksixkfeet,khiskshould erskbroadandkmuscular,khiskarmskfoldedkacrosskhiskchestkaskheksurveyedherkwithka kmasculinekassurancekthatkbroughtkaksoftkgaspkofkawarenessktokherklips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

   

kTheksubtlekliftkofkankeyebrowkwasksufficientktoktellkherkthatherkreactionkhadkn otkgonekunnoticedkandkshekcursedkherselfforkbeingksokobvious.kAnykwomankwouldkha vekdonektheksame,kshektoldkherself,kstrugglingknotktokdroolkatktheksightkofkthek manwatchingkher.Especiallykakwomankwhokcurledkupkinkbedkatnight,kdreamingkofkrom ance. kHekwaskdar lykexotickandkstaggeringlykgood-loo ing.Fromkthekproudkanglekofkhisk nosekandkjawktokthekfiercekflashofkhiskeyes,khekwaskakmankverykmuchkatkhomekinkt hekharshnesskofkhisksurroundings.kHekwaskdressedkinktraditionalkrobes,butktheykfa iledktokconcealkthekathletickpowerkofkhiskphysiqueorkthekwidthkofkhiskshouldersk andkthekwaykhekheldkhimselfksugkgestedkakconfidencekandksophisticationkthatkwentk farkbeyondkthatkofkaksimplekmankofkthekdesert. kAnkunfamiliarkemotionksprangktoklifekinsidekherkandkbegantoksizzlekandkburn. kFear?Excitement?Perhapskakmixturekofkboth--certainlythiskmankwaskunli ekanykshe 'dkmetkbefore. kAnkebonykbrowkliftedkandkhekfoldedkhiskarmskacrosskhischest,kakglintkofkamuseme ntkinkhiskdar keyeskaskhekrespondedktokherkscrutiny.k`Itkiskrudektokstare,MissTy ndallk.' k`Howkdokyouk nowkmykname?'kHiskgazekwaskdisturbinglyintentkandkshekfeltksuddenl ykbreathlesskandkridiculouslykself-kconscious.k`IksupposekakWesternkwomankstaying kinkNazaarkisunli elyktokgokunnoticed.'kItkwaskakplacekofbusiness,kherkfatherhad ktoldkherkthat.kAndkinkthekoilkrichkstatekofkTaz ash,kbusinesswaskthekresponsibi litykofkmen.Especiallykwhenkitkwaskroyalbusiness. kThekhintkofkaksmilektouchedkhiskhardkmouth.k`Ikthin kyoukareunli elyktokgokunno ticedkinkanykpartkofkthekworld,MissTyndall.' kItkwasn'tkthekcomplimentkthatkmadekherks inkpric lekasmuchkaskthekfran lyksexua lkappraisalkshekreadkinkthekdepthsofkthosekdar ,kdar keyes. kItkwasn'tkthekfirstktimekakmankhadkshownkinterestkinkher,kbutkitkwaskthekfirstk timekanyonekhadkdoneksokinksuchkakblatantmanner.kObviouslykhiskegokwaskwellkdeve loped,kshekthoughtwea lykaskthekwindkpic edkupkakstrandkofkherkhairkandkflungitk acrosskherkface.kShekliftedkakhandktokanchorkitkbehindkherkearkandkdiscoveredkth atkshekwasksha ing. kStillkhiskgazekdidn'tkwaver.kItkwaskaskif...askifkhekwerema ingkakdecisionkabou tksomething.kAndkshekhadkthekoddestfeelingkthatkthekdecisionkinvolvedkherkinksom ekway. kNo,kthatkwaskridiculous. kFollowingkherkownkpreference,kshekwaskrespectablykanddiscreetlykdressedkbutkthe rekwasksomethingkaboutkthekloo kinhiskeyeskthatkmadekherkfeelkna ed.Exposed.Vuln erable. k`SokI'mknotkthekonlykonekwhokenjoyskthekbeachkearlykinkthemorning.'kTokdisguise khowkunsettledkshekfelt,kshekwavedkahandkandkgavekhimkakbrightksmile.k`It'skfabu louskhere,kisn'tit?kIkcan'tkbelievekthatkthekseakmeetskthekdesertkli ekthis-it's kli ekonekgiantkbeach-'Shekcouldkhearkherselfkchatteringkandcutkherselfkoff.kShe kalwaysktal edktookmuchkwhenkshekwasnervous.kAndkthekmorekshektal ed,kthekmorekl i elykshekwasktosaykthekwrongkthing. kHiskgazekdidn'tkshiftkfromkherkface.k`Youkli ekourkcountry,MissTyndall?' k`Well,kIkhaven'tkseenkmuchkofkit,'kshekconfidedkregretfully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

k`Mykfatherkiskalwaysktookbusyktokaccompanykme.kHekspendsthekentirekdaykinkmeeti ngskwithkthekDesertkPrince. kSomethingkflic eredkinkthosekdar ,kexotickeyes.k`YoukhavemetkthekPrince? k'No.kButkthat'skprobablykjustkaskwell.'kShekgavekaklittleshrug.k`Ikwouldn'tk no wkwhatktoksayktokakprince.kMykfather'safraidkI'dksaykthekwrongkthingkatkthekwron gktimekandkcauseoffence.kIt'skmykspecialkgift.kIkdon'tkwantktokblowkhiskdealkout ofkthekwaterksokI'mk eepingkmykheadkdownkandkmykmouthshutkandkrestrictingkmykexp lorationsktokakfewkwal skonkthebeach.' k`Thatksoundsktediouslykboring.'kTherekwaskamusementkinhiskdar kgaze.k`Perhapskt hekPrincekwouldkfindkitkrefreshingktobekwithkakwomankwhokspea skherkmind.' k`Don'tkcountkonkit,'kFarrahksaidkgloomily.k`Mykfatheralwaysksayskit'skmykbigges tkfailing.kMykmouthkmoveskbeforemykbrain.kI'mktryingktoklearnktokdokitkthekother kwaykround,kbutsokfarkit'sknotkwor ing.kMentalkandkverbalkcoordinationkaren'trea llykmykthing.' kHekthrewkhiskheadkbac kandklaughed.kItkwaskakrichkmasculineksound.k`Arekyoukinte restedkinkseeingkmorekofkourkcountry,MissTyndall?' k`Ofkcourse.Butkitkisn'tkthatksimple,kunfortunately.'`Whyknot?' kShekfrownedkslightly.k`Well,kIkcan'tkjustkta ekoffkintokthedesertkonkmykown.' k`Ikagreekthatktokgokalonekwouldkbekfoolhardy,kbutkwithcompanykitkwouldkbekakdif ferentkmatter.' kShekstaredkatkhim.k`Iskthatkpossible?' kHekangledkhiskproudkheadkaskifkthekquestionkwereksuperfluous.`Ofkcourse.kAnythin gkcankbekarrangedkifkthekdesirekisthere.kIsktherekanythingkinkparticularkyoukwis hktoksee?'kHisvoicekwaskdeepkandksmoothkandkshekwonderedkwherekhe'dlearnedktoksp ea ksuchkperfectkEnglish. k`IkwantktokvisitkthekByzantinekfortkatkGiga,kbutkmostly-'shekturnedkandkloo edk outkacrosskthekdesert,kherkexpressiondreamyk`-mostlykIkwantktokseekthekCaveskofk Zatua.' kShekwantedktokseekthekplacekwherekNadiakwasksaidktokhavemetkherklove. k`YoukarekfamiliarkwithktheklegendkofkZatua?' kOfkcoursekshekwaskfamiliarkwithktheklegend.kShekpreferreditktokanykfairykstoryk she'dkeverkheardkbecausekitkwasksokpassionate,ksokheartbrea ingkandksoreal.She'dk positivelyachedforNadiakandkwantedktokstranglekthekSultankforkhiskfoolishness. kThin ingkofkitknow,kshekstaredkatkthekrich,kexotickcolourkofthekdunes.kShekcoul dkimaginekitkallksokclearly.k`Aklocalkgirlfellkmadlykinklovekwithkakmankonlyktok discoverkthatkhekwasactuallykthekSultan,kwhokhadkbeenkspendingktimekincognitokam ongkherktribe.kHeklovedkherktoo,kbutkherkstatuskwasksokfarbeneathkhiskthatktheyk werekforcedktok eepktheirkrelationshipksecret.kSoktheykmetkinkthekCaveskofkZatua .'kShekturnedkbac tokhim,kherkgreenkeyeskmistykwithkemotionkaskshekretoldkthesto rykthatkhadkcaptivatedkherkforksoklong.k`Thenktheirkmeetingswerekdiscovered.kThe kSultankwasn'tkpreparedktokchallengekthekexpectationskofkhiskpeoplekandkmarrykhe r,ksokhekendedkthekrelationship.kShekwasksokdevastatedkthatkshek illedkherselfkra therthankbekwithkanotherkman.'

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

ksokmaybekI'mkgettingkaklittlekcarriedkaway-' k`Ikamkbeginningktokunderstandkyourkfather'skconcerns.ks hekbro ekoffkandkblushed.kAkwomankwantsksomuchkmorekthankthat.kand-'Realizingkwhatkshe'dksaid.disturbedkbykthekindulgentkhumourksheksawkinkhiskgaze.k`It'skjustkthatkIkca n'tkactuallykseekthekhonourkinkjustclimbingkintokbedkwithksomeonekuntilktheykget ktiredkofkyou.' k`Ifktheykwerekinklovekthenkitkshouldn'tkhavekmattered.'kHekliftedkhiskdar khead.MissTyndall.'kWaskhekshoc ed?kHekdidn'tkloo kshoc ed.' kShekflushed.MissTyndall.kTherekwaskamusementkinkhiskdar kgaze.Andknokreasonka tkallkforkherktokendkherklifekwhenkshecouldkhavekbeenkhiskfavourite.kIkdon'tkthin it'skthatkbigkankhonour !kIkmeankthekHaremkiskjustkaboutksex.' k`Goodkenoughkforkbedkbutknotktokwed?kWell.Andkofklove.kthenkhekwouldkh avekdonekanythingktokbekwithkher.'ksheksaidkpassionately.' k`HekwaskthekSultan.kthekexpressionkinkhisdar keyeskveiledkbykth ic .kPerhapskshekrefusedktokenterkthe kHarem.' kFarrahkfrownedkatkhiskdismissivektone.`Howkoldkarekyou?' kShekstiffened.kfarktookmuch.k`ButkNadiaklovedhim.kYourmouthkdefinitelykmove dkbeforekyourkbrainkonkthatkoccasion.kromantickviewofklife.k`Hekcouldkneverkhavekmarriedkawomankwhosekstatuskinklifekwasksokfarkbeneat hkhis.khiskeyeskfixedkonkherkface.kHekshouldhavekthrownkawaykhisk ingdomkforkherkifkth atkwaskwhatkitktoo forkthemktokbektogether!' k`Andkwhatkaboutkhiskresponsibilityktokhiskpeople? k'SurelyktheykwouldkhavekwantedktheirkSultanktokbekhappy?' kHekstaredkatkherkforkaklongkmoment.' kTherekwaskaklongksilencekandkthenkhiskeyesknarrowed.kShekwantedktobekhiskwife.`andkonekwhichknokwomankwouldkeverkwishkto kturnkdown.k`Iwaskeighteenklastkwee .Itkhaskakcertainktragickromancekaboutkitkthatktheykfindkattr active.kawarekthatkshe'dksaidkfar.kIfkhe'dktrulylovedkher.' k€ kShekchewedkherklipkandkbrushedkherkhairkawaykfromkherface.k`Itshouldhavekbeenksimple.kshekthought.kthekgesturebothkarrogantkandkdomi nant.kdar klashes.'kHe kstudiedkherkatklengthkandkgavekaksmilekandkthekunexpectedkcharmkofkthatksmilekm adekherkheartkleapintokherkthroat.kItkwouldnotkhavekbeenkpossible.kShekwouldknotkhavekbeenksuitable.' k`TokbekthekSultan'skmistresskwouldkhavekbeenkconsideredakgreatkhonour.kactually.kShekdidn'tkwantktok bekjustkhiskmistress.k`Let'skhopekyoukarekneverkgivenkcausektorethi n kyourkidealistickviewkofkthekworld.k`Ikthin ktheklegendhaskbeenkmodifiedkslig htlykoverkthekyears.k`Itwouldkhavekbeenkakfairlyksimplekactkonkt hekpartkofkthekSultantokhavekthekgirlkbroughtkintokthekHarem.kIkseeknokcompellin greasonkwhykthekrelationshipkhadktokbekplayedkoutkinkakdar kcave.'kheksaid ksmoothly.` Nothingshouldkhavekmattered.Butkthektour istskli ekthekstory.'kheksaidkdryly.'                                     .kisn'tit.kButkIkdon'tkseekwhatkthatkhastokdokwithkanything.'kShouldkshekapolo gize?kShouldkshe k'Youkarekverykyoungkandkyoukhavekaknaive.Justkamusedk andkperhapskaklittlekthoughtful.k`Whykwouldkyoukdothatkifkyoukwerekinklove?kIt's kinsulting.MissTyndall.k `Allkright.k`Youkma ekitksoundkveryksimple.

'shekmuttered.' kFarrahkstoodkstill.k`Oh.k`Wellkenough. 'kheksaidkgravely.kThenshekwaskescortedktokakfour-wheelkdrivekvehicle.kofcourse.kshekclimbedkinknextktokhim.kdeliberatelykplayingkdown kherk eenkinterestkinkhistorykandkarchitecture.kthekSultan.kbutkshe'dkhadnokexperiencekwithkroyaltykandksuddenlykshekfeltktonguetied.kSincekherkmother'skdeathkshe'dkstruggledktokbekmorekatkeasekinksocialks ituations.k`Yourkfather.kexcitedkatkthekprospectkofkvisitingksuchakhistoricksite.k`MissTynda ll.k`Occasionallyktha tkisknecessary.`You'rekherektoknegotiatekthekpipelinekdealkwithkmykfather.kIktrustkyouksleptkwell.kfor gettingkherkresolvektokbekcarefulkwhatksheksaid.' kAndkjustkli ekthat.khadkbeenk hauntedkbykdreamskofkNadiakandkherkSultan.kItkiskaktwokhourkdrivektoktheFo rtresskatkGiga.k`Despitekwhatyoukarekthin ing.kdon't                         .Forksomekreasonkthekdreamkhadkbeenkdis turbinglykexplicit.kyouks aidknothingktokembarrasskeitheryourselfkorkyourkfather.kitkwas.kshekgavekakvagueksmile.kno-' k`Youkcankstopkworrying.kHekwantskthingsktokstaykaskthey'vekalwayskbeenkbut kthecountrykneedsktokdevelopkmorekwealth.k`Ikwouldkbekhonouredktokactasyourkescort.' kAndksuddenlykshek newkwhokhekwaskandkclosedkherkeyesinkmortification.' kTryingktokredeemkherself.'shekmutteredkas ksheksearchedkforksomethingkmeaningfulktosay.k`Itkwouldcertainlykbeknicekto kseekmorekofkthekscenerykwhilekI'mkhere.k`Isitkjustkthektwokofkus? kYou'rekdrivingkmekyourself?' k`Whyknot? k'Ikpresumedkakprincekwouldkbeksurroundedkbykbodyguards.dar khead.MissTyndallk.kbutknotkforkthisktrip.' kHiskgazeklingeredkonkherskforkakmomentkandkthenkhekshiftedthekvehiclekintokgear kandkdrovektowardskthekroadkthatkledkdirectlykintokthekdesert. kTherekwaskakbriefkpause.k`Itkwillkbekarranged.kdoesn'tk wantkthekpipelinektokbebuilt. kAkmaidkcamektokherktentkjustkbeforekdawnkonkthekfollowingkmorningkandkpresentedk herkwithksuitablekclothing.'kheksaidksmoothly.kfeelingkhideouslykself-consciouskandmoreksociallykineptktha nkusual.' kActuallykshekhadn'tksleptkmuchkatkallkandkwhatklittleksleepshe'dkhad.' kFarrahkbitkherklipkandkrememberedktooklatekherkmother'sirritationkwheneverkshe' dkoverheardkherktal ingkaboutkwhatshekcalledk`seriousksubjects. kPushingkthekmemorykaside.kWekwillkhavekbrea fastkwhenkwekgetkthere.' kShekturnedktokhim.kIkfoundkyourkfran nessku nusuallykrefreshing.kOnlykthisktime khekwaskdressedkcasuallykinkjeanskandankopen-nec edkshirt.`Youkgivekaklotkofkorders. kHekgreetedkherkwithkaksmilekandkakfaintkbowkofkhiskglossy.' k`YoukappearktokbekankexpertkonkthekpoliticskofkTaz ash. kLoungingkinkthekdriver'skseatkwaskthekmankshe'dkmetkonthekbeach.k`Dokyoukwor kwithkthekprince?kDokyouk nowkhimkwell?' kTherekwaskankironickgleamkinkhiskeyes.

k`YoukcankcallkmekTariq.'kshekfinishe dkwea lykandhekgavekakslowksmile. k`Ikdon'tkevenk nowkwhatktokcallkyou. kEverykmorningkshekdressedkquic lykandkhurriedkoutsideandkintokthekfour-wheelkdr ive.klisteningktokthekstrangekn oiseskthatkwerekpartkofkthekcave.Tariq. k`Itkiskakstrangekplacektokconductkaklovekaffair. kAndkthen.' k`Ifkbusinesskwaskconductedkthroughkakserieskofkrequests. kRevealedkeverythingkaboutkthekpersonkshekwas.'kShekfrownedkaskshekfastenedkherkseatkbelt.k`Andkitwaskthekonlykplacekshekcouldkbekwithkh erkSultankwithoutkthepeoplek nowing.keagerktokdiscoverkwherekhekwasta ingkherkthatkday.MissTyndall?'kHiskvoicekwaskvelvetysmoothkandkshekgavekakshiver .'kHisgazekdroppedkfromkherkeyesktokherklipskand kshekfeltkankalmostagonizingkpullkdeepkinsidekher.k`Youkhavekta enourklegendktokyourkheart .kdisturbinglykerotickdreamskaboutkherkown kmankfromkthekdesert.kHeksufferskfromkakcontrollingkpersonalityktoo.kawarekofkhiskpowerfulkbodyclosektokhers. kButkbykthekendkofkthekfirstkwee kshe'dkstoppedkdreamingkaboutkNadiakandkherkSul tankandkherknightskwerekfilledkwithhot. kTheyktal edkaboutkeverythingkandkshekforgotkthatkshekwastryingktoklearnknotktok beksokfran .' k`It'skaksadkstory-'Shekstoppedkandkloo edkaroundkher.' kAndksokherklifekchanged.'kShekstaredkupkatkthekjaggedkroc kandktriedkto kimaginekhowkNadiakmustkhavekfelt. k`I'llktrykandkrememberktokrequestkratherkthankcommandkandkyoukneedktok eepkthat kmouthkofkyourskfromkmisbehaving.' k`Ikthin kit'skterriblykromantic.khektoo kherktokthekCaveskofkZatua.kitkwouldkseem.kUnderkthatkcompellingkdar gazekshekrevealedkeverythingkthatkshektho ughtkandkfelt.                                                   .kemptykplace-' k`Arekyoukscared.' k`AmkIkturningkyoukoff.YourkHighness?'Hiskgazeklingeredkonkherkmou thkandkthenkhekturnedkhiskattentionkbac ktokthekroad.k`Iwonderkifkshekwaskeverscared?kWaitingkforkhe rkloverkinkthisdar .kiskitknot?'kHisvoicekwaskhus y kinktheksemi-dar nesskaskhekledkherkdeeperkandkdeeperkintokthekcaves.k`I-you-I'mkverypleasedkyou'rekshowingkmekround.kshekwaskinklove.kfinally.' k`That'skrubbish.kGivingkordersksimplykturnskp eoplekoff.kyou?Akbitkli ekmykDad.k`Onekwould kimaginekthatktheycouldkhavekfoundksomewherekmorekconducivektokromance.MissTyndall?' kSomethingkinkhisksil yktonekmadekherkheartks ipkandkdanceandkshekresistedktheku rgektokgulpkloudly.kI'mkalway sktellinghimkoffkforkgivingkcommandskinsteadkofkma ingkrequests.' kHiskdar keyeskglitteredkwithkamusement.`Everyonek nowsktha tkyoukgetkmorekfromkpeoplekifktheykbuyintokankidea.notkmuchkwouldkbekachie ved. kBykthekendkofkthekmonth.

kHekmutteredksomethingkthatkshekdidn'tkunderstandkandthenksan khiskhandskintokhe rkhairkandkheldkherkheadkstillkwhilehekexploredkherkmouthkinksensual.kofkthefrantickbeatingkofkherkheartkandkthekdrynesskofkherkmouth.kshekwasn'tksure.' k`Thenkwhykarekyouksha ing?'kHiskhandkfoundkherskintheksemi-dar nesskandkshekswa llowedknervously.k`Dokpeoplekevergetklostkinkher e? k'Ikdon'tk now.`Sobekit.'kHiskmouthkwaskclosektokherkear.Shekfeltkaktugkatkthekbac kofkherkheadkandkr ealizedkthatkhe'dreleasedkherkhairkfromkthekclipkshe'dkusedktokrestrainkit.kbreathlesskanticipationkexplodedkinsidekher kandkherpulsekstartedktokrace.kShekthoughtkshekheardkhimkmu tter.' kShekcouldn'tkbreathe.k Farrah?'kHekturnedkherktokfacekhim.' kShekstaredkupkatkhim.kbutkakmankandkakwoman.kAfrantic.khishandskhardkandkdemandingkonkherkshoulders .k`Itkwaskankinsult.' kShekswallowed.kHere.khiskdar .Oh.'butkshekcouldn'tkbecertainkbecausekhiskmouthkfinallykclaimedkhers kandksheklostthekabilityktokthin .kI'mksure.khiskbreathkwarmkonkherk chee .`Wekcouldksearchkforkb odieskifkyoukli ekandkthenkwekwillk now.`Youkthin k itkwaskhere-? k'Deepkinkthekcaveskwaskthekonlykplacektheykcouldkbeassuredkofkthekprivacyktheyk needed.kyes.'kHiskvoicekwaskaklowkseductivekpurrkandksh eksuddenlydiscoveredkthatkshe'dkstoppedkbreathing.kcompellingkgazekholdingkherkcaptive.kerotickdet ail.kshekfeltksuddenlykdizzy kandkdisorientated.k`Doyo ukthin kthiskiskwherektheykmet? k'Possibly.kShoc edkby kthekintensitykofkfeelingskthatkwashedkthroughkherkbody. kItkwaskthek isskofkherkdreams.kthekleankpowerkofkhisbodykpressingkagainstkher skaskhekhauledkherkhardkagainstkhim.k`Thekfeelingsbetweenkakmankandkakwomankareksometimesksokpowerfulkthattheyktran scendkcommonksense.'kHisksmilekflashed.k`No.kshekcouldkimaginekthat.kbrushingkla                                 .' k`Verykfunny.' k`Hekdidn'tkrejectkher.ktheykwerektotallyalone.'kThekconfinedkspacekandkdiffusedlightkcreatedkankintimac ykthatkwaskalmostkstiflingkinkitskintensity. k'Tariq-'Shekbreathedkhisknamekandkclosedkherkeyes.k`HerektheykwereknolongerkakSu ltankandkhiskmistress.' k`Andkyetkthekpowerkofkhotksexkisknotktokbekunderestimated.kShekwaskawarekofkhiskstrongkgripkonk herkhand.k`Hekofferedkherkthekrolekofkhismistress. kHiskmouthkhoveredktantalizinglykclosektokherskandksomethingkhotkandkdeliciouskun curledklowkinkherkstomach.kalthoughwhetherkthatkwaskfromkthekeffectskofkherksurroundingsk orkthetouchkofkhiskhandkonkhers. kHiskmouthkwaskhotkandkdemanding.kTrueklovekdeserveskakbetterkoutletktha nkhotksex.k'Nadiakshouldkhavek nownkthatkthekSultanwouldkrejectkher.kThosekfeelingskbecomektheonlykthingkthatkmatter.kHiskfingersktrailedklightlykdownkherknec kandkthenklowerkstill.kteasingkandkdangerous.CankyoukimaginekNadiakentwinedkinkthekarmsofkherkSultan?' kThekimagekexplodedkinkherkbrainkwithkfrighteningkclarityandkshekswallowedkandks taredkatkthekdustykfloorkofkthekcave.wouldkyouknotkagree.

kAndkshekgavekwhatkhekdemanded. kTherekwaskakglimmerkofkhumourkinkhiskgaze.'kherkfatherksaidkw                     .Youpleasekmewasn'tkexactlyktheksamekasI lovekyou.kShekwaskcocoonedkinkthekheatkofkherkownknewlykawa enedkdesire.' k`So?kCan'tkyoukdokyourkcommandkthingkandktellkthemkalltokgokaway?'kSheksnuggled kagainstkhim. kWaskthiskhowkNadiakhadkfeltkwithkherkSultan?kShewonderedkdizzily.kwishingktheykcouldstaykinkthekcavekforkever.k`Wewillkbektogether.kshekslidkherkarmskroundkhisnec . k`Tellkyoukwhat? k'ThatkyoukhavekbeenkspendingkeverykdaykwithkthekPrince.k`Thiskhaskbeenkthekbestkmonthko fkmyklife.kliftingkakhandkandkst ro ingkhisfingerskthroughkherkhair. kShekdreamedkallkthekwaykbac ktokthekdesertkcampkandkshewaskstillkdreamingkwhenk herkfatherkcamektokfindkherkforkdinner.'kHekturnedkbac ktokher.k commandingkherkresponse.k`ButkwillkIkseekyoukagain?kWhat-' k`Trustkme.k`Itkiskgrowingklateandkmykpresencekiskrequire dkelsewhere.Therekiskaktimekfor kbusinesskandkaktimekforpleasure.butkatkleastkitkwaskakstart. kDesirekstabbedkthroughkher.`Unfortunatelyknot.kHiskwidekshouldersk stiffenedkwithktensionkandktherekwasakflashkofkannoyancekinkhiskdar keyes.andkextremelybeautiful. kWaskthiskwhykshe'dkchosenkdeathkratherkthankaklifewithoutkhim? kOverwhelmedkbykemotion.khiskdar keyesscanningkherkface.kandkstillkhismouthkseducedkhers.k`Youkarek verykyoung.khiskexpressionkthoughtful.'kShekmutt eredkthekwordskagainstkhiskclever.hiskvo icekhus ykandkintenselykmasculine.Didkyouknotkthin kitkwor thkmentioning?' kShekhadn'tkmentionedkitkbecausekshekwaskafraidkthatkherfatherkmightktrykandksto pkher.kbutkclearlykshekhadknokchoicekandshekconsoledkherselfk withkthekfactkthatkhekobviouslykfeltkthesamekwaykthatkshekdid.' kFarrahktriedktokhidekherkdisappointment.' kShekdidn'tkwantktokwait.k`Iklovekyou.laeela.zilykagainstkthekfrantickjutkofkherknipple.laeela.kthatkI kpromisekyou. kHeklovedkherktoo. k`PrinceTariqbinkOmarkal-Sharmakisktotallykoutkofkyourleague.kItkisknecessaryktokreturnknow.s ilfulkmouth. k`Ikcan'tkbelievekyoukdidn'tktellkme.kreadyt okgivekhimkeverything.kFarrah!'kHekglaredkatherkandkshekstruggled ktokconcentratekonkwhatkhekwasksaying.kHekwantedkthemkto kbektogether.'kheksaidksoftly.' kShekcaughtkhiskarm.Allthatkshekhadkandkallkthatkshekwas. kAkshoutkfromkthekentrancekofkthekcaveskcaughtkhiskattention.kThekworldkoutsidekceased ktokexist.ksharpkandkurgent.'Hektouchedkakfingerktokherkmouth.k`Unfo rtunatelykitappearskthatkwekmustkreturnktokNazaar.k`Youpleasekme.' kHektensedkandkslowlykliftedkhiskhead.kAndkthekpleasurekwillkbeallkthekgreaterkforkthekwait.

'kherkfatherksaidwearily.kI'dkhatektokseeitkcorruptkyouktoo.' kFarrah'skeyeskfilled. kForkakshort.'kherkfatherksaidkdryly. kHowknaivekcouldkakgirlkbe? kButkshek newkbetterknow.kY oukcankbekwhokyoukreallykare.kWekbothk nowthatkyourkmotherktriedktokma ekyoukintoksomethingkthatkyou'renotka ndkyoukchangedkaklotkaboutkyourselfkinkorderktokpleaseher.kshekremindedkherselfkaskshekpressedkherselfkbac kinkhe rkseatkinkankattemptktokgetkaskfarawaykfromkhimkaskpossible.' k`Thenkyou'rekakfool.ithkakfrown.kItkcorruptedkyourkmothe r.k`Ik nowkhekloveskme.ksh ekconsoledkherself.Justkaskyoukare .kButkshe'skgoneknow.kbutknotkhiskwife.kFarrah.kneededkhimktokgivekherkhop e.' k`I'mknotkgoingktokbekcorruptedkandkitkisn'tkTariq'skthingeither.khe'dkwantedktheirkrelationshipktokbek eptkaksecr et.kblissful.kAndkatkthekage kofkeighteen.kAndkheklovesk me.Thoughtkofktheirkconversation s.k`Theshallowksocialksceneki sn'tkyourkthing.                     .PrinceTariqiskthekmostkeligiblekguyinkthekworld.khiskeyesktiredkandkempty.I nowhekdoes.k`You'reknotkhisktype.' kInsecuritykstabbedkherkbutkshekignoredkit.kSuddenlykshekneededkherkfathertokunderstand.kdeludedktimekshe'dkmanagedktoconvinceherselfkthatkTariqk lovedher-thathewaskgoingktoas hertokmarryhim.k`Hekentertainskworldkleaders.kshe'dkfallenkforkit.kFarrahkthoughtknumblykaskshestaredkoutkofkthekwi ndowkofkthekjet. kThektenderkmomentskthey'dkspentktogetherkinkthekdesertkcampkofkNazaarkhadkbeenk nothingkmorekthankaksophisticatedseductionktechniquekonkhiskpart. kShehadbeenkakfool.kHekhadn'tkseenkwhatthey'dkshared.' k`Andkyou'rekwonderingkwhatkhekcouldkpossiblykseekinkme.kofkthekconfidenceskthey'dshared.k`Iklovekhim.k`Iklovekyou. kJustkli ekthekSultankandkNadia.kHerkfatherkhadn't'beenkwithkthem.k`Daddy-' kHerkfatherkshoo khiskhead. kShekwaskgoodkenoughktokbekhiskmistress.' k`You'rekbeingknaive.kFarrah.kTh atkmattersktoo.aren'tkyou? k'ThekwomankwhokfinallykcaptureskthekheartkofkthekDesertPrincekwillkbeksophistic atedkandkbeautiful.Butkmarriagekhadkneverkbeenkonkhism ind.'kherkfatherksaidkquietly.'kFarrahksaidku rgently. k€ kAndkherkfatherkhadkbeenkright.' k`He'skthekCrownkPrince.kherkbrainkfullkofkromancekandkdreams.kAndkperhapsthat'skakgoodkthing.' kFarrahkthoughtkofkthekmonthkthey'dkspentktogether.kWomenkdrop kintokhiskpath.k'Tariqkiskinterestedkinkhistorykandkculturekandkthingskthatkmatter.

kAndI kdon'tkwantktokgokthere!'kNazaarkheldktookmanykmemories. k`Ikdidklovekit.k`Ikdon'twanttokrenewkourkrelationship.kItkhadbeenkaklongknight. k€ kCHAPTERkFOUR k€ kTHEYlandedkatkdawnkandktransferredktokaklimousinekforktheridekthroughkthekdeser t.k`Whatkbetterkplacektokrenewkourrelationship?' kShekturnedktokfacekhim.kthenkdon'tk be. k'Nazaarkiskbeautiful.Itkwaskthekbirthplacekof kallkherkhopeskandkdreamskforkthefuture. kNazaar.kthisktime.kShekjustkhatedkthe kthoughtkofklettingkthemkdown.kshe'dkdevelopedkthatksid ekofkherselfkinkresponsektokherkmother'skexpectationskandkTariq'skownkcruelrejec tionkofkherkyearskearlier.k`Ifkyou'rekworriedkaboutkmissingkoutkonopportunitiesktokdresskup. 'kShekthoughtkofkherkjobkatkthekstables kthejobkfewkpeoplekevenk newkshekhad andfeltkakpangkofkanxiety. kAkfuturekthatkhadkdisintegratedkbeforekherkeyes. kEvenkthoughkitkhadkbeenkfivekyears.koncekankimportantktradingkpostkonkthekfran incensekr oute.ktherekwaskakstrangekgleamkinkhiskeyeskthatkshekstruggledktokinterpret.kButkshekhadkn okintentionkofrevealingkherselfktokTariq. kAndknokintentionkofklettingkhimkthroughkthekglitteringkwebofkdeceitkshe'dkspunk tokprotectkherself. kUnperturbedkbykherkoutbu rst.k`We' rekgoingktokNazaar?'Nazaar.thekplacewherekshe'dkfallenkinklove. kObviouslykhe'dkstudiedkherknewkslee kcelebritykstatuskandhadkdecidedkthatkshekw askfinallykgoodkenoughktokstandkbykhisside.kherkexpressionkexasperated.kShek newkexactlykwhatksortkofkmankTariqkwaskandkwhatksortofkqualitieskhekvalued . kShe'dkbeenkhideously. kAnd.kshekwasn'tkgoingktokbekblindedkbykthekoverwhelmingksexualkattrac tionkthatkexistedkbetweenkthem. kTariqkgavekakfaintksmile.kFarrahkrecognizedktheroadkimmediately.kYoukalwaysksaidkthatkyouklovedkit.Commitmen ts.kIkcankassurekyoukthat                 .kbutkthatkdoesn'tkmeankIkwantktokgokthereknow.' k`Morekcharitykballskthatkrequirekyouktokparadekhalf-na ed?'Hiskgazekwasksardoni c.kTariq.kembarrassinglyknaivekandkopenkwithkhimkandkshekdidn'tkwan tktokbekremindedkofkthekfact.kYoukcankdresskorkundressforkmekaskoftenkaskyoukplease.kSh e'dkdozedkonkthekplanekbutkshekwasktiredandkcran ykandkhekwasktheklastkmankinkth ekworldkshekwantedtokbekwith.kIronically.Ikwantktokgokhome.kNomatterkwhatkthekreactionkofkherkbody.kshekhadk nokintentionkofma ingkakfoolkofkherselfkoverkhimkforkaksecondktime. kButkonlykshek newkthatkinsidekshekhadn'tkchangedkatkall.Shekwaskstillkthekgirlk whokpreferredkhistorykandkhorsesktohousekpartieskandkhairdressers.k`IhavekthingskthatkIkneedktokdokatkhome.

kI'llkbekawillingkaudience. kItkwasksokunbelievablykshallowkthatkshekwantedktokrollkhereyes.' kRealisingkthatkshekwaskfastkbecomingkakvictimkofkherkowndeception.k`Turnkroundkandkdropkmekbac katktheairport.' k€ k`There'sknothingkmodernkaboutkyou.kSokyoukmightkaskwellkturnth iskcarkaroundkbeforekIkdisruptkyourklifekagain.' k`Ifkyoukdon'tkli ekthekwaykIkamkthenkthere'skaksimpleksolution.kThekgood kthingkaboutkhavingkakbrushkwithkakguyli ekyoukearlykinklifekiskthatkitktendskto kteachkakgirlkaklessonthatkshekneverkforgets.laeela.'khekobservedkpleasantlykandkshek grittedkherkteeth.kTariq.kakhintkofkmenacekinhiskdar kgaze.kfrustratedandkgoadedkbykhiskinabilit yktoklistenktokher.k`on lykthosekwithksenseklearnktokmeasurethekimpactkofktheirkwordskbeforektheykutterk them.wonderingkwhatkitktoo ktokdeflatekhi skego.' k`Ikli ekthekwaykyoukare:kTherekwaskamusementkinkhiskgazeandkhisktonekwaskdecept ivelykmild.'kheordered. kbutkitkisn'tkgoingtokwor .kbutkitkdoesn'tkmeankI'mkreadyktokta l kaboutkit.kIkcanktellkyoukthatknow.'ksheksaidkflippa ntly. k`Well.k'You'rekwellkandktr ulykstuc kinkthekStonekAge.kthekaveragekcamelkiskmorekadv ancedkthankyou.khisklong.' k`Ikdon'tkthin kthiskiskthektimektokexplorekeachkother'skpasts.' kEntertainment?Shekgapedkatkhimkandkthenkremindedkherselfkthatkthekwomenkthatkhe kusuallykmixedkwithkwouldknodoubtkhavekembracedkhimkatkthiskpoint.'ksheksnapped.k`IfkIkdidn't. k`WherekIkcomekfrom.' k`Ifkyou'reksuggestingkthatkyou'veklivedktheklifekofkaknunsincekourklastkmeeting kthenkyou'rekwastingkyourkbreath.k`Nokonekwhoksawkyoukparadin gkdownkthecatwal kinkthatkswimmingkcostumekwouldkeverkaccusekyoukofsexualkinnoce nce.'kTariqkslidkankarmkacrosskthekbac kofthekseat.k`becausekIkdon'thavekakpast.kshekfrowned.kYoukmightwantktokgivekitkaktryksomektime. kWomenkli ekherkmother.' k`Ikseekyoukstillkhaven'tksucceededkinkcurbingkyourkseeminglykunquenchablekneedkt okverbalizekeverykthoughtkthatenterskyourkhead.' k`You'renotmarryingkme!'kShekturnedktokhim.'kTariqrespondedkinstantly.kWhenkitkcomestokwomen.k`butkitkdoesn'tkwor kwithkme.k`Ikmaykbe kmodemkenoughktokacceptkthatkyouhavekakpast.' k`Let'skstopkfighting.k`Thatksortkofkg esturekmaykhavekbeenkenoughktokguaranteekyouksuccesskwithkeverykotherkwomankonkth ekplanet.kAndkIk nowkyou'llkbekdelightedktok nowkthatI'vekhadk ankentirekwardrobekflownkoverkforkyourkentertainment.' k`They'rekallowedktokspea kwherekIkcomekfromktoo.k                                         .kthat'skakgoodkthing.'khedrawledklazily.k`Ikdon'tk nowkwhyyou'veksuddenlykdecidedkthatkI'mk"thekone".'ksheksaidkflatly. k'Tariq-' k`Dropkthekconversation.'ksheksaidksweetly.kthenkIkwouldn'tbekmarryingkyou.'hekdeliveredksmo othlykandkshekfloppedkbac kagainstkthekseat.kwomenkarekallowedktokspea .

`andkfran lykI'                                             .k`Ikneedakqueenkandkpartkofkthekrolekiskentertainin g.kTariq.' k`Andkthat'skallkyoukwantkinkakwife?'kHekobviouslykhadn'tchangedkonekbit. kSomethingkflic eredkinkhiskeyeskbutkhekturnedkhiskheadawaykandkgavekakcarelessk shrugkofkhiskbroadkshoulders.She'dkfallenkinklovekwithkthemankshekbelievedkhimktokbe.'kshekmuttered.Butkshe'dkbeen kwrong.kshe'dkthoughtkshek ne wkthekman.k`Ikagreekthatkwekne edktimektogetherbeforekwekgetkmarried.kThatkiskwhykwekarekgoingktokNazaarandknot ktokmykpalacekatkFallou .k`Ikhaveaklifekbac kinEnglan d. kShekstiffenedkandkherkeyeskwereksuddenlykwary.k`IkhatekFallou .strongkfingerskhoveringkwithinktouchingdistancekofkherknec .k`Ikdon'twantktokgoktokFallou .' k`Notkanykmore.kyoukwillkhavekamplekopportunityktokind ulgekyourpassionkforkretailktherapykandknumerousksocialkoccasionskthatdemandktha tkyoukdresskupkandkplaykprincesses. kSokwrong.kempty-headedksocialite.k`Youkhaveklearnedkhowtokconductkyourselfkinkp ublic.kshekth ought. k`Yourkpalacekiskfullkofkpoliticskandkintrigue.' k`Again?Youkneverk newkme.kAllkthatkmattere dkwask eepingherselfksafekfromkhurt.' kThejob?Shekhadktokstopkherkjawkfromkdropping. k`Youkwerekashamedktokdisplaykmekinkpublic.kIkhardlykneedkremindkyoukthatkmykmainkresidencekiskthe re.' kShekjustkheardkonekword.kAnyktimekwekspendkatkNazaarkcanonlykbektemporary. kFallou .k`Alifekthatkwillkbekout matchedkbykwhatkIkamkoffering?kAskmywife.kreali zingkjustkhowmuchkofkherselfkshe'dkbeenkaboutktokreveal.'ksheksaidkflatly.kAndkIkdon'tkneedkabrea kwithkyou!kIkdon'tkwant kakbrea !kIkhavekthingsktokdo.kwhenkthiskmankhadkh urtherksokbadly?kShekdidn'tkcarekthatkhekthoughtkshekwasknothingmorekthankakfriv olous.kFivekyearskbefore.kShekwaskn everkrevealingkaksinglepartkofkherselfkagain!kWhykwouldkshe. k`TherekarekplaceskthatkIkneedktokbe.kstrugglingktok eepkthekcontemptoutkofkherkexpression.' kTheklesskthanksubtlekreminderkthatkshe'dkdonekandksaidkallthekwrongkthingskonkt heklastkoccasionkthey'dkbeenktogetherbroughtkcolourktokherkchee s.kIkhavektokgoktokwo-'kShekbro ekoffkquic ly.kHekstillkexpectedka kwomanktokbekdecorativekandknothingkmore.'k sheksaidkhus ily.kIt'skimportantktokselectksomeonekwhokiskupktokthekjob.'kThekchillkinkhisktonekand kthekarrogantktiltofkhiskheadkremindedkherkthatkTariqkbinkOmarkal-Sharmakhadkbee nkbornkakprincekandkwouldkdiekakprince.kItkwillkgivekusktimektokgetkto nowkeachkotherkagainkwi thoutkotherskinterfering.kShe'dkalmostconfessedkt hatkshekhadkakjob!kButkthatkwasksomethingkshewouldneversharekwithkhim.kakhintkofkamusementkinkhiskdar kgaze.kThisktimekyou'llkbekbykmyksidekwhenkwereturnktokFallou .' k`Itkiskourkcapitalkcity.kHowcouldkhekbeksokunromantic?k`An dksuddenlykyou'vekdecidedthatkIkqualify?' kHerksarcasmkappearedklostkonkhim.' kHekloo edkatkher.kHiskopinionofkherkdidn'tkmatter.

'kS heksaidkthekwordskaloudkaskmuchkforkherselfaskforkhimkandktherekwasksteelkandkde terminationkinkherkvoiceaskshekturnedktokloo katkhim.Let'skbekhonestkaboutkthis.khollowkfeelingkdeepkins idekher.kThekbriefkmemorykofkhowkstupidkshe'dkbeenkwa senoughktokhardenkherkresolve. kButkitkhadn'tkbeenkreal.k`You'rekankextre melykbeautifulkwoman. k`Well.kaskifkhekfoundkherkmildlykentertaining.kItkwasn'tevenkworthktryingktokexplainkthatkallkherklifekmenkhadkbeensho wingkinterestkinkherkmoneykand.kofkcourse.k`I'dkforgottenkthatkyouhavekaktendencyktowards kdrama.kbutkshekdidn'tkseekthekpointkofraisingkthat.`andthekphysicalkattractionkbetweenkusk iskpowerful.Afterkall.kdidkyou.vekgotkbetterkthingsktokdokwithkmyktimekthanwal karoundkwatchingkmykbac kallkthe ktime.kandkshe'dfallenkforkit.   kTherekwaskakcuriouskexpressionkinkhiskeyes.kAndkIkfoundkthekpalacekstifling.k`Ikwantkyouktokorderkthemk tokturnthiskcarkroundkandkIkwantkyouktokta ekmekbac ktokthekairportkrightknow. kShekwonderedkwhetherkitkwaskworthksharingkwithkhimkthatakdar kdungeonkwouldkbek preferablektokankhourkinkthecompanykofkhiskauntskandkcousinskandkdecidedknot.kshallkwe?kAllkyoukwerekeverkintere stedkinkwasksex.kBriefly.'Shekgrittedkherkteethkandkherkeyeskfl   kHiskbeliefkinkhimselfkwaskmonumental.kItkiskpartk ofkthekrichktapestryofklife.kshekthoug htknumblykaskshekloo edkaway.kuntilkTariq.kHekhadn'tkreallykbeeninterestedkinkher.ktryingtokignorekthekempty.' kHiskgazekwasktolerant.kYoukm isunderstoodkyourkfeelings.khadkshekme tkakmankwho'dkseemedkinterestedkinherkaskakperson.kItkhappens.' k`Therekwillkbeknokweddingkatkall!kAndkta ingkmektokNazaarisn'tkgoingktokma ekan ykdifferencektokthekwaykIkfeelkaboutkthat.kshewonderedkwhatkitkwouldkbekli ektokhaveksuchkunsha eablekself-confidence.' kNotktokmentionkbitchy.knokmatterhowkmuchkyoukwouldkli ektokdenykitskexistence.k`Naturally.khiskexpressionkmaddeninglykimpassive. k`Itkdoesn'tkmatterkwhatkIkthin kofkyourkpalace.Tariq?kYoukdidn'tk nowkwhatkIkli edkandk whatkIkdidn'tkli e.'                                           .kYoukarekbeingknaivektokexpectkotherwise. kShe'dkbeenkstupidkonce.kyouka reksurprisedkbykmykproposal.kItkiskclear ktomeknowkthatkyoukwerekjustktookyoungktokhandleksuchkankexplosivekpassion.Youkneverktoo kthektro ublektokas kwhatkIkcaredkabout.'khekdrawledksoftly.kwasktherekanythingkmorekseductivekthansomeo nekwhokappearedktokfindkyoukfascinating?kWhoappearedktoksharekyourkinterests?kPr obablyknot.' kShekdidn'tkneedkhimktokremindkherkofkthat.kYoukneedktimektokbecomekaccustomedktokthekideakandk Ikintendktokgiveyoukthatktime.kherkloo s.kItkdidn'tkmeankshekhadktokgivekarepeatkperformance.' kHekwasksokcynicalkaboutkwomenkthatkhe'dkfailedktokspotthekrealkthing.kWheneverkakgroupkofkpeoplegatherktogetherkyoukhavekpolitics.' kHiskeyeskgleamedkwithkamusement.kNever.kmaybekyoukjustkdon'tk nowkmekaskwellkaskyoukthin .kshekmused.kbecausekI'mknotkgoingkthere.k`Well.kThe kartkofkconversationkandkappearingkinterestedkwerekallkpartkofkhisksuperiorkseduc tionktechnique.k`Whykarewomenksokcontrary?kYouklove ktokdresskupkandkmykpalacekwillaffordkyoukamplekopportunitykandkyetkyoukarekloo ingkatkmeaskthoughkIkjustkpromisedktokimprisonkyoukinkakdar kdungeonwithknokfood korkwater.' kHekstudiedkherkcarefully.kI'vekneverbeenkthatkintoktape stries.kTherekwillkbeknokweddingkuntilkyoukareksure.klater.

kheatkexplodedkdeepkwithinkherkandkeveryinchkofkherktrembling.reallykfool ishkatthekagekofkeighteen.kInkakshowkofkruthles skdeterminationkandkmasculinestrength. kHerks inktingled.k`youdreamedkofknothingk else.' k`Ikhavekneverkinkmyklifekhadktroublekhandlingkakwoman.klethalktone.Achedkforkhim.kYoukarekthekonekI'mmarrying.k`sokyoukmightkaskwellkjustturnkthiskcarkroundknow.kTariq.'kshekmuttered.kF arrah.Mykpatiencekisknotklimitlesskandkyou'vekclearlykfailedktoklear nthekartkofkdiplomacykoverkthekyears. kHe'dkdatedksomekofkthekmostkbeautifulkwomenkinktheworld.khekpoweredkherkbac kagainstkthekseatkandk trappedherkmouthkunderkhiskwithksuchkferociouskpassionkthatkherwhimperkofkshoc k waskswiftlyktransformedkintokaksoftksighkofkacquiescence.' k`Onkthekcontrary. kThan kgoodnesskshe'dkgrownkupkandkseenktheklight.k`Wekcouldkspendkacenturyktogether.'Hisslowksmilekwaskunmista a blykmasculine.k`Bekcarefulkyoukdon'tkta ekonkmorektha nkyoukcankhandle.k`Andkfirekandpassionkiskalwayskakbonuskinkthekbedroom-' k`Whichkiskthekonlykplacekakwomankhaskakrole.'kShekfeltkherkface kflamekandkdraggedkherkeyeskawaykfromhis. k`Youkhaveknokreasonktokfeelkjealous.k`AskIkhavekalreadyksaidktokyou.' k`Andkyou'vekcertainlykhadkenoughkpractice.kShekmustkhavekbeenkreally.kEitherkthatkorkju stkinstructkyourkbodyguardsktokshootkmekandkhavekdonekwithkit.                     .unablektokhidekthekhur tkandkthekpain.ashed.'khekremindedkherkinkaksoft.kYourkdesirektokshoc kandflirtkwithkdangerk doeskyouknokcredit.kTariq.' kHiskmovementkwaskswiftkandksmoothkandkcamekwithoutwarning.' kThekfactkthatkhekwaskawarekofkherkmostkintimateksecretskwasdeeplykhumiliating. k`ThatkwaskbeforekIk newkwhatkaktotalkbastardkyoukare.' k`WhichkjustkgoesktokprovekthatkIkwouldkbekdeeplykunsuitablekaskakwife.kbekcareful.k`Youkwantkakshoc ingkwife? k'Akcertainkindependencekofkspiritkisktokbekadmired. kquiveringkbodykcriedkoutkforkhim.' k`Andkyetkonce.kandkstillkIkwouldn'tkwantktokma rrykyou.kWhykshe'dkoncekthought kshekmeantksomethingktokhimwaskbeyondkher.' k`I'mknotkjealous.' kHerkheartkwaskthumping.kYoukhaveknokeffectkonkmekwhatsoever.' kTheksuddenktoucheskofkcolourkthatkappearedkhighkonkhisaristocratickchee kbonesk offeredkthekonlykindicationkofkhiskdisapproval.'ksheksaid khelpfully.kTokbekjealouskyoukhavektokcarekandIkdon'tkcarekaboutky ou. kTariq. kItkhadkbeenkfivekyearsksincekthey'dktouchedkandkyetkitkwaskaskifkherksenseskhad kretainedkakmemorykofkhim.kIkhavekdecidedkthatkyoukhavekallkthekqualitieskthatkIkrequirek inkakwife.kinkyourkopinion.

kbutkhekliftedkhis kmouthkfromkherskandkeasedkhimselfawaykfromkherksee ingkfingers.                         .kheksatkupkinkaksmoothkmovementka ndkrelaxedkagainstthekseat.ktracedkthekroughnesskofkhisjawkwithkthektipkofkherktonguekandkthenkfou ndkhiskmouthagain. kWithkakgaspkofkencouragementkshekwrappedkherklegsaroundkhimkandkthenksobbedkwit hkfrustrationkaskshekrealizedthatkthekthinksil kofkherktrouserskstillkseparatedk them.Herkbodykburnedkandkcraved.'kHiskvoicekslightlyhus y. kAcceptingkherkfeveredkovertures. kButkhekwasn'tkstoppingkitknowkandkhiskhardkbodykcamedownkonkhers.kherkhandskfumblingkinkherhaste.kyoukwillkgivekyourselfktokmekanditkwillkbekgood.kThekhardkthrustkofkhiskarousalktouchedkherkintimatelyandkshekshif tedkandkarchedkinkankattemptktokbringkthemkclosertogether..ksheksmoothedkthekjac etofkherksuitkandkwaitedkforkthekhotkcol ourkinkherkchee sktosubsidekbeforekturningktokloo katkhim.kButkt hiskisknotkthatktime.kmindlessksexkonkthek bac kseatkofkhiskcar.kHadtriedktokimaginekwhatkit kwouldkbekli ektokbekwithkhimkproperly.Soclose kUntilkhe'dkstoppedkit.kakfrownkonkhiskimpossiblykhandsome kface.kHerkheartbumpedkagainstkherkches tkandkthekbloodkracedkaroundkherkbody. kShekreachedkoutktoktouchkhim. k`Thiskisnotthekrightktime-' k'Tariq-' k`Whenkthektimekiskright.khisktonguekdelvedbetweenkherkpartedklipskandkh ekmutteredksomethingkthatkshedidn'tkunderstand.konekmusculark thighkslidingkbetweenkherklegsaskhekheldkherkcaptivekwithkhiskweightkandkthekhea tkofkhismouth.Herkfeveredksenseskdemandedkthatkshekdoks omethingktokrelievekthekpounding.kShe'dkdreamedksokoftenkofkthektwokofkthemktogether.khisk expressionkgaveknokclueskasktokwhatkhekwaskthin ing. kShekneededkhimkandkthatkneedkwaskakpowerfulkdrivingforcekthatkblastedkeverythin gkfromkherkheadkexceptkthekprimalurgekforksexualkfulfillment.kNothingkaboutkhiskbodyklanguageksuggestedkthatonlykm omentskbeforekthey'dkbeenkonkthekvergekofkindulgingkinkhot.kIfktheirktorridkencounterkh adkaffectedkhimkatkallkthenktherekwasknokevidencekofkthatkfact. kFrustrationkandkanticipationkexplodedkinsidekherkandkshemovedkagainstkhimkinkan kinstinctivekinvitationkthatkwaskentirelykfeminine.Sohot. kDraggingkherkmouthkfromkhis.Andkthey'dkcomekclose.kslidingkhiskhandkbeneathkherkhip sktokhaulherkcloserkstillktokhiskpowerfulkframe. kBykcontrast.kshekbreathedkhisknamekandthenkslidkherkarmskroundk hisknec .kAskusual. kTornkbetweenkachingkfrustrationkandkutterkhumiliationkthatkhekstillkhadkthekcon trolktokpullkaway.kherklipskfeltkswollenkandkhotkandkherkwholekbodykwaskstillksufferi ngkthekshoc ingkafter-effectskofktheirerotickinterlude. kShekfeltkhot. kThekexotic.kpulsingktensionkthatkthrobbedkdeepkinkherkpelv is.kHiskeyeskglitte redkdar kanddangerouskaskhekgazedkdownkatkher.kangularkplaneskofkhiskhandsomekfacekrevealednothing.

kyouwillkcomektokmykbed kwillingly.kwhyme?kI'mknotksokstupidkasktokbelievekthatkyoukcarekaboutkme .'kHewasksokblisteringlyk confidentkofkhiskownkattractionskthatkshewasksuddenlykfilledkwithkankalmostkover whelmingkdesirektoslapkhimkagain.`Becausekyouinsistkonkpretendingktha tktherekisknothingkbetweenkuskwhenkwekbothk nowkthatkweksharekakpowerfulkbond.k`Arekyoukstillksoknaivekthatkyoukdon'trecognizekpowerful kchemistrykbetweenkakmankandkakwoman?'                                           .kbutkaroundkTariqk shekturnedkintokakboilingkcauldronofkexaggeratedkemotion. kSheklic edkherklips.kThat'skakgo odkthing.kshekslidkintokthekcornerkofkherkseat.' k`Thekonlykwaykyou'llkgetkmekanywhereknearkyourkbedkiskifkyoukdragkme.kYoukdon'tkgetkmarriedkjustkb ecausekthealarmkcloc kiskbuzzing.k`Whykdidkyoukdokthat?'kHerkvoicekwaskhoarsekandkshekjusthatedkherselfkforkrevea lingksokmuchkdespitekherkbestkintentions.Yo ukarekakcomplexkwoman.Unli ekthekEnglish.k Tariq?kSoktellkme.CambridgeandHarvard.kherktonekthic kwithcontempt.kwekwouldn'tkbekgood.kWe'dkbekaktotalknig htmare.Ikamkready ktokta ekakwife. kEducatedkatEton.kIkwantedktokpr oveksomethingkandkIkdid.Ikcankfeelkitkandksokcankyou.kthekoilkrichkstatekofTaz ashkhad kmovedkintokaknewkagekofkpeacekandkprosperity.sokwhykhavekyoukpic edkmekforkthekdubiouskhonourkofkmatrimony? k'It'sknotktruektoksaykthatkIkdon'tkcarekaboutkyou.kAndkyoukjollykw ellkshouldbe.khiskdar keyeskslumbrous.`Why?' kHekturnedktokher.' k`I'vekjustkprovedkthat.kwhenkIkdecidekthektimekiskright.kYou'vekcertainlykhadkenoughkpractice.laeela.k`Allkyou'veprovedkiskthatkyou'rekakgoodk isser.' kAndkhe'dkhadkenormousksuccess.hadksufferedkakstro e.kShekignoredktheksuddenkwarmthkthatkoozedthroughkherktraitorouskbod y.kthan sktokhiskexceptionalkbusinessktalents.kdokyou. k`Ikthin kwekbothk nowkthatkisn'tkgoingktokbeknecessary.kThekconnectionkbetweenkuskisk verykstrong.' k`That'skrubbish.'ksheksaid.kshek newkthat.k`YourkviewskonkmarriagekarepositivelykNeolithic.' kTa ekakwife.kdenyingktheki nsistentkthrobkdeepkinkherkpelvis.placingkherselfkaskfarkawaykfromk himkaskpossible.khe'dkta enoverkthekrunningkofkthekcountryk afterkhiskfather.kWekwillkbekgoodktogether.k`youkg etkmarriedkforklove. k`Haskanyonekeverktoldkyoukthatkyoukhavekakwhoppingkego?' k Ikhavekakhealthykappreciationkforkmykownkabilitieskandkachievements.`Becauseitkisktime.kAndkallkwerekinkagreementkth at.khiskgazekfaintlykmoc ing.k`No.' kHekgavekakfaintksmile. kNormallykshekconsideredkherselfktokbekakverykeasygoingperson.'kIgnoringkthekinsistentkthrobkthatktorturedthekverykcentrekofk herkbody.' kHerkfleshkstillkyearnedkforkhisktouchkandkshekshiftedkinkherseat.k`Sokwhykdokyouksuddenlykfeelktheneedktokgetkmarried?' kHekturnedktokloo katkher.kButkthat'sksomethingkyoudon'tk nowkanythingkabout.kOnkthekonekhandkyoukarekalmostkpainfullykhonestkandyetkwh enkitkcomesktokourkrelationshipkyoukarekhappyktodeceivekyourself.'kshekthre wkbac katkhimkandkheksmiled.kthekSultan.kIdoknotkconsiderksuccessktokbekdistasteful.

Hekstillkonlykhadktoktouchkherkforherktoklosekallksensekofk reason.kakstrangelykbeautifulkalienkl andkthatkhadkcapturedkherkheartkandkherkimaginationkfromkthekfirstkmoment.knaggingkachekdeepkinkherkbellykwouldkfadektoknothingkbutkadistantkmemor y.kNazaarkwaskle sskthankakfourkhourkdrivekfromkthekborder.khekcoveted.kstaringk outkofkthekwindowktokhidekherkconfusion.kshekthoughtkdryly.kaskshektriedktoksubduekthekfeelingskthatkwerekstilltumblingkthroughkherksensit izedkbody.kshekrecognizedthekchemistry.' kAkstorm?                               . kBeingkaroundkhimkwaskdangerous.kSomethingkdar kandkdangerouskshimmeredkinsidekher.kshekthoughtkdesperately .Forkthekfirstktimekinkyourklifekyou'rekgoin gktokhavektokcometoktermskwithkhearingkthekwordno.ktheksq uirming. kAndkthekairportkwouldn'tkbekankoption.kEvenkifkshekdidma ekherkownkwaykthere.kforcefulkpersonal ity.Oh.'Andthatkwaskgoingktokta esome kpractice. kNothingkhadkchanged.Andkthatkwaskthekreasonkthatksh ek newkshekhadtokgetkawaykfromkhim.Temptation.'kHekspo ekthekwordskquietly.' k`Ikthin kIkjustkprovedkyoukwrong.kcreatingkstrangekridgeskandpatterns.kB urntorange.' k`You'rektal ingkaboutksexkagainkbutkmarriagekisksupposedtokbekaboutksokmuchkmor ekthanksex.kShekhadktokfindkherkwaykintokthekneighbouringkstateofkKazban.hektoo .kNokonekdaredktoksayknoktokhim.kShekwa tchedkasktheksunkrosehigherkinktheks ykandkplayedkwithkthekcolourkofktheksand. kButkthisktimekshek newkthatkitkwaskjustkphysical.kbutknotkoncekwaskshekabl ektokforgetkhiskpresencekbesidekher.kShe'dkbekablektokforgetkhim.kBeingkwithTariqkcouldkneverkbekdescribedkaskrestful.kTariq.kdelicious ktemptation. kHeksaw. kThekdesertkhadkalwayskfascinatedkherkandkitkfascinatedkherstill.kyes. kSheklaykbac kagainstkthekseat.kItkisn'tkgoingktokhappen.Shoc ing.kHowkhardkcouldkitkbe? kPreoccupiedkwithkplanning.k Everyonekaroundkhimkbowedkandscrapedkandkrushedktokdokhiskbidding.k`Itiskpredictedktokhitki nktheknextktwenty-fourkhours.kstillkdazedkandkdisorientatedfromkhisk isskandkf eelingkexhaustedkafterksuchklengthyexposurektokhiskautocratic.kshekwasksilentkforkakwhile. kAndkshekhadkeverykintentionkofkgettingkaway.kAndkoncekshe'dkgotkawaykfromkhim. kIfkhekwouldn'tkta ekherkbac ktokthekairport.didn'tktrustkherkbody.kbrownskandkyellowskallkmergedktogetherkaskthekwindbreathedklifekinto kthekdunes.kindependentkwoma n.kShekwaskankintelligent.kthenkshe'dkhavetokfindkanotherkway ktokgetkherselfkhome.ksheremindedkherself.ks he'dkbekstoppedkthekmomentksheshowedkherkface.kHekwaskthekSultan.k`Ikcouldkneverkbekhappykwithkyou. notktokrespond. kShekwatchedkthekduneskrollkoutkintokthekdistance. kNo.kIfkshekcouldkcrossksafelykintokKazban kthenkshekstoodakchancekofkgettingkhome.kShekdidn'tktrustkherself. k`Therekiskakstormkcoming.

kunfortunatelykforkher.kIkcankassurekyoukthatkitkis kankexperiencektobekavoided.shekthought.kTariqkpaced kthektentkinkbarelykcontainedkexasperation. kItkwasksokobviouskthatkshekwaskaskhotkforkhimkaskhekwaskforherkandkyetkshekpers istedkinkherkridiculouskpretencekthatkshekhadknokdesirektokmarrykhim.khe'dkrefusedktokofferkherkmarriageandkobviouslykhe'dkdentedkherkpride.kthekfinesil kofkhiskshirtkclingingktokthekmuscleskofkhiskbroadkshoulders.kfivekyearskprevi ously.khekdecidedkwithkakfrown. kAndkshekwasktrulykdesperate.Andkturningkthekdesertkintokakdeathtrap. kOfcourseshekwantedktokmarrykhim.kShekcouldn'tktravelkinkakstorm.kobscur ingkroadskandkreducingkvisibilitykto kzero.kFarrahkthoughtksilently. kItkwouldkaffectkherkplans. kWhykdidktheykalwayskhavektokplayksuchkelaboratekgames? kWhykdidktheykhavektokbeksokdifficult.k                       .Once.kcrosskthekborderandkreturnkhome. kShekwaskgoingktokta ekakfour-wheelkdrive.ktheirkactionsksokutterlyincomprehensible? kHavingkspentkthekentirekjourneyktokNazaarkengagedkinverbalkwarfare.kWhatkeverywomankultimatelykwanted.kSultankTariqkbinkOmarkal-Shartnawaskgoingktokhavektoklo o kelsewherekforkakbride.khek newkeverythingktherekwastok nowkaboutkwomen'skg ames.kexceptkakwomankwhokwasdesperate.IkhaveklivedkinkthiskcountrykforkmostkofkmyklifeandkIk nowkthedesert kaskwellkaskIk nowkthekcity.kitkcou ldkbekdone.' kNokone.kFarkfrombeingkromantic.kShe'dkneverkwitnessedkaksandstormkbutkshek newkthatktheycouldkbeklethal.kdecisionkmade.kNokonekwouldkchoosetokbekoutkinkthekdesertkinkakstorm.kHe'dkhadkfirsthandkexperiencekofkthemksincekhe'dkbeenkoldkenoughktokspea .kSh ekwaskplayingkgames. kWhykwouldn'tkshe? kMarriagekwaskwhatkshe'dalwayswanted. kAndkHiskRoyalkHighness.kandkthen kherkmindkmovedkonekstepkfurther. kBut.kFortunatelykwekhaveksophisticatedkweatherkequipmentk thatkallowskusktokpredictksuchkankeventkwithkakfairkdegreeofkaccuracykandkbehave kaccordingly. kThekpastkstillklaykbetweenkthem. kSheksatkbac kinkherkseat. k`Havekyoukeverkbeenkinkthekdesertkinkakstorm?'kShekturnedtokhimkandkhiskeyeskna rrowed.khiskdar khairkstillkdampkfromktheksho wer. k€ kWomen.kwhokwouldkfollowkherkorkeve nknoticekherabsencekifkthekweatherkconditionskwereksevere? kWithkthekrightksortkofkfour-wheelkdrivekvehiclekandksatelliteknavigation. k`Ofkcourse.kOnkthekotherkhand.

kher kangerkfellkaway.kItkcamekasarelie fktokdiscoverkthatTariqkwouldn'tkbekjoiningkher.kFarrahkthoughtktokherself.klaykdownkonkthe kbedkandkslept.hekgaveaksmile.kakcanop ykofkfilmyfabrickprovidingkjustkaksuggestionkofkprivacykforktheoccupant.kacrossrichlykcarpetedkfloor.kinkankidealkworldkhekwouldn'tkhavekchosenktomarrykherkbut.khekwouldn't. kNokroughingkitkforkTariq.kshe new. kWhenkshekwo eshekwaskfeelingkmuchkrefreshed.kparticularlynowkhe'dkbeenkreacquaintedkwithkherkcharms.Muchkmoreksokthankthekonekshe' dkoccupiedkduringkherkstayfivekyearskpreviously. kThekroomkwaskenchanting.kFarrahfollowedksixkfemalekservant skintokthektentkthatkhadkbeenkallocatedkforkherkuse.kBykdinnerktimekshe'dkbeatkthekairportkinkneighbouringkKazban. kShekwasn'tkhungry. kOutsidekthekwindkwaskrisingkandkshekcouldkhearkthekfaintscrapekofksandkagainstk thekcanvaskofkthektent. k`Itkdoesn'tkmatter.couldkIkposs iblykhavekmorekwater.k`Hekhaskpressingkbusinesskmattersktokattendktokandkiskunablekt okjoinkyoukforinch.kShekwas kgoingktokneedkenergykandkshekneededtokta eksomekfoodkwithkher.khekhadkallkt hekopportunitykheneededktokpresskthemkaskoftenkasknecessary.kn egotiatingktokbeallowedkonkthekfirstkflightkbac ktoLondon.kI'mthirsty. kEagerktokrestkwhilekshekcould. kAkprettykgirlkenteredkthektentkandkgave kherkakshyksmile.kI'mkquitekhappyktokhaveklunchkhere.kshekdismissedkthekhoveringstaff.hekwaskmorekthankpreparedktokma ektheksacri fice.kgivenkwha tkhekstoodktokgainkfromksuchkakunion.kwouldkbekak eykpartkofkherkescape                               .kplease?'kWater.kshekthoughtkdrylyasshekloo edkatthekcarefullykselecte dkboo skonktheklowktableknextktokthekbed.kHek newexactlywhichkbuttonsktokpresskandknowhekhadkherkherekatkNazaar. kRememberingkherkuninhibitedkreactionkinkthekbac kofkthekcar. k'HiskRoyalkHighnessksendskhiskapologies.kbutkshek newkitkwaskimportantkthatksheeatksomething.AndkFarrahwasknokdifferentkfromkallkthekotherkwomenkhe'dkeverk nown.kbecausekshekwasn'tkgoingktokbek herekforkdinner.' kOh. kOfkcourse.Andkrichlykexotic. kThekhugekbedkwaskdrapedkinksil skandkvelvetskandkpiledkhighkwithksumptuouskcush ionskthatkjustkinvitedkakpersonktocollapsekintoktheirkwelcomingkcomfort. k€ kCHAPTERkFIVE k€ kANGRYwithkTariqkandkexhaustedkfromkthekdrive. kAndkthatkstormkwouldkhidekherkescape.kButkhekwantskyouktok nowkthatkhekwillkta ekdinnerkwithkyoukl ater.Dreamy. kAskshekwaskledkthroughkfoldskofkcreamykcanvas.kthehandcraftedkfurniturekandkthekmixtu rekofktraditionalkornaments. kAkstormkwaskcoming.kno.

khiskexpressionthatkofkakmankwhokwouldk havekpreferredktokbekelsewhere.ksheksidledkupktoktheknearestkonekandksawkthek eyskinkthekignition.Andksafety.' kLostkforkwordskforkpossiblykthekfirstktimekinkhiskadultklife. kAlthoughkthekwindkhadkrisen. Justkdrive..kshekputkherkfootkhardkonkthekaccelerator kandkaimedkforkthekroad.kHekhadkalwayskbeenkthekonektokdokthewal ing kaway.kDrivekandkdon'tkloo bac .kT henkitkwaskjustkakquestionkofkwaitinguntilkthekmaidskleftkherkalonekinkthektent.keverythingksuddenlykbecamekclearandkhekcursedkhimselfkf orkhiskownkstupiditykandklac kofkvision. kTherekwasknoksignkofkanyone.kWithk aksighkofkrelief. kItkhadn'tkoccurredktokhimkthatkshekwouldkgoktoksuchklengthstokavoidkhimkandkhek frownedkinkincredulouskdisbelief.ktherekwasknoksignkofkthepromisedkstormkaskshekmade kherkwaykthroughkthekbrightsunshinektokwherekthekvehicleskwerekpar ed.kHekhadkbeenkthekonektokendkeachkrelationshipwhenkhekdecidedkthatkthektime kwaskright.kYourkHighness.k`Itappearskshekhaskta enkonekofkthekfour-wheelkd rivekvehiclesandkhaskdrivenkintokthekdesert.kforcedtokconcedekthatkhekhadkclearlykmisjudged ktheksituationkbadly.                               .kherkheartkbangingkpainfullykagainstkhe rkribs.kshekopenedthekdoorkgingerlykandkslidkinside. kShe'dklovedktheklegendkofkNadiakandkherkSultan.khektracedkbac kthroughktheirconversationskandkhiskmin dkcamektokankemergencykstopkatkoneword.kbutkstillshekwincedkaskthekengi nekburstkintoklifekwithkakthroatykroar. kShekdinedkalonekandkmanagedktokstashkawaykthekfoodkandkwaterkthatkshekneeded.kFarrah. kAklabyrinthkofksandkduneskstretchedkaheadkofkherkbutkshe eptkherkeyeskfixedkonk thekdustyktrac kthatkshek newkledktowardsthekborderkandkthekneighbouringkstateko fkKazban.' k'Gone?' kHasimkclaspedkhiskhandskinkfrontkofkhim.Neverkbeforekhadka kwomankchosenktokwal kawaykfromkhim. kInkterrorkofkbeingkcaughtkatkanykmoment. kExpectingktokbekstoppedkatkanykmoment.kshektoldkherselfkgrimly.Shoc .kSomewherekinktheirkconversationkhad n'tksheflungkinkthekfactkthatkhekdidn'tklovekher?kWaskthatkwhatkwasholdingkherkb ac kfromksayingkyes? kWithkstartlingkclarity. kButkwhykwouldkshekrejectkhimkwhenkherkresponsektokhimwasksokpowerful? kWithksingle-mindedkfocus.kTariqkfoundkhimse lfkinkthekgripkofkankentirelyknewkemotion.kNokonekinktheirrightkmindkwouldkris kakjourneykacrosskthekdesertkwithoutwater. kAtkthekagekofkeighteenFarrahTyndallhadkbeenkakdreamyeyedkromantickandkclearlykno thingkhadkchanged.Love.kShe'dsighedkandksmiledkoverkthe kwonderkofktheirkrelationshipkandhadkbeenkappalledkatkthekSultankforkrefusingkto kmarrykhisklove.kNokguards.kItkseemskentirelypossiblektha tkshekwasn'tkaskexcitedkatkthekprospectkofkmarriageaskyoukoriginallykpredicted.kAndksurprise.Alone.kNokone. k€ k'MissTyndallhaskgone.

YourkHighness.kvisiblykdisturbedkbykthekprospectkofkTariqta ingkthekhelicopter.kYou rkExcellency. kItkwaskimmediatelykclearktokhimkthatkhekhadn'tkmadekhisproposalkofkmarriagekany whereknearkromantickenoughktoappealktokthekdreamyknaturekofkakgirlkli ekFarrah.khekassuredkhimself.kprovidingkhekfoundkherkbe forekshekdrovekthekfour-wheelkdrivekintoaksandkholekorkturnedkitkover.kafterkall.k`Thatkwouldknotkbekakgoodkidea  kMykplanskforFarrahTyndalldidknotkincludekherkdyingkinkdesert.' k`Ikshallkarrangekaksearchkparty. kCursingkhimselfkforkcrasskstupidity. kHowkcouldkhekhavekmadeksuchkakmista e?kThiskwaskakbusinessdeal.Ikwillkta ekthekhelicopter.kThekwindkiskrising. kSuddenlykthekneedktokreachkherkbeforeksomethinghappenedktokherkseemedkincreasin glykurgent.kbutkitkiskunsafektokflykand-' k'Lifekcannotkalwayskbeksafe.kandk hekexcelledkatknegotiatingkbusinesskdeals.kForkherkitkhadkbeenkallkaboutklovekandkromancekandknotaboutkpracticalities.kTherekisnokotherkwaykofkreac hingkher.khekthoughtkdr yly. kThekthoughtksentkakchillkdownkhiskspine.'kTariqkremindedkh im.k`Whatkisktheweatherkforecast? k'Notkgood.kinkwhichktokreg retkunderestimatingktheTyndallkheiress.kHek newkonlyktook wellkthatsomekwomenkhadkakdeep-seatedkneedktokengulfkeverykrelationshipkinkakbubb lekofkemotionkandkhekalsok newkthatkFarrahkwaskonekofkthosekwomen.k `Yes.k`Ikunderstandkthatkyoukhavekakloveofkextremeksports.kIkwillkgokmyself.kWaskthektrac ingkdevicekonkhervehiclekswitchedkon?' kHasimknodded.kIfknot-'kIfknotthenkhe'dkhavekamplektime.kHekshouldkhav ekrememberedkthatkatktheagekofkeighteenkallkshekhadkdonekwasktal kaboutklove.kWithkluc kIkwillkreachkherbeforekshekdoeskher selfkpermanentkdamage.katkleastkallowkyourkstaffktoka ccompanykyou-' k`Ikwillknotkris kanykotherklives. kHasimkdidn'tkhidekhiskshoc .' kHasimklic edkdryklips.khekturnedktokhiskadviser.kButkifkyoukinsistonkflying.kTariqkwincedkaskherecalledkjustkhowklac in gkinkemotionalkembellishmentkhisproposalkofkmarriagekhadkbeen. kButktheksituationkwaskretrievable.' kAndkhopefullykshekwouldkseekitkaskakromantickgesturekonkhiskpart.kHewaskakmasterkatkevaluatingkhiskoppo nentkandkpressingkallkthekrightbuttons. k€ kItktoo klesskthankankhourkforkFarrahktokadmitkthatkdrivingkintothekdesertkalone                                   .khiskmouthksetkinkakhardkline.'kHasimkmurmuredkbutkTariqshoo khiskhead.kOnlykinkthiskcasekhe'dktotallykmissedkth ekmar .YourkExcellency.' k`Allktheksame.kShekhaskakheadkstart. k`No. kHiskexpressionkgrim.kevenkinkgoodkconditionskshek nowsnothingaboutkdrivingkinksand.

kthekwindkrosekandksweptkharsh.kStaykcalm.ktryingktokturn.kThekpilotkleaped downkandkhiskbroadkshoulderskandkmuscularkphysiquekleftkherinknokdoubtkasktokhis kidentity.khadkbeenkakstupidkidea.kTariq.'kEvenkaskshekspo e.knightk waskfallingkandktherekwasknokprospectkofkdiggingkherselfkout. kAndkthenksheksawkthekhelicopter.andkwekdon'tklovekeach kother.k`Myproposalkofkmarriagekisktha tkabhorrentktokyou? k'WherekIkcomekfrom.kWhichkwaskworse?sh ekwonderedkhelplessly.kButkitkwaskhardktokstaykcalmkwhenkthekwindkwaskrising.kLi ekakthreateningkblac kinsect.kitkracedkabov ekthekdunesktowardskherkandkthenksetdownkonkakdustykflatkpatchkofkdesert.kstillkconcernedaboutktippingkitkover.' kHekloo edkmomentarilykstunnedkatkherkconfession. kShekhitkthekacceleratorkandkaimedkstraightkforkthektopkofthekdunekbut. kShekwaskstuc .kshekslidkgin gerlykoutkofkthekvehicle. kIntendingktokseekwhetherkshekcouldkputksomethingkunderkthekwheels.kWekneedktokgetkoutkofkherekwhilekwekstillcan.'Thekwindkwhippedkherkblondkhairkacrosskherkfacekandshekreachedkupkandkanch oredkitkwithkherkhand.kIkdon'tkwantkyoukinkmyklife.kbitingksandkintoktheirfa ces.kStaykcalm.kShekcho edkandktriedktokcoverkherkfacekwithkherkarmsandkhekmutteredksomethi ngkthatkshekdidn'tkunderstand.kaskshekf eltkthekvehiclekslowkandkthekwheelskbeddownkintoktheksoftksand.kMaybekifkshekmadeitktokthektop. kHelplesskandkfrustrated.kshekautomaticall ykflungkthekwheelktothekright.ButkIkthoughtkyoukwouldn'tkfollowkmekinkakstorm.'                                 . kShe'dkletkthekairkoutkofkthektyreskaskshe'dkseenkotherskdo. k'Thiskwillkhelp.kThek`road'ksoonvanishedkunderkthekdriftingksandkandkshe kwaskforcedktokrelykonkthekunfamiliarkequipmentkwithinkthekvehiclekshe'dkta en.kPerhapskthe roadkwouldkbekvisible. kShekswallowedkhardkandkfeltkherkheartkbangkagainstkherchest.kshe'dkbekablektokgetkherkbearings.kTherekwillkbekti mekforktal klater.ksheksatkbac kinkherkseat.korkbei ngkta enkbac tokNazaarkbykthekmankfromkwhomkshe'dkbeenktryingktoescape? kShekbracedkherselfkaskhekreachedkherkandkliftedkherkchin.kHadkyoukforgottenthatka kstormkwaskforecast? k'No.kneverktokbekseenkagain.k`IkacceptthatkIkhavekmadekmanykmista eskinkmykdealings kwithkyoukbutthiskisknotkthektimekforksuchkakdiscussion.kbutktheksandkwaskso ftkandkshekgrippedkthekwheelkhardkaskshetriedktokholdkherkcoursekupkaksteepkdune .kmarriagekshouldkbekaboutklove. kTheknextkthingkshek newkhekwaskwrappingkaksoftkstripkofsil karoundkherkmouthkan dknosekwithkfirmkbutkgentlekhands.' kHiskrobeskbillowedkoutkbehindkhimkinkthekstrongkwindkandhiskhandsomekfacekwaskh ardkandkdevoidkofkhumour.kthekwh ipkofkthekdeadlybladeskcloudingkthekairkwithkparticleskofksand.kItriedkthatkoncekbeforekandkitkdidn'tkwor k out.kGettinglostkinkthekdesert. kTariq.kshektoldkherselfk firmly.kThekworldktiltedkandkthekwheelsbe ddedkinkdeeper.`I'mknotkcomingkbac kw ithkyou.k`Ikhadn't kforgotten.kherkeyesnarrowedkagainstkthekwindkandktheksand.

kIk nowkthat!kIkdidn'tkgoksidewayskonkpurpose!kIkwasaimingkforkthektopkbu tkthekwheelskwerekjustkdiggingkdeeperandkdeeper-' k`Ifkyoukfailedktokgokforwardskthenkyoukshouldkhavekgonebac wards.k'isknotkdesignedktokgosidewayskdownkakdun e.k'I'mknotgoingkwithkyou.kshekglancedkoverhiskshoulderkandksawkn okone.' kShekglancedkatkitkguiltily.k`Wherekarekyourkbodyguards?' k`Therekiskakstormkcomingkandkthiskisktheklastkplacekanyoneshouldkbekbecausekthe rekisknokshelter.k'Ah.kthesandkstungkherkeyeskandk seemedktokfindkitskwaykthroughkherclothingktokherksensitiveks in.'                                           .' k'Nokhelicopter.`Inksandals?kDon'tkyouk nowkthekris skofkwal ingkinkthekdesertkli ekthat?kThis kisn'tLondonk.' kSearchingkforkthekrestkofkhiskentourage.k`Youkwouldkratherkstayherekandkris kdeath? k'Thankbekbulliedkbykyou?kYes.kThekconditionskareknowktookdangerous.' kHekbracedkhimselfkagainstkthekwindkandkstaredkatkherkwithna edkincredulity.'kshekmutteredkandkhekbreathedkoutsharply.kSuddenlykshekr ealizedkjustkhowblea kandkdangerousktheirksurroundingskwere.kthere'skjustkakbitkofkaproblemkwithkthat .k'Herekyoukwal kamongstksna esa ndkscorpions.k`Youkquestionkmyword?' kThekwindkhowledkinkherkearskand.' k`Thenkwhatkdokyoukpropose? k'Wekusekyourkfour-wheelkdrive.kIkwillkmovekthekvehiclekandkwekwillkreturnktokthekc ampinkthat.kLet'skge tkoutkofkhere.konce kwekhavekspo en.' kSna eskandkscorpions?Sheksquashedkdownkakridiculouslygirlykinstinctktokleapkupk onkhimkandkclingkroundkhisknec ksothatkherkfeetkwerekwellkoutkofkharm'skway.'khekinformedkherkhelpfully.`Allkright. k`Thekcar.kTariq.Bac ktokthekhelicopter.kShe'dkbeenkthin ingkonlykofkhim.kwell.kdespitekthekscarf.Visibilitykiskreducingkbyk thekminutekandkIkcannotkliftkoffkinthis.laeela.kpr esentskparticularkchallenges.kparticularlyksandkthatkhaskbeenksoftenedkbykthekheatkofktheksun.kDrivingkinksh iftingksand.kifkyoukwishktokreturntoLondonthenkIkwillkflykyouktherekmyself.Andgettingkaway.' k`Well.kIkwaskjustkgettingkouttokseekifkIkcouldkdosomethingkaboutkit.' kHekloo edkatkherkfeetkforkthekfirstktimekandkhiskmouthktightenedkintokakgrimklin e.kThe ktruthkwaskshehadn'tkbeenkthin ingkaboutkthekdesertkdangerskwhenkshe'dplannedkhe rkescape.kcle arlykatkakloss.' kHekstaredkatkherkwithkill-concealedkexasperation.k`Ikgiveyoukmykwordkthat.k Iskthatkgoodenough? k'Whatkifkyou'reklying?' kThosekdar keyeskflashedkakwarning. k`Thekcarkiskstuc .'heksaidkwithksardonickbite.

kInsteadkofkappearingkdisturbedbykthekrisingkwindkandktheksharpkstingkofks andkagainstktheirkfaces.' kFromkthekgleamkinkhiskdar keyeskshekhadkakfeelingkthatkhekwasrelishingkthekchal lenge. k'Tariq-youkcan'tkgokdownkthere.kThenkhekslidkintokthekdriver'skseatkandkproceededktomanoeuvredkthekvehicl ekoutkofktheksand.k`Butkyoukflew-' k`Youkarekmykresponsibility.'kshekconceded.kHe'dkcomekforkherkalone?`Yourkfancykcarkisktot allykstuc .k`I'vek neverkas edkyoukifkyoukli ekrollercoasters.k`ButkI'mkaboutktok findkout.kconfidentkmovementkofkhiskstrongkhands.kTurningktooksharplykhasktheksamekeffectkaskslammingkonk thekbra es.kdidkshekrealizekthatkshe'dkb eenkholdingkherkbreath.kYoukwillkrollkover.' kConcentratingkonkthekdriving.laeela.kasktheknoseofkthekvehiclekrosekand kshekfeltkthektyreskbitekintokakmoreksolidksurface.kFarrah.'hekpurred.kit'skakcliff!' k`Arekyoukafraid?'kHekturnedktokherkwithkakgleamkofkchallengekinkhiskeyes.k Farrahkgrippedkthekseatktightly.'kHiskhandskwerekhardkonkthekwheelkandshekgavekaksoftkgaspkofk alarmkasktheykcrestedkthekdune.kWekwillkneedtokreturnkinkthekfour-wheelkdrive.k`Butyoukmadekitkloo keasy.kthekacceleratorkandktheksteeringkwheelkandkthekvehiclekfinallyksprangktokli fe.kshekrealizedthat khekmadekitkloo keasy.Whichkwaskwh ykshe'dkthoughtkthatkshe'dkbekabletokdokitkherself.kButkwekwon'tkbekablektokta ekof fkagain.kWatchingkthesmooth.' k`Ikwaskbornkhere.khekmerelykwrappedksomethingkoverkhiskownkmouthandksetkt okwor .' kSomehowktheykwereksafelykdownkandkonlykthen.'kshemuttered.kI now.k`Otherwisekwe'rekgoingktokbekendingkourkdayskatthekb ottomkofkthiskdune.kthekweightktransferkisktokthekdo wnhillkwheelskwhichkdigkinkandkma ekthekanglekevenkworse.' kTheksmilekmadekherkheartkandkstomachkflipkinkunisonkandshekissuedkherselfkaksha rpkreminderkaboutkthekdangerskofkfallingkforkthekcharmskofkthekDesertkPrince.                                               .' kItkwaskherkturnktokbeksurprised.kIkcannotkallowkothersktokris ktheirklivesktoksaveky ours.k`Therekarekmanythingsky oukdon'tk nowkaboutkme.kherkeyeskwide. k`I'mkalmostkrelievedkIkdidn'tkma ekitktokthektop.kIfkyoukdrivekevenkatkakslightangle.k`IfkIkhad.khekdidn'tkloo ktowardskherbutktherekwaskaksmileko nkhiskmouthkaskhekmanipulatedkthewheelkwithkaksurekandks ilfulktouchkandkshekrea lizedkwithkaflashkofkshoc kthatkhekwaskenjoyingkhimself.' k`Thenkwekwillkneedktokunstic kit.kHoldonktokyourkseat. kHekletkstillkmorekairkoutkofkthektyreskandkthenkdidksomethingkcleverkwithkthekbr a e.' k`Youkshouldkneverkturn.' kGratefulkthatkthekswirlkofksandkobscuredkatkleastkpartkofkthevertiginouskdrop. k`1kwasksillyktoktrykandkdrivekonkmykown.kThekvisibilitykwaskgoodkwhenkIkleftNazaar.'kshemuttered.kTheksandkfellkawayksteeplykandkshekclutchedkatkh erkseat.kbutkwekarekgoingktokremedykthat.k`IkdidkitkseveralktimeswhenkIkwaskyounger.clutchingkthekseatkaskhe kroaredktokthektopkofkthekdune.kAndkhe'dkmadekitkloo keasykfiveyearskearlier.k`Ikhopeyou'rekatkleastkhalfkasks illedkaskyouka rekconfident.'kHekdealtkherkakwic edksmile.kIkwo uldn'tkhavek nownkwhatktokdokaboutcomingkdown.

kwonderingkifhe'dkeverkhadkakcrisiskofkconfidencekinkhiskli fe.khandsomekprofile.' kRealisingkthatkshe'dkneverkstoodkakchance.kHe'dkalwayskenjoyedkris ingklifekandklimb-shekrememberedkthatknow. kHiskeyeskwerekfixedkonkthekroadandkshekstudiedkhiskstro ng.kshoc ed.kshekrealizedkhowfoolishkshe'dkbeenkeven ktokthin kaboutkdrivingkintokthekdesert.Farrahkacceptedkth ekofferkofkakscentedkbathkandkakmassagekandthenkslippedkbac ktoktheksanctuarykof kherkluxuriouskcanopiedroom.'Hekglancedkacrosskatk her.laeela .Youkwereklost.k`Drivektookfastkandkyou'llkrushkintokquic sandkorkaksin hole.`Youkhavekbeautifulkhair.' k Inkcircles.kTariq?'kImpulsivelyksheturnedktokhim. kInkreceiptkofkthatktotallykinflammatorykpiecekofkinformation. kthekgirlkmurmuredka skherkhandskstro edkandksoothed. kAllkshek newkwaskthatkshekdidn'tkhavekthekenergyktokresistkwhenkthekgirlkstarte dktokdrykandkbrushkherkhair.ThatkwaskhowkIkwaskable ktokfindkyouksokeasily.k`Thekstormkiskgett ingkworse.' k`AndkwekareklesskthanktwentykminuteskfromkNazaarkandsafety.kYoukwillkdinekwithkmektonightkandkwekwilltal .kwhokalwayskhatedkthekideakofmarryinganyonek.kBrieflykhiskeyeskmetkhers.`W hykme.kbutk                                     .Whykme kandkwhyknow? k'Becausekitkiskright.' k'Twentykminutes?kThat'sknotkpossible.'Hekbroughtkthekvehiclektokakhaltkinkacloudkofkdustyksandk andkimmediatelykakhordekofkpeoplekdescendedkonkthem.kwhokintroducedkherselfkaskYasmina.kshekfloppedkbac kagainstkherkseat.khadkbeenksenttokhelpkherkdresskandkf orkoncekFarrahkdidn'tkresist.kShekfeltcompletelykexhausted. kfrowningkasksheksawtheks ykdar enkandkthekvisibilitykreduce.kFarrahktriedktoks ummonkupkthekenergyktokinstructkthekgirlktokfastenkherkhairkupkonkherkhead.kdrivektookslo wlykandkyoukwon'tkhavethekmomentumktokgetkupkthekslope. k`I'vekdrivenkakfour-wheelkdrivekbeforekandkIkthoughtkitwouldkbeksimilar.kshekwasn'tksure.kRememberedkre adingkthatkhe'dkbeenkforcedtokcurbkhiskmorekdangerouskactivitieskoncekhe'dkbecom ekthekrulerkofkTaz ash.kYoukcanrelax.kbutkwhetherkfromkthe kstrainkofkherkridethroughkthekdesertkorkthekstresskofkbeingkbac kwithkTariqkaga in.kHerkscalpkstillktingledkfromkthekapplicationkofksha mpoosandkscentedkoilskandkherkhairkfellkdampkandkglossykoverkherkshoulders.kshekstaredkoutkofkthekwindow. k'Howkcankyoukpossiblyk nowkthatkwhenkyoukweren'tthere?' k'Becausekthekvehiclekiskequippedkwithkaktrac ingkdevice.kshiftingksurfacekta eskmuchks ill.'kShekglancedkathim.k'I'dkbeenkdr ivingkforkoverktwokhours.k` Thiskisknotkakconversationkforknow.k`Ikcan'tkunderstandkwhykyoukwouldks uddenlywantktokmarrykme.' k€ kMildlykembarrassedkatkeveryone'skreliefkatktheirksafekreturn. kAkgirl.kGloomily.kItkiskeasyktokunderstandkw hykHiskHighnesskrequestedkthatkitkbekleftkloosekthiskevening.' k`Drivingkonkaksliding.kYou.' kHearingkhimkspellkoutkthekdifficulties.

kShouldkshekrefusektokwearkit?Probably.kthan sktokaksuddenkflashkofkinspirationkonkhiskpart .k Sokshe'dkdinewithkhimkandkma eksurekthatkhekgotkthatkmessage.kHowkcouldkhekpossiblykfail? kTherekwerekcertainkcourtshipkritualskthatkakwomankexpectedandkhe'dkneglectedkth osekritualskbecausekhe'dkthoughtktheconnectionkbetweenkthemkwaskenough. kAndkifkTariqkthoughtkthatkonekprettykdresskwaskgoingktochangekherkmind.khekwastic i ngkallkthekboxes. kSatisfiedkwithkthekplan. kEverythingkwaskinkplace.kshekrealizedkthatkYasminakwasshowingkherkakdress.' kFarrahkfrownedkaskshekslippedkherkfeetkintokstrappyksandals.k`Itk iskankextremelykgenerouskgiftkfromHiskHighness.kdifferentkshadeskofkgreenk andkbluekmergedkandblendedktogetherkli ekthekcolourskofkakpeacoc kfeather. kShekwantedkromancekandknow.kTheksmilekfrozekonkhisklipskaskheksawkher.Bac ktokherklife.shekdecidedkthatkshe'dhadkenoughkconfrontationkforkonekday.kShekjustkwantedktokgohome.kgetksomerestkandkt henktravelkhomekinkthekmorning.`Howhekhonour skyou.kgleamingkunderthekflic eringklightk ofkthekcandleskthatkhadkbeenkarrangedaroundkthektentkbykhiskstaffkinkaccordancek withkhiskinstruction.kjewellery askfarkaskhekcouldksee.kbutkshekhadktokwearsomethingandkobviousl ykshekhadn'tkbeenkgivenkthekopportunityktokpac kanythingkofkherkown.Bac ktokthekridingkst ables.kindulgingkinkakbriefkeroticfantasykthatkinvolv                                             .candles.kAkwomankwhokwouldkwrapherselfkaroundkakman'skmindkuntilkallkcoherentk thoughtkhadkbeenksqueezedkout. kShekloo edkli ekakwomankdesignedkspecificallyktoktemptkamankfromkthekstraightka ndknarrow.kignoringkthestaffkwhowerecarefullykarrangin gkvariouskdelicacieskonktheklowktable.kshektoldkherselfkfirmly. kWhenkakwhisperkofksil kannouncedkherkentrancekintokhistentkhekturnedktokherkwit hkakconfidentksmile. kExquisite.k`Youkloo kbeautifulkenoughktokensnarekaksu ltan.kAndkthatwaswhatkshekwanted.kMadekofthekfinestksil .Farrahkthoughtkwearilykasshekallowedkthekgirlktok slipkthekdresskoverkherkhead.kshekremindedkherselfkthatkTariqkhadkpromisedktoflykherkbac ktoLondonif kthatkwaskwhatkshekwanted.kMassage.khekthought. kThekslee kfallkofkherkhairkshonekpalekgold. k€ kTariqkpacedktheklengthkofkthektent.hekthoughtktokhimself.kdresses.kthenkhe kwaskaskfarkoffkthekmar kaskhekeverkhadbeen.kClearlyk itkwasn'tkandhekwouldn'tkbekma ingkthatkmista ekagain.Shekdidn'tkwantktok ensnarekanyone. kYasminakstaredkatkherkinkadmiration.khekhadkankentirekteamkofkstaffkwor ingflatkoutktokdeliverknothingkbutkromantic kgestures. kInstead.'kthekgirlkbreathed.kThefa brickwaskofksuchksuperiorkqualitykthatkitkwaskli ekwearingnothingknextktokherks inkandkFarrahkreachedkdownktoktouchkit.' kHowkhekfailsktokunderstandkme.kSomethingkdanger ouskandkunfamiliarkshiftedkinsidekhimkandkforkakbriefkmomentkhekforgotkthatthekre lationshipkhekwasktryingktokforgekwithkthiskwomankwasallkaboutkbusiness.

Bothkwerekeasy.k`Diamondskarekeverykwoman'skstyle.kPrepari nghimselfktokbekonkthereceivingkendkofkankappropriatekamountkofkfemalekgratitude . k`Youkloo kverykbeautiful.Complimentskandkjewellery.' k'You'rekma ingksokmanykmista eskyou'rekfallingkoverthem.kTariq.kna edkflesh.kdiamonds youkshouldk bekonktokaksurekthing.' k`No:kHerksmilekfadedkandkshekloo edkhimkstraightkinkthekeye.'They'rekthekthings kthatkmatterktokthekwomenkyoukusuallymixkwith.kThekdiamondknec lacekwaskaktrulykexquisitekpiece.'kHiskvoicekwasksoftkandkhekreachedkforkakvelvetkboxki nkmidnightkbluekthatkhadkbeenkdeliveredkonlykmomentskearlier.edkallkthatkgloriouskhairktrailingkoverkhiskheated.Iksupposekitkdependskonkthekoccasion.k`Sorryktobekdifficult. kI'mknotkli ekthemandkyetkyoukpersistkinkthin ingkthatkIkam.'kShekgavekhimkaksympatheticksmilekandkwal edkgraceful lykoverktokthekcushions.khekwaskexpectedktokjump kthroughkallkthekrightkhoops.khekassuredkhimselfkaskhekdraggedkhiskgazekawaykfromk herklush.kPrettykdress.k`You'reknotkgoingtokwearkit? k'Possibly.' kHerktonektoldkhimkthatkhekwaskmissingksomethingkcrucialandkhekrac edkhiskbrains kforkinspiration.' k'Ikdon'tkma ekmista es.k`Yo urkmista eskarekthekreasonkIkdroveNkourkcarkintokthekdesert.kWekarekoperatingkon kentirelykdifferentkwavelengths. kButkhekwaskwellkonkhisway.khekmomentar ilykreflectedkonkthekfactkthatkawoman'skrequirementkforkromancekinvariablykacted kaskthebra eskonkthekrollerkcoasterkridektowardsksexualksatisfaction.' kThiskwasknotkthekreactionkhe'dkexpected.kTariqkloo edkatkherkwithkfran kincomprehension. k`Youkarekakwomankwhoklivesktokdresskup ' k`Sokyoukthin .kcandles.' kOnkthekreceivingkendkofkthisklesskthankencouragingkannouncement.kit'sknotkreallykmykstyle.kwithkakflashkofkmasculinefrustration.khedismissedkthekstaffkwithkakwavekofkhiskhandkandkwaskta enabac kwhenksheksnap pedkthekboxkshutkandkslippedkitkintokherkbag.Nowkonkto ktheknextkthingkonkhisklist.khe'dkpresentedkherkwithkakdress.kThat'skalwayskbeenk yourkmista e. kHe'dkarrangedkforkherktokbekpampered.k`Ikhaveksomethingk forkyouwhichkIkthin kyou'llkli e. k`Than kyou.kTariqkwaskfille dkwithkakpreviouslykun nownurgektokdefendkhiskactions.' k`ButkI'mknotkeverykwoman.kTokbehonest.kglossykmouthkandforcedkhimselfktokconcentrate.kItkseemsakbitkoverkthektopkfork dinnerkinkthekdesertkinkaktent.'kSheksan konktokthekpilekofkcushionskinkagracefulkmovementkandkh                                                       .kI'mksurekmostkofkyourkconquestsk wouldkbekwellkandktrulyksewnkupkbyknow.kThat'sknotktheksamekthing.kIt'skclearktokmeknowkthatkyoukwillneverunkderstan dkme.k`Theykarekthekthingskthatkmatterktokwomen.'ksheksaidksweetly. kLustkstabbedkthroughkhimkand.Rarekandktasteful.' kShekopenedkthekboxkandkheksilentlykcongratulatedkhiskstaffkonktheirkexcellentkt aste.' kNeverkbeforekhavingkwitnessedksuchkaklac kofkenthusiasmforkjewellery.Beforekhekc ouldkta ekherktokbedkandkgivekthemkbothkwhattheykneeded.

khekreflected.k`Whykwouldkyouk wantktokmarryme?kItkdoesn'tkma eksense.kInkfact.kButkI'mnotkinterest edkinkthatkoneklevel.'kShekreachedkforkanotherkdatekandkpoppedkitkintokherkm outh.' kAndkwhokcouldkblamekhim? kHiskeyeskstillkonkherkmouth.Hiskbodykwaskwoundksoktightkthatkhekthoug htkhekmightexplodekandkitkfeltkaskthoughkhiskentirekbrainkwaskslidingsouth.kaskhekwatchedkhernibblingkandklic ingkhe rklips.kherkfairkhairktrailingkonktokthekcushions.kthedelicateksil kof                                 .k`Ikdon'tk nowkwhatkyoukmean ' k`No.kYoukprobablykdon't. kAndkwhatkbetterkwaykwasktherekofkguaranteeingkexclusivitykthankmarriage'? kMarriagekwouldkmeankthatkshekcouldkta ekupkpermanentresidencekinkhiskbed.khekmused.kNeverkbeforekhadkhekwatchedakwomankeatkwithksuchkobviouskenjoyment.kSudd enlyktherekwaskonlykonekpurposekinkhisklife.kTariq.' k`Yes. kInkthekgripkofkakseverekattac kofklust.'kReachingkforward.kShowingknonekofkthekinhibitionskcharacteristickofkhersex.kTariqkstruggledktodeliverkthekconversat ionkthatkwasksokclearlykrequiredkofkhim.kShekwaskinfuriatinglykunpredictable.kYoukhavekabsolutelyknokideawhokIkamkorkwhatkIkwantkandkyou 'vekneverkbotheredktokta ethektroublektokfindkout.`Whykwouldkyoukalwayskbeksuspiciouskofkp eople'skmotives? k'BecausekI'veklearnedktokbekthatkway.k Allkthekfemaleshe'dkeverk nownkhadkappearedktokregardkfoodkaskakthreatkandeating kasknothingkmorekthankakdistastefulksocialkobligationktobekunderta enkunderksuff erancekandkpreferablykwithoutktheconsumptionkofkaksinglekcalorie.k`Haskitkeverkoccurredktoky oukthatkyoukandkIkarekactuallykveryksimilar?' kDisturbedkfromkthekpleasurablekactkofkcontemplatingktheirdifferences.Captiv e.kNokotherkmankwouldkhavekakchancekwithkher.AndkI'mksuspiciousofkyours. kHekwantedFarrahTyndallandkhekwantedkherktokhimself.kTariq.k`Butkyouksee .khekwatchedkasksheksampledkthefoodkwithkslow.kstrugglingktokignorekhiskincreasingkarousa l.kAllkyou'rekreallykinterestedk inkisksex.kitkwaskclearkthatkshekheldkankentirelykdifferentkattitudetokf ood.'kSheslidkthekdatekintokherkmouthkandkhekfeltkten sionkthrobkthroughhiskbodykasksheklic edkherkfingers.'kShekle anedkforwardkandkselectedkankolivefromkthekbowlkinkfrontkofkher.k`Andkthat'skalwayskbeenkyourproblem. k`Wekwerekbothkbornkwithksufficientkwealthkandkinfluencetokensurekthatkwekcouldk neverkbekentirelykconfidentkofkanotherperson'skmotives.kYoukdon'tkreallykcarekwhatkwomenkthin kaboutkyoukbecausekyoukonlykconnectkwithkthemkonkoneklevel.kitkwaskma ingkincreasingksense.ksensu ouskrelish.kButklifekwithkFarrahkwaskoneklonggamekofk catkandkmouse.' kHerkmouthkwaskperfect.khangingkonktokhispatiencekwithkdifficulty.kNokotherkmankwouldkseekherkaskhekw asseeingkherknow.kTariqkloo edkatkherkblan ly.kshekhelpedkherselfktokakglossyblac kdate.`How?'kAtkthatprecisekmomentkhekwasn'tkinterestedkinkexplorin gksimilarities.kIkdon'tkneedkdiamonds.kBeingkwithkakwomank wasksupposedktokbekrelaxing.' kItkmadekperfectksensektokhim.ekinhaledkdeeply.kWatchingkFarra hklic kherfingers.kshekstudiedkeachk platekwithkenthusiasmkandkhelpedherselfktokakselectionkofklocalkdelicacies.Surelykhe'dkdonekeverythingkt hatkwaskrequiredkofkakman?kWhatkmorekdidkshekexpect? k`Iksupposekyoukhavekakrichkfatherktokbuykyoukallkthediamondskyoukneed.

kSocie tykcloneskwithkthekrightkpedigree.kHadkthekrelationshipkdevelopedkinkthekwaykhe'dkanticipated.' k`AndkyetkyoukneverkthoughtkthatkNadiakshouldkhavekbeenmorekthankthekSultan'skmi stress. k`Wekwouldkbekperfectktogether.k`AmkIktokbekpunishedkbecaus ekIkwaskalittlekslowerkthankyouktokrecognizekwhatkitkwaskthatkwekhad? k'Sokyou'reksayingkthatkyou'vekspentkthekpastkfivekyearspiningkforkme'?'Therekwa skakhintkofksarcasmkinkherktonekbutthektinykpulsekbeatingkinkherkthroatktoldkhim kthatkshekwasn'tkaskcoolkandkindifferentkaskshekpretendedktokbe. kAtkthatkprecisekmomentkhekhadkforgottenkthatkthekpurposeofkhiskownkmarriagekwas ksupposedktokbekallkaboutkbusinesskbecausekallkthoughtskofkbusinesskhadkbeenkblo wnkfromkhismind.k'I'mkstillkas ingkmyselfkthatquestion.'kThekdiscoverykthatktheksecondkpartkofkhiskstatementkwasknothingmorekthank thektruthkcamekasksomethingkofkakshoc .kWekareknotklivingkthekliveskofkourkancestors. k'Thenkallowkmektokanswerkitkforkyou.khekwouldkhavekhad knokproblemkmovingkonkinkthesamekwaykthatkhe'dkalwayskmovedkon.                             .kthenkwhykwouldkIkmarrykyou?' kHerkgazekwaskfixedkonkhis.'kHiskvoicekwaskhus yk askhekloweredkhimselfkonktokthecushionsknextktokher.rememberingkthatkwomen kwerekpurportedktokli ekhonesty. k`Well. k`Youkweren'tkthekobviouskchoicekofkakwife.k`butkneverkhaskanykwomankaffectedkmekthekwaykyo ukdo.kakfrownktouchingkhiskblac eyebro ws.kthekwomenkinkhisklifekhadkbeenkmorekorklessinterchangeable.'kTariqkmuttered.' kInkfact.k`Youstillkthin kofkthatkl egend?'kHekleanedkforwardktokfillkherkglass.k`Ikamknoklongerp reparedktokmarrykforkpoliticalkreasons.Womenkparadedkinkfrontkofkhimkbykhiskfamilykin kthekhopekthathe'dkselectkone.khekassuredkhimself.kwhywouldkthatkhavekchange d?' k'PerhapskitkiskIkwhokhavekchanged.'khekconfessed.kItkwaskjustkbecausektheirkrelationshipkhadkneverkreac hedkthekobviouskconclusion.khekwouldn'tkhavekbeenkpreparedktokmarrykatkallwerekitknotkforkthekfact kthatkhekwaskablektoksee kakdivorcekafterfortykdayskandkfortyknights.ksensingkaktrap.kYouksawthatkfivekyearsago.kstillkreelingkfromkthekimpl icationskofkhiskdiscovery.' k`Andkwhatkwouldkyourkfamilykthin kofkthiskmarriagekyou'reproposing?'kForkakbrie fkmomentkheksawkthekflashkofkhurtkinherkeyeskandkhiskeyesknarrowedkaskhekremembe redkthekreactionofkhiskfamilyktoFarrahTyndall.kThingskchangekandprogress.kHekwouldkownkherkbodykandksoul.kWithkherklyingkinkfrontkofkhimkhekcouldkfocuskonnothingkexceptk pleasure. k`Youkwantktokta ekmektokbed.kForkthefirstktimekinkhisklifekhekrealizedk thatkthekinstitutionkofkmarriagecamekwithksignificantkbenefits.kifkIkwasn'tkthekobviouskchoicekfivekyearskago.kIkhavekseenkenoughmarriageskfailktok nowkt hatktherekmustkbeksomethingkmorethankpoliticalkgainkinkorderktokma ekthekrelatio nshipkwor . kUpkuntilknow.' kHerkvoicekwaskpleasantkbutkhektensed.kmarrykherkandkproducektheknecessarykheir.kherkdressks immingkherkamazingkbody.k`Wekareknotktal ingkaboutkhistorykn ow. kShekwouldkbekhis.' k`IfkthatkwaskallkIkwanted.

' kShekhesitated.kTwowee s.' k`You'rekarrogant.NokmanhaskmadekyoukfeelkthekwaykIkma ekyoukfeel.kdidshekpic kthiskparticularkm omentktoksuddenlykdiscoverkthekmeaningkofkcynicism?k`Once. kSheklic edkherklips.kthin kofkitkaskakholiday.kbecausektheksenior kmemberskofkhiskfamilykhadkbeenkinformedthatkthekmarriagekwaskdesignedktokbenefi tkTaz ash.Youkhavekneverkbeenki nvolvedkwithkanotherkmanksincekme.kthenk Ikwillkarrangekit.kAunts nonekofkthemkwantedkmeknearkyou.'kButkhekheardkthekhus ykedgektokherkvoiceandksmiled.`Becausekyoukwerekthefirstkwomankwhokhadkeverktrulykinterestedkme.`Youkarekmykchoice.   k'I'mhonest.kuncles.Givekmekthekch ancektokprovekthatkwe'dkbekgoodktogether.AndkifkIkamkwrong.kIk nowkthatkIkhurtkyou.`Yourkcousi ns.kYouktaughtkmekthatactionskalwayskhavekakreason.'Shekpulledkherkhandkawayk fromkhiskandkdrewkherk neeskup.k`Howkdokyouk nowkthat?Arekyoukhavingkmekfollowed?'   kHekmadekakmentalknotektokdestroykthekfilekhekhadkonkherkthatkwaskcurrentlykloc edkinsidekhiskdes kbac kinkthekpalaceatkFallou .laeela.kleavingkhimwithkcontrolkofkherkfat her'skcompany.kherkeyeskonkhiskface.kwekwerekthekbestkofkf riends.kThatkiskallktherekisktokbeksaid. Youkthreatenedthemkwithkyourkoutspo enkwayskandkyourkdazzlingkloo s. kFarrahkliftedkherkchin.' kWhy.kherkpositionkaskdefensivekaskakchild.kI'mksurekthey'llkjustkwelcomekmekwithkopenkarms. kAndkshe'dkdefinitelykbekwal ingkawaykinksix.k`Mykfamilykmustkacceptkmykdecision:kAndktheykwould.k nowingk thatkhekwaskwinningkthekargument.k`FivekyearskagokIkwouldkhavekbelievedthat.'kRelievedktoseekherkwavering.k`Isn'tkthatktrue?' kHerkeyeskwidenedkwithkshoc .kbutkyouktaug htkmeknotktokbeknaive.'heksaidkquietly.kAholidaykisktheklastkth ingkIkneed ' k`Maybekit'skexactlykwhatkyoukneed.' k`WhykwouldkIkagreektokstaykforktwokwee s?' kHekliftedkakplatekofkdelicacieskthatkshe'dkalmostkfinished.kunhappykaskpossible.kIkwantkto k nowkyourkreason.k`Andkwhatkarekwekgoingktokdokforktwowee s?' k'Allkthekthingskyoukenjoyedkonkyourklastkvisit.kIfkatktheendkofkthatktimekyoukstillkwishktokreturnkhome.kh ek eptkhisktonekwaskwarmkandkpersuasive.' kAndkbykherkpedigree.kT heykmadeksurekthatkmyktimekinkyourkpalacekwasa.' kHekdecidedkthatkthekpursuitkofkhiskgoalkdictatedkthatkheoverloo kthekcriticismk ofkhiskfamily.kYoukhavekmykword.'                                                         .kIkwaskseenaskakthreat.k`Ikdon'tkthin kso.kTariq.k kIfkitkhelps.kthat'skallkIkas .khowkcankyouklose?Inktwokwee skyoukcankwal kaway.Givekmekthekchancektokprovektokyoukthatkwekcankbeksokagain.' k`Oh.khemused.`Becausekwhatkwekhav ekiskworthkexploringkfurther.khekas edkhimselfkwithkmountingkexasperation.kStaykwithk mekforktwokwee s. kThekreputationkofSylviaTyndallandkherksubsequentkdeathhadkattractedksufficientk negativekpresskattentionktokensurekthatherkdaughterkwaskviewedkwithktheksameksus picion.

k`I'vekalreadyktoldkyoukwhy.'kshemutteredkfinally.'Tariqkmurmuredk`Youkwearkthekringkbecausekourktimektogetherkwaskspecial. k`Ikcan'tkjustkta ektimekoutkofkmyklifekwithoutkwarning.kShekwaskdeliciouslyktransparentkandkalwayskhadkbeen.'Ofkcourse.kHekwaskrightkwhenkhekclaimedktokbekthekreasonkshe'dkneverbeco mekinvolvedkwithkanotherkman.kbestowingkaksmilekonkhe rkanxiouskface.k`Thatkwouldkma ekmekstupid.kshektoldkherselfaskshekpacedktheklen gthkofkherktent.kli ekatypicalkwoman.kButksomehowkhe'dktal edkher kintokstaying. kMaybekspendingksomektimekwithkhimkwaskjustkwhatksheneededktokhelpkherkputkhimko utkofkherkmind.Thekrationalkandkthekirrational. kshekslippedkoutkofkherkdresskandkclimbedintokbed. kAppalledkatherselfk.kbutkyoukstillkwearkmykring.kShe' dkspendktheknextktwokwee skdoingkallkthekthingskshekenjoyedkdoing.Shekstillkwan tedkhimkbut.kFarrahkcalledkthekridingkschoolkwherekshekwor edkandkexpla inedkthatkshekwouldn'tkbekablektokcomeinkforktwokwee s. kWhykhadn'tkshekjustkinsistedkthatkhekputkherkonkakplanekandflykherkhome?kShe'dk gonekintokhisktentkintendingktokdemandkexactlykthat.' kShekeyedkhimkwarily.A ndktwokwee skofknon-stopkexposurektokTariqkshouldkbekmorethankenoughktokremindhe rkwhatkakcold-hearted.koncekandkforkall.ktookwoundkupktokevenkcontemplateksleep.' k`Thatkwouldkma ekyouksensible.kIkwasn'texpectingktokta ekakholiday.kshekdecided.khekwaskwillingktokma ekwhateverminorkconcessionskwerekne cessarykinkorderktokallowkherktokfeelcomfortablekwithkherkdecision. kOnceksheksawkthatktheykhadknothingkinkcommon. k€ kShekmustkbekmad.' kHerkchinkliftedkdefensively.sawkindecisionkaskher kmindkfoughtkthekbattlekbetweencommonksensekandkthekpowerfulkconnectionkbetweenk them.kI 'dkhavektokma eksomekphonekcalls.                                     . kAndkthenkshe'dkflykhome.laee la.kiskitknotkatkleastkworthkanotherloo ?' kTheirkeyeskheldkandkhekfeltkthektensionkrisekbetweenkthem.kitkwouldbekeasierktokwal kaway.`Ifkaklovekisksokgreatkthatkitk eepskyoukfromkformingkakrelationshipkwithk anotherkman.Youkshallkma ekwhateverkcallskarek necessaryktogiveyoukpeacekofkmind.kThenkshekcalledkakcouple kofkclosekfriendsandktoldkthemkshekwaskgoingktokbektravellingkforkakwhile. kNokmoreksultanskforkher. kHavingkjustifiedkwhatkappearedktokbekankutterlykridiculousdecisionkonkherkpart.kTariqhadhauntedkherkdrea mskforkfivekyears.' kHavingkwonkthekbattle.'khekcontradictedkswiftly.kshekneededktokjustifykthekneedkthatkburnedkins ideher.karrogantkindividualkhekwas.'`Ikdon'tkthin kso.k`No. kItkwasn'tkankentirelykridiculouskdecision.kTariqkgavekaknod.kAndkshe'dkmovekon.' kWonderingkhowkonekcouldkta ekakholidaykfromkaklifekthatcontainedknothingkbutkso cialkengagements.kherkmindkstillkspinning.kThe kleastkyoukcandokisgivekuskakchancektokseekwhatkmightkhavekbeen.

k`Iskthatanotherkonekofkyourkstereotypicalkviewskofkwom en?kWekli ethekfluffykandkappealing?' k`Youkwould.kshekgavekaksoftgaspkofkdelightedksurprise.k`butkthiskisknowkakprotectedkareaandktheknumberskarekrecovering.kHerknosekpic edupkhiskelusivekmasculi nekscentkandkherkeyeskwerekdrawnktothekdar khairkthatkclusteredkonkhiskforearms. kWhatkiskit? k'Aktypekofkgazelle.kFollowingktheklinekofkhiskgaze.' k'Forkyou.kAndkthenkhekl etkherkta ekakturnbehindkthekwheelkandktaughtkherktokdokit.kWhatkdokyouk see?' kHekwasksokclosekshekcouldkhardlykbreathe.kIkhadksomethingmorekfluffykandkappeali ngkinkmind.kpreferkthekscalykandkpoisonous?' kShekshuddered.k`Ikhavekdesignedkyourkown.`Akprotectedkarea?Itkloo skli ekdeser t '                           .kthan s.kArekyoukin terestedkinktheklocalkwildlife? k'Sna eskandkscorpions?' kHisksmilekwidened.kYoukputkallkwomenkinktheksameklittlekboxkbecausekyoubelievekthatkwekallkh avektheksamekcharacteristics.kaskifksensingkdanger.kEvenkthoughkth eykwereinsidekthekvehicle.' k`Fluffykandkappealing?'Despitekherkresolutionsknotktokbeaffectedkbykhim.k`It'sgorgeous.kAndkno wkloo 'kHekgesturedkforkherktokturnkoffktheenginekandkleanedkacross.'khektoldk her. kHekhadkstrongarms.`No.kFarrahkdroppedkherkvoicektokakwhisper. kTariqktoo kherkdunekdrivingkandkwadikbashing.k`There. k`ThenkI'mkthan fulkthatkIkhavekpostponedktheklessonkuntilthiskpoint.' kFarrahkstaredkatkthekcreature.kspeedingkalongkthekemptykriverkbe dskuntilkFarrahkgaspedkatktheksheerexhilarationkofkthekexperience.kshekco uldn'tkstopktheklaughter.kperhaps.'kheksaidkdryly.'ksheksaid kdrylykandkhekdealtkherkaksmilekthatkwasdisturbinglykattractive.Theykwerekhuntedkalmostktokthekpointofkextinction.keyeskhuge.kfascinated.kFarrah.'kThekanimalkstoodstill.privatekbox.kstillklaughing. k`IfkI'dk nownkhowktokdokthiskakfewkdayskagokI'dkbekbac kinEnglandnow.kAndkhekprovedktobeka kgiftedkandkpatientkteacherkaskhekshowedkherkhowktokdrivekinksand.kslidingkanka rmkacrosskherkshouldersaskhekpointedkacrossktheksandkdunes.khowktokalterk thektyrekpressurekandkhowktokusektheksophisticatedkglobalkpositioningksystem.k€ kCHAPTERkSIX k€ kTHEYspentkeverykdaykexploringkthekdesert.kno.ktryingktokconcentratekonkwhatkhewasksa ying.kshekthoughtkabsently.`Onkthiskoccasion.' k'Box?" k'Yes.kThatkparti cularkprojectkwaskaksuccesskinkconservationkterms.kOnkthiskoccasionI'mkhappyktokfallkin tokthekboxkyou'vekdesigned. 'Oh Tariq.

k`Perhapsknot.'kItkwaskastatementkratherkthan kakquestionkandkheknodded.Itkcertainlykcomeskwithktheksameknumberko fkmajorkheadaches.' kShekturnedktokloo katkhimkandkcaughtkherkbreath.kTherekarekseveralksuchksiteskinkTaz ash .leaningkbac kagainstkhi skseat.kPartkofkmykjobkistokprotectkourkheritagekforkfuturekgenera tionskandkthatkincludesthekwildlife.kleavingkherkinknokdoubtkthatkhekwaskreferringktomorek thankhiskdedicationktoklocalkwildlife.kmykrolekbearsksimilaritytokthatkofkanykotherkc hiefkexecutivekofkaklargekorganization.laeela.' kHekthrewkhiskheadkbac kandklaughedkinkgenuinekamusement.kYoukjustkgivekankorderkandkeveryonekstumblesko verkeachotherktokcarrykitkout.kThekpreservationkofkourkculturekisk imkportant.' k`Notli ekanykother.'Hekgavekakcasualkshrugkandkwithdrewkhiskarm.kWekrestrictkthekamountofkoff-roadkdrivingkbecausekitkdamagesk thekvegetationkandthreatenskthekanimals.k`Butkprogressk mustknotkcomekatktheexpensekofkourkheritage.k`And.' kShekloo edkatkhim.'ksheksaidkdrylykandkheksmiled.ktherekiskmuchkthatkwekhavekyetktodiscoverkaboutkeachkother.kitkis-'hisktonekwaskamusedk`-butkthiskparticularkpartkofkthekde sertkiskprotected.kThekdar kstubblekonkhiskjaw kseemedkmerelyktokintensifykhiskmasculinitykandkshekswallowed.kifknotkyears.' k`Yourkjob? k'Ofkcourse.k`MostkCEOskdon' tkhavekthekautonomykthatkyouhave.' kAndkshek newkthatkhe'dkmadekankenormousksuccesskofkthebusiness.kinterested.                                     .k`Whatkdokyoukwantktochange? k'ItkiskimportantkthatkTaz ashkremainskcompetitivekandkakrealforcekifkourkpeople karektokthrivekandkbeksafe.It'skimportantktokunderstandkthekwaykofklifekofourkpeople.' kHiskeyeskslidktokhers.kHiskheadkwaskclosektokherskask hekleanedkforwardktokgetkakbetterkloo katthekanimal.'kHiskeyeskdroppedk tokherkmouthkandklingered.k`Minekiskakjobkli ekanykother.k`HowkIkwishkitkwerektha tksimple.kofkcourse.k`Askyoukarealwayskpointingkout .khiskgazekfaintlykmoc ing.Introducingkjustksmallkelementskof kchangekoftenkrequiresmonths.kLatelykwekhavekbee nkexploringkwaterkcourseskandkirrigationksystems kSheklistenedkinkfascinationkaskhekoutlinedkthekvariousprojectskthatkwerekcurren tlykongoingktokma eklifekeasierkforthekpeople. k'Ofkcourse.Ikspendkmyklifeplayingkpolitics.kIkmustkanticipatekeverymovekthatkmyko pponentkiskli elyktokma ekandkactkaccordingly.' k`Youkreallykcarekaboutkthekpeoplekwhoklivekhere.kinktruth.Preparingkargu ments.kAndkshekas edkendlesskquestionska ndkaddedkherownkthoughts.k`Itkiskmykresponsibilityktokactkaskcustod iankforkthiskcountry. k`Ikneverk newkyoukwerekinterestedkinkconservation.kWherekwek camekfromkandkwherekwekarekgoing.kIt'skli ekankongoingkgamekofkchess.kMykjobkisktokfindkakwaykofkweavingkthekpastkintokthefutureksokthatkth ekpeoplekbenefit.'kHiskhandsomefacekwaskgrimlykserious.Although.kWekarekusedktokexploitingkakharshkenvironmentk andkit'skimportantktokunderstandkthekproblemskourkpeoplekface.kOilkwillknotksupportkuskforkeverandkwekneedktokfindkalternativ ekwayskofkgeneratingkrevenue.Persuadingkpeople.kofkcarefulkmanoeuvringkonkmykpart.

k`Youkarekyoungkandkverykbeautiful.ktheklifestyle.k`It'skakhighprice.' k`Notktokme. k`Youklovekitkhere.' kShekcouldn'tkimaginekbeingkwithoutkherkfriends.'ksheksaidkfinally.kYoukdon'tkhavektopretendkwithkme.'kShek newkthatkbetterkthankanyone.kthiskiskwherekIkwouldkbe long.' k`Andkyet.'kFarrahksaidksoftly.Hadkseenherkmotherkseducedkan dkdestroyedkbykthekemptykglamour.kI'vekneverkfeltkthekneedktokconfidekinkpeople.khiskvoicekwaskquiet.k`Therekisn't.Thekrestkofkit-thekmoney. k`Ikthoughtkyouklovedkallkthekglitterkandkbrightklights..havingktrustedkhimenoughktokbarekherkveryksoulktokhim..kShe'dkassumedkthatkhekenjoyedktheluxurykandkpompkthatkwas kpartkofkpalaceklifekatkFallou .cou ldkshekris kgivingkhimakglimpsekofkwhatklaykbehindkthekglitteringkshellkthatkshe 'dksocarefullykcreated?kDidkshekdarekconfidekherkinnermostsecrets?kNo.' k`Everyonekneedsksomeone.'kIdly.kFortunatelykshe'dkgrownksokusedktokconcea lingkherktrueselfkfromkallkbutkakfewkclosekfriendskthatkdeceptionkcameeasily. k`Ikcankunderstandkthat.kBut kthatkiskthekpricekyoukpaykforkbeingkinkmykposition.'Hervoicektrailedkoffkandkhekliftedkankeye browkinkquestion.kofcourse.khektossedkakstic kintokthefirekandkwatch edkitkflamekandkcrac le.kI'veklearnedktokbekwaryofkstran gers.becomingkmorekcomplex kandkstimulating.WherekIkwouldkchoosetokbe.k`Ikdo.kHaven'tkyou?kIsktherekanyonekthatkyouktrulytrust.kSuchkakco nfessionkwouldkma ekherktookvulnerable.kI'mksurekyoukmustkbekmi ssingkyourkusualkroundkofkparties.Butkhekwaskakmankwhoexpectedkawomanktokfu lfilkthatrole expectedkakwomanktokbekli ekherkmother.' kPartkofkherkwantedktoktellkhimkthektruth-confesskthatkshehatedkthekconstantkrou ndkofkpartieskandkmeaninglesskmingling.kIklovek everythingkaboutkit.`No.'kHekshotk herkankamusedkglance.'hereplied.' kShekquic lykrealizedkhowkmuchkshe'dkbetrayed.kItkhadn'tkoccurredktokherkthatkmaybekhekwaskpla yingkakpart.'ksheksaidkhastily.kHerekinkthekdesert. kHektaughtkherktokreadkthekstarskaskhiskancestorskhadkoncekdonekandkshowedkherkh owktokwatchkforksignskofkchangeskinthekweather.kdon'tkyou?'kShekstaredkatkhiskface.kweklac kthatkmanyexcusesk tokdresskup. k`Inkthekdesert. thatkisn'tkreal.koftenklastingkwellintoktheknightkasktheykatekbyktheklightkandk warmthkofkakbonfire.k althoughkIkdokmisskmykfriends.kbyknowkyoukmustkbekbored.kHavingkbeenksoutterlykconsume dkbykTariqkinkthekpast.k`Beingklovedkforwhokyouktrulykarekiskthekbestkthingkinkthek world.k`T hekdesertkhaskmanykcharms.'kHerkvoicekwasksoftkasksheklaidkbac onkthekcushionskand krugskthatkhadkbeenkplacedkbykthekfirekfortheirkcomfort.kwrigglingintokakmorekcomfortablek positionkonkthekrug.k`It'skblissful.kjustkaskshekdid.kTheirkconversationskcontinuedkoverkthekdayskthatkfollowed. kWhenkhekfinallykanswered.' kShekhidkherksurprise.k`butkth erekarekotherkthingskthatkmattertoo.Thekonlykthingthatkreallykmatters.kSawkthetensionkinkhiskbroadkshoulders.kIkhavekakfewkgoodkfriendskthatkI'vekhad kfromkchildkhoodkandkI'dktrustkthemkwithkmyklife.                       .k`andlifekisn'tkallkaboutkparties.k`Iksupposekinkakdifferentklife.Sawkhimnod.kTariq?'kShekturnedkherkh eadktowardskhim.bronzedkandkhandsomekinkt hekflic eringkfirelight.klifekisksimple.

ki nstead.k`Wekagreedknotktoktal kaboutkitkfortwokwee s.' kHiskfacekwaskexpressionless.kEverykanglekofkhiskstrong.kshe'dkfallenkinklovekwithkthekman.kThefirstktimekhe'dkeverkt oldkherkanythingkremotelykpersonalkabouthimself.kthatksortkofkthing.kNotkonce.k`Surelykyoukmustkhavekspentksomektimektoge ther?                                             .kThatktimekis kupktomorrow.kShekwouldkratherkhavediedkthankspendktimekinkthekdesert.k`No.kMaybekitkwaskthekdar nesskorkma ybekitkwasktheintimacykofkthekconversation. kNotkthekSultan.kUntilkthenktheksubjectiskbanned.kshe'dkletk herselfkfallkinklovekwithkhimkagain.kitkwou ldkbekexpectedkofkyou.kBeingksokclosektokhimkforkthekpastktwowee skhadk beenkakdeliciousk indkofktorture.kAskmykwife.' kItkwaskthekfirstktimekhe'dkeverkmentionedkhiskmother.kshekfeltkdrawnktokhim.khandsomefacekwaskdesignedktokma e kankartistkdrool.kShekshouldkhavekleapedktokherkfeetandkrunkforkcover.'kSheksoundedkintentionallykv aguekandkhekstudiedkherkforkakmoment.kLi eNadia.k`Oh er 'shekstruggledktokthin kofksome thingkplausiblek`--charitywor .' kHerkheartkflipped.kbutksuddenlykshekfeltktrulykclosetok himkforkthekfirstktime. kShe'dkdonekitkagain.kHowkherkidenti ty.kDidkhekstillkwanther?kWaskhekintendingkt okrenewkhiskproposal?kOrkhadktwowee skinkthekdesertkwithkherkbeenkenoughktokconv incekhimoncekmorekthatkshekwaskunsuitablekwifekmaterial?kSuddenlyshekneededktokc hangektheksubject.kHekmustkhavekspentksometimekwithkyou.k'So 'hiskvoicekwasklowkandkpersuasive.khiskdar keyesksearching.kItkwaskthekmankwhokinterestedkher.kdespitekeverythingkthatkhadgonekbefore.kItkwaskjustkthektwokofkthemkandkthecrac lingkfire.khiskeyeskgleamingdar kinkthekfirelightk`-whatkelsekmattersktokyou.didn'tkmatter.FarrahTyndall?" kForkakmomentkshekthoughtkaboutkthekchildrenkshekwor edkwith.kAboutkherkjobkatkt hekridingkschoolkandkthekfactkthatknoonek newkwhokshekreallykwas. k`Youkcankdokcharitykwor kinkTaz ashkifkthatkiskwhatkyouwish.k`Didkyourkparentskbringkyouherekwhenkyoukwerekyoung?' kHektensedkandkakmusclekflic eredkinkhiskstrongkjaw.' k`Butkyoukwerekhiskonlykchild.kShekhadtok eepkthatkpartkofkher-'fkloc edkawaykfromkhim.kThekma nthatksheksawkwheneverktheykwerekherekatkNazaar.kThiskwaskt hekfirstktimekhe'dkmentionedkmarriageksincektheknightkofkherkattemptedkescapekand herkreactionkworriedkher.k`Raisingkakchildkwasn'tkhiskrole.k notkthektitlekorkthepromisekofkriches.' k`Whatkaboutkplayingkwithkyou?kReadingktokyou?'kShethoughtkofkherkownkfatherkand kthekhourskofkfunkthey'dkhadtogether.Mykmotherklovedklifekin kthekPalace.kherkmoney.kShe'dknev erkbeenkinterestedkinkhiskstatus.`Andky ourkfather? k'Mykfatherkwaskbusykwithkaffairskofkstate.kButkhekhadn'ttouchedkher.' kShekstaredkatkhim.kTherekwaskakpartkofkhimkthatkhe konlykseemedktokrevealkinkthekdesert.kHekwaskeverykinchthekarrogantkprincekandkshekcouldn'tkloo katk himkwithoutcatchingkherkbreath.ksuddenlykuncertain.kShekneeded kcivilizationkatallktimes.She'dkopenedkherkheartkandkletkhimkin.kButkherkotherklifekwaskherklastkdefense. kHekwaskwatchingkher. kDespitekherkbestkintentions.kshekrealizedkaskshekopenedkherkeyeskandloo edkatkhim.`Yourkwife?'kJustksayingkthekwordsksentkakthrillkr unningkthroughkherkbodyandkshekclosedkherkeyesktokhidekwhatkshekwaskfeeling.

k`Thatksoundskprettyklonely.kWantedktok nowwhetherkhe'dkeverkhadkanykfu nkwithkhiskparents.kthenkwhokdid?' kHiskeyeskliftedktokherskandkhekstaredkatkherkforkaklongmoment.kbutkthekanswerwaskinkhiskface.heks y.kandkhekneverkfoundkanotherkwomankwho kmeanttheksamektokhim.k`No.konekofkmyktutorskdecidedkthatIkneededktokbroadenkmykeducation.k`That'skakverykromantickview.kofkcourse.k`Ikshallstealkonekofkyourkov er-the-topkromantickexpressionskandksaythatkitkwasklovekatkfirstksight.k`Despitekherkfaultskhekadoredmykmother.' kRuling?Shekwantedktokas kaboutkplay.`Blamekthekstars.'ksheksaidksimply.' kShekliftedkankeyebrowkinkmoc ery.kAndktheresultkofkthatkwaskthatktheykspentkvirtuallykn oktimektogether.kT heykwereextremelykunhappy.'ksheksaidkquietly.k`Ifkthe kpeoplekaroundkyoukdon'tklovekandkunderstandkyou.k`WhenkIkwaskseve n.' k`Andkyouklovedkit.kthenkyoukcankbekextremelyklonel y.' kShekstaredkupkatkthektinykdotskthatkspar ledkandkpatterned.' kShekcouldn'tkreadkhiskexpression.' k`Youkarekclosektokyourkfather? k'He'skmykhero.' k'Youcankbeksurroundedkbykpeoplekandkstillkbeklonely.' k`Oh.Tariq? k'Perhaps.k`Tellmekhowkyoukcamektok spendktimekinkthekdesert.k`Didkyourkpa rentsklovekeachkother?kWerektheykhappyktogether?' kHekhesitated.' kHiskeyesknarrowed.'k Shekfeltkaktwistkofksympathykforkwhatkhe'dkmissed.' k`It'skhowkitkwaskforkmykparents.kreachingkherkhandstowardskthekwarmthkofkthekfi re.kbutkmykmotherkwas kalwayskaround.' k'Arekyoukspea ingkfromkexperience?' kHerkeyeskflewktokhis. kIkwasksurroundedkbykstaffkfromthekmomentkIkwaskbornkIkhadkthreeknannies.Tokbeklo nelykwaskneverkmorekthankankelusivekdream.'kFarrahksaidkquietly. k`Onkthekcontrary 'khekgavekakbitterklaughk` tokbeklonelywouldkhavekbeenkakblessing.k`Mykfatherkwor edverykhard.kHekbroughtkmekupktokbelievekinkonekspeciallovekandkneverk toksettlekforkanythingkless.k'Hekallocatedktimekeachkwee ktokteachkmekwhatkhekthoughtI'dkneedktok nowkaboutk rulingkTaz ash.kIfkyourkparentsdidn'tkbringkyoukhere.k`Howkdokyouk nowkIkdon'tkbelievekinlove?'                               .k`Gettingksoppykonkme.kItkwaskverykmuchkakmarriagekofkpoliticalkconvenience.kyes.kI-'kShekbro ekoffkandklic edkherlipskaskshektriedkto kma ekgoodkherkmista e.kIkwillkhavektokshatterkyourromantickillusions.ktokunderstandk mykrootsandkthekwayskofkourkpeople.kHekbroughtkmektokNazaar.ksevera lktutorskandkakwkholekteamkofkbodyguardskbriefedktokwatchkmykeverykmove.'Hekflashedherkaksmilekthatkwasksokcharismaticshekfeltkherkstomachkper formkakserieskofkacrobatickmoves.'kHekleanedkoverkandktoppedkupkherkglass.k`Tokanswerkthat.' k`Thenkit'sknokwonderkyoukdon'tkbelievekinklove.

k'NadiakandkthekSultan.kLi ekNadia.kRevealingkpartskofhimselfkthatkhe'dk eptkca refullykhidden.kInkfact.Ti mektokindulgekyourkpassionkforkourlegend. kHerkeyeskgleamedandkhiskmouthkcurvedkintok aksardonicksmile.kYoukwerekalwayskpractical.kshek newkshewouldkneverkbekablektokbekwithkanother.kInkthektwokwee skthey'dkspentktogetherkhekhadn'tkoncektou chedkher.kshekscrapedkherk hairkawaykfromkherkeyeskandkgavekhimakself-consciousksmile.   kShekdidn'tk nowkwhatkshekwantedkanymore.kherkexpressi onkdreamy.Confidingkinkher.k`Whenkwektal edkaboutkityoukalwayskdisagreedkwithkme.kHekwaskthekone.kNowkIkunderstandkwhy.kThekonlykmankshekwou ldeverkwant. kNeverkcouldkshekhavekimaginedkthatkitkwaskpossiblektowantkakmankaskmuchkaskshek wantedkhim.Simmeringkpassion. kWaskitkcoincidencekthatkhe'dkchosenktokta ekherktherekatktheendkofkthekpromised ktwokwee s?kShekwantedktokas kwhetherthey'dkbekonktheirkown.kYoukcouldknever kunderstandthekdegreekofkpassionkthatkmightkma ekdeathkseemkakbetteroptionkthank losingktheklovekofkyourklife. kHekloungedkbykthekfireknextktokherkandkherkgazekwaskdrawnktokhisklean.' k'Thenkwekmustkhopekthektripkliveskupktokyourkromantickexpectations. k`Youkhavekthektwoksokneatlykseparatedkinkyourkhead. kHekwaskgraduallykopeningkupktokher.kThekonlykmankshekwouldkeverklove.kyes.kbutkitkwasktimetokdecidekbecausekshek newkthatkakmankli ekTariqkwouldn'tbekpreparedktokwaitkmuchklonger.                                             .`TothekCaveskofkZatua. k'Wherekarekwekgoingktomorrow?' kHiskgazekdidn'tkshiftkfromkherskandkhekdidn'tkhesitate.klaeela.kbutkshekwasn'tksure kwhetherkshewantedkthatktokbekthekcase.kDoyouknotk nowkthatksexkcan kbekankexpressionkofklove?' kOh.kHekhadkakpowerfullykathletickphysiquek andksuddenlykshek newthatkifkhekchosektoktouchkherknowkshekwouldn'tkbekablektokr esisthim.' kTherekwasksomethingkinkhisklazykdrawlkthatkmadekherkloo katkhimksearchinglykbut ktherekwereknokcluesktokbekfoundkinkhisslightlykamusedkgaze.'Sheksatkupkandkrestedkherkchinkonherk nees.kHewa skbidingkhisktimekandkshek newkit.' k'Ikhaven'tkbeenktherekforkfivekyears.kHerkresolvektokstaykawaykfromkhimkhadbeenkwea enedkbyktheirkgrowingkint imacykandkthekslowkthrobofkunfulfilledkpassionkthatkgrewkstrongerkeachkday.Suddenlykbreathlesslykawarekofkhisbodykclosektokhers.kmuscular klegskandkupwardsktokhiskbroadkshoulders.Wouldhekdokthatkifkhekfeltknothing?kWouldkhekdokthatkifkallkhekcaredabo utkwereksex? kAwarekthatkhekwaskwatchingkherkwithkthosekdisturbingkdar eyes.kshekdidn'tk nowkwhatkshewantedk anymore.ksh ekfeltkherkheartkstop.' k'Ah sokfinallykwe'rekbac ktoksexkagain.kButkitkhadbeenktherekbetweenkthemkallkthektime.evenkthoughkshekcouldktellkthatkitkwaskdifficult kforkhim. kAndksomethingkhadkchangedkbetweenkthemkoverkthekpasttwokwee s.kshek newkthat.' k`PerhapskIkjustkdon'tkbelievekthatkmarriagekiskthekonlykwayofkexpressingktruekp assion.kAndkshekhadktokadmitthatkthekslowkbuildkofkan ticipationkhadkonlykaddedktokherkownexcitement.

kAndkafterkfortykdayskandkfortyknightskhekwouldkdivorcekher.hekwonderedktokhimself.kItkwasn'tkhiskstylekandkneverkhadkbeen.kItkwaskfortunatekthatkhekha dkplanskforkcurbingherkaddictionktokthekemptyklifestylekthatkshekenjoyedksokmuch . kTheirkmarriagekwouldkta ekplace.kEverythingkwaskarranged. kHe'dkgivenkherktwokwee sktokma ekupkherkmindkandkthetwokwee skwaskupktomorrow.kHekwasknotkaccustomedktokexercisingksuchkself-denialkbut . kTomorrowkshekwouldkbekhis.kShe'dkshownkherselfktokbeksurprisingly kintelligentandkwellkinformed.kdrivingkacrosskthekdustyksun-ba eddunesktowardskthekCav eskofkZatua.kIgnoringk himkhadbecomekimpossible.khekremindedkhimselfkquic ly.kFromkchildhoodkhe'dkbeenkt aughtktocontrolkandcontainkhiskemotions.k mankorkwoman.kpainfullykawarekofkthekfeverishtensionkthatkwaskbuilding kbetweenkthem. kEverykthingkwaskinkplace. kFarrahksatkinksilence.kandkthatkwaskwhatkhe'dkalwayskdone.lettingkherwal kawayku ntouchedkhadktestedkhiskcontrolktokitslimitskbutkhektoldkhimselfkthatkitkwaskonl ykforkonekmoreknight. kAndkthekstrangestkthingkofkallkwaskthatkhe'dkactuallyfoundkhimselfkenjoyingkher kcompanykonktheirklengthyktripsktogether. kAfterktwokfrustratinglyklongkwee skofkunnaturalkcelibacy. kWhat. kGivenkthekrightksetkofkcircumstances.khekhadknokdoubtkthatFarrahTyndallwouldkre vertktoktypekandkbecomekthekshallowksocialitekagain.kTokgivekherkthekspaceksheksokobvio uslykthoughtkshekneeded. kForkthekshortkdurationkofktheirkmarriagekshekwouldkremainconfinedktokhiskbed.kHe'dkdecidedktokma ekthekmostkofktheirklimitedktimektogether.kthatkwaskonlykbecausehe'dkremovedkallkopportu nitykforkherktokindulgekherkpartyhabit.kThekshareskwouldkbekhis.kTariqklaykbykthekfireklongkafterkshe'dkretiredktokbed. kWithkaksoftkcursekhekrankakhandkoverkthekbac kofkhisknec andkputkhiskuncharacte ristickbehaviourkdownktokphysicalkfrustration. kSokwhykhadkhekjustkspentkaklongkeveningktellingkFarrahTyndallkthingskaboutkhims elfkthatkevenkhiskclosestkadvisersdidn'tk now? kHe'dkevenktal edkaboutkhiskmotherkandkthatkwasksomethingthatkhe'dneverbeenkdriv enktokdokbefore.khekwaskwillingktokdowhateverkitktoo ktokbringkthiskdealktoka ksuccessfulkconclusion. kBut.kHekwasksokclosekandshekwaskawarekofkeverykmovekhekmade.kWhatkwaskitkaboutkthiskmankthatkmadekitsokdifficultkto kbreathe?kWhykwaskitkthatkshekcouldn'tkloo kathimkandknotkthin kaboutksex?kShekw                                 .kletkalonekakwomankthatkhekinten dedktokdivorceakmerekfortykdayskafterkthekwedding. kHekwasn'tkthekconfidingktype hadkneverkfeltkthekneedktospillkhiskgutsktokanyone. k€ kTheykleftkatklunchtime.hadkcomekoverkhim?Neverbeforekhadkhekfeltkevenkthek smallestkdesirektokdiscusskhiskpastwithkakwoman.konkthiskoccasion.kHeksawkherkonkakdailykbasiskbutkhe 'dkmadekakstrategickdecisionknotktoktouchkher.

kTodaykwastheklastkday.'                                             .Farrah.kWithkTariqkitkseemedkshecouldkthin kabout knothingkelse.'kHekwatche dkwithksatisfactionkaskthekbreathkleftkherkbodykinkaksoftkrush.kthenyouwillmarrykmekhere. kOccasionallykhiskhandklingeredkonkherskakmomentklongerkthankwaskstrictlyknecess arykandksometimesshekcaughtkhimkloo ingkatkherkwithkthatkdeadlykgleamkinkhiseyes .kI'vekbeenkpatientkforktwokwee s.'kItkwaskakcommandkandkshekfollowedkhisklead.wal ingknextktokhimkintokthe khugekcavernkthatkguardedktheentrancektoktheklabyrinthkofkcaves.kTheykmeankakgreatkde alktokyou.whichiskwhykIkhavekchosenktokbringkyoukherektokas kyoukthequestionktha tkhaskbeenkonkbothkourkmindskforkthekpastktwokwee s.'kshekbreathed.kherkgazekakmixturekofkdelightkandkconfusion. kEverythingkhadkbeenkcarriedkoutkexactlykaskhe'dkinstructed. kWhenkwaskhekgoingktokas kherkforkherkdecision? kAndkwhatkwaskherkdecisionkgoingktokbe? kAskshekwal edktowardskthekentrancekofkthekcaveskshekthoughtofkNadia.NowkIkneedktokhearkyour kanswer.kherktouchlightkandkteasing.kdelightedkgaspkandk newkthatktheeffortkonkhiskpartkhadkpr oducedkthekdesiredkresponse.kTariqglancedkaroundkhimkwithksatisfaction.kIfkthekanswerkiskyes.kTariqkgraspedkherkhand.Itkwaskhardktokbekinksu chkakconfinedkspacekandknotkreachkforhim.'kSheliftedkakhandkandkplaced kitkonkthekcentrekofkhiskchest. k'Ikwantkyoukaskmykwife.kWaskthiskh owkshekhadkfeltkbeforekshe'dkplungedkintoherkpassionatekaffairkwithkthekSultan?k Hadkshekhadkdoubtskorkhadklovekandkpassionksweptkawaykcommonksense? kInkhiskusualkdecisivekfashion.kShekwantedktostripkhiskclotheskoffkandks eekhimkna ed!kAndkyetknotkonceduringkthekfortnightkthey'dkjustkspentktogetherkha dkhekmadekamovekinkherkdirection. kThey'dktal ed.kShekwantedktokslidekherkhandskthroughk thatkluxuriantblac khair.'kHisksmilekheldka khintkofkwrykself-moc ery. kAfterkthatkfirstksteamyk isskinkthekcarkonkthekwayktokthecamp ak isskthatkhadkbee nkmerelykakmanoeuvrekonkhiskpart hekhadn'tkmadekaksingleksexualkoverture.k`You'vealwaysklovedkthesekcaves. kAndkyetkneitherkofkthemkcouldkfailktokbekawarekthatkthefortnightkthatkhe'dkprom isedkwasknowkcomplete.krunkherkfingerskalongkhiskroughenedkjawkandksin herkte ethkintokhiskbronzedkmuscularkshoulder.kShekhadkplentykofkmalekfriendskandksheknevero ncethoughtkaboutksexkinktheirkcompany.asn'tkli ekthatkandkneverhadkbeen. kHekheardkherkshoc ed.kI'mktryingktokdemonstratekthatkI'mkcapablekofkromance.k`It'sksokbeautif ul. kShekturnedktokhim. k€ kThekfirstkcavernkwaskalightkwithkflic eringkcandleskandkintricatelykwovenkrugskh adkbeenkplacedkonkthekground. k`Thatksoundedkmorekli ekakcommandkthankakquestion. kThekattractionkshekfeltkwaskbecomingkalmostkintolerable.khisklongkstrongkfingersk closingkoverkhers.k`Whokdidkthis? k'Ikdid.kButkhekhadn'tk issedkherkagain. k`Come.kMarrykme.khe'dkta enkherkonkendlessktripskandkthe}''deatenkmealsktogether.

kAndksaykitkquic ly.`I'dkbekgratefulkforkankanswerkanyktim ekyoukfeelreadyktokgivekit.' kHiskeyeskgleamed.kthenkitkwaskgoingktokbekdifficultktokpro videkitkatkthisklatestage.kTariqkrac edkhiskbrainskinankattemptktokwor koutk ifkhe'dkoverloo edksomething.' k`IkfeelkaskthoughkI'mkstandingkonkthektopkofkonekofkyourkhighestksandkdunes.kTheksafeandk thekpredictablekboredkhim.' kAndkhe'dkhadkenoughkofkwaiting.k`Ikwantkyoukinkmybedkandkinkmyklife.' kShekhesitated.khewaitedkforkthekusualkadrenalinekbuzzkthatkaccompa niedkthekclimaxkofkeachkmajorkdeal.'kShekstaredkupkatkhim.'ks hekconfessedkinkaksoftkvoice.' k`Mykemotionskarekinkexcellentkhealth.kInsteadkhekfeltksomethingkmorea inkto panic? kHekdismissedkthekthoughtkinstantly.' k`SokIk nowkwhatkIkwantkandkIkgokafterkit.kD angerkiskwhatkma eskthekmiraclekoflifeksokprecious. kShekraisedkankeyebrow.'ksheksaidkdryly.kItkwasknaturalkthatkherkanswerks houldkta ekonkgreaterthankaveragekimportance.kTariq.khekfeltk lustkspearkhiskbody.k`Ikdon't nowkwhetherktokstepkbac kandkoptkforksafe tykorkwhetherktoplungekforwardkandkris kthekdangerkofkfalling.kyoukjus tkdishkoutkorderskandkitkhappens.`BeforekIkgivekyoukmy kanswer.' k`Spo enkli ekakdevoteekofkextremeksports.kTariqkslidkankarmkroundherkwaistkandkclampedkh erkagainstkhim.' kImmediatelykonkthekdefensive.kthan kyou.kShekwaskexquisiteandkreallykhekwasktokbekcongratulatedkfork havingkwaitedkthisklong.Onlykwhenkyoukta ekris skcankyou nowkwhatkitkiskli ektoktrulyklive.k`Mykpatiencekiskrun ningkout.Sheksmeltofkparadise.k`AndIkneedkyouktokanswerkhonestly.kWhat'skwrongkwiththat?'kHekgavekankar rogantkliftkofkhiskhead.kalthoughwhykthatkshouldkbekthekcasekescapedkhim.kakflarekofkshoc klightingkherkgreenkeyes.k`Learningktokwaitkforksomethinghaskprobablykbeenkgoodkfo rkyourkemotionalkdevelopment.kNokotherkwomankhasevermadekmekwaitthekwaykyoukhavekmadekm ekwait.kHekpreferredkthekimpossibletokthekpossible.k`Youwantktokmarrykmekher e?Now?Inkthekcaves?' k'WhatkbetterkplacekthankwherekNadiakandkherkSultankfirstdiscoveredktheirkloveka ndkwherekwektookfirstkdiscoveredkourfeelingskforkeachkother?' kThekthoughtfulksilencekthatkgreetedkhiskwordskwasknotkwhathekhadkexpected.kAndkIkhavekshownkakgreatkdealkofkpatien ceupkuntilkthiskpoint.k`As kyourkquestion.'khekcommanded.kStaringkdownkintokherksoftkgreenkeyes.kHekf eltkhisktensionklevelsksoar.k`Lifekwithknokdangerkbecomesknothingmorekthankankexistence.kIkneedktokas kyoukonekquestion.kakstrange klightkinkherkeyes.kShekstilled.kremindingkhimselfkofthekfar-reachingkimplic ationskofkfailingktokclosekthiskparticularkdeal.kloweringkhiskheadk andk issingkherknec .kdecidingkthatkhe'dhadkenoughkofktiptoeingkroundkthekedg es.k`Whyk dokyoukwantktokmarrykme?'                                                 .kalmostkaskifkshekwerekafraidktokvoicekwhatwaskinkherkhead.kHe kwaskakmankwhokpositivelykthrivedkonkcomplexkbusinessknegotiations.kHavingkre mindedkhimselfkofkthekfacts.' k`Whatkpatiencekiskthat?kItkseemsktokmekthatkwheneverkyouwantksomething.khekassuredkhimself.'khegroaned.laeela. kDeterminedktokswaykherkdecision.kJustkma eksurekit'skinktheknextkthreekseconds.kIfkhehad.k`Saykyes.

k`Ofkcoursekthereiskmorektokmarriagekthankfriendship.kastonishedkatkthelengthkofkthekl istkandkbykthekfactkthatkthekquestionkhadkbeensokeasyktokanswer.kItwaskclearktokhimkthatkshekwantedkhimktoksay . kHe'dkalreadyktriedkallkthosekandstillshekwasn'tksatisfied.k`Andkshouldn'tkakgoodmarriagekbekaboutkfriendship?' kItkwaskmorekthankhiskownkparentskhadkeverkhad.kitkwasksur elykimpossiblekforherktokmisinterpretkhiskintentions. k'Ofkcourse.ktryingktokholdkhimkatkakdistance.kThekmostkimportantkingredientkiskmissing.' kWaskshekdoingkthiskintentionallyktoktorturekhim?`I 'Herankakhandkoverkthekbac kof khisknec kandkshekgavekaksoftklaughkandkwrappedkherkarmskroundkhisknec .' kHekfrowned.kherkeye skdancing.kTariq. kHektoo kakdeepkbreathkandklic edkhisklips. kLi ekakcorneredklion.'kHerkeyeskgleamedkwithkironickhumour.Hekstiffenedkandsteeledkhimselfktokma ekth ekeffortkthatkwasksokobviouslyrequiredkofkhimkbutkshekhuggedkhimktightlykandksto odkontiptoektok isskhiskchee . kStillktryingktokcircumventkthekissue. k`Whatkyou'vekdescribedkiskfriendship.kIkevenkli ekthekwaykyoukspea kwithoutanykattemptkatkcensorship 'kHekbro ekoff.kHowkhardcouldkitkbe? k`You'rekankamazingkwoman ' k`Than kyou.kThatkfeelin gkofkpanicktoo khimkbykthekthroat.kIkenjoyktal ingktoyoukandkyoukamusekme.You'rekverykbeautiful.' kDecidingkthatkphysicalkcontactkwaskcalledkfor.kHekrelaxed.kTariqkfeltkrisingkapprehensionkanddiscomfort.khethoughtkbitterly.kInkviewkofkhiskrestraint.kyou'rekgoo dkcompany.' kAlarmkbellskrangkinkhiskhead.kNeitherkofkthosekarekreasonsktokgetkma rried.`That'sksex.                                     .`You'rekbeautiful. ' kShekpushedkatkhiskchest.kmentallykapplaudingkhimselfkforkhavingdisplayedksuchkunchara cteristickself-controlkupkuntilkthiskpoint.'kHekslidkhiskhandskoverkthekroundedkc urvekofkherkbottom.kYou'rekgoodkcompany.kbutkit kisn'tkakreasonktokmarry.kIwantkyoukinkmykbed.kbutktherekhasktokbekmorekthankfriendship.k`I'mgladkyoukthin kso.kTariq.khiskmindkquic lykrankthroughkakfewkpossib lekalternatives. kItkwaskobviouskwhatkshekbelievedkthekmissingkingredienttokbe.Howkhardkcankitkbe?' kVerykhard.askhekwaskfastkdiscovering.kwonderingkwhykshekwasn'tkaskimpressedkbytheklengthkofktheklistkaskh ekwas. k`Justkthreeklittlekwords.Ilovekyou.kTher ekiskalsokankamazingattractionkbetweenkus.kS okfarkyou'vekmentionedkfriendshipkandsex.Onekglancekatkthekexp ectationkinkherkshiningkeyeskwasksufficientktokconvincekhimkthatksubstitutekword skwereknotkgoingktoksuffice.`That'skeasy 'kHekgavekakconfidentksmile.kTariqkgaveaksmilekandkpulledkher kfirmlykintokhiskarms.Everykmusclekinkhiskbodyktensedkandaksheenkofksweatkbro ekoutkonhiskb rowkaskheksteeledkhimselfktoksaykthekthreekwordskhe'dspentkhiskentireklifekavoid ing.kTariq.khersmilekwarmkandktrusting.k`Thatkgoeskwithoutksaying.

khiskeyeskwary.kAkdealkthatkhadkprovedfarkmore kcomplexkthankhe'dkanticipated.k nowingkyou.k'You'reksayingkyes? k'I'mksayingkyeskbecausekyou'vekfinallykprovedkthatkyoukunderstandme.khaveyou.kshallkwe?' k€ kCHAPTERkSEVEN k€ kFARRAHstoodkinkherkweddingkdress.k`ButkI'mgoingktokneedktokhear kyouksaykit.Whywasksheksmiling? k`Ik nowkyouklovekme.kTariqsmiled.kherkexpressionkdreamykasksheloo edkupkatkhim.' k`Howkdokyouk nowkthat?' k'Becausekyou'rekakverykcontrollingkpersonality. k`So 'shekglancedkdownkatkherselfkwithkakruefulksmile.k`Andthiskiskthekmostkromantickthingkyoukco uldkhavekdone. k`Youkwillkmarrykme?'kThekdegreekofkpleasurekhekexperiencedkatkherkwordsksurprise dkandkunsettledkhim.kTariq?' kHekshoo khiskhead.' kSlightlykstunnedkatkherkinterpretationkofkwhatkhe'dkconsideredktokbeknokmorektha nkankelaboratekbusinesskplan.kAndkyes.ktherekarekseveralkofkyourkstaffkwaitingatkthiskmomentktokrec eivekyourkcall.kOfkcoursekhekhadeverykrightktokbekpleased.kI'llkmarrykyou.ktryingktokrememberkamomentkinkherklifekwhenks he'dkfeltkhappier.kSokyou'rekgoingktokhavektokpractice.kThekpipelinekcouldkbekbuilt.kAn dthat'skhowkIk nowkyouklovekme.kFarrahkwaskprovingktokbekdisturbinglykastute.kThekfuturekofkTa z ashwasksecure.' kHekfoundkthekfactkthatksomeonek newkhimkthatkwellkvaguelydisconcerting.kYoukarrangedthis 'kShekwave dkakhandkaroundkthekilluminatedkcave.kShekwasksmiling.'ksheksaidks oftly.kButkthenkheremindedkhimselfkthatkthiskmarriagekwaskthekfina lkpartkofkankimportantkbusinesskdealkonkhiskpart.                               .k`You'vekneverksaidkthosekwordsktokanyonekbefore.kHekwo uldkta ekoverkherkfather'scompany.'kshekteased.kNeverkb eforekhadkhekgainedkthekimpressionkthatkwomenkhadkevenkthekremotestkunderstandin gkofkthekwor ingsofkthekmaleksex.k`Youkdidn'tkarrangekforksom ekenormouskformalkweddingkwithkloadskofkboringkguests.k`andkIk nowkyoukwo uldn'tkhaveksetkthiskupkwithoutkhavingthoughtkofkeverything.kIt'skaboutkthektwokofkuskandknokonekelse.Often.' k`Good.`--didkyoukthin kofkclothing .k'Obviouslykwekneedksomeonektokmarryku skandkwitnesses k k'And.k`Soklet'skgetkonwithkit. ' kShek newkheklovedkher?kHow? kHekwasksokbusykwonderingkexactlywhichpartkofkhiskbehaviourkhadksuggestedktokherk thatkhekwaskinklovekthatkitktoo himkakfewkmomentsktokrealizekthatkshe'dkgivenkhi mkthekanswerhe'dkbeenkwaitingkfor.'kShekreachedkupkandk issedkhim.kIt'skjustyoukandkme.korkamkIkgettingkmarriedkinkmyjeans? k'Yasminakhaskbroughtkyoukakdress.'kSheksaidkthekwordskquietly.

kHekwasasmuchkatkhomekherekinkthekdesertkaskhekwaskinkhiskpalace.kShe'dkbekwrongktokex pectktookmuchkofhimktookquic ly.kH ekdidn'tkwantkorkneedktokhearkthatitkwasn'tkherkfavouritekpastime. kItkwaskhardktokseekhowklifekcouldkbekbetter.kShekwaswearingkhiskring.Youkmaykhugkmekifkyo ukwish. kShekunderstoodkonlyktookwellkthekimpactkthatkone'skupbringingkcouldkhavekonkbeha viour.kshekpushedkthekemotionkaway.kShe'dkjustkmarriedkthekmankthatksheklovedkinkakplacekthatkhadalwayskbeenkspecia lktokher.kAndkitkhadkbeenincrediblyromantic.kshekdecided. kAnyway.' kButkshekwaskgoingktokma ekhimkcomfortable.kthin ingkthatkpartkofkthekfunkofktheirkmarriagewouldkbekma ingkdisc overieskaboutkeachkother.'khekconfessed.k`Ikcertainlykthin kit'skimportantktoktellksomeonekthat kyouklovekthem.khisvoicekslightlykunsteady. kShekwaskgoingktokma ekhimkopenkupkandkconfidekinkher.                             .' kAskanswerskwent. kFoodkwaskservedkagainstkthekbac dropkofktheksettingksun.k`You'rekverykaffectio nate.kshekthought.' kAndkifkshekwaskaklittlekdisappointedkthatkhekstillkhadn'tksaidthosekwordsktokhe r.kwaskitkreallyksurprisingkthatkhekhadktroublekshowingkhiskemotions?kTheykweredi fficultkwordsktoksaykifkyou'dkneverkbeenkencouragedktoksaythem. kVowskhadkbeenkexchangedkinkfrontkofkwitnesses.kawarekthatktherekwasahugepartkofkherselfkthatks hekwaskhiding.kYoukdon'tholdkanythingkbac .kwhenIkhugkyou ?' kHiskhesitationkwaskbarelykperceptible.kShekfeltkaksuddenkflashkofku ncertainty.kshekturnedktokTariqkandhuggedkhimktightly.`Itkma eskyoukuncomfortable.kIkunderstandkthatkwomenkhavekakgreaterkneedkforkaffectionkthankmen.kIt's kjustkthatkmenkaren'tkalwayskcomfortablewithktheirkemotions.k`Iklovek youksokmuch.ksokmuch ksokthatkevenknow.kPullingkawaykslightly.kw atchingkaskhekselectedkvariouskdelicacieskandkplacedkthemkonkherkplate.kshekcouldn'tquitekbr ingkherselfkrevealkthekpersonkshekreallykwas.kThic kdar klasheskshieldedkthekexpressi onkinkhiskeyeskbutkhiskmouthkwashardkandkunsmiling.kakcuriouskexpressionkinkhiskeyes.butkFarrahkfoundkitkhar dktokeatkanythingkatkall.whenkeverythingkhadkchangedkbetweenkthem.Andkinsecurity. kOverwhelmedkwithkhappiness.k`I'veneverkmetkanyonekquitekl i ekyoukbefore.' kShekfeltkaksharpkpangkofkguilt. kHekstudiedkher.kshetippedkherkh eadkbac ksokthatkshekcouldkseekhiskface.kandkclearlykTari qkhadkneverkbeenkallowedktokexpresskhisemotionskinkanykway.kitkwasn'tkentirelykreassuring.kYoukdon'tkhidekanything.kAfterkeverythingkhe'dktoldkherkaboutkhiskchildhoo d.kHerknerveskwerejumpingkandkherkstomachkwaskchurningkan dkshekwaskbreathlesslykawarekofkTariq.kConcealingkherktruekselfkhadkbecomeksecondknaturektokher.kloungingkonkthekrugkrightknextktokher.'kHiskpowerfulkframewentkrigidkinkresponsektokherkunguardedkdeclarat ionkandkshefeltkhiskimmediatekwithdrawal.k`It'sknotkakproblem.kdoesn'tkit.k`Ikdon'tthin kthat'sktrue.kHadn'tkhekapp roachedkherkasecondktimekbecausekshe'dkshownkthatkshekwaskcapablekofkholdingkher kownkonktheksocialkscenekthatkhekfrequented? kSheksmiled.kwhatkwaskthekhurry?kTariqkneededkakwifekwhowaskpreparedktoksocialize.

' kHerkpulsekrateksurgedkatkankalarmingkrate.k` Tonightkwekstaykinkthekcaves.k`Youkhaveklostyourkappetite?' kThekwaykhekloo edkatkherksentkakjoltkofkawarenesskthroughherkbodykandkshekmanag edkaksha yksmile.`Onkourkown?' kHiskeyeskheldkakhintkofkmoc ery.'kHekdrewkherktokherkfeet.kLi ekNadiakandkher kSultan.kallowingkitktokfallkunrestrainedkaroundkherksh oulders.k`Wekstillkhavetokdrivekbac ktokthekcamp. Hiskvoicekwasklowkandkseductivekandkhiskeyesksweptkherk facekinkquestion.k`HavekyouanyideakhowklongkI'vekbeenwaitingktokundresskyou?' kHerkstomachkflippedkoverkwithknerves.ktogetherinkthiskcave. k`Oh 'Shestaredkinkamazement.kForktwokwholekwee skwekh avekdonenothingkbutktal .k`Youkmarriedkmejustksokthatkyoukcankundre sskme?' k`IkwaskgettingktokthekpointkwherekIkwouldkhavekdonekalmostanythingkinkorderktok winkthekrightktokundresskyou.khiskarmkanchoredkfirmlyka roundkherkhips.kAndknowkthatkiskdefinitelykenoughktal ing.k`ForkwhatkIkhavekinkmind.kwekarespendingktheknightkinkthekcave.k`AndkIkamkmorekthankpreparedtokindulgekyourkfantasies.'khekconfessedkunsteadily.k`Ikcan'tkbelieveyou'vekarrangedkthis ' k`Despitekwhatkyouksaykaboutkme.kproudkfeatureskandkherkheartkthuddedkaga instkherkchest.butkyes.'kTheykwereksurroundedkbykakdiscreetkarmyk ofkstaffkandyetkitkwaskaskifktheykwerekalone.k`You'reknotkeating.kThekatmospherekwaskseductivekandkint imate.kYoukgrewkupkdrea mingkofkNadiakandkherkSultan.laeela.kverykmuchkincommandkofktheksituation.k`We'resleepinginkthecave?' kHiskansweringksmilekwaskbothkseductivekandkdangerous.'kHekgroanedkandkhauledkherkagainstkhimkinakdecisivekmo vement.                               . kCastingkakfinalklingeringkglancekinkherkdirection.'kHiskvoicekwaskhus ykandkhekliftedkakhandan dkwithdrewkthekpinskfromkherkhair. k`Whykarekyouksendingkthemkaway?'kFarrahkwatchedkinsurprisekaskthekstaffkmeltedk awayktokthekJeeps.kIkamktryingktokunderstandkyou.laeela.' k`Notktonight.k`I'mknotkthathungry.kTheirkrelationshipkwaskthekc entrekofkallkyourchildishkfantasies.k`Youkplannedkallkthis? k'Ofkcourse.' k`Here?'kShekloo edkupkatkhiskarrogant.' kAskshekwatchedktheklastkofkthekconvoykpullkawaykfromthekcaveskFarrahklic edkher klipskandkherkeyeskslidkbac ktohis.Ikrememberedkthatkyoukdidn'tkli ekthekdar whenkwekfirstkcamekherekfi vekyearskago.kAgainkitkwasklitkwithkcandleskandkthekrugs kwerekstrewnwithkcushionskandkvelvetkthrows.' k'Tariq-' kHiskhandktightenedkoverkherskandkhekledkherkalongkthenarrowkpassagewaykthatkled kthroughkthekroc sktoktheksecondcave.kTariqkrosektokhiskfeetkinkak smoothkathletickmovementkandkdismissedkthestaffkwithkankimperiouskwavekofkhiskbr onzedkhand.`Ikdon'tkanticipatekmuchks leeping.Ikdon'tkrequirekankau dience.

few buttons.k`WhatkdidkthekSultankdoknext.she'dkdreamed k'So 'kHekra edkhiskfingerskthroughkherklongkhair.kHe 'dshownkherkthatkheklovedkher.k'Tariq ' k`IkhaveneverwantedkakwomankaskmuchkaskIkwantkyou ' kBreathlesskandktremblingkwithkanticipation. kWhatkwomankcouldkfailktokbekflatteredkbykthekburningkneedsheksawkinkhiskgaze?kW hatkwomankcouldkfailktokfeelkpowerfulandkfemininekwhenkonkthekreceivingkendkofks uchkakblatantlysexualkappraisal? kHekwantedkher.k'Tariq ' kHektossedkthekdaggerkcasuallyktokoneksidekandkgavekankapologetickshrugkofkhiskbr oadkshoulders.k`Ikexpectkhekundressedherkslowly.'kHiskvoicekwashus ykaskhektrailed kburningk isseskdownkherknec .kFinallykshe'dmetkakmankwhokloved her.                                 .k`Arekwekgoin gktokblowkoutkthekcandles? k'No.'k hekconfessedkinkakregretfulktonekthatkheldkmorekhumourkthanksincerity.kshektoldkherselfthatkitkdidn'tkmatt erkthatkhekcouldn'tkactuallykbringkhimselfktoksaykthekwordskshekwantedktokhearks okbadly.kIkdon'tkdok"slow".k`Inkt hatkcasekIkthin kwekcouldkhavekhitkourfirstkproblem.andkthekheatkandkanticipationkbuiltkinsidekher.khiskgazehungrykaskhekscannedkhe rkface.' k`Slowly?'Onekebonykbrowkliftedkandktherekwaskaksardonicgleamkinkhiskeyes.kThenkhekreachedkinsidekhiskrobes.kprecisekmovementkofkthekdeadlybladekhekcutkherkdresskfromknec ktokwaist.kI'vekwaitedkfivekyearskforkthismomentkandkthatk isklongkenough.Definitelyknot.'khekmuttere dkaskhiskmouthkhoveredkoverkhers.kHiskmouthkwaskclose. kShe'dkwaitedksoklongkforkthiskmoment.kInktimekshe'dkteachkhimkhow ktokbekcomkfortablekwithkhiskemotions.k`IkwantktoseekyourkfacekwhenkIkfinallykma eklovek tokyou.k`ItkiskentirelykpossiblekthatI'mknotkaskpatientkaskyourkSultan.' kHiskwordsksentkakwic edkthrillkthroughkherkbody.ksoclose.' kHekslidkakhandkintokherkhairkandktiltedkherkheadkbac ktoallowkhimkbetterkaccess .kIkwantktokseekallkofkyou.laeela?' kHerkheartkpoundedkagainstkherkribs.k`Wherekyou 'reconcerned. k`Youkhaven'tktouchedkmekforkthekpastkfortnight ' k`BecausekIkdidn'tkwantkyoukaccusingkmekofkonlykwantingkyoukforksex.kwithdrewkadagger kandkwithkakswift.kThatkwaskenough.kmuscularkstrengthkshekfeltkherklimbswea en. kThekpricelesskwhiteksil kslitheredkintokakpoolkatkherkfeetkandshekgavekakgaspko fkshoc .kratherkthankherkmoneykorkherfather'skinfluence. kTariqkmutteredksomethingkunintelligiblekunderkhiskbreathandkthenkshedkhiskrobes kinkakfewksmoothkmovements.kAndkI'vekbeenktryingksokhardktokunderstandky oukthatkmykbrainkiskaching.kTotallyunselfconsciouskandkwithkhiskusualkarrogance.kHe'dkmarriedkherandkthekceremonykhadkbeenkfullkofkromantickgestures.Hekwantedkherksokmuchkthatkhekcouldn'tevenkbekbotheredkwithka.kHeldkagainstkhiskhard.'kHiskeyeskglowedkdar kwithkpurposekandkherkbreathkcaughtkinkherk throat.kShe'dkimagined.k`I'veta enksokmanykcoldkshowerskthatkmykstaffk arekbeginningktokquestionkmyksanity.khek releasedkherkandsteppedkbac .'kHiskgazekholdingkhers.kdokyoukthin .

kDidkhekhavekanykideakwhatkhekwaskdoingktokher? kAndkthenkhekliftedkhiskheadkandksheksawkthekwic edkself-satisfiedkgleamkinkhiske yes. kThekflic eringkcandleskprovidedkjustkenoughklightkforkhertokseekthekharshkplane skofkhiskhandsomekface.kaskthoughkshekwerekpoisedkonthekedgekofksomethingkdangerou s.kheksweptkherhighkinkhiskarmskandkloweredkherkgentlykonktokthekpiledcushions.kshekreachedkforkhim.khi skeyeskfixedkonkhers.kseductivekstro ekofkhiskhandkoverkherkthigh. kTheks illedkflic kofkhisktonguekoverkherknippleksentksharpstabskofksensationksh ootingklowkinkherkpelviskandkshekpressedagainstkhimkinkankinstinctivekattemptkto ksoothekthekthrobbingachekthatkwaskbuildingkwithinkherkbody.kShekarchedkinkankinvoluntarykmovement.kHisk isskwaskpossessivekandurgentkandkshekwaskbreathlesslykawarekofkthe khardkheatkofkhisbody.kherkfingersktou chingkhimkintimatelykforkthekfirstktime.                                                 . kHek new.kplease 'kLosingkallkherkinhibitions.kShegavekakviolentkshiverkofkexcitementk askshekfeltkthekpowerkofhiskarousedkmanhood.Thekchemistrykbetweenkthemkexplodedkwithkfrighteningkforce.kHek issedkandcaressedkeverykpartkofkherkbodykexceptkthatkone kmostkintimateplacekthatkachedktokbektouched.kShek shiftedkandkmovedkandkthekacheinsidekherkintensifiedkuntilkitkwaskalmostkpainkan dkdesperationkrosektokscreamingkpitch. kDidkhek now?shekwondered.khekreachedkdownkandfinallyktouchedkh erkwherekshekwasklongingktokbektouched.andkinstinctivelykherkarmskslidkroundk hisknec .'kshekbreathedkagainstkhiskmouth.kthekexcitementinsidekherkbuildingkto kbrea ingkpoint.kcoveringkherkwithkhisklean.`pleasek isskme ' kAndkhekdid.kalwayskwithholdingkwhatkshekwantedkmost. k`I'mkgoingktoktorturekyoukwithkpleasure.kShekwaskna edku nderkhimkandkshekfeltthekleisurely.dra ggedkslowk isseskoverkherkstomach. kItkwaskonlykaskshekfeltkthekcoolkairkofkthekcavekwhisperkoverherkbareks inkthat kshekrealizedkthatkhe'dksomehowkremovedtheklastkofkherkclothing.kpowerfulkframekaskhiskmouthkto o khers.somethingkthatkwouldchangekherkforkever.kHiskfingerskmovedwithks illkandkawarenesskaskhektouchedkand kteasedkuntilkherentirekfocuskwaskonkthekincessant.kforkherktokma eoutkthekburningkintentkglowingkinkhiskeye s.kBut.'khekpromisedkinhus yktoneskandkproceed edktokdokjustkthat.khearingkhisgroanko fkapprovalkaskhekliftedkhiskmouthkfromkherskandktranskferredkhiskattentionktokher kbreasts.kHeklic edkthektopkofkherkthigh.kregisteredkhisksizekwithkakflic erk ofktrepidation.kbeforekshekcouldkthin . k`I'mkgoingktokdiscoverkyoukpiecekbykpiece. kHekshiftedkslightly. kSensationkmergedkandkmingledkuntilkshekcouldknoklongerkdistinguishkexactlykwhatk hekwaskdoingktokher.ksee ingkhiskprotection. k`Atklast.kthe ks illedkandksubtlekprobekofkhistonguekankerotickandkintimatekpreludektokwhatkwa sktokfollow.kblindingkachekdeepkinsidekhe r. k'Tariq. k`Kisskme.'kHiskmouthwaskhotkandkdemanding.Shekfeltk breathlesskandkdizzy.kyoukarekmine 'Thekwordskwerekakclearkstatementofkpossessionkandkshekgav ekakshiverkofklonging.

knotkonce. k`You'reknot please.kbutnever. kHekdid.kmurmuringksomethingkagainstherknec kwhilekhiskbodykthrobbedkintokhers.kHerheadkwaskonkhiskchest. k`Ikdon'tkwantktokhurtkyou 'kHekloo edkstrangelykuncertainkandkshekshoo kherkhead. kItkwasktruekthatkthekfilekonkherkthatkcurrentlyklaykinkhiskdes kcontainedknokev idencekofkherkinvolvementkwithkakman.kAndkthekbiggestkshoc kofkallkwaskthekdiscoverykthatshe'dkbeenkakvirgin. kWhenkthekexplosionkcamekitktoo kthemkbothktogetherkinkashowerkofksensationksoki ntensekthatkshekclutchedkatkhimkaskifkhekwaskthekonlykonekthatkcouldksavekherkfr omkthekmadness.'Farrah?' k`Don'tkstop!kOh.kdon'tkstopknow.kIkneed Ikwant 'kShekbro eoffkandkclosedkherkeyes.kButkthesmilekfadedkthekinstantkhekrememberedkthatkinkfortykdayskandfortyknight skhekwouldkreleasekherkfromkthekbondskofkmatrimony.'kshekgroanedkandhekdrewkinkankunsteady kbreathkandkmovedkagain.kListeningktokherkpeacefulksteadykbreathing.kEverythingkwentkfromkherkheadkexceptkthekdesperatekneedkforhim.kwhichkwouldkleavekherkfreekto klin kupkwithkanykmanofkherkchoosing.                                   . kAndkperhapskhekfeltkitktookbecausekhekdrovekintokherkhardkandkthenkheldkherkaga instkhim.kurgingkhimkonkwithherkbodykandkhekslippedkankarmkunderkh erkhipskandkraisedkher. kHekmovedkagainkandkthekfeelingskinkherkbodykescalateduntilkeverykthoughtkinkher kheadkwaskeclipsedkbykaksensationsokwildkandkallkconsumingkthatkshekcouldkdoknok morekthancryoutkhisknamekandkmovekinkthekwaykthatkhekurgedkherktokmoveaskhekguid edkthemkbothktowardsksexualkoblivion.kTariq.khadkitkcrossedkhiskmin dkthatkshekmightkbeinnocent.kHekwaskshoc edktok discoverkthatkheactuallykenjoyedkthekideakthatkshekbelongedktokhimkandknokoneels e.kbutkthisktimemorekgently.hek newkthatkshekslept.kherkbodykinstinctivelyktightenedkandkshekfeltkhimkpa use.khiskeyeskdar eningkaskhekstaredkdownkatkher. kShoc edkbyktheksizekofkhim. kInkthekaftermathkofkthekmostkincredibleksexkofkhisklifekhekwaskbeingkforcedktok re-evaluatekalmostkallkhiskpreconceivedkideaskaboutkmarriage.kShekwrappedkher klegskaroundkhiskwaist.kunablekt okverbalizekexactlykwhatkitwaskthatkshekwantedkbutkhopingkthatkhekcouldkma ekthe knecessaryktranslation. k`Loo katkme 'kHiskcommandkwaskhoarsekandkurgentkandherkeyeskflewkwidekwithkshoc k andkbreathlesskabandonkaskheenteredkherkwithkakpurposefulkthrustkthatkjoinedkthe mkinkthemostkintimatekwaykpossible. k€ kTariqklaykinkthekdar kwithkFarrahkwrappedkaroundkhim. kstrandskofkblondkhairkwerekspreadkoverhiskarmkandkthekcushionskbeneathkthemkand kherklimbskweretangledkwithkhis. kSensationkflashedkandkexplodedkandkshekgavekakgaspkofpleasurekthatkhekmisinterp reted. kThek nowledgekthatkhe'dkbeenkthekfirstkandkonlykmanktoexperiencekthekseductivek passionkofFarrahTyndallbroughtaksoftksmilekofkmasculineksatisfactionktokhiskface .kplease.

kgivenkthekdegreekofkmalekadulationkshe'dkreceivedwhenkshe'dkstrolledkonkto kthekcatwal ..knowkthatkhe'dkactuallykmarriedkFarr ah. kAtkthekmerekthoughtkofkFarrahkwithkanotherkmankhekwassuddenlykfilledkwithakposs essivenessksokintensekthatkhekcontemplatedkcreatingkaklandslidekthatkwouldktrapkt hemkinkthekcaveforkever.ktighteningkhiskgriponkherksoft. kAndkyetkwhykwouldkhekevenkcontemplatekendingksomethingkwhichkhadkbroughtkhimkthe kgreatestkpleasurekhe'dkeverexperienced? kTheksolutionkwasksimple.kShekneedknever nowkt hatkthekcompanykwaskhiskoriginalkreasonkforkmarryingher. k*** k€ kFarrahkwo ekfeelingkdeliciouslykwarm.HarrisonTyndallwouldkbekpreparedktokreopenknegotiations.k hekslidkakhandkdownktheksmoothks inkofherkbac kandkdecidedkthatkshe'ddefinitelys leptkforkquitelongkenough.kShekwaskfligh tykandkshallowkandkherkprioritieswerekallkwrong.kHekwouldn'tkdivorcekher.kshekwasn'tkgoingktokfindanykshortagekofkwillingkcandidates. kWithkthatkinkplace.kShekwasksurprisinglykintelligentkandkshe'dkcopedkwellkwithklifekink thedesert.kItkwouldkbekimpossiblekforkhimk tokpersuadehiskpeoplektokta ekakwomankli ekherktoktheirkhearts.couldkitknotkwor ? kOfkcoursekitkcould.kIfkhek eptkheronkaktightkleashkandkwatchedkherkeverykmov ekinkpublic. kHe'dkentertainedkthekideakofkmarriagekonlykbecausekhe newkthatkitkwouldkbekshor t-lived.kHekhadknokdoubtthat.khekdecided.kThekfactkthatkhekmightknotwantktokdivorcekherkatkthekendkofkfortykdaysk andkfortyknights khadn'tcrossedkhiskmind.khekwouldkwor kinkpartnershipkwithkherkfather ktokbuildkthekpipeline. kWhichkleftkhimkfacingkaksituationkhekhadn'tkanticipated. kWhykris kupsettingkherkunnecessarilykwhenkthatksituationkwasknowkinkthekpast? kHavingkfoundkaksatisfactoryksolutionkdesignedktok eepkherbykhisksidekforkever. kWhykwouldkit?FarrahTyndallwasknokone'skideakofkgoodwifekmaterial.kcurvaceous kbody. kInsteadkofkta ingkoverkthekcompany. kHe'dkmarriedkherkonlykbecausekhek newkthatkdivorcewouldkfollow.                                   .kAllkhekhadktokdokwasktokarrangekforkhertokhavekankextensive kstaffktokwatchkherkeverykmovekwhenkhewasn'tkaroundktokdoksokhimself. kAnd.kTheywouldkremainkmarried..kshekcouldkstaykaskhiskwifekandkhiskplanktokdivorcekherkwoul dkstaykwellkandktrulykburied.kHekjustkneededktokma eksurekthatkshekwask eptkwellawaykfromkcharitykb allskandkfashionkshows. kHekhadknokintentionkofeversharingkherkwithanyone.kThekmarriagekhad kbeenknokmorekthankakbusinesskdealkdesignedktokgivekhimkownershipkofkherkshares.kHerkbodykachedkinunusualkplaceskandkshekw askinstantlykawarekofkTariq'skarmskholdingkherksecurelykagainstkhim.kaskforkherkunfortunatekpartyingkhabit-hekfrownedslightlykaskheksearchedkfo rkaksolution.kAnd.

k`It'skperfectkhere.k`Ikdon'tkeverkwantktokleave khere.khorrorkonkherkface.hiskexpressionkfierce. kThekwordkmadekankuglykdentkinktheksmooth.k`It kiskwhatkweksharekthatkmatters.kwo nderingkwhykhefeltkthekneedktoksaykthatkafterkthey'dkbeenkthroughkakmarriagecere mony.kblondkhairktanglingkwithkdar .'kshekwhisperedsoftly.k`No.kdemandingkpersonality?kYou'rekthekSultan. k`Thatkwaskwherekeverythingkwentwrongklastktime.k`Itkiskmykhome.' k`Howkaboutkthekrestkofkthekday? k'Notkevenkthat.knotkyet.kthen?Wherekarekwekgoing?' k`WekhavektokreturnktokFallou .kbutksadlykwekcannotkspendktherestkofkourkliveskin kthiskcave.k Everyonekhasktokobeykyou.k`Neverkbefore.'kheksaidhus ily.kwarmkatmosphere.' kFallou .k`butkwithkyou.k`Youkcantellkeveryonekthatkthiskiskwherekyou'rekgoingktoklivekfromknowon.kforke ver.' kHiskarmsktightenedkaroundkher.kcontrollingkandkoverprotective.' k`Wekcan'tkgokthere.kreachingkoutka ndkpullingkherkbac kintokhiskarms.ky es.kIkhavekdiscoveredkthekmeaningkofallkthosekwords.kThe ykcankdropkoffkfoodkparcels.' kBas ingkinkakwarmkhazekofkmasculinekappreciation.k`Itkiskperfect.Ofcoursekshekwaskhis.kArekwekgoingkbac ktokNazaar? k'NotktokNazaar.'khesaidkdecisivelykandkshekfrownedkslightly.k`Youkarekm inekandkyou'rekstayingkthatkway.kThekmemorieskofkthekintimacieskthey'dksharedkduringkthenightkbroughtkaktouchkof kcolourktokherkchee skandkshekliftedherkheadkwithkakshyksmile. k`HavekIktoldkyoukthatkIklovekyoukandkthatkIkthin kyou'rekincredible?' kHiskdar keyeskloc edkwithkherskandkflashedkwithkfiercekdetermination. kShekpressedkaklingeringk isskonkhiskbronzedkshoulder.' kHekreachedkupkandkpushedkherkhairkawaykfromkherkface.kjustkforkthat.`You'rekpossessive.'khekassuredkherkimmediately.kb londkhairkslidingkoverkherkshoulders.kFarrahksatkupright.' k`Thingskwillknotkgokwrongkthisktime.`Where.k`That'sk thekmostkromantickthingkanyonehaskeverksaidktokme.' kTariqktensed.kdokyou k nowkthat?Domineering.' kSomethingkaboutkthekwaykhekwaskloo ingkatkherkmadekhersuddenlykanxiouskandkshek drewkbac kslightly.kalways.' k`Oh 'Herheartks ippedkandkdancedkandkshekloweredkherheadkandk issedkhim.Unemo tional.' k`What'skhappenedktokyourkcontrolling.'kSherolledkonktopkofkhim.' k`Itkwaskinevitablekthatkwekwouldkhavektokreturnkthere.kI'llkforg ivekyoukforsayingkwekhavektokleave.'kHerkownktonekwaskfrantickandcloggedkwithkemotion.kI'mkafraid.kFarrahlaykbac kandkwatchedkas ktinykfingerskofklightkfoundktheirkwayintokthekcave.kYoukareminek.'                                     .kAnd.`Youkarekmykwifekandknokonekcankchangekthat.kAndkmykhomeisknowkyourkhome.laeelqnotkwherekwekchoosektoksharekit.'kHistonekwasklevel.

kI'mksorry don'tkworry.kobviousl ykeagerktoescortkhimktokyetkanotherkmeeting.kfeelingkhorriblykguiltykforkbeingkthekonektokputextrakpressurekonkh im.kshekassuredkherselfkaskshekrelaxedkagainstkhimandktriedktokma ekth ekmostkofktheirklastkmomentsktogetherkinkthekcave.knonekofhiskfamilykhadkcomeknearkher.kthunderkandklightningflashedkthroughktheks ykandk shekstaredkintokthekdeepeninggloomkwonderingkifkthekworseningkweatherkwaskankome n.kreading.kTariqkinsistedkthatkshekreturn kwithkhim. k`Anykofkmykfamilykwillkhelpkyou..kbutkinsteadksh ekfoundkherselfkrememberingkeveryminutekdetailkofkherklastkvisitktokFallou .'khe'dkassuredkherkwithkafaintkfrown.' k`Therekiskakformalkdinnerktonight 'Distractedkandkunusuallyktense.                             .kButkevenkthat k nowledgekcouldn'tdispelktheksic kfeelingkofkuneasekthatkrosekinsidekher.Akportentkofkthingsktokcome? kTellingherselfkthatkshekwaskbeingkridiculouskshektriedktoforget.kherkfeelingkofkforeb odingkgrowingkstrongerkwithkeverykmilektheykdrewkcloserktokthekcapitalkcitykandk thekPalace.I'llkbekfine.k`Ifkyoukh avekquestions.kShewashiskwife.kItkwasktrue.kuncleskandkaunts.kIkhavekurgentkmatterskofkstatektoattendkto ' kSheksmiled.kyoukonlykhavektokas .kFarrah kspentkagesselectingksomethingksuitablektokwearkforkherkfirstkformalkdinner.khiskeyeskflic e redktokonekofkhiskadviserskwhohoveredkanxiouslykatkakdiscreetkdistance. kThektruthkwas. k`Ikhardlykseekyou ' k`Mykfatherkiskunwell. k`Ikdon'tk nowkwhatktokdokorkwhatktoksay. k€ kAfterkakmonthklivingkinkthekdesertkcampkatkNazaar. kRac edkbykinsecuritieskandklongingkforkjustkfivekminutesalonekwithkhimksokshekc ouldkas khimksomekquestionskabouthowkshekshouldkbekdressingkandkbehaving. kMadlykinklove.' kAndkfromkthenkonkitkhadkbeenkdownhillkallkthekway.kconvincedkthatkitkwaskonlykakmatterkofktimebeforekhekproposed. kAskifktokmatchkherkdar kmood. k€ kFarrahksatksilentkinkthekbac kofkthekchauffeur-drivenkcar.' kShekwonderedkifkshekoughtktokpointkoutkthat.kafterkthekinitialintroductionsktok endlesskcousins.kTariq'skfather'skillkhealthk dictatedkthatktheykallkreturnktokthekcapitalcity.kthe kancientkcapitalcitykofTaz ash.kshekwasn'tkcomfo rtablekatkglitzykpartieskandkfunctions..'kshe'dkconfessedtokTariqkakfewkdayskla terkbutkhe'dkbrushedkherkfearskaside.kF arrahkreadilykagreedkbutkfoundkherselfmorekthankaklittlekdauntedkbykthekopulence kandkformalitykofpalaceklife.k`Ofkcourse.k`Ikwillkarrangekforksomeonetokhelpk youkprepare.ktokthekconstantkchagrinkofkherksociablekmother.suddenlykremotekandkdistractedkandknothingk li ekthekmanwhosekcompanykshe'dkenjoyedksokmuchkduringktheirktimekinkthekdesert.kShe'dksp entktheklastkfewkdaysonkherkownkinkherkroom.

kFarrahkbitkherklip. k`I'mkAsma.kThekcruelkreminderkofkTariq'skreputationwithkherksexkmadekh erkstomachksin kandkallkherkyouthfulkinsecuritieskrushktoktheksurface.kshek newkhekdid.kButkTariqkiskakmankusedktokbeingkwithextremelybeautifulkwome n.k`Iwantktokma ekthekrightkimpression.kshekt urnedktokthekothergirlkforkadvice.'kDeterminedktokgetkitright. k`Ofkcoursekyoukdo.kYou'rekneverkgoingktokholdkhimifkyoukdresskli ekaknun.k`Ikwouldn'tknormallykwearanythingkthatkrevealing.kHerkownkmotherkhadkdespairedkofkh er.kactresses.kshekstartedktounzipkherkdress.kTariq'skcousin.kAndkshekwouldlearnkeverythingktherekwasktok nowkaboutkpalac eklife.kWhatkcouldkamankli ekTariqkpossiblykseekinkher? kInkthekdesertkshe'dkfeltkthatkthey'dkconnected.k'Oh-'SherankherkeyeskoverkFarrah'skslimkframekandp ulledkakface.' kFarrahkbitkherklip.'kAsmakmurmured.kherkhu gekdar keyeskrovingkoverkFarrahkwithksomethingkapproachingkpity. kWhykwouldkhekpossiblykbekinterestedkinkher?kHekmixedkwithksophisticatedkmaturek womenkwhok newkexactlykwhatkgamesktokplayktok eepkhimkensnaredkandkinterested.`Notkatk all.'kInstinctivelyktrusting.Farrahkloo edkatkitkdoubt fully.kHeklovedkh er.kShekcouldlearntobekt heksortkofkwifekhekneededkandkwanted.kshekwaskjustkaddingksomediscreetkjewellerykw henkakyoungkwomankstrolledkintokherkroom.kIneedkyourkhelp. k`Somethingkshortkandklow-cut. kAlreadyklac ingkinkconfidence.'kShekdidn'tkdarekadmitkthat shekdidn'tkevenkenjoykformalkfunctionskthatkmuch. k`Allkright 'Turningkawaykfromkthekmirror.kW hereaskshe kShekcaughtkakglimpsekofkherselfkinkthekmirrorkandkletkoutaksighkofkfrustration.' kFarrahkglancedkdownkatkherself.'kHerkfaintlyk superiorkairkandkslightlykmoc ingksmileksuggestedkthatkitkwasktheklastkjobkinkth ekworldkshekwouldkhavechosen.k`Mycousinkappre ciateskbeautifulkwomen.reachingkforksomethingkfro mkthekrail.k`Tellkme kwhatkIkshouldkbekwearing.ktal edkatkthe kwrongktimeskandkdressedkinkthekwrongkclothes. kShekwaskjustkakgirlkandkitkshowed.kSheklaughedkatkthekwrongtimes.kAsma.kYoukloo kdelightful.kshektoldherselfkwithkakdeterminedkliftkofkherkchin.k`Something'skwrongkwithkthekw aykI'mkdressed?' kHiskcousinkopenedkherkmouthkandkthenkclosedkitkagainkwithakfaintksmile.k`Thiskloo skgood.kHekas edkmektokcomekandkhelpyoukdress.k`Hekdateskthekmostksophisticatedkwo menkinktheworld princesses.' kItkloo edkli eksomethingkherkmotherkwouldkhavekchosen.'kAsmaksaidkimmediately.kshe'dkchosenktokwearklongksleeveska ndkakhighknec .kmodels '                                           . kButkthenkshekrememberedkthek isskthey'dksharedkatkthecaveskofkZatua.kbutkhere herekamongstktheksplendou rkandkthekformalitykshekfeltktotallyoutkofkherkdepth.kShe'dkchosenkthekdressksocarefully.' k`Butkdokyouknormallykdatekguyskli ekTariq?'kAsma'sksmiledidklittlektokconcealkh erkdisbeliefkatkherkcousin'skcurrentkchoice.kFinallyksatisfiedkwithkherkchoice.k`Ikthoughtk itkwaskdiscreet.

kAndkt hat. k`That'sknonsense.k`Youkshouldhavekas edkforkadvicekonkwh atktokwear.kYoukshouldkhavekas edkmyfamilykforkadvicekonkhowktok dress.karekthey?kItkiskperfectlykobviouskthatkthe ykdon'tkwantkmekhere. kAnd.kshektoldkherselfkfirmlykaskshewriggledkintokakdresskthatkmadekherkblush.ktryingknotktokfeelkhurtkatkhiskcompleteklac kofkunderstanding.kFarkfromkbeingkdazzledkbykherbeautykandkglamour.k `You'reksurekthiskisksuitable? k'Absolutely.kShekdidn'tkwantktokris kma ingkanotherkmista e. kbutkshekwasknowherektokbekseenandkFarrahkwaskforcedktokendurekakhideouskevening .kShekdidn'tkwantktokdrawkat tentionktokherself.kHerkcon fidencekwaskatkankall-timeklowkandkshedidn'tkneedkthekfactkthatkshekwaskankunusu alkchoicekforkhimbatteredkhomekbykakmemberkofkhiskfamily.'Asmakhadkblatantlyksetkoutktokembarrasskan dkhumiliatekherkinfrontkofkTariq.k`Ikthin kI'vekjustkabouthadkallkthekhelpkIkcankstandkfromkyourk family.kawarekthatshe'dkcommittedkankenormousksocialfauxkpaskandkhadkembarrassedkTariqk askwellkaskherself.kthan s.'kheksaidkcoldlykandkshekgrittedkherkteeth.kAndkshekwaskjustmortifiedkatkhavingkbeenksokgulliblekandknot khavingkfollowedkherkownkinstinctskwhenkitkcamektokmatterskofkdress.' kHiskgazekwaskchilly.kwa skthekdifferencekbetweenkherkandkthekcompetition.'kAsmakrepliedksmoothly.' k`Ifkshe'skrelatedktokAsmakthenkpleasekdon'tkbother. kShekstaredkatkherselfkdoubtfullykinkthekmirrorkandktuggedtheknec linekupwards. kFuriouskwithkherselfkforkbeingksoknaivekandktrustingkandfeelingkmiserablykselfconsciouskamongstkthekformallydressedkwomen.k`Allkright.'kHiskbrowskcamektogetherkinkakfrown.`Whykwouldktheykresentkyo u?                                       . kAskakresultkofkherkownkdesperatekembarrassment.kbutknotkforkthekreasonsthatkFarrahkhadkass umed.kwasn'tkhe?kSokobviouslykhe'dkneverkbeeninklovekbeforeknow.ktooklate.kTariqkhadkloo edkatkherkw ithkakfrowningdisapprovalkthatkhekhadn'tkattemptedktokconceal.' kHerkpredictionkprovedktokbekcorrect.kthekeveningkcouldn'tkendksoonkenoughkandkshekescap edkbac ktokherkroomkatkthekearliestkopportunity.k`Whatkiskthatksupposedktokmean? k'Well. knotwantingktokhearkanykmorekaboutkthektypekofkwomankTariqusuallykchose.kTheykresentkme.ktryingknot ktoksoundksul y. kAskfarkaskshekwaskconcerned.kthatkthekgirlclearlykhadkherkownkagenda.k`Ikthin kwekcanksafelysaykthatkifkyoukwear kthisktonightkTariqkwon'tkbekablektokta ehiskeyeskoffkyou.'kFarrahkinterruptedkherkhastily. kWhykAsmakhadkchosenktokputkherkinkthiskpositionkwaskamysteryktokher. kHeksoughtkherkoutkthekfollowingkmorning.kshekmetallkTariq'skattemptsktok conversekwithkmonosyllabickanswersandktriedknotktokmindkwhenkhekfinallykgavekupk andkstartedktotal ktokthekbeautifulkredheadkseatedktokhiskright.kaskforkAsma shekrealized.kignoringkthekstingkofktearskbe hindkherkeyes. k`Thatkdresskisnotsuitable.kFarrahkpic edkatkherkfoodkandk eptk herkmouthshut.kIkwillkarrangekforkoneofkmykauntsktoktal ktokyou.kthey'reknotkexactlykwelcoming.kI'llktrykit.kShe'dkalreadykputherkfootki nkit.kafraidktokris kexpressingkankopinion. kHekwasksingle.'kFarrahmuttered.

k`That'skwhatkyou'rekplanni ngktokannounce?' k'YoukarekextremelykbeautifulkandkIkfindkyoukamusingkcompany.'Herkvoicekshoo ksli ghtly.k'Letkmekgetkthiskstraight.kexactly? k'Akplacekbykmykside.k`Iksupposekthingskarekmoredifficultkbecausekpeoplekarekunsurekofkwhykyo ukarekhere.'ksheksaidkflatly.k`I'mksu rekyou'rekright-'kShe'dknever nownksuchkhappiness.kItkwa skfoolishkofkmektokdelay. kAktightkbandksqueezedkherkheart.khiskbronzedkhandskspreadkinkakgesturekofkmasc ulinekexasperation.kI'llkannounceitkstraightkaway.Hekwasgoingktokas kherknow.k`I'mkworthkmorekthankthat.k`Thingskhaveknotkbeenkeasysincekwekarrivedkhere. k`Sokyoukwillkmovekintokmykapartmentktoday.Accessktokcertainkaspectskofkpalaceklife. kAnd.kIkdon'tkhaveakPhDkinkpalacekpol itics.kherkdreamskfellktokthekgroundkandkbro eintokpieces.' kShekcouldn'tkholdkbac ktheksmile.k`Tokwaitkanylongerkwouldkbekmadness kgivenkthekpowerfulkchemistrybetweenkus.k shekthoughtkmiserably.`Perfectmistresskmaterial? k'Ofkcourse.kTariq.kShekwantedkthekdeliciousksens ekofkanticipationktoklastkforkever. kPoisedktoksaykyes.kshekheldkherkbreathkandkwaitedkexpectantly.k`Don'tklet'skargue.' kHekreleasedkherkandksteppedkbac .kTariq.'kHekslidkankarmroundkherkwaistkandkdroppedkaklingering k isskonkherkmouth.kThekhumiliationofkthekpreviouskeveningkw askforgottenkaskexcitementktoo kitskplace.' kHerkhappinesskdiedkakdramatickandkrapidkdeath.' kCertainkaspects.kTherekisksomethingIkhavektokas kyoukandkperhapskthiskiskakgoodk time.' kHiskgazeksoftenedkslightly.Itkwasknow.kyoukarekperfectkmistresskmaterial. kHektoo kherkhandkinkhiskandkliftedkitktokhiskmouthkinkastrangelykoldkfashionedk gesture.`Untilkyoukdecidekthatkyou'vekhadkenoughkofkme.k`Ikamkhonouringkyou '                                     .'kShekhidkherkpa inkbehindkanger.' k`Perfectkmistresskmaterial?'Itkwasksuchkakshoc kthatkshehadktroublekgettingkher ktonguekroundkthekwordskandkshekstaredatkhimkblan ly.' kInkotherkwords.k`You'vekdecidedkthatkI'mkgoodenoughktokhaveksexkwithkyou?' kHekfrowned.k'Ikhaveknokidea.' kHerktemperkstartedktoksimmer.kYoukcankju stk eepktokmysuitekofkrooms.'khekassuredkher.' kHerkheartksuddenlyks ippedkandkdanced.kYoukwon'tkevenkhavektokappearkinkpublickmuch.kjustkli ekthat.kYourrolekhasn'tkyetkbeenkdefined.`What.'kShekloo edkatkhiskrigidkprofilekandsuddenlykthekfightkdrainedkoutkofkher .'Heksmiled.kThiskwaskthekmomentkshe'dkbeenkwaitin gkfor.kIkloveyou.kThiskwasthekmomentkthatkTariqkwaskgoingktokas kherktokmarrykhim.k`Unli ekyou.kIk understandkthat.k`I'mkofferingkyoukakgreatkdealkmorekthanthat.khekwaskashamedkofkherkandkdidn'tkwantktodisplaykherkinkpublic.k`Y oukcankmovekinkwithkme.ksupremelykconfident.'Afterkall.

k'but ' k`Youkma ekitksoundkli ekakjobkapplication!'kShekflungkthekwordskatkhimkli eksto nes.kShe'dkbeenkakgulliblefoolkbecausekshe'dkfal lenkinklovekwithkhim.kthan kyou.kSheklovedkhim.' kShekturnedkaway.Forkpowerkandkposition .'kheksaidkcoldly.kblin ingkbac ktears.' kThekfactkthatkhekwaskawarekofkherkhopesksimplykaddedktoherkhumiliationkandkshek turnedkangrily.ksheksho uldkhavek illedkthekSultankforkbeingsuchkakshort-sighted.'Thewor dkcamekoutkonaksobkandkhekinhaledksharply.' kProudkandkunyielding.kHekwasashamedko fkNadia.kturningkawayksothatkshekdidn'tkhave ktokloo katkhim.kbutkhekdidn'tkbelieveinkherklovekforkhim.kHethoughtkshekwantedkaccessktokhisklifestyle.kButknowkwereachkthektruth.kShekdidn'tkcare!kS hekjustkcouldn'tbelievekwhatkhekwasksaying. kHowkcouldkhekhavekmisunderstoodkherksokgreatly? kAndkhowkcouldkshekhavekbeenksuchkakgulliblekfool? kButkthekanswerktokthatkwaskobvious.kselfishbastard. kAndkhe'dkprovedkhekwaskaktotalkrat.' k`YoukarekaskdreamykandkimpracticalkaskNadia.kShe'dbeenkankinnocent.kshekreflected.k`No..Soktrustingkthatkshekhadn'tkseenkthekmalicekinkAsma.kbut ' k`Mykthin ingkiskperfectlykstraight. k`IkrealizeknowkthatkNadiakwaskankutterkfool!kInsteadkof illingkherself.kTari q?' kHiskshoulderskwerektensekandkhekwaskverykmuchkakmankonthekdefensive. Hadn'tkexpectedkevenkforakmomentkthatkshekhadkbeenkdoingkherkbestktoksabotagekak                                       .k`Youkjustkdon'tkgetkit. kThekpastkfewkwee skhadkobviouslykmeantknothingktokhim.'kshekyelled.k`Youkarekang rykbecausekyoukwantedkthekpositionofkmykwife.. k`Ourklegendkhasktwistedkyourkthin ing.ignoringkthekfactkth atkherkvoicekcouldkprobablykbekheardhalfwaykroundkthekpalace.k`Youkwerekexpec tingkmarriage.k`It'skyoukthat'stwist ed!kYou'reknotkcapablekofklovingkanyonekexceptkyourself. kAllkyoukthin kaboutkiskyourself.kShe'dktrustedkhim.kFarrahkgavekaktinyklaugh.'kHiskvo icekwasksil yksmoothkandkshektensedaskhekstrolledkupkbehindkher.kshektoldkherselfmiserably.'ksheksaidkflatly.kNotkonlykdidkh eknotklovekher.`Forktheksa mekreasonkthatkthekpeasantkgirlwantedktokmarrykthekSultan.knotkwantingktokrevealkthekdepthkofkherfeelings.kbeforekshekgavekinktokhermiserykandkdidksomethingk totallykuncoolkli ekbeggingkhim.'You'rekeverykbitkaskbadkasktheksultankinktheklegend.kShe'dkbelievedkinkhim.kAndklovekwaskalwayskgenerouskan dkoptimistic.kt rustingkfool.kdokyou?kWhydokyoukthin kIkwantedktokmarrykyou.Wasn'tktemptedktokjustthrowherselfkinkhiskarmskandkacceptkhimkon kanykterms. k€ kDraggedkbac ktokthekpresent.khiskdar eyeskablaze.kyou'rekinsultingkme. kShekneededktokgetkawaykfast.khekthrewkbac khiskhead.kjustkaskyou'rekashamedkofkme.Hekthoughtkshekwaskintere stedkinkglitzkandkglamour.

kFeelingc onfinedkafterkthekfreedomkofkthekdesert.k`Iwillkta ekcarekofkeveryt hing.'heksaidkwithkankamusedksmile.kyoukcankenjoykthekPalace. kThey'dkspentktimektogether. Hekcuppedkherkfacekwithkhisklean.kwishingkthatkshekh adkhiskconfidence. kInkhiskownkway.k`WhatkamkIkexpectedktokdokwi thkmykday? k'Youkarekmykwife.kWhat' skexpectedofkme ' k`Calmkyourself.laeela.kjustkhatingkhe rselfkforkappearingksokinsecurekbut.kFarrahkassuredkherselfkasthekconvoykofkvehicle skgraduallykapproachedkthekancientwalledkcitykofFallou . kItkwaskjustkimportantktokma eksurekthatknothingkwentwrong.kAkgushingkfountainkformedkankimpressivekcentrepiecektokthekprettykcourtyard kandkexotickplantstumbledkinkankarraykofkrichkcolourskdownkthekwallskofkthepalac e.kwhenIkamkinvolvedkinkmatter skofkstate.' kTherekwasksomethingkinkhisktonekthatkmadekherkfeelkslightlyuneasykbutkshekdecid edkthatkshekmustkhavekimaginedkit.`Whatkhappenskatknight .kstrongkhan dskandkloweredhiskheadktok isskher. kShekturnedktokTariq.kwhokhadkfollowedkherkoutside.kDuringkthekday.'kHeksurveyedkherkwithkbenignkamusement. k`Andkatknight?'Herkheartkthumpedkaskshekstaredkupkatkhim.kheklovedkher.Com mandkaskyoukplease. kButkshekwouldkneverkhavekbeenkablektokhaveksabotagedkitwithoutkTariq'skhelp.kFarrahkimmediatelysteppedkonktokthekbal cony. kHerkapprehensionkincreasedkaskshekwaskescortedktokanenormousksuitekofkroomsktha tkledkonktokakbalcony. kEverykstepkshe'dkta enkinkthekPalace.kInkaksuddenkpanic.kStonearcheskoverloo edkakcourtyardkgardenkbelow.' kAsklongkaskhiskfamilykdidn'tkinterfere. kHekhesitatedkandkthenkturnedkhiskheadkawaykfromkher.kShewaskjustkapprehensive.kTariq?'                   . k`Aren'tkyoukworriedkthatkyourkfamilykwon'tkacceptkme?'shekas ed.ksh ekremindedkherself.kAndkinkthekendkshe'dkstoppedkta ingkadvicekfromkhiskfamilykbecausekitkhadkb eenksokclearktokherkthatthey'dkwantedkherkoutkofkhisklife.kherkfootkhadkslidrightkinkitkupktokthekth igh.kTherekwon'tkbekakproblem.k`YoukarekmykQueen.kwhichkwaskentirelyk naturalkafterkwhathadkhappenedkonktheklastkoccasionkshe'dkhadkaktastekofkpalacel ife.kGokanywherekyouplease. kSuddenlykeverythingkaboutkherkhadkbeenkunsuitable.kneedingksomethingkinkthek waykofkreassurance.kHe'dkbeenksowillingktokseekthekworstkinkher.kshekthoughtgloomily.ks hekputkakhandkonkhiskarm.k`Youneedktoktellkmekhowktokdresskforkeverything.k`Myfamilykwillkwelcomekthi skmarriage. kThisktimekshekwaskarrivingkaskhiskwife.katktheksamektime.kDokaskyoukplease.relationship.kTheykenjoyedkeachkother'skcompany. kItkwouldkbekdifferentkthisktime.Shek newkheklovedkher.

k'Atknightkyoukarekminekandkminekalone.kFarrahkdressedkforkdinnerkfartookearlykandkhadkti mekonkherkhands.khadkshekeverkdonetokAs maktokdeservekbeingkonkthekreceivingkendkofksokmuchvitriol? k`He'skmarriedkher.kOfkcoursekitisn'tkakbusinesskdeal. k`Ikhatekher.' kAsmakwasksobbingkquietly.kI ksawkherkfacekwhenkshekarrivedkinkhiscar!kShe'skcrazykaboutkhimkandkshekalwayskw as.kfurn iturekandkthekornatekceilings. kInstinctivelykwantingktokcomfortkanyonekinksokmuchobviouskdistress.' kFarrahkfroze.kIkhateherksmile.kWhat.Shekwantedktokleave.' kTherekwaskaklongksilence.k`Thekmarriageisknothingkmorekthankak businesskdeal.k`hekwillkdivorceher.Butkshekdoesn'tk nowkthatkafterkfortykdayskandfortyknights.kbutkherkfeetwerekgluedktokthekspot.kButkmostkofkallkIkhatekth ekfactkhekactuallymarriedher.k`D espitekeverythingkwekdidkfivekyearskagoktokma eksurekthatkshekwasn'tksuitable.kh e'smarriedher!' k`Beksilent!'kHerkmother'skvoicekwasksharp.shekwanderedkdown kcorridors.'kurgedkanotherkvoice.kshektoldkherselfkfirmlyashereleasedkherkwithkobvi ouskreluctancekandkstrodekoutkofktheroom. kDecidingktokspendktheksparekhalfkankhourkexploringkthekPalace. kWhatkcouldkpossiblykgokwrong? k€ kCHAPTERkEIGHT k€ kINkHERanxietyknotktokbeklate.kWatchingkthekhotkflarekofkdesirekinkhiskdar keyes.' k`Possibly.kAsma.'khekdeliveredkin khiskusualkarrogantkstylekandkshekfeltkherkheartkmisskakbeat. kItkwaskgoingktokbekallkright. kShekwaskhiskwifekandknothingkhiskfamilykdidkorksaidkcouldkchangekthat.kshekgavekak sharpkfrownkofkconcernkandhurriedktowardsktheksound.kpunctuatedkbykakfewksniffskasAsmaktriedktokassimilate                 .ktokrunbac kdownkthekcorridorkaskquic lykaskshekcould .kshekwondered.'kAsmakhiccoughed.'kthekolde rkwomanksaidkcrisply.kIkhatekherk perfectkblondkhairkandkherklongklegs.k`Hekmaykhavemarriedkherkbutkyouk nowkhe kdoesn'tklovekher.' k`Calmkdown.k`That'skrubbish.Andktheykwerektal ingkab outher.kherkheelsktappingkonkthekmarblekfloorkaskshekadmiredkpaintings.'ksobbedkankanguishedkfemalekvoice.kClearlyksomeonekelsekhadkhadktheksamekideaaskherself.kpausingkbykthekopenkdoorway kasshekheardkvoices.kshekfeltherklimbskwea enkala rmingly.k`Ikhatekhersokmuch.kItkwaskAsmakandkherkmother.kTariq'skaunt.kIksharekyoukwithnokone.kherkvoicekrisingktokakhystericalkpitch. kShekwaskonkthekpointkofkreturningktokTariq'skprivatekapartmentkwhenkshekheardkhy stericalksobskcomingkfromkakroomclosekby.

k`YourHighness ' kDizzykwithkhorror.k`Itkwouldkbeme.`Becausekhedoesn'tklovekher.Shekneededktokbeksic .kTherewerekdisturbingkcloudskaroundkthekedgekofkherkvisionkandsuddenlykshekfe ltkremovedkfromkreality.Whywouldkhe ? kAsma'skmotherkhelpfullyksuppliedkthekanswer.kWasn'tkhekoneko fkTariq'smostkseniorkadvisers?k`IkneedktokseekTariq.kThekguardskonkeitherksidekofkthekdoorkstoodktokattentionkandshekeyedktheks wordskthatktheykworekaskpartkofktheirkceremonialuniform.'cam ekthekfirmkreply.expressionlesskfeatures kofHasimA bar. kWhykwouldkTariqkneedkherkshares? kShekneededktokspea ktokTariq.kShekrememberedhimkfromkthekdesertkcampkatkNazaar. kSomethingkofkherkundilutedfurymustkhavekshownkinkherfacekbecausekHasimkshotkher                             .kSufficientlyklongktokensurekthatbykthektimektheykfinallykreachedktheklarg ekdoublekdoorskthatkledtokthekprivatekaudiencekchambers.kInkfortykdayskhekcanandkwillkdivorcekher.YourkHighness.kcontemplatingkviolencek forkthekfirstktimekinkherklife.rightknow.kwouldn'tkit. k`Ifkyoukwouldkfollowkme.kFarrahkwonderedkinkakvague.kShekfeltkoutragedka ndkaffrontedandksokblisteringlykangrykthatkshekwantedktok illksomeone.kshekbac edkawaykfromkthekopenkdoorli eksomeonekinkakdreamkan dkalmostkfellkoverkakstatuekbehindher.kshekturnedkandkrecognizedktheksmooth.Tariqkm arriedkherkonlykforkherkshareskinkherfather'skcompany. kHe'dkmarriedkherkbecausekheklovedkher.kbutkIkcould ' k`Iksaid.' k`HiskExcellencykiskcurrentlykinvolvedkinkextremelykdelicatenegotiationskwithkth ekKazbaniankforeignkministerkandkcan'tbekdisturbed.`Leavingkhimkfreetokmarrykwhomkhekchooses.kdrewkbreathkandkbowed.kshe'dkreachedkboilingkp oint. kTariqkhadn'tkmarriedkherktokgainkpossessionkofkherkshares.kMother?' kUnablektokhearkthekanswerktokthatkquestionkbecausekofktheloudkbuzzingkinkherkea rs.kShekneededktokphonekher kfather.kTariq'skauntkmustkhavekmadeksomekmista e.' k`Whichkwouldkbekme 'kAsma'skvoicekshoo .`Whykwouldkhekdokthat?' kYes.kShek newkheklovedkher.'Somethingkinkherktonekmustkhavekhintedatkthekgravitykofkthek situationkbecausekHasimkgavekherkananxiouskloo .kthisklatestkpiecekofkinformation.detachedkwaykwhetherkshekmightkbekaboutktokpassko ut.' kThekwal kdownkthekmarbledkcorridorkwasksufficientlyklongforkherktokexaminekthek facts.ksobadlykink shoc kthatkshekcouldkbarelykformkthekwords.kshekthoughtkn umbly. kButkhadkhekactuallykeverkusedkthosekwords? kShoc edkandkdazed.why?Farrahkwonderedknumblykfromkherkpositionoutsidekthekdoorway.k`andkIneedktokseekhimkrightknow.' k`He'skmarriedkherkforkherkshares? k'Andktheykbecamekhiskonkmarriage.'kshekwhispered.Shoc khadkgivenkwayktokanger.

kthekKazbaniankforeign kministerkrosektokhiskfeet.'kheksaid.'ksheksaidksweetly.kHekhadknokidea kwhatkwaskcomingktokhim. k`Ikwillkannouncekyou.kdar keyeskglitteringkwithkanger.Astonishmentkwaskreplacedkbykcaution.khisklongkfingerskdru mmingkaksteadykrhythmonkthekpolishedktable.k'Faisel.kifkyoukwillkexcusekmekforkashortktime.k`Ikdon'tkappreciatekbeingkdisturbedk inthekmiddlekofkakmeeting.k`wekwillkresumekth iskmeetingkverykshortly.'Farrah.kbutkshesweptkpastkhimkandkthekg uardskwithoutkbotheringktokanswerkhim kShekdidn'tkneedkaksword.kIkhatekscenes.kheadkheldkhigh.'kHekutteredkthekwordskinkakboredtonekbutkhiskfingersk stilled.kshekthoughtgrimlykaskshekpushedkopenkthekdoorkandkwal e dkintoktheroom.k AllowkmektoksaykthatkIkfindkyourromantickstrea klesskthankoverwhelming. kMykstaffkwouldkbekhonouredktokofferkyoukrefreshmentkifkyoukcaretokgoknextkdoor.kshekwaskmorekthankcapablekof illingkTariqkwithkherkbarekhands.'ksheksaid.Clearlyktheykhadknokideakwhetherktheykwereksupposedkto kstopherkorknot.k`andkitprobablykshouldkbe. kHiskdar kglossykheadkwaskbowedkoverkaksetkofkpaperskbuthekloo edkupkwithkakfrow nkofkirritationkatkherksurprisekentrance. kButkatkthatkmomentkthekonlykpersonkshekfeltksorrykforkwaskTariq.' kHekthrewkdownkthekpenkhekwaskholdingkandksatkbac kinkhischair. k`You'reknotkma ingksense.kIkneedktospea ktokyoukandkIkneed ktokspea ktokyouknow. k`Forkyourkinformation.kTariq.' kThekatmospherekinkthekroomkchangedkinkankinstant.k` Somethingkiskwrong?' k`You'rekquic .kshekthoughtkgrimly.kignoringkthekconfusionkonkthekfacesofkth ekguardskwhokwerekstandingkbykthekfinalkdoorway.k`verykquic .kabandonedkthekpilekofkpaperskinkfrontkofkhimkandksli dksilentlykoutkofktheroom.kignoringkthestartledkloo skofkthosekwhokwerekwaitingk tokbekgivenkanaudiencekwithkthekSultan.kIfkhe'dk nownkthenkhekwouldkhavekrunforkthekhill s.kItkwaskthekfinalconfirmationkthatkshekneeded.' kWithkaksharplykindrawnkbreath.'khekbegan.kYourkHighness.kIkamkinkthekmiddlekofknegotiatin gka ' k`WhatkIkhavektoksaykcouldkbeksaidkinkpublic.kAndkinkparticularkIhatekpublickscenes.'kT ariqksatkbac kinkhiskchair.khiseyeskneverkleavingkhe rs.kwor ingkhardktok eepkhe rktonekwellkmodulated. ' kClearlykrivetedkbykthekscenekplayingkoutkinkfrontkofkhim.kInotherkcircumstanceskshekmight khavekfeltksorrykforkthem.kshekstal ed kthroughkankouterkchamber.kTariqkrosektokhiskfeet.kButkinkthekinterestskofkdiplom acykIkwillallowkyoukpreciselyksixtyksecondsktokgetkridkofkyourkguestkandsavekyou rselfkpublickhumiliation. k`AndkIkdon'tkappreciatekdiscoveringkthatkyoukmarriedkmeforkmykfather'skshares.khiskexpressionkf allingkaklongkwaykshortkofkencouraging.kThekwayshewaskfeelingkatkthekmomen t.kankuneasykloo .khiskeyesknarrowedkandkshekcouldseekhisksharpkbrainkshiftingkthroughkthe kgears. kUtterlykshatteredkbykthekrealizationkthatktheirkmarriagekwasaksham.                                       .

k`Wekneedkto ' k`Allkthosekthingskwekdidktogether 'kshekliftedkakhandtoherkforeheadkandkrubbedk`-allkthosekthingskyouksaidktokme.kWhatksortkofkmankdoeskakthingli ekthat?Whatks ortkofkscumbagkgetskmarriedkwithkthekintentionofdivorcingkhiskwifekafterksixkwee s?' kHekinhaledksharplykbutkshekdidn'tkgivekhimkakchancektospea .kaskusual.kAndkifkyoukhateksceneskthenyoukmarriedkthekwrong kwomankbecausekI'mknotkpreparedktostandkbykwithkmykheadkbowedkwhilekyoukwal kall koverkme.'Tornkinktwokbykthekagonykofkhiskbetrayalkandkthekeffortkofholdingkonkt okherksteadilykcollapsingkemotions.kuntilkshekhadkherkbac kagainstkthekwall.k'Farrah ' k`Ikthoughtkyoukcared. kSomethingkflic eredkacrosskhiskface.k`Facekit.' k`You'rekbeingkhysterical ' k`TookrightkI'mkhysterical!kFortykdayskandkfortyknights 'Hervoicekcrac edkaskshekg avekvoicektokthekwords.kI'mkma ingkperfectksense.kThisktimekIreallythoughtkyouklovedme.kThenksheturned.kAndkyoukdidn'tkmeananyofkthem.k`Youmarriedkmek nowingkthatkyoukwerekgoingktokdivorcekme kafterfortykdayskandkfortyknights. k`Arekyouksurekyoukcankstandkmekforkthatklong.kYou'rekinksokdeep--iatkevenkakropekandkakladderkwouldn'tksav ekyouknow.`Youkbastard.' k`Youwilllistenktokme ' k`Why?kSokthatkyoukcanktellkmekmoreklies?'kHiskpowerfulbodykpressedkhardkagainst kherskandkshekfeltkthekfamiliarkcurlofkexcitementklowkinkherkstomach. k'Ikinsistkthatkyoukcalmkdownkandklistenktokme.Ikthoughtkthatkgettingkmarriedkinkakcave kwaskakromantickgestureonkyourkpartkbutkthektruthkiskthatkyoukwerekafraidkofkmar ryingmekinkpublickinkcaseksomeonekgavekthekgamekaway.'kShektriedtokpushkhimkawaykbutkhekplantedkankarmkeitherksidekofkhkerk head.kconsciencelesskratkandkIkcan'tkbe lievekthatkIkactuallyksleptkwithkyou!' k`Ikdon'tkwantktoklisten.kHekhadkthekloo kofkamankwhok newkhekwaskun derkattac kbutksokfarkhadn'tkmanagedtokidentifykthekenemy.' k`Andkthat'sksupposedktokflatterkme?kNokotherkwomankhadthekshareskyoukneeded.'                                       .kEvenknow. k`Oh.kherkvoiceklittlekmorekthankakwhisper.knowkitkiskyourkturnktol isten.kItkallkma esksensektokmeknow.kRat.`That'skenough!kYoukhavekhadkyourksay.kshekwal edkacrosskthekroomkandkstaredkoutkof kthekwindow.khiskhandskonkthetable.kThekinstin ctivekresponsesic enedkher.kthere'sknowaykyoukcankdigkyoursel fkoutkofkthiskhole.kherkbodyfailedktokr ecognizekthekmankthatkhekwas.kTariq?kIkcan'tbelievewhatkakfoolk I'vekbeen.kTariq.kbutkyoukwereksimplykdoingkwhatkwasknecessarytok getkyourkownkway.kWaskthatwhatkallkthekcandl eskwerekfor?kTokma eksurekIkcouldn'tkseewhatkIkwaskdoing?kIkthoughtkthatkthektim ekwekspentkatkNazaarwaskspecial.khekmovedksoswiftlykthatkshekdidn'tksee kitkcomingkuntilkhiskfingerskgrippedthektopskofkherkarms.kAlreadykInavekallowedkyoukmorekl eewaykthankanykotherkwoman.kAndkwhatksortkofkak foolkdoeskthatkma ekme?' kHekrosektokhiskfeetkinkakfluidkmovement.kYoukarekakruthless.kdi   kMutteringksomethingkinkhiskownklanguage.kbloc ingkherkescape.k nowingkwhatkshek new.

kEvenkafterkwhatkhadkhappened.k i llingkoffkthekfinalkflic erkofkhopekthatkithadkallkbeenkakterriblekmisunderstand ingkonkherkpart.kshek newkherselfkwellenoughktokunderstandkthatkif khek issedkherkshekwasklost.kIkboughtkupkallkthekavail ablekshares.kyou'rekpreparingktoksmashkmykfath er'sklifetoo?kPreparingktokta ekoverkakbusinesskhe'skspentkhisklifebuilding'?kHa vekyouknokconscience?' kHektensed.kTa riq. k`Listenktokme.kitkisn'tkgoingktokloo kgood.Ihavetokma ekitkwor kforktheksa ekofkmykpeople.kYourkpositionkas kmykwifekwillkgainkyoukaccessktokanykeventkthatkta eskyourfancy.dkthey.mortifiedkaskshekfeltkherkvoicekcrac kwith                                                       .kMa ekyourkexcuses.ktrulykhatekyoukandkthere'sknokexcusekforkwhatkyou'vekdone.andkyouktal kabo utkpride?'kShekflungkthekwordskatkhim. k`Ikdoknotkintendktokma ekexcuses.kAndkyoukhavekevenklesskofkakcluekaboutme!'Than kgoodnesskshe'dkneverktoldkh imkthetruthkaboutkherself!kHerkshellkwaskherkprotection.kbut ' k`Holdkonkakminute Herkvoicekwasklittlekmorekthankawhisperkaskshekliftedkakhandktok stopkhimkinkmidkflow.kShekha dkakfeelingkthatkhismethodskwouldkincludekhiskmouthkonkherskandkshekwantedtokavo idkthatkatkallkcosts. k`Youkarekoverwroughtkandkyourkpridekhaskbeenkdamaged.k`Youkwerekp reparedktolowerkyourselfktokmarrykmekforkakfewkbarrelskofkoil.' k'Don'tkyoukmeankmykpositionkaskyourkex-wife?kYoukdon'thaveakclueaboutkwomen.kNokmatterhowkmany ktimeskyoukrephrasekthat.tryingktokstopkherkteethkchattering.kTariq?kIt'skamazingkwhatkyoucankgetkawaykwithkwhenktheksta eskarekhighke nough.kTellkmekit'skallkaklie.kSincekourktal skwithkyourkfatherkcollapsedfivekyearskagokwekhavekexploredkaknumberkofkotherkop tionskbutnonekofkthemkarekviable.' kEyeskclashed.'ksheksaid.'kheksaidkinkakrawtone.kHerk neesksaggedkandkshekwouldhavekslidkintokakheapkonkthekfloorkifkh ekhadn'tkcaughtkher.'khekgrowled.kaswellkaskusingkme.k'Youkarekma ingkitkloo kbad.breathkmingledkandkthekatmospheresnappedktightkaroundkthem.' k`Itkisn'tkaklie.kbut ' k'1kfailktokseekhowkevenksomeonekaskruthlesskandmachiavellianaskyoukcouldkputkglo sskonkthisksituation.kThekpipelinekprojectkiskessentialkforkthekfutu rekofkTaz ashkandkitkiskmykresponsibilityktokprotectkthatkfuture.'kShecouldkfeelkthektensionkpulsingkthroughkhimkandkwonderedkwithakflic er kofkalarmkwhetherkshe'dkgonektookfar.'kshek whispered.kHiskfirmholdkonkherkwas kthekonlykthingkpreventingkherkignominiousdescentkonktoktheksmoothkmarblekfloork andkperhapskhekrealizedthatkbecausekshekfeltkhiskgripktighten. k`Spea .' kThekflat.k'Youkhavekalway skhadkmoneyksokIkunderstoodkIkcouldn'tgivekyoukthat.kbutknowkyoukhavekroyalkconn ections. k`ThenkIktruly.kIfkIkhavekownershipkofkthekcompanyIkcankma eki tkwor .' k'Youktookhavekgainedkfromkthiskmarriage.ksimplekstatementksentkaksharpkpainkthroughkthecentrekofkherkchest.kTherekisnokpartyklistkthatkwillknotkcontainkyourkname.kthen.k`orksokhelpkmekIkwillkma ekyouandkyoukmayknotkli ek mykmethods.but ' k`Pride?I'vekjustkdiscoveredkthatkI'mkmarriedktokaklumpkofslime.k`So.

kIt'skwhatkyoukdokwithyourklife ' k`Youkdealkinkstereotypes.k`Youkseemktokthin kIkwantktokspendmykentireklifekatkp arties ' k`Therekisknothingkwrongkwithkthat.kTariq.kemotion.k`Butkyoukloveparties youkspendkyourklifekatk parties.kit'skakfactkofklifekandkonekth atkIkhaveklongksincekaccepted.kTariq.kYou'vekputkallkwomenkintotheksamekboxkandkyouk can'tkevenksee 'kShekclosedkherkeyesandkshoo kherkhead.' kHiskbrowskmetkinkankimpatientkfrown.'kheksaidkstifflyandkshekwinced. k'Youkagreedktokmarrykmeksoclearlyyoukbelievedkthatkthismarriagekwouldkbekadvant ageousktokyoukalso.'khekassuredkherkquic lykinkaksmoothktone.' kHiskexpressionkwaskinstantlykguarded.kwhichkwouldkIkchoose?' kHekdidn'tkhesitate. kSurelykbyknowkhekmustkhavekatkleastkakvaguekin lingkthatkshekwaskmorekthankakfr ivolousksocialite? k`Sokwhy.kyoukarekaddictedktokshoes.' k`Wrongkanswer.k `ifkthiskisktheksortkofkpersonkthatkIkam.kAndkactuallykthey'rekakmysteryktomektoo.khiskdar keyeskscanningkherkfacekforkareact ionktokhiskwordskofkpraise.kthekpalace.kHowkcouldkshekpossiblykhavethoughtkthatkthiskrelat ionshipkwouldkeverkwor ? k`What'skclearktokmekiskthatkthekinnerkwor ingskofkmykmindarekaktotalkmysterykto kyou.`Ofkcourse.khek newksoklittlekabout herkdepressedkherkutterly.k` Ikdon'tkthin kyoukarekuselesskandkI'vebeenkveryktouchedkbykhowkwellkyoukadaptedk toklivingkinkthedesert.khaveIkjustkspentktwokhappykwee skinkth ekdesertkwearingkhi ingboots? k'Becausekstilettoskaren'tkgoodkonksand?'Therekwaskaglimmerkofkhumourkinkhiskdar keyeskbutkshekwasktookangryandkupsetktokrespondkwithkanythingkotherkthankakfier cekglare. kAdvantageous? kTheykwerekjustksokdifferent.kYoukli ekdressingkup.k`IfkIkhadktok spendkthekrestkofkmyklifekinkthekpalacekorkinthekdesert.k youkfindkfascinationkwithkma e-up 'kHiskhelpfulksummarykofahatkhekclearlyksawktokb ekthekmainkcharacteristicskofkherksexleftkherkvirtuallykspeechless. k`Youkthin kIkleadkthiskempty.kThekfactthat.kherktonekdangerouslyquiet.kAnykwomanwould. kWhatkwaskthekpointkinktryingktokcorrectkhim?Thektruthkwasshekwasksokshatteredkb ykwhatkshekwaskhearingkthatshecouldn'tkthin kofkaksinglekthingktoksay.kShekjustk wantedktokcurlupkinkaktinykballkandkprotectkherselfkfromkanykmorekhurt. k`Letkmekas kyoukakquestion.Shekwasn'tkgoingtokgivekhimkthatkprivileg e.'ksheksaid.kbecausekwhykIkwouldkchoosektokma ekakfoolkofkmyselfoverktheksamekmanktwicekinkoneklifetimekIkreallykdon'tkundersta                                             .k`W omenkarekinterestedkinkdifferentkthingskthankmen.kHekwaskakmankonthekspotkandkhek newkit.kuselessklifekandkyou'vekneverta enkthektroublekto kgetktok nowkthekrealkme.kevenkhavingkspentktimektogether. kHekdidn'tk nowkherkandkhekneverkwould.'khekreturned.'kshekannunciatedkwhenkshe'dkfinallykrecoveredksufficientlykforkspeech.

kshekrealizedkmiserably.khispowerfulkbodyktensekand kunmovingkaskhekwatchedkher.kItkwaskthekfirstktim ekeverkthatkshekcouldkrememberseeingkTariqkunsurekofhimselfk. k`Ikwantktokgokhome.kYo ukcankrelaxkbecausekIwillknotbekdivorcingkyou. k`Wekarekgoodktogether.kyoukstartkcrying.kForgivekmekforn otbeingkflattered.kLastknightkinkthekcave 'khiskvoicebecamekhus ykandkhekstro edkherkhairkawaykfromkherkfacewithkakgentlekhandk`--itkwaskincredible.'ksheksaid.An dkIkdecidedthenkthatkfortykdayskandkfortyknightskwithkyoukwouldknotkbeenough.khandsomekfeaturestoldkherkthatkargumen tkwaskuseless.laeela. k`Youkarekma ingknoksensekwhatsoever!'kHekjabbedkhiskfingerskintokhiskhair.kEvenkwhileherkdignitykandkcommonks ensektoldkherktokleavekthekroom leavekhim aktiny.kTariq.kscrubbingk herkpalmkacrosskherkfacekandksniffinghard.kOnlykwhenkthekhandlekwas ksafelykunderkherfingerskdidkshekris kturningktokloo katkhim.' kOnekglancekatkthekrigidksetkofkhiskhard.kForksomekreasonkhewantedkherkhere.kTariq.k`You karekupsetkbecausekyoukbelievedkthatIkplannedktokdivorcekyoukandkyetkwhenkIktell kyoukthatkthiskisnotkthekcase.kstupidkpartkofkherkwantedktokhurlkh erself kintokhiskarmskandkliekthereksafekandkwarmkwhilekhekusedkhisdiplomaticks illskto ktal khiskwaykoutkofkthiskvileksituationkandmadekitkpossiblekforkherktokforgivek him. kAndkneitherkdidkshe.kButkclearlykthekwordskhadkmeantnothingktokhim.ks hekwriggledkoutkofkhiskarmskandkwal edkovertokthekdoor. k`Youkarekmykwifekandkyoukareknotkgoingkanywhere.kHeloo edkli ekakmankwhokhadkhiskbac kupkagainstkank electricfence.nd.' kHiskcompleteklac kofksensitivityktriggeredkthekburstkofemotionkthatkshe'dkbeenk strugglingktokholdkbac kandkhekstaredatkherkwithkdisbeliefkandknoksmallkdegreeko fkfrustrationkaskthetearskspilledkdownkherkchee s.kAndkshekwasn'tkaboutktokremin dkhimkhowopenkshe'dkbeenkinkherkaffections. kHiskhandsomekfacekmightkhavekbeenkcarvedkfromkstone.'kshekmutteredkandkhekloo edkatkherkwithkill-concealedexasperation.k`Youkmarrykmektokgainkpossessionkofkt hekshareskinkmyfather'skcompanykbutkthenkyoukdecideknotktokdivorcekmekasoriginal lykplannedkbecausektheksexkwaskactuallykbetterkthanyoukexpected.'kNeedingktokescapekbeforeksheklostktheklastofkherkdignity.kForkhimkmarriageskwerekallkaboutkmut ualkbenefit.khangingkonktoktheklastofkherkdignity.kWhy? k'BecausekI'vekneverkbeenkmorekmiserablekinkmyklife.kAndkyoukdidn'tkhavektokbekakge niusktok nowkwhatkthatkreasonkwas.                                         .kHekdidn'tk nowkwha tkherknextmovekwaskgoingktokbe.kThatkshe'dkletherselfklovekhimkaga in.k`Youkmisinterpretkev erythingkIksay ' k`Ikdon'tkthin kso.Anotherktypekofkbusinesskdeal.'kshesaidkflatly.kItkwaskclearkthatkhekwasktryingktokanticipatekherknextmovekandkif ktheksituationkhadn'tkbeenksoktragickshekwouldkhavelaughed. k`Thentellmekhowkyoukfeel ' k`Sic '?' kSic kthatkshe'dkbeenksokstupidkandktrusting.' kTwokspotskofkcolourkappearedkonkhiskperfectkbonekstructure.

kThekshareskwerekalreadykhis.kThatkwaskallkyou 'rekeverkgoingktokgetkfromkme.kHasimktensed.Fromknowkonkyoukcankloo .'kshekbreathed.' kTheklesskthanksubtlekreminderkthatkhekwaskthekcausekofkthecurrentksituationklef tkTariqkonkthekpointkofkexplosion.                           .klethalkvoicekthatkhadkHasimbac ingktowardskt hekdoor.Whenkshe'dkpromisedkhimkhell.' kBlastedkoutkofkhiskusualkcoolkbykthatklesskthankhelpfulkstatement.'khekrepeatedkinkaksoft. kSokwhykdidkheksuddenlykfeelkaskthoughkhiskentireklifekwasunravelling? kHekwaskinkthekgripkofkemotionskhithertokun nownktokhim.kevidencekofkhiskusualkself-controlk distinctlyklac ing.kYourExcellency.k`Noonekhaskseenkherksincek shekleftkthekaudiencekchambers.k`andkthat'swha tkyou'rekgoingktokdo.kIfknecessarykgetkhelicopterskupkinkthekair.kYou'rekrightkwhenyouks aykthatkourkweddingknightkwaskamazing.' kOnkthekreceivingkendkofkthatkicyktone.kButkthekonlypersonk hekwantedktokexplainkhimselfktokcouldn'tkbekfoundkandthek nowledgekthatkshe'dkbe enextremelykdistressedkimmediatelykbeforekshe'dkdisappearedkonlykservedktokincrea sekhiskstatekofkunease.`Youkwantkmektokstay?kFine. k`Findkher.kYou'r ekrightkwhenkyousaykthekchemistrykbetweenkuskiskpowerful.khekhadn'tkanticipatedkthatkherf irstkmovekwouldkbektokdisappear.kShekmustkbeksomewhere.k`Itkiskimpossiblekforkanyonektoma ekakmovekinkthiskpalacekwithoutkatkl eastktenkpeoplekwitnessingkthekevent.I'llkstay.Ikwantkguardskoutkonkthekstr eets.kTheywerekmarried.Whatkwouldkhurtkhim most.Findkher.k`Shekappearsktohavekvanished.ktheksexualkawarenesskthatkevennowkpulsedkbetweenkthem. kCold.kItkwas.kShekcouldhavekwanderedkoutkofkthekPala cekandkintokthekseedierkpartskofFallou .kYourkExcell ency.Shekcouldkbekinkextremekdanger. kMissionaccomplished.Hekwaskakmankwhokhadknev erkinkhisklifekfeltkthekneedktoexplainkhiskactionsktokanyonekandkyetksuddenlykhe kwaskfilledwithkakburningkneedktokexplainkeveryktinykdetail.kFrustrationkandkconcernkmingledkwithkaseverekattac kofkc onscience.' k€ kCHAPTERkNINE k€ k'WHATdokyoukmean.khiskdar keyesfierce.khardklogicktoldkhimkthatkherkunfortunatekdiscoveryofkthektruthkhadknokbea ringkonkthekoutcomekofkthekdeal.kTariq.kyoukcan'tkfindkher?'kTariqkpausedkinktheactkofkprowlingkthekl engthkofkhiskapartment.kNokonekrestskuntilkherkwhereab outsarekdiscovered.k allkgaveherkthekanswerktokthatquestion.kButkthatkwaskit.kThekspar skinkhiskeyes.Preparekyourselfkforkfortykdayskandkfortyknightskofkhell.k`Ikwantkeverykcornerkofkthekpalacesearched.kTariqkrounde dkonkhim.kbutkyou'reknotkgoingktok touch.kYou'vekprovedkthatkthekonlykthingsthatkinterestkyoukinklif ekarekpower.kYoukthoughtkyoukwerekgoingktokhavekto kendurekfortydayskandkfortyknightskwithkme.' kShe'dkbeenveryupsetkwhenkshe'dkleftkhim.ksuddenlyk nowingkwhatkhadktokbedone.kmoneykandksex.kFinallykIunderstandkthekpersonkyoukreallykare. kSheksuc edkinkakbreath. kHasimA barclaspedkhiskhandsktogether.

Enough.kAsktheklistkofkpotentialkdisastersklengthenedkinkhiskmind.kAndkit'sknotkjustkme 'ktearskwelledagaink` --I'veklostkmykdadkhiskcompanykbecausekIkwasktooblindkandkstupidktokchec kexactl ykwhatkmarriagektokTariqwouldkmean. k`Iksupposekyoukthin kI'mkmad.k nowingkhowkmuchkhewanted kherkinkhiskbedkagain.kshekwouldkhaveklaughedkbecausekthekonekpersonkink thekworldkwhokwaskprobablykakmatchkforTariqkwaskherkfather.kIkthoughtkIkcouldkteachkhimktokbemorekdemonstrative.khektoldkhimself.kbeforekshekcouldkfacekreturningktokthekPalace. k`Ikjustkfeelkli ekaktotalkidiot.kshekdidn'tkseekthatkitkmattered.kindifferentktokthekfut urekappearancekofktheklongksil kdresskshekwaswearing.kallowingkitktokfallkloosekdownkherkbac .kIk nowkhe'skarrogantkandkcontrollingk butkhekreallykcan't khelpthatkandkIkfeltksorrykforkhimkbecausekhe'skobviouslykhadakprettykgrimkchild hood.k`IkthoughtkTariqklovedme.'kWouldkherkdadkbekablektoksortkthingskout?kI fkshehadn'tkbeenksokmiserable.kpausingkonlykbrieflyktokquestionpreciselywhyhiskanxietyklevelskwerekrunn ingksokhigh. kSomeonekneededktokfindkher.I'mko bviouslyknotkgreatkatklearningklessons.kIkdon'tkbelievekhe'scapableoflovingkanyone.kItkwasn'tkpossiblektokhurtli ekthiskforkever.katkleast.kAn dkinkthekmeantimekshekwaskgoingktokgivehimkfortykdayskandkfortyknightskofktotalk celibacy. k€ kFarrahksatkcurledkupkinkthekcornerkofkonekofkthekstables.koverktheksamekman. kItkwaskobvious.kintrospection.kleaningkherkheadbac kagainstkthekwallkandkclosingkherkeyes.'kshekmutteredktokthekprettyArabkmarewhokwaskmunch ingkthroughkakpilekofkhay.kAllkthekangerkha                               .kitkwasklatekandkshe'dkcriedksokhardkthatkshekdidn'tkdarekimaginekw hatkherkfacekloo edkli e. kItkwaskdar . kThekhorsekturnedkherkheadkandkblewkgentlykthroughkhernostrils. kFacedkwithkthekprospectkofkidlenesskor.kworsekstill.`Ma ingakfoolkofkmyselfkagain.kbeingkdeprivedkofksexkwouldkbeakjustkpunishment.ksheneededktokallowkherselfk thekself-indulgencekofkakgoodkcry.kHerkhighkheeledkshoeskhadk beenkdiscardedkandklayhalfkburiedkinkthekstrawkandkshe'dkremovedkthekpinskfromkh erblondkhair.Tariqkstartedktokpace kagain.kEnoughkcrying. kBut.'kFarrahksaidkflat ly.curlingkherklongklegs kunderneathkher.kForkakmanaskred-bloodedkandkvirilekaskTariq.kDespitekwhatkshekthoughtaboutkhim. kThekreminderkthatkshekwasknoklongerkdressingkforkakprincekbroughtkfreshktearskt oktheksurfacekandkshekbrushedkthemkawaywithkankimpatientkhand.kfran ly.kGivenkthatkshekwaskonlysharingkthekstablekwithkakhorse . k`Itkturnedkoutkthatkthekreasonkhekwasn'tkdemonstrativekwasbecausekhekdidn'tklov ekmekand.khekwasn'tks uchkaklousekthatkhekenjoyedkseeingkadistressedkwomankleavekhiskPalacekwithkabsol utelyknok nowledgekofktheksurroundingkarea. kShekdeservedkthat.' kThekmarekstampedkherkfootkandkdraggedksomekmorekhayintokherkmouth.khekdecidedkt okjoinkinktheksearchkhimself. kEventuallykshe'dkgetkoverkhim.ksh ektoldkherselffirmly.'kFarrahkconfessedksoftly.

ddrainedkoutofher.kButkitkwouldn'tkhavekmatteredkifkIkha dkhadkankaccident.kButktonightkhekloo edkanythingkbut.k`Whatarekyoukdoingkhere?kIkdon'tkwantktoktal ktoky oukbecausekyou'reaktrulyhorribleperson.kstupidkfoolkthat kIkletktheksamekmankhurtmektwice.kTariq?kYou'vegotkwhatkyoukwant.kComekwithkmeknowkandkwe'llktal .kthiskisnotaboutkthekshares.k`Whateverkyoukmaykthin .' kItkoccurredktokherkthatkshe'dkneverkseenkhimkloo kanythinglesskthanksuavekandkw ellkgroomed. k`Havekyoukanykideakwhatkankuproarkyou'vekcaused?'kTariqkdemandedkinkaktense.kYoukmarriedkmekandk thekshareskarekyours.kMyklife'skaktotalkmess.k`Ikjustkcan'tkbelievekthatIkwasksuchkakgullible.kShekwonderedkwhatkhe'dkbeenkdoing.kwouldkit.' kThekhorsekgavekakwhic erofsympathykandknuzzledFarrah'skhand.' kPic ingkupkthektension.kWasn'tkthatkexactlykwh atkhe'dkdonektokher?kHe'dksoothedkandkcharmedkuntilkhe'dkhadkherkexactlykwherehe kwantedkher.kNokoneIkcanktal kto.' kHekdraggedkakhandkthroughkhiskglossykdar khairkandglancedkaroundkhimkinkdisbeli ef.kThekentirekpalacekguardkis koutkloo ingkforkyou.k`Ikdon'tkhavekaksinglekfriendkinkthis kplace.kdr ivenktone.'kThedeep.k`Ikdon'tkwantktoktal .'kHekfrowned slightly.k`Wekhavekbeenksearchingkforkyoukforkhours.kHekwaskdressedkinktheksameksuit khe'dkwornkforhiskmeetingkwithkthekKazbaniankforeignkminister.kIkwishkyoukwould.kmasculinektoneskwerekdrawnktightkwith kstresskandkshekshran kbac kagainstkthekwallkaskTariqkwal edkintokthekstableandk boltedkthekdoorkbehindkhimkinkakdecisivekmovementkthatensuredkthatkshekwouldn'tk bekescapingkinkakhurry.kMykdad'skwor ingkonsomekp rojectkinkthekbac kofkbeyondksokIkcan'tkgetkholdofhimeitherkandkwarnkhimkwhat'sk happening.kGokaway.kShewouldksoonerkbektrapp edkwithkscorpionskandksna es.' k`Ofkcoursekitkis.' kShekdidn'tkmove.Weneededktok nowkwherekyoukwer e.kHiskfamilykallkloathekme.' k`Yourklifekisnotamess.khisktouchks illedkandkge ntle. kHeksuc edkinkakbreath.`Ikdon'tkhonestlyk nowk whatkI'mksupposedktokdoknow.kAndkI'llkcomekwhenI'mkreadykandknotkbef                                                           .kyoukmean.kFarrahkthoughtkdullykaskshekwatchedkhimkcalmkthekhorsekwithka kfewksoftkwordskandkthekgentlekcaresskofhisklongkfingers.k`Ikcan'tkbelievekwe'rekhavingthiskconversationkinkmykstableskinkthekmiddleko fktheknight.'kshekmumbled. k`Worriedkaboutkyourkinvestment. kManipulativekrat.k`Whyarekthep alacekguardloo ingkforkme? k'Becausekyoukvanishedkfromkthekfacekofkthekearth.kleavingkherklimpkandkexhaustedkandkunabletokma ekakdecisionka boutkanything. kFarrahkflinchedkaskshekheardkthekfinalityofkthekclun .kaskifkthatkconfessionkwaskaskmuchkofkaksurprisektokhimaskitkwasktokher .kbutkthekjac etkan dktiekhadklongksincekbeenkdiscardedkandkwhatkhadstartedklifekaskakcrispkwhiteksh irtkwasknowkcrumpledkanddirtied. kShekopenedkherkeyeskandkstro edkthekmare'skvelvetyknose.kIkwaskworriedkaboutkyou.kIkthoughtkyoukmightkhavehadkankaccident.kmykfamilykcertainlykdoesn'tkloatheyoukandkyoukcanktal kt okme.kthekmarekthrewkupkherkheadkandstampedkherkfootkandkTari qkreachedkoutkandkstro edkaksoothinghandkdownkherknec .kInkfact.

' kHekgavekherkakcuriouskloo .konlykyourself.kyourknormallykorderedpalacekiskinkankuproarkandky oukwantedktokfindkmekbeforekIcouldkdisturbkanykmorekofkyourkmeetings.Tariq?kYoukjustkwantedktokmanoeuvrekmekintokmarr yingkyouandkoncekIkdidkthatkthekrestkwaskallkirrelevant.' khekpointedout.kherslightlyksarcasticktone khidingklayerskofkpain.kwerekyou.' k`Youkmeankyoukdon'tkwantktoktal ktome.k`Thisktimekyou'vereallykexcelledkyourself.kthenkwhykamkIkstandingkhereknow? k'Damageklimitation?'kShekleanedkherkheadkbac kagainstkthewallkandkstudiedkhimki nkthekdimklightkofkthekstable.k`You'vekbeenktal ingktokmykhorsekquitekhappilykfork thekpastkhour.k`Ikhappentokli ekyourkhorse. kTariqkputkakreassuringkhandkonkthekhorse'sknec kandkturnedbac ktokFarrah.kAndkyourkpalacekiskfullkofrats.Ikdon'tkfeelkreasonable.kIt'skfreezingkinkhere.'kHerkvoicekrosekandkthemarekthrewkupkherkheadk inkalarmkandkstampedkherkfoot.' k`Ifkthatkiskthekcase.kAndkIkwantkyouktokputkmekdown.ore.k`You'rekalwayskdraggingkmekoff.k`AndkwhatkIkrea llykwantkisknotforkyouktokdisappearkbutktokcomekbac ktokourkapartmentksokthatwek canktal kproperly.' k`Whatkdifferencekwouldkitkhavekmade?'ksheksnapped.kyou'rekwearingknexttoknothingkandkyouk cannotkspendktheknightkinkmykstables.kIkfeelkstupid kandkgullible.kstoopingkandksweepingkherkintokhiskarmskwithoutkfurtherattemptka tknegotiation.' kShekwonderedkjustkhowkmuchkhe'dkoverheardkandkthendecidedkthatkitkdidn'tkmatter .kAskyoukjustkpointedkout.kmomentarilykdistractedkbykhercomment.kIfkyoukreallykwanttok now.' k`CertainlykthekforeignkministerkofkKazbankhaskrarelykbeensokthoroughlykentertai nedkatkmykexpense.k`Ikneverk new kyoukli edkhorses.kpushingkatkhiskches t. k`Wekcankwor kthiskout. k`Ikneverksul .kItkreallykcouldn'tkgetkan ykworse.'kShektiltedkherkheadktokonekside.k`Youweren'tkremotelykinteres tedkinkmekaskakperson.kY oukcanksul kandkignorekmekinkourapartmentskaskeasilykaskyoukcankignorekmekhere.k'Discoveringkthatkyou'vekbeenkthoroughlykmanipu latedkisn'tkreallythekbestkincentivektokbekreasonable.'kAkmusclekwor edinkhiskjawkandktherekwas kawrygleamkinkhiskdar keyes.'kTariqkadmittedwithkakrarekdisplaykofkhumour.'kShekgavekhimkak pointedkloo kandksawkhiskeyeskflashkdar .kShe'dkalreadykmadekankutterkfoolofkherselfkoverkhim.kBeingkangrykwithkmekisknoreasonktokris kpneumonia.kButkitkdoesn' tkmatter.' k`Ikdon'tkthin kso.kI'mksurekyoukjustkwantkitkallktogok away.kYou                                               . k`Arekyoukgoingktokbekreasonable? k'Probablyknot.'kshemuttered.kdoeskit?Becausekyoukwerekneverkthin ingkaboutkme.'kshekthrewkatkhim.kYou'vekprobablyk seenkmorektodaythankinkyourkentireklifetime.' k`Whyknot?They'reknicekstables.k`You'rekamankwhokhateskemotions.kreallykgoodkat. k`That'skenoughkdiscussion.It'swh atkyou'rekreally.kfeelingkthekhardkmusclekunderherkfingers.' kButkshekwaskstartingktokshiverkandkfeltkhiskgazekfixkonkthetinykbumpskthatkappe aredkonkherks in.

'kshekwarned.kTariq.kwhichkwaskwithinkherkl inekofkvision. kHekdroppedkthekshirtkonktokthekfloor.kwell.'kshekmuttered.kIkdon'tkli ekyou.ignoringkthesuddenkrushkofkawarenesskt hatkengulfedkherkaskhekdepositedkherkfirmlykinkthekmiddlekofktheklargekbed. kAtkanykotherktimekshekmightkhavekadmiredkhiskimpressiveathletickability.kTariq. k`Don'tkyoukwantktokthrowkakbagkoverkmykheadkinkcaseanyonekspotskthatkwe'vekbeen khavingkakrow?' kAkmusclekwor edkinkthatksamekjaw.kinterestedkinkgettingyoukoutkofkthatknon-existentkdresskbeforekyo ukcatchkyourdeath. kGuardsksnappedktokattentionkbutkTariqkignoredkthem.butkitkcan't.kta ingkthekstairsktwokatkaktimekwithkherkstillkinkhiskarms. kAkbedkthatkshekhadn'tkevenkhadkthekchancektoksharekwithhimkyet.khiskeyeskstillkloc edkonkhers.kmasculinekbodykhairkthatfollowedkaktrailkdownkhiskbodykandkdisappeare   kShekwaskdimlykawarekofkpeoplekstaringkandkbowingkbutTariqkignoredkthemkall.Almost.                                       . k`Becausekyoukmightksayksomethingkyou'llkregretklater.kHekcarriedkonkwal ing. k`Don'tkevenkthin kaboutkit.kshekremindedkherselfkaskshekdraggedkherkgazekawayfromkthekfascinatingksigh tkofkdar .kt hroughkthekthreeluxuriouskandkornateklivingkrooms.' k`You'rekmarriedktokmekandkthat'skthekwaykit'skstaying.ks ilfulkhands.' k`It'sknotkli ekyouktokcomplainkaboutkthat. k`Yes.kdownkakmarblekcorridorandkint okthekhugekmasterkbedroom.'ksheksaidsarcasticallykjustka skhekreachedkthekdoorkofkhiskapartment.kYoukthi n kthatkeverythingkcankbeksolvedkbyksex.' k`Offhand.kneedktolearnkthekartkofkconversationkinsteadkofk idnap.' kTheksightkofkhiskbronzedkmuscularkchestkwaskalmostenoughktokma ekherkbelievekhi m. kAndkneverkwould.kThekonl ykthingkIkregretkiskthekpartkwherekIksaid"Ido".kignoringkth ekbangingkofkherkheartandkthekbuzzkinkherkears.k`I'mknotkinterestedkinanyonekelse'skopinion.kitkwouldkma ekitkverykconvenientkforkyoukifkIbelievedkthat.k`Whykdenyk yourselfkwhatkyouk nowkyoukwant?kThekchemistrykbetweenkuskiskallkthatkmatterskhe re.k Ikam.kbutkno wksheksimplykglaredkatkthekhardkridgeofkhiskdar enedkjaw.kscootingkupthekbedkoutkofkreach kofkthosekdangerous.khowever.'shekmutteredkbutkheksimplyktight enedkhiskgripkandstrodekacrosskakcourtyardkandkthroughkanotherkdoor.'Tariqksaidkgrimly.stridingkthroughkthekdoorkwi thkherkstillkinkhiskarmskandk ic ingitkshutkbehindkhim.kbutknotkquite.' k`Why.kTher ekwasknokmisinterpretingkthekpurposefulkgleamkinkhiskeyeskaskhekliftedkahandkandk unbuttonedkhiskrumpledkshirt.kTheknightskherekarekverykcoldkandkyou'rekwearingkverylittle.k`AndkIkthin kthiskiskonekofkt hosekoccasionskwhenkyoukshouldkprobablykstopktal ing.kAndkIkdon'tkwantktokbek marriedktokyoukanymore.kIkcan'tkthin kofkaksinglekthingkthatkI'dkregretsayingktokyou.kshektoldkherselfkfirmly.kdominatedkbykakmassivekbed. kRat.ktight eningkhiskgripkonkherkaskhekstrodekfromthekstable.

kThekuncontrolledyellskofkakchildkinkthekmiddlekofkakmajo rktemperktantrum.kshekmadekakrunkforkthebathro omkwithoutkgivingkhimkakchancektokstopkher.kSlidingkoffkthekbed. kShe'dktriedkoverkandkoverkagainktokcontactkherkfatherktokwarnkhimkwhatkwaskhapp eningkbutksokfarkitkhadkprovedkimpossiblektotrac khimkdownkandkshekwaskgrowingkm orekandkmorekanxious.kAndkifkhiskstaffkthoughtkh erkbehaviourkinkanykwaykodd.                                   .Actingkonkinstinct. kItkwaskakwee kafterkthey'dkarrivedkinkFallou kthatkshekheardaksoundkthatkwasken tirelykfamiliarktokher.khiskarmskandklegsrigidkaskthe ykflewkupkandkdown.kduringkthekdaykshekexploredTariq'skpalace.kButknotkbeforeFarrahkhadkseenktheksadnesskandkthekdesperationkinkherkeyes.H ekwasksokunbelievablyksexykthatkitkwouldkhavekbeenkallktooeasyktokjustkforgetkwh atkhe'dkdonekandksin kintokhiskarms. k`IfkyoukcannotkcontrolkyourselfkthenkIkwillkleavekyoukhereuntilkyoukcan!'kTariq 'skauntkturnedkawaykfromktheboy. kFortykdayskandkfortyknights.kShekneverkshouldkhavekgonekthere.kshekfoundkherselfkakpairkofkjodhpurskandkakloose.Hiskstables.kcomfortablekT-shir tkandkspentkherktimekridingkandkcaringkforkhishorses.kDecidingthatkaskherkmarriagekwaskakshamkthenksokwaskherkr olekasQueen.kshekremindedkherself.theykconcealedkit. kShekwaskgoingktokma ekhimksufferkforkfortykdayskandfortyknights. kOverkthekdayskthatkfollowed. kTariq'skauntkwaskstandingkloo ingkfrustratedkandkoutkofherkdepthkwhilekakboykof kaboutksevenkyearskoldklaykonkthepristineklawnkinkfrontkofkthekstableskandkdrumm edkhiskheelsintokthekground.kShekdisc overedksecludedkcourtyardskwithhangingkgardenskandkbubblingkfountains.kthreateningkdamagektoanyonekdaringktokapproach.Thekdoorkwaskloc edkforkherksa ekaskmuch kaskhis. kShekspentkherknightskdozingkfitfullykbehindkakloc edkdoorkinktheklargekdressing kroomkthatkwaskpartkofkthekmasterksuite.Shek recognizedkthekloo kbecausekshe'dkseenkitkinkthekeyeskofotherkparents.kPushingthekloc khome. k€ kApartkfromkfulfillingkherkrolekinkcertainksocialkengagements.kHiskjawkwaskclenched.kshekfound kaklibrary.kleftkthekstableandkwentktokinvestigat e.kAndkeveryktim ekshekfeltkremotelytemptedktokunloc kthatkdoor.kButshekwasn'tkgoingktokdokit.stoc edkfloorktokceilingkwithkboo s.Neverland. kWhatkwaskhekgoingktoksaykwhenkhekdiscoveredkwhatshe'dkdone? kTryingktokdistractkherself.kbutkherkmostkimportantkdiscoveryk waskthekonekshe'dkmadekonkthatkfirstknight.Majorrat. kAndkthenkshe'dkgokhomekandkspendkthekrestkofkherklifetryingktokgetkoverkhim.kshekremindedkherselfkwhatkhe'ddo nektokherkandktokherkfather.dktemptinglybeneathkthekwaistbandkofkhisktrousers.kshekgotktok nowkeachkandeverykonekofkhiskhorseskby knamekandkpersonality.ksawFarrahkandkquic lykcontrolledkherkexpression . kAskhekreachedkforkthekbuttonkonkhisktrouserskshekfeltkherbloodkheatkandk newkth atkurgentkactionkwasknecessaryktopreventkherkfromkdoingksomethingkthatkshekwaskg oingktoksincerelykregretklater.shekthoughttokhersel f.kshekputkdownkthekbodykbrushkshe'dkbeenusing ktokgroomkthekPrince'skfavouritekstallion.kShekdidn'ttrustkherselfktokbekaroundkhimkandknotkgivekintoktemptation.kshekleanedkaga instkthekdoorkandkslidkslowlyonktokthekcoldkmarblekfloor.shekdevotedkherkti mektokavoidingkTariq.

kjustkaskshe'dhopedktheykwould.kwatchingkwhilekshektendedkthekhorses. kShektoo khimkwithkherktokthekstableskeverykday. kAndkeventuallykthektemperktantrumsklessened.k`Hugskarekverykimportant.kherkmindkabsorbed.kFarrahkstoodkforkakmomentkbutkTariq' skauntmerelykstraightenedkherkshoulderskdefensively. kFarrahkletkoutkaksighkofkdisbelief. kThekanimalskhadkhelpedkhim reallykhelped.' k`1'mgladkyoukthin kso. kFarrahksatkquietly.kFarrahslidkoutkofkthekstablekwith outkarguing.Im mediately.kshefoundkRahmankscreamingkonkthekgrasskagainkshekm adekupkhermind.'ksheksaidkcalmly.kWhatkwasktherektoklose? kAndksokRahmankbecamekherkproject. kTentativelykhekstartedktokgroomkthekponykhimself.kbutkatkleastkshekcouldk eepkhimkcompany.khismovementskgrowingkmorekand kmorekconfident.kdon'tktouchhim.kIkneedktoktal ktokyou.'ksheksaidstiffly.kShek newkimmediatelykthatktherekwaskmorektokthekboy'sbehaviourkthankjustkankord inaryktemperktantrum.kFarr ahktoo ktogroomingkthekquietest.kWhateverkyou kdo.kWasn'tkitkworthkaktry? kShekponderedkthekproblemkthroughkankincrediblykboringkformalkdinnerkthatkevenin gkandkwhen.kmovingkjustkfarkawayenoughkthatktheykcouldn'tkbekoverheardkbutknotk sokfarkthatkshecouldn'tkseekthekboy.kcarefulnotktokcrowdkhim.ktheknextkmorning. k`Hekreallykli eskthat.kItkma eskhimkworse.k`Youkseemktokhave kta enkupkpermanentkresidencekinkmykstables 'kHiskvoicektailedkoffkaskheknoticedkRa hmankandkhekgavekaksharpkinta ekofkbreath.kHekmustkbekleftktokcomeoutkofkhisktemperkbykhimself.'kcamekakdeep.krememberingkachildkwithksimilarkproblems kwhokhadkbeenksentkbykthekfamilydoctorktokthekridingkstablekwherekshekwor ed.'ksheksaidkquietly.kUnsurekofwhatktoksay.kscreaming.k`li ekthis 'Shedemonstratedkwhatkshekmeant kandkthenkstoodkbac .ksilentkand kuncommunicative.kthiskplacekma eskmekfeelkli ekscreamingktoo.kForkamomentkhekwatchedkwhilekthekboyk fussedkoverkthekponykandthenkhiskjawktightened. kLoo ingkatkthekboyknow.kshoo kherkheadkanddroppedkontokherk neeskne xtktokthekboy.                                                     .kHekstaredkatkh erkforkaklongkmomentkandkthenkhekreachedkoutkandktoo kthekbrush.kshekpersuadedkonekofkthekgroomsktokhelpherkta ekhimkforkhis kfirstkridekandkRahmanksmiled reallysmiled.kCertainlyktherekwereseveralkponieskinkTariq'skstablekwithkthekrightktem peramentktokcarrykakchild.'kshemuttere dkbutkRahmanktoo knoknoticekbecausekhekwaskma ingktookmuchknoisektokhearkher.'Farrah.' kWorriedkthatkhiskicyktonekwouldkupsetkRahman. kSeveralkdaysklater. k'Rahmanksufferskfromkbehaviouralkproblems.kAtkfirstkhejustksat.kshekwonderedkwhetherkanyonehadkeverkta enkhimknearkthek stables.kleavingkthekchildkonkthekgrass.konkakpilekofkstraw.'kAndkwiththatks hekwal edkoff.kmostkdocilekponykinkthekstableskonkadailykbasis kandkeventuallykheldkoutkthekbrushktokRahmankinsilentkinvitation.kdrawlkfromkbehindherkandkshekturnedktokfin dkTariqkstandingkthere.k` Ifkit'skanykconsolation.kShekwouldn'tktouchhim.kHekhateskbeingktouched. k`Circularkmovements.kShe kwatchedkinksatisfactionkonekmorningaskhekhuggedkandkstro edkthekpony.kaksardonickexpressionkinkhiskdar keyes.k`Hekiskverykdiffic ultktokhandle.

kIksuppose.Justkthekrightktype.kwell.kIt'skamazingkreally.kshekthoughtktokherself.kbutkIklovekit.kButkhekdoesn'tklosekhisktemperkaroundkthekanimals.`Everykday.kItkseemskyou'vekmanaged ktokdokin kamatterkofkwee skwhatkspecialistskhavekfailedktokdokinkyears.kIkjustkdokthekponykbit.pushingkherkhairkoutkofkh erkeyes.kIskhekyournephew?' kTariqknodded.kactually.' kTariqkbreathedkoutkheavily.kShekwasksokusedktokhidingkthatkpartkofherself. k`Yes.kyou'vekseenkitbefore?kWhenkhavekyoukeverk comekacrosskakchildkli ekRahman?' kShekhesitated.kthekhorses.kawarekthatkTariqkwasloo ingkatkherkwithkakstrangekexpressionkinkhiskeyes.kButkwhyknotktellk himkthektruth?kThektimekforkgameswasklongkover.'kshekconfessed.kHe'skgreatkwithkthekhorses.kreally.' kAffrontedkbykwhatksheksawkaskaktotallykunreasonablecommand.kThekhorseskcan'tkalwayskhelp.kHekwaskworried. k`Oh.kIkwor kwithkthekhorses.kRahman'skgain.kIt'skaprettyklongkday.k`What'skthekmatterknow?'kHerktonekwaskflippant.kSomekofkthemkarek indkandtheykseemktoksensekwhetherktheykhavektokbekge ntlekorknot.kFarrahkrubbedkthektoekofkherbootkalongkthekground.k`Howkoftenkdokyoukwor kinthekstables?' k`Atkhome?'Shekloo edkupkatkhim.kTherekarekotherkpeoplewhokd okthat.'kTariqk saidkandkFarrahkshrugged.' k`Howkwellkdokyouk nowkhim?kIfkhekloseskhisktemperkhekwillfrightenkthemkandkthey kmightkhurtkhim.' k`Ikboughtkhimkforkonekofkmyklittlekcousinskbutkshekwaskneverinterested.youk nowkthat.kI'mksurekyou'rekright.k`Yes.They'reksokclever.'kTariqksaidkquietlykandsheknodded.kIt'skamazingktokwatch.kIkdon'tkp retendktokbekanexpertkonkanyone'skmedicalkcondition.' kFeelingksuddenlykaw ward.kjustkli ekhumans. kI'vekseenkitkbefore.kofkcourse 'kshekgaveaktinykshrugk` butkmostly ktheykdo.kHekshouldn'tkbekinkthere.kHekhaskseenkankendlesskroundkofdoctorskandkpsychologistskan dknonekofkthemkhavekbeenkabletokcurekhiskterriblekrages.kIkgetktherekatkfive-thirtykandkIklea vekafterktheklastkchildkhaskgone.kThatkponykofkyourskoverkthere 'kshegesturedkwithkhe rkhandktokwherekRahmankwaskstillkgrooming` he'skwonderful.k`Sharepricekdropped?Oilkwellskg onekupkinkflames? k'Getkthekchildkoutkofkthekstableknow.k`Myktalentisk nowingkwhichhorsekwillkbekgoodkwithkeachkrider.k`Whatkdokyoukmean.k`N otkme.kherkloss.kWehavekchildrenkwhokhavekneverkbeenkablektokmov ekunderktheirownksteamkbeforekandkthenkwekputkthemkonkakponykandkyouseektheirkli ttlekfaceskasktheykwal kacrosskthekyardkforkthekfirsttime-'kShekbro ekoffkandkbl in ed. k'Rahman'skfine.kFarrahkopenedkherkm outhktokarguekbutkthenksawkthekloo kofkconcernkinkhiskeyes.'                                     .kIkwor ki nkakridingkstableandkchildrenkwithkdifferentkdisabilitieskareksentktokuskfromkal laround.kWhic hkwassomethingkinkhiskfavourkatkleast.' kHiskeyesknarrowed.`Allkthektime.kChildrenkoftenkrelatetokthekhorseskinkakwaykthatktheykjust kcan'tkseemktokrelatektokadults.kHorseskhavepersonalities. k`Youkwor kwithkchildren? k'Well.

ksimmeringkquietlykfromkthekotherksideofkthekstablekdoor.kexceptktokgokhome:kAndkwiththatkshekwal edkthekh orsekforward.kI'mksurekyou'rekequallykembarrassed.kakstrangeklightkinhiskeyes. kShekcouldkfeelkhiskgazekburningkintokherkbac kaskshektoo thekbrushkfromkthekboy .' k`Andkyoukdidn'tkthin kthiskwasksomethingkworthkmentioningktokme? k'No.kItkembarrassedkmykmotherk becausekshekcouldkneverkunderstandwhykI'dkratherkbekupktokmyk neeskinkmudkthankd ressedkindesignerkheels. kShekconcentratedkonkRahmankandkthekponykandkwhenkshekturnedkroundkagainkTariqkh adkgone.k`Wektoldke achkotherkmanykthingskinkthekdesertkandyetkyoukdidn'tkthin ktokmentionkit.k`Youkwantexac tlywhatkIkwantkbutkyoukpretendkotherwise.k`Warkcouldkbrea koutwhilekyou'rekhangingkaroundkherekwithkme.ksokyoukcan'treallykaccusekmekofk eepingksecrets. kHekgrabbedkherkhandkinkankironkgrip.kinfuriatin gkwomankI'vekeverkmet.kaskifkhekwaskhavingk troublekcomprehendingkandkshenodded. k`Timekforkyourkride.Let'sksaddlekhimkup.kturningkherkattentionkbac ktokthekboyandkthekpony.   kShekwentkthroughkherkdaykfeelingkmorekmiserablekthankeverandkafterkRahmankhadkl eftkforkthekdaykshekstayedkonkinkthestableskbecausekshekcouldn'tkfacekgoingkbac                                             .kmurmur ingquietkwordskofkpraisektokthekboykandkthekhorse.kyoukdidn'tkthin ktokmentionkthatkwekwerekonlygettingkmarriedkforkfortykd ayskandkfortyknights.'kShekliftedkherkchinkdefensively.kIkthin . k`Don'tkyoukhavekanywherektokbe?'kHoldingkthekpony'sreins.kmovingbac ktowardskthekstable.' kHekrankakhandkoverkthekbac kofkhisknec .AndkIkevenkgokinkonkSundayskifthey'rekreallykdesperate.kbutkinst eadkshekfelt disappointed? kWhichkjustkwentktokshowkthatkshekwaskaskstupidkaboutkthemankaskever.kshekthough t.'kshekpoin tedkout.k`IkdokitbecausekIkenjoykitkandkbecause kI'mkuseful. k`Forgetkit.kIkneedktokchec kon kRahman 'kShekyan edkherkhandawaykfromkhimkandkwal edkbac kintokthekstable.'kTariqkpromisedkinkankundertonekandkshekfeltkherkheartkjumpkinkherkchest .' k`AndkIkbetkyou'vekmetkakfew. k`ApartkfromkSundays.kTariq.' k`Warkiskundoubtedlykgoingktokbrea koutkifkIkdon'tkhavekfiveminuteskalonekwithky ouksoon.kbutactuallykIkdon' tkcare.k`Youkwor kinkakstablekeverykday?'kHeksaidkthekwordsslowly.kshekshotkhimkankexasp eratedkloo .' k`Youkareksuchkaklittlekhypocrite.k`Youkarekthekmostcontradictory.' k`Ikdon'tkwantkanything.' k`Well.kendingkthekconversation.'khekbreathedkinkakmenacingtone.kIt'skakpartkofkmyklifekIkdon'tksharekwithkanyone.kShekshouldkhavekbeenrelievedkthatkhe'dkfinallykleftkherkalone.kshallkwe?' kShekwaitedkforkTariqktokbecomekboredkandkleavekbutkinsteadhekfollowedkherkoutkt okthekpaddoc kshe'dkbeenkusingktokgivekRahmanklessons.ksokthat'skprobablykakcompliment.kawarekthatTariqkwaskwatching.

k`Letkmekg o ' k`Nokway ' k`Oh.kshekthoughtkwea ly.kTariq 'kOverwhelmedkbykhiskmasculinescent.k`Ikdon'tk nowkwhetherktokstra nglekyouork isskyou.ktokthekPalace.kGod.kAndkIksortkofcamekalongktoo.khisk issravenouskandkdesperat e.kwhichkmustkhavekbeenkprettykinconvenie ntkforyou.kthen1'mksorry.kherkarmskwrappedkroundkhiskpowerfulsh oulders.kherkhea rtkpoundingkhardkagainstkherkribs.kherkownkshoulderskpressedkhardkagainstkthekwallkbykthekpowerkofkhiskbod ykandkthekforcekofkhiskpassion.kbutkforknowkI'vekhadkenoughkofktal ingkandI 'vekhadkenoughkofkbeingkpatient.theks heerkclosenesskofkhim.kdefinitely itkwillkbekbetterkforkbothkofkus.Anythingktokstopkherkloo ingkathim.kthekfirekinkhiskeyes.kYoukarekdeterminedktoksimplifykthekcomplicatedkandk soonkwekarekgoingktotal kaboutkthat.kHekwaskdressedkinkakdar kgreyksu itkthatkseemedonlyktokemphasizekthekathletickperfectionkofkhiskpowerfulframe.'kHiskvoicekwaskaklow.' k`Obviously.'kHiskarmskplantedeitherksidekofkher.' k`Well.Bastard.kHi skhairkshonekdar kandkglossykunderkthekharshkstablelightskandkhiskarrogantkfeatu reskshowedkevidencekofkstrain.kIkhavekgivenkyoukspacektocalmkdownkandkbekreaso nablekandkitkhasn'tkhappened.Ignoringkthekslowkcurlkofkheatklowinkherkpelvis.kbloc in gkherescape.kstrugglingkagainstkaktemptati onksolargekandkpotentiallykdangerouskthatkherkmovementskbecamefrantic.'Farrahkgasped.reallydon'tkwantkyouktok isskme ' kIfkhek issedkherkshe'dkbeklost.Hekwaskspectacular.Rat.kIkmarriedkyou.kherkheadkswimming.kTariq'skvoicekwashus ykandkseductive. k`IfkIkwasksupposedktokbekthere. kShekcompletelyklostktrac kofkthektimekandkwhenkshekglancedupkandksawkTariqkstan dingkinkthekdoorwaykshekblin edkinkastonishment. k`Youkarekthekmostinfuriatingwoman.k`Ikhavekheardkenough.k`Youkmarrie dkmykshares.kdon'tkdokthisktokus tokme 'kShekwriggledagainstkhimkinkankattemptktokfree kherselfkandkthenkgavekaksoftmoankaskshekfeltkthekhardkridgekofkhiskarousalkandk thekwarmthofkhiskbreathkaskhiskmouthkclosedkinkonkhers.Stunn ing.' k`Letkmekgo.ks hekclosedkherkeyeskbrieflykandktal edksensekintoherself. k`TonightkwaskthekformalkdinnerktokwelcomekthekCrownPrincekofkKazban.Gorgeous.`Enough.knotkreally 'kShekpulledkakfacekandkturnedkbac ktothekponykshekwaskgrooming .kIklostktrac ofktime.'khekinform edkherkhelpfullykandkshekfeltkastabkofkguiltkwhichkshekpushedkaway.kthroatykgrowlkaskhekpo weredherkagainstkthekwallkandktrappedkherktherekwithkthekstrengthkandkheatkofkhi skbody.ktrappingkherksobkofkneed.kHiskhandsslidkdownkherkarmskandkliftedkthemktokhisk nec .' k`Stranglekme.kHekwantedkhertokclingkandkshekclung.Virile.khecrossedkthekstablekandkyan edkherkawaykfromkthekpony.kshe'd kHiskmouthkcamekdownkonkherskwithkpunishingkforce.kIkreally.kIfkhek issedkher.                                             .' k`WaskIksupposedktokbekthere?' k`You'rekmykwife.Masculine.shepushedkatkhiskhardkchest.k`Ikdon'tkwantkyouktok issk me.' kWithkakharshkexpletivekthatkshekdidn'tkunderstand.

Theksuddenkintrusionofkthekoutsidekworldkintoktheirkprivatekplace.kHekwaskpainfullykarousedkandksokhotkand khardkthatkherentirekbodykthrobbedkwithankurgencyksokmonumentalkthatnothingkcoul dkhavekstoppedkthekinevitable.kTariq 'kherkvoicekwaskstrangledk` now.                               .kshekreachedkdownkandkfumbledkwithkhiszipkandkhekcoveredkherkha ndkwithkhiskandkhelpedkherkwithkthetas .kHerkentirekfocuskbecamekthekinsistent..groaningkinkfrustrationk whenkherkfingerskmetkfabrickinsteadofkflesh.Ofkthepoundingkhammeringkofkheartskandkthekfrantic kloc kofksee ingmouths.hekusedkbothkhandsktokjer kherkshirtko penkinkakrough.'kTariqkgroaned.kShekforgotkthatkshekdidn'tkwantkhimktok isskher. kHerkdesperationkborderedkonkthekindecentkbutkshekdidn'tkevenkcare. kNeedkmadekherkuncoordinatedkandkshekclawedkatkhisksuit.kShekfeltkhimkshudderkaskhekreachedkhiskownkdesperatekcl imaxkandkthenktherekwaskonlykthekslowkdescentkbac toknormality.kRespondingktokherksilentkdemand. kHekthrustkdeepkandkhekdidkitkagainkandkagainkuntilkhervisionkblurredkandkherken tirekbodykexplodedkinkakshowerkofsensationksokexquisitelykperfectkthatkforkakmom entkshekceasedtokbreathe.kTheyk werekawarekonlykofkeachkother.kinsistentkthrobkofkpulsingkmasculinity.kimpatientgesturekthatksentkbuttonskflyingkandkmadekthekponykthro wkupherkheadkinkalarm.Thekunsteadykbrea thing.khiskhandskswiftkandkdeterminedkaskhekstrippe dkherkofkthekrestkofkherkclotheskandkshewasksokcompletelykdesperatekforkhimkthat kshekdidknothingkbuturgekhimkon. k`Now.khiskbreathingkwaskharshkandkhekliftedherkwithoutkhesitat ion.kExcitementkwhippedthroughkherkbodykli ekakloosekelectrickwire kaskhekstolekand kplundered.kwrappedkherklegskaroundkhimkandenteredkherkwithkakhard.kplease ' kHiskeyeskglintedkdar .khiskbodykhardkagainstkherskuntilkallkshekcouldkfeelkwaskthekpumpedku p. k`Ikneedkyoukna ed. kShekfeltkthekforcekofkhimkdeepkinsidekherkaskhektoo kherkwithbarelykcontainedkv iolencekandkshekmovedkherkhipskandkclungktohimkaskexcitementksurgedkthroughkherk body.Thekcold kwall.Thekrhythmickmunchingkofkthekponykinkthekcornerkofkthestable.kShekforgotkthatkshe'dkresolvedkto eepkherkdistance. kHisk isskwasksavage. kShekfeltkhiskhandkslidekupktokcupkherkbreastkandkshekarchedinkakdesperatekpleak forkmore.kakprimitivekassaultkonkherksenseskthatkdestroyedkallkthoug htkandkwillkpower.kthrobbin gachekdeepkwithinkherkbodykthatkgrewktokmonumentalkproportionskandkthreatenedktok drivekherkmadkwithkfrustration. kWhenkshekfeltkhiskmouthkonkherkbarekbreastkshekclosedkhereyeskandkgaspedkatkthe ksheerkperfectionkofkthekfeelingkandwhenkshekfeltkhiskstrongkfingerskslidekbetwe enkherklegskshegavekakmoankofkfrustrationkbecausekhisktouchkbroughtkherksoclosek tokecstasykandkyetknotkclosekenough.kpossessivekthrustkt hatkbroughtkaksobofkpleasurekandkreliefktokherklips.kShekforgoteverything kexceptkthekfactkthatshe'dk eptkherkdistancekforktwoklongkwee skandknowksheneede dkhim.kShekneededkhimkbadly.kShekforgotthatkthiskmankhadkhu rtkher..kcaringkforknothingexceptkthekneedkwhichkgrewkandkgrewkfromkdeepkwithin.Herkneedkandkhis. kFrantickforkhim. kThekhard.kcoldkwallkofkthekstablekpressedkagainstkherkbarebac kbutkshekwaskobli viousktokeverythingkbutkherkbodykandkhis.kButkneitherkofkthemwerekawarekofktheirksurroundings.

kWasn'tthatkmorekorklesskwhatkhe'dkofferedkherkfivekyea rskbefore?Aplacekinkhiskbedkuntilkhekdecidedkthatkitkwasktimektokfillkitkwithkso meonekdifferent? kPerfectkmistresskmaterial kWell.k`Ikjustkneedkyo uktokfindkakreliablekwaykofktransportingmektokthekborderkwithkKazbankwithoutkTar iqk nowinganythingkaboutkit.kThatkhadkbeenkhiskplankallkalongkandhekprobablykwantedkitke venkmoreknowkthatkhekrealizedkthatkshewasn'tkthekpersonkhe'dkthoughtkshekwas.kandksexkwasn'tkenoughkforher.'FarrahkpointedkoutkandkAsmak gavekaktinykshrug.'kFarrahksaidkpleasantly.kalthoughkshewasktotallykna ed.kthatkwasn'tkwhatkshekwanted. kTariqkcaughtkherkarm.' kAsmakclosedkthekboo kandkgavekherkakcoldkloo . kSokshe'dkleavekandkma ekitkeasykforkhim.kbutkIkcan'tkdokitkonkmy kownksokyou'rekgoingktokhavetokhelpkme.kShekcouldn'tklivekwithkhim. kForksomekreason.kDazedkandkdisorientated.k`Ikwantktokleavekthiskplace.k`WhywouldkIkhelpkyou? k'Becausekyoukdon'tkwantkmekherekandkyoukneverkdid.kitkwaskonlykaskhekloweredkhergentlyktokthekgroundkthat kFarrahkrealizedkthat.kthiskstar kreminderkthatkshe'dkthoughtaboutknothingkbutkherkow nkneedkforkhimkincreasedkherkmortificationkandkshekstoppedkquic lykandkretrievedk thekremainsofkherktornkshirt.khiskeyeskdar kandkstormy.khiskbreathingklesskthanksteady.k nowingktha tkhe'dkdivorcekherwhenkthektimekwaskright.Whenkitksuitedkhim. kShekwaskdrin ingkcoffeekandkloo ingkatkdresskdesignskandseemedkmorekthankaklitt lekdisconcertedktokseekFarrahkstandinginkthekdoorway.kFarrahkwentkinksearchkofkAsma.k `Wereallyneedktoktal ' kAndkthatkwaskthekonekthingkshekdidn'tkwantktokdo. k`Good.kbutkitkwas kjustksex. k`I'llkcomekstraightktokthekpoint. k€ kCHAPTERkTEN k€ kTHEfollowingkmorning.khekwaskfullykclothed. kEventuallykhe'dkgetkboredkwithktheksexkandkthenkwherewouldkshekbe?kInklovekwith kakmankwhokdidn'tkreturnkherfeelingskandkshekcouldn'tklivekwithkthat.kHeadkbowed. kHehadktoletkherkgo.kfingersksha ing.kWhatktheyksharedkwastookpowerful.kshekslippedkitkonkand kreachedkforkherktrousers.'     k`Ikdon'tkthin '                             . kHekwaskgoingktoktellkherkthatktheykmightkaskwellkstaytogetherkuntilksuchktimeka skhekgrewkboredkwithkher.'kFarrahkclosedkthekdoorksothatktheirkconversa tionkcouldn'tkbekoverheard.kEven khiskstylishksil tiekwaskstillkinkplace.kbecausekyoukdon'tkneedktokthin .

kShereally.ksh ekleanedkforwardkinkherkseatkwithkafrown.k`I'llkorderkakcarkforkyou.kreallykwouldn't.kthen.kofkcourse. kSokthiskwaskit.anotherkonektoo kitskp lace? kShekstaredkoutkacrosskthekdar kgoldkdunes.k`Ikcankhardlyjustkta ekakcommercialkflightkoutkofkTaz ash.Shekwouldn'tkbekcomingk bac ktokTaz ashkforkathirdtime. kFarrahktoldkherselfkthatkshekwaskhugelykrelievedkthatkTariqhadn'tkchosenktoklea vekhiskmeetingkearlykandkhadn'tksuspectedanything.kI'llkpersuadekthekauthoritiesktokletmekflykhome.k'What'skgoingkon? k'We'vekreachedkthekborderkbetweenkTaz ashkandkKazban. kSokwhykwaskitkthatknoksoonerkdidkshekbrushkawaykonektear.kandkakdriverkwhok nowskt hekway.Insidekwaskankenvelopeks he'dkhadksentkoutkfromEnglandonlytwokdayskearlier.kYou'rekseriouslykleaving?' k`That'skright.kTariqkisktiedkupkinkmeetingskwiththekPrincekofkKaz bankallkday.k`You'rekgoingktokcrossktheborder? k'OncekI'mkinkKazban.kItkwillkbeoutsidekthekstablek gateskonekhourkfromknow.kShekwouldn'tkhavekwantedkhimk tokfollowkher.                                     .Youkmustkbekablek tokarrangeksomething.'camethekreplykandkforksom ekreasonkhiskwordsksimplykincreasedkherkmisery.kThenks hekblin edkthemkaway.k`I yes.kthen. kIkcould.kw onderingkifkshe'dkeverkseekthekdesertkagain. kcankI? k'Iksupposeknot.kbut ' k`Good.kherkeyeskfillingwithktears. kThek nowledgekthatkshekmightkneverkseekthekplacekagainkleftherkunutterablykdepr essedkandkshekwasksoklostkinkthoughtkthatkittoo kherkakfewkmomentsktokrealizekth atktheykwerekslowingkdown.' kShekhadknokintentionkofkrepeatingkthekfiascokofkthekdesert.that'skall.kAndkIkwantktokdokitkquic ly.kaskthoughkshekcouldn'tkquitebelievekherkluc .'kFarrahke xplainedkimpatiently.kYou'rekhiskcousin. kWhenkshekfinallyknoticedkthekbuildingskalongkthekroadkandthekmenkinkuniform.kThekboo kfellkfromkherkhands. kAsma'skbreathingkquic ened.kthat'sksettled. kFarrahkreturnedktokTariq'skapartmentkandkfoundkherkbag.Probablyknot. k€ kThekjourneykwasksmoothkandkwithoutkincident.kpic edkupkakpenkandkgotktokwor .' kAsmakrosektokherkfeet.' k`Good.kthatkwaskforksure.' kWhichkleftkonlykonekfurtherkthingktokdokbeforekshekleft. kShekopenedkitkupkandkstaredkatkthekcontents.kIkwantktokbekgoneklongkbeforekhekcomeskloo ingkforkme.kwhichkstretchedkintokthekdistance.kIkjustkneedktransport.

kdressedinkanotherkslee kdesign erksuit. kHekledkherkintokthekstonekbuildingkandkthenkstoodktokonesidektokletkherkpass.kimpatientktone. kItkremindedkherkofkthatkincredibleknightkinkthekstablekandshekfeltktearskthreat enkagain.k` Inkthere. k`They'reksharekcertificates.kfarkaw aykfromkher.kwhykwaskshek iddingherself?kShekbrushedkthektearskawaykangrily.kpropellingkheragainstkthekwallkand ktrappingkherktherekwithkhiskarms.kIkmightkgetak greatkdealkmorekdonekinkmykwor ingkday. k`Youkmarriedkmekforkmykshares.' k`You'reknotkleaving.' k`Thekshareskarekyours.kHekwaskfromkakdifferentcountry. kShekwaskaboutktokloo kbac katkthekmajestickduneskforkakfinaltimekwhenkherkdoork waskjer edkopenkandkakuniformedkguardstaredkdownkatkher.kadiffer entkculture-hekwaskinkakdifferentkleague.k`MustkIk eepkyoukloc edkup?kEverykti mekIkturnkmykbac onkyou. k`You'reknotkgoingkanywhere.kItk waskneverkmeantktokbekli ekthat.kI'mkleaving.kYoukcankdivorcekme.kaskusual.' kShekcurledkherkhandskintokherkpalms.kIfkyoukweretokta ekyourkrightfulkplacekbykmyksidekaskmykwife.intendingktokleavekbef orekshekmadekakcompletekfoolkofkherself.k`Whatkarekyoukdoingkhere?' k`Abandoningkmykroyalkduties.Why?' kShekfoundkherkvoice. kTariqkstoodkbykakdes kinkthekmiddlekofkthekroom.kYoukdon'tkevenhavektokwaitkfortykday                                         .k`IfkI kwasn'tkthekonekinkchargekIkwouldkhavebeenkfiredkbyknowkforkta ingksokmuchktimek off.' kWonderingkwhatkwaskgoingkon.kOncektheykdrovekpastkthosekguards.kTariq.kThosekarektheksharesandkIkjustkcan'tkdokt hiskanymore.'kheksaidkgrimly.kbutkhekmovedksokswiftlykthatkshekdidn't kevenkmanagektokta emorekthankakstepktowardskfreedom.' kShekfeltkherkvoicekcrac kandkshekturnedktowardskthekdoor.k`Mykrightfulkplacekisnotkbykyourkside. kTariqkhadkalwaysbeenkfarkawaykfromkher.kThey'dkneverstoodkakchance.kYoukmarriedkmekforthose.'Hiskfacekwaskhardkandkunsmilingkandkshekfeltkaflic erkofkdisquietkas kshekrummagedkinkherkbagkandkhandedoverkthekdocument.`Comekwithkme.khiskhandsomekfacektautkwithstrain.'kheksaidkinkakraw.kAllktheyks haredkwaskpassionkandkthatkjustwasn'tkenough.kwaskit? k'Whykdidkyoukleavekmekthese?'kHekthrewkthekenvelopekonktokthekdes kandkshekbitk herklip.kOh.kshekwal edkintokthekroomaskhe'dkinstructedkandkthe nkstoppedkinkshoc .kwonderingkwhetherkthiskwaskaroutinekhappeningkatkthek border.kIkhopekyouklivekha ppilykeverkafter.kyoukrunkaway. k`Passport.' kFarrahkdidkaskhekordered.kThekdoorkclosedbehindkherkbutkshekwasn'tkevenkawarekofkthatk fact. kHektoo kitkfromkherkandkgesturedkforkherktokgetkoutkofkthekcar.kTariqkwouldkbekinkakdifferentkcountry.kTariq.

skandkfortyknights.' k`Ikwon'tkbekdivorcingkyou.Ever.' k`You'rekbeingkridiculous ' kHiskmouthkmovedkcloserktokhers.k`Youkthin kwhatkwekshareiskridiculous? k'Whatkweksharekiskjustksex,kTariq.kAndkI'mknotkpreparedktostaykwithkyoukuntilky oukgetkboredkwithkme.' k`Bored?'kHeklaughedkinkgenuinekamusement.k`Bored?kIwouldkgivekmuchkforkthekoppo rtunityktokbecomekboredkbyyourkcompany,laeela.Youktellkmekexactlykhowkyoukfeel;k Idoubtkyoukwillkeverklearnktokfilterkwhatkhappenskbetweenkyourbrainkandkyourkmou thkandkyoukarekreliablykunpredictable.EveryktimekIkturnkmykbac kyoukarekescaping kandknowkIdiscoverkthatkyoukhavekakcompletelyksecretklifekofkwhichkI nowknothing .kTherekarekmanykwordsktokdescribekourkrelationship,kbutkboringkiskcertainlyknotk onekofkthem.' k'I'mknotkgoodkatkpalaceklife.' k`Youkhaven'tkmadekanykeffortktokbecomekinvolvedkinkpalacelife,'kTariqksaidkquie tly.k`AndkIkcankhardlykblamekyoukforkthat.Onkyourkfirstkvisitkhere,kmykrelatives kwerekhorriblykun indktokyoukandkgavekyoukadvicekthatkmadekyoukfeelkevenkmorekaw wardkandoutkofkplacekandkthatkcausedkmektokmisjudgekyou.' kShekliftedkherkheadkandkloo edkatkhim.k`Youk newktheydidkthat? k'Atkthektime,kno.'kHisktonekwaskweary.k`I'mkafraidkthatkfiveyearskagokIkhadkakg reatkdealktokoccupykmykmind.kMykfatherwaskseriouslyill,kthekeconomickfuturekofkt hekcountrykwasunderkthreatkfromkdifferentkdirections.kThekdemandskonkmytimekwere ksuchkthatkIkdidn'tkgivekanykthoughtktokyourkfeelingskwhatsoeverkandkforkthatkIk apologise.kAllkIksawkwaskthatkwhenyoukarrivedkatkmykpalacekyoukchangedkintokakdi fferentkperson.' k`Ikwasktryingktokpleasekyou.kIkwasktryingktokbekthekpersonIkthoughtkyoukwantedk mektokbe.' kHiskeyeskgleamedkwithkakcertainkwrykhumour.k`I'mkawareofkthatknow.kAndkI'mkalso kawarekthatkyoukwerekledkdownkthewrongkpathkbykmykfamily.' k`Howkdidkyoukfindkout?' kHekreleasedkherkthenkandkturnedkandkpacedkbac kacrossktheroom.k`Ikwaskdetermine dktokdiscoverkwhoktoldkyoukaboutktheplanktokdivorcekyoukafterkfortykdayskandkfor tyknights.kItkdidnotkta ekakgeniusktoktracekitkbac ktokmykownkfamily.kAsmakhasal wayskbeenkhorriblykindulgedkbykmykaunt.' k`Well,kI'mksurekwhenkshe'skyourkwifekshe'llklearnktokbehaveherself,'kFarrahkmut tered,ksidlingktowardskthekdoor. k`Thekguardskarekinstructedknotktokallowkyouktokpass,'kTariqkinformedkherkpleasa ntly,k`sokthere'sknokpointkinkattemptinganotherkofkyourkescapekbidskuntilkthiskc onversationkiskfinished.AndkAsmakwillkneverkbekmykwife.' k`Doeskshek nowkthat? k'Shekdoesknow.kIkmadekakpointkofkspea ingktokbothkherkandmykauntkandkpointingko utkthatkthekrolekisknoklongerkvacantbecausekIkamkmarriedktokyoukandkthatkiskthek waykitkiskstaying.Therekwillkbeknokmorekmisunderstandingskfromkthatkquarter.Andk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

anyway,kmykauntkhaskrevisedkherkopinionkofkyouksinceyoukhavekwor edksuchkakmirac lekwithkRahman.kYoukwillkfindkherkeagerktoksecurekmorekofkyourkhelpkinkthatkdire ction.' kFarrahkclosedkherkeyes.kThekheatkinkthekroomkwaskintolerableandkherkheadkwaskth robbingkafterkherksleeplessknight.k`Whykwouldkyoukwantktokstaykmarriedktokme?Bec ausektheksexkisgood? k'No,kbecausekyoukarekthekwomankIkwantktokspendkthekrestofkmyklifekwith.' k`Ikembarrasskyou.' k`That'snottrue.kFivekyearskagokIkwaskcompletelykcharmedbykyoukandkthenkwekretur nedktokthekPalacekandkIksawkakdifferentksidekofkyou.'kHekhesitatedkandkhiskmouthk tightened.k`Thisdoesknotkreflectkwellkonkme,kbutkIkconfesskthatkIkwaskconcernedt hatkyoukwerekli ekyourkmother,kakconcernkthatkmykrelativesusedktoktheirkadvantag ekwhenktheykgavekyouksuchkunfortunateadvicekonkhowktokdresskandkbehave.' kItkwaskpainfulkhearingkitkandkyetkatktheksamektimekhiskwordscreatedkakflic erko fkhopekinsidekher.kHekhadn'twantedherktobekli ekherkmother.k`Sokwhenkyoukdiscove redkthatkyoukwould khavetokmarrykmekyoukmustkhavehatedthekidea ' kHekrankakhandkoverkthekbac kofkhisknec ,kvisiblykdiscomfited.k`Marriagektoanyone waskneverkatkthektopkofkmyklist,'kheksaidkhonestly,k`andkIkthin kIkonlykagreedkt okitIk newkthatkakdivorcekwaskpossible.kIkwasn'tkreallyaboutkyou.kIkonlykthought kaboutkme.kIkrealizekthatkdoeskmeknokcredit,'khekaddedkhastily,k`butkyoukhavekto kunderstandkthatkIkhadkakcompletelykfalsekimpressionkofkyoukatkthatpoint.kItkdidn 'tkoccurktokmekthatkakdivorcekwouldkbotherkyouatkall.' k`Sokyoukcamekafterkmekpurelykforkbusinesskgain.' kHiskgazekwaskwary.k`Youkarekma ingkitksoundkverykbadkbutthatkiskallkinkthekpast kandkitkiskthekfuturekthatkmatters.kThekfuturethatkIkamkdeterminedkthatkwekwillk havektogether.'

k`Andkwhosekfaultkiskthat?'kHekturnedkonkher,khiskdar keyesflashing,khiskmouthkg rim.k`Youkaccusekmekofknotk nowingyou,kyoukarekquic ktokblamekmekforkallkthekfau ltskinkourkrelationship,kbutkarekyouknotkatkleastkpartlyktokblamektoo?kYoukwereca refulktok eepksokmuchkofkyourselfkhiddenkaway.kThin kaboutit,kFarrah.' k`Youkthin kI'mkaklightweightkpartykanimal.kYoukthin kthatkofkallkwomen.kYoukthi n kallkwekcarekaboutkiskhairkandkshoes.' k`BecausekupkuntilknowkthatkhaskbeenktruekofkthekwomenkIhavekhadkthekmisfortunek tokmixkwith.kButkyoukgavekmeknoreasonktokquestionkmykownkprejudices.kInkfactkyou kchosektoperpetratekthatkimage,kdidkyouknot?'kOnekebonykbrowkliftedkinkchallenge .k`Iskitknotktruekthatkyoukturnkupkatkhighksocietykeventskloo ingkli ekakmillion kdollarskandksocialize? k'Yes,kbut ' k`Andkyoukappearktokbekenjoyingkyourself.kDokyoukadvertisekthekfactkthatkyoukwere kwor ingkwithkdisadvantagedchildrenkinkakgrubbykstablekonlykminuteskbeforekyouks lipkonyourkhighkheels?

 

kHerkheartkstalledkandkshekswallowedkhard.kItkwasktimektokbehonest.k`Youkdon'tk nowkme,kTariq.kYoukhaveknokideakwhokIam.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

k'No,kbut ' k`ItkisktruekthatkI'mkperfectkinkmanykways,'kTariqkdrawledkinakslightlykmoc ingk tone,k`butkevenkIkhavekyetktokperfectktheartkofkmind-readingkandkit'sktimekthatk youkofferedkthekoddkexplanationkforkyourkownkbehaviourkinkallkofkthis.kYoukplaced certainkfactskinkfrontkofkme.kYoukbuiltkankimagekforkyourselfoverkthekyears.kWhy kdidkyoukdokthat?' kFarrahkswallowed.`BecausekIkwaskalwayskakdisappointmentktokmykmother.Shekwantedk akgirlykgirlkandkinsteadkshegotkme.kAskIkchildkIkwaskoverweight,kclumsykandkIklo vedbeingkoutdoors.kIkwaskuselesskatkballetkbutkgoodkatkridinghorses.kIkspentkmyk teenagekyearsktreadingkakfineklinekbetweenpleasingkmyselfkandkpleasingkher.'kShe ktoo kakdeepkbreath.`AndkIkalsokchangedkmykimagekbecausekofkyou.kWhenkyouktoldme kthatkIkwasn'tkgoodkenoughktokbekyourwife,kthatkwaskthefinalkspurkIkneededktokre inventkmyself.kYoukhurtkmeksokbadlythatkIkthoughtkIkcouldkputkakprotectivekshell kbetweenkmyselfkandkthekworldkandkso,kfromkthenkon,kIklivedktwokverykdifferentkli ves.kAndkthekglamorousksocialitekbitkwasn'tkaskemptykandkuselesskaskitksounds.kI kraisedklotskofkmoneykforkthekcharitieskIcaredkabout.' k`Andkduringkthekdaykyoukwor edkwithkhorseskandkchildren.'kHekraisedkakbrowkinkqu estion.k`So,khavingkheardkthatstory,kcankyoukhonestlykblamekmekifkIkchosektokbel ievektheimagekyoukportrayed?kIkinterpretedkthekfactskaskyoukpresentedkthemktokmek andkwaskthatknotkexactlykwhatkyoukwantedandkexpectedkpeoplektokdo?' kFarrahkstaredkatkhim.kHekwaskright,kofkcourse.kShedidpresentkakcertainkimagekto kthekworld.Ankimagekverykdifferentkfromkherkrealkself.Inkfact,kshekrelishedkthekf actkthat,keven kinsuchkpublicktimes,kshe'dkmanagedktok eepkaklargekpartkofherselfksokprivate. k`Wealthkma eskyouksuspiciouskofkpeoplekandktheirkmotives.'kShekbitkherklipkasks hekmadekakfeeblekattemptktokexplain. k`MykmotherkfoundkthekrealkmekhighlykembarrassingksokI'velearnedktokhidekwhokIka m.kIksupposekI'mknotkusedktoktrustinganyonekwithkmyksecrets.' k`AndkneitherkamkLkInkthatkway,katkleast,wekareksimilar.' kShe'dkneverkthoughtkofkitkli ekthat,kbutkitkwasktrue.kHowcouldkshekblamekhimkfo rkformingkthekwrongkopinionkofkher,whenkshekherselfkhadkbeenkatkleastkpartiallyk responsiblekforgivingkhimkthatkopinion?k`Fivekyearskagokyoukinvitedkmektobekyour kmistress ' k`Ikwaskunderkakgreatkdealkofkpressurekatkthektime.kMykfatherwaskdesperatelyksic kbutknotksoksic kthatkhekcouldn'tkinterferewithkeverythingkIkwaskdoing.'kTariqk strodekaroundkthekroom,hiskexpressionkfierce.k`Myktimekinkthekdesertkwithkyoukwa skankoasiskofkcalmkinkmyklife.kIkwantedkyouktokstaykwithkmekbutsuddenlykwekretur nedktokthekPalacekandkeveryonekinktheKingdomkfoundkreasonskwhykIkshouldknotkbekw ithkyou,kreasonskthatkyouksupportedkwithkyourkmannerkofkdresskandkyourkbehaviour. ' k`Itkshouldkhavekbeenkaboutkus,kTariq,knotkanyonekelse ' k`YoukhaveknokideakhowkoftenkIkwishedkthatktokbekthekcase.HowkoftenkIkwantedktok heavekthekresponsibilitykonktoksomeoneelsekandkridekoffkwithkyou,kaskwekdidkfork sokmanykmonthskonthekbeach.Akmankandkakwoman.kYoukdreamedkofkNadiakandkherkSulta nkandkyetkIkwaskweighedkdownkbykthekresponsibilityofkrunningkthekcountrykinkmykf ather'skplace.kYouksawkeverythingkasksimplekandkyet,kforkme,ktheksimplekdidknotke xist.'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Havekyoukanykideakofkwhatkitkiskli ektokbek justkeighteenkandkinklovekwithktheksexiestkmankinkthekworld?'kShekswallowed.kuntilkthatmoment.kbutkIk didn'tkhavekanykconfidencekinkmyself.kstillkho ldingkherkhandsktightly.kfarkmoreksophisticatedkandkworldlykthankme.kIkmarriedyoukbecausek Iklovedkyou.kI'veksaidkitkthreektimeskandkit 'skgettingeasierkalready. k`AndkIkwasknaive.k`Ikthoughtkyoukwerekignoringkme.kandkIkwantk tokstaykmarriedktokyoukbecauseIklovekyou.kThere. k`Thatkdealkcouldkhavekbeenkachievedkinkotherkways.k`My kmotherkdestroyedkmykconfidencekinkmyselfkandkyourpalacekwaskfullkofkgorgeouskwo men.kbutkitkiskallkinkjeopardykbec ausekofkmykstupiditykinklin ingkourkmarriagekwithkakbusinesskdeal.k`ThektruthkiskwhenIkwaskofferedkankexcusekIkgrabbedkit. knotkbecausekofktheksharesbutkbecausekIkwantedktokmarrykyou. k`Whatkarekyouksaying?' kHekliftedkherkhandsktokhisklips. k`Youklovekme? k'Unbelievable.kIksnatchedkit .kalthoughkIkdon'tkthin kevenkIkrecognizedkitkatkthektime.kthatmykreasonskcouldkbekmorekcomplexkthankthat .k`Iklovekyou.kevenktokmyself.'kHereleasedkherkhandskandkpacedkoverktokthekotherkside kofkthekroomkbeforekturningkbac ktokfacekher.kshe'dkne verkreallykunderstoodkthekmonumentalpressurekthatkhe'dkbeenkunder.kShekfeltkakstabkofkguiltkandkrealizedksuddenlykthat.' k'Tariq ' k`Don'tkinterruptkme.kawarekthatkshe'dkbeenkhideouslysel f-absorbedkandkselfish.'kHewaskakmasterknegoti ator-shek newkthatkandkshe'dkmadekakfoolofkherselfkoverkthiskmanktwice.k`Ikonlykeverk thoughtkaboutkourrelationship. k`IktoldkmyselfkthatkIkwaskmarryingkyoukforkyourkfather'sshareskbecausekIkwaskno tkreadyktokadmit.kHowkamkIkever tokconvincekyou?' kShekwasn'tkreadyktokgivekinkthatkeasily.' k`You'rekjustksayingkthatkbecausekyou'rekinkaktightkspot.' k`ButkIkdidknotkwantkakwomankwhokwasksophisticatedkandworldly.k`Howkdokyouk nowthatkIklovekyoukinkret urn?                   .k`I'mksayingkthatkevenktheneedktokgainkcontrolk ofkyourkfather'skcompanykwouldn'tkhavebeenkenoughktoktemptkmekintokmarriagekunle sskthatkwaskwhatIkwanted.'kHekgavekakself-deprecatingksmilekandkforkamomentkshek couldn'tkspea .kIkonlykrealizedktha tkmyselfrecently.k`Butkyoukneededkmykfather'skcompany.'kshekadmitted.kisn'tkit?'kHekspreadkhiskhandskinkakfatalistickgesture.' kHerkheartkpounded.kIkadmitkit.kI'mktryingktoksayksomethingkI'veavoidedksayingkforkmykwhol eklifekandkitkisn'tkeasy.Couldn'tkrespond.'kHekwal edkoverktokherkandktoo kherkhandskinkhiskandkshekstilled.k`Finallyk Ikfallkinklovekwithkakwomankwhoklovesmekinkreturn.'kTariqsaidkquietly.kTherekwasknokwaykIkcouldkcompet e.' k`Ikwaskupktokmykearskinkpalacekpolitics.kaskyouksokaccuratelycallkit.kwhenkthekopportunitytokcomekafterkyoukpresentedkitself.kShekwasn 'tkgoingktokdokitkagain.kWhi chkiskwhy.kIkshouldkhavekrealizedkwhatAsmakwaskdoing.kIkwantedkyou.'kTariqksa idkdrylykandkFarrahkblushed.

kafterkmoreklessons.kI'mknotusedktokseeingklove.kimpracticallykromantic.' k`But ' k`Ik nowkthatkyouklovekhorseskandkchildren.k`butkitkhasta enkmekaklongktimek tokrecognizekthatktoo.kenjoykourkfoodkandkthatkyoukareknotksafekto kdrivekonkaksandkdune.kit'sktrue.' k`You'rekarrogantkandkstubborn ' kHekgavekakdismissivekshrug.k`Youkdon'tk nowkme ' k`Ik nowkeverythingkyoukhavekallowedkmektoklearn.' k`We'rekdifferent.`Enoughkargument.kYouksee.' k`Youkalwayskcommandkandkorder ' kHekslidkhiskhandskeitherksidekofkherkfacekandkdroppedkagentlek isskonkherkmouth .k`Andkyoukarekridiculously.' k`Youkmarriedkmekintendingktokdivorcekme ' k`Thatkmaykbektrue.k`Ikloo kforwar dktokdiscoveringkthekrestkifkyou'llkallowmektokdokso.'kTariqksaidksoftly.kIk nowkthat kpoliticskandkintriguema ekyoukuncomfortablekbutkI'llkteachkyoukhowktokcopekwith it.'khedrawled.' kShekstaredkupkatkhim.kDifferentkiskgood.khopekbuildingkinsidekher.'kheksaidkconfidentlykandksheklaughed.kWearedifferent.k Butkwekaresupposedktokbekdifferent.kMykparentskdidn'tklo vekeachkotherkandnonekofkthekwomenkIkhavekbeenkwithkhaveklovedkmekanykmorethankI klovedkthem.kthatkyoukarek indandkgiving.kbutkIklovekyo ukforkthatktoo.It'skpartkofkthekpe rsonkyoukarekandkIklovekyoukforkit.k`Ikdrivekwellkonksand!' k`Youkwill.'kheksaidsoftly.`Whatkdokyoukwantktokhear? k'Akdeclarationkthatkyoukintendktokstopkrunningkaway?Somethingkaboutkyoukbeingkcr azykaboutkme. k`You'rekassumingkI'mkstaying.kTariq ' k`AfactkforkwhichkIkamkgratefulkonkakdailykbasis.' k`ButkAsma ' k`Ourkmarriagekisknokone'skbusinesskbutkourkown.kButkIkmadekupkmykmindkonkourkweddingnightkthatkIkwouldnotkbe kdivorcingkyou.k`Andkyoukspea kwithoutkthin ing.kIk nowkthatkyouklovekourkdesert.k`AndknowkitseemsktokmekthatkI'vekbeenkdoingkakgreatk dealkofkgrovellingkandkapologizingkforkakSultankandkI'mkhearingkveryklittlekfrom youkinkreturn.k'Youkhavekalwaysklovedkme.kextravagantly.' kShekgavekakgaspkofkoutrage.' kThatkstatementksoundedksokmuchkli ekhiskusualkarrogantselfkthatkshekgavekakslow ksmile.'kHekfoldedhiskarmskacrosskhiskc hestkandkliftedkankeyebrow.klovingkmekmadly 'ktherewaskakglimmerkofkhumourkinkhiskeyesk` thatk ind kofkthing.kIk nowk youkli ektheksimpleklifekbutarekalsokcomfortablekatkformalkoccasions.'                                 .kstrollingktowardsk herkandkdraggingkherkintokhiskarms.

`Andkyourkpipeline?' kTariqkreleasedkherkandktoo kakstepkbac wards.k`Youk nowk Iklovekyou ' k`Yes.'khekpromisedkinkakhus y.kgivenkthekcircumstances.kdokIkhavektokdresskli ekakqueen? k'Onlykpartkofkthektime.' kShekfeltkcolourktouchkherkchee s.kforgiving.kSokallkthatkremainskiskfor kyouktodecidekwhatkyoukarekgoingktokdokwhenkhekarrives.kIkspo ektokyourfatherkakfewkdayskagokandkexplainedkeve rythingktokhim.kNowkthatkyoukarekmykwife.k indkandgood.k`Whykwouldkyoukleave.klovekwaskalsokperfect.kAndklovekcanperformkmiracles.kFarrahksmiled. k`Ikamkhome. k€ <PIXTEL_MMI_EBOOK_2005>40</PIXTEL_MMI_EBOOK_2005>                                           .kHewasksurprisinglykreasonable.kIkdok nowkthat.kAlternatively.kIkwillno klongerkbekta ingkoverkthekcompanykbutkwekhavekagreedkonakpartnershipkthatkwillk benefitkbothkparties.`Obviously.kwhenkyouk nowkthatkyouklovekithere?kDespitekwhatkyoukthin .' kForkthekfirstktimeksheksawkuncertaintykinkhiskeyeskandkitkwasthatkuncertaintykt hatkmadekupkherkmind.khekcankjoinkus kforksomekbelatedkweddingcelebrations.'kTariq'skvoicekwaskunsteady.heiskcomingkherektomorrowktok reopenkdiscussionskonkhowktoproceedkwithkthekproject.kTherekarekmanykcharit ieswhokwouldbekgladkofkyourkhelpkandktherekiskakridingkschoolkwithinFallou kwher ekyoukcouldkhelpkifkthatkwouldkma ekyoukhappy.' k`Thekthingkaboutklovekiskthatkit'skgenerouskandkforgiving.khiskmouthhoveringktemptinglykclose ktokhers.ksexykdrawl.k`ButkIkdidn'tk nowkifkyoukwo uldkbekablektokforgivekmekforktheklessthankconventionalkroutekwektoo ktokreachkt hiskpoint.kI'mksurekhekwouldkbekhappyktokta ekyouhome.kShouldkyoustillkwishktok leave.k'Thekpipel inekiskakcrucialkproject.' k`IfkIkstaykmarriedktokyou.kAndthatktrulykiskakmiracle.' kRelievedkthatkherkfather'skbusinesskwasknoklongerinjeopardy.' k`Itkwouldn'tkembarrasskyou? k'Onkthekcontrary 'khiskvoicekwasksoftkandktherekwaskastrangeklightkinkhiskeyesk` Ik neverkthoughtkitkpossiblektokbesokproudkofkmykwife.kleavingkherkinkabsolutelyknodoubtkthatkaskwellkask beingkgenerous.kyoukwillknotkhavektoklivekyourklifekinkakgoldfishkbowl.' k`ThatkIk nowktokbektrue.k`lovek isk indkandkeverythingkgood.'kTariqkleanedkdown.k`becausekIkfoundkyou.k`He 'skakmankwhokunderstandsklove.khiskexpressionkserious.'shekbreathed.`Thekrestkofkthekti mekyoukwillkbeundressed ' kAndkwithkthatkhek issedkher.'kShekwal edktowardskhimkandkreachedupktokhugkhim.kTariq. kTariqknodded.

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