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The Sheik and the Christmas Bride Susan Mallery 2022/8/5 16:56:45

He laughed. “She is a beautiful woman.”

Kayleen didn’t like that answer. “You and I don’t have that kind of relationship.”

“So you would not mind if she and I…”

“No,” Kayleen said carefully, even as a knot formed in her stomach. It was hard and hot and made her feel uncomfortable. “You have a family now. You should be with someone.”

“You suggest Zarina?”

“She’s already married.”

“I am Prince As’ad of El Deharia. I can have whomever I choose.”

How annoyingly arrogant. “I don’t think so. You’re just a man. There are women who would say no to you.”

He moved closer. “Who would that be?”

She stood at straight as she could, tilted her head back and glared at him. “Me, for one. I’m not interested.”

His smile was slow, sexy and confident beyond measure. “You think so.”

He reached toward her. Before she knew what he intended, he pulled her close and kissed her.

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K ayleen had almost been kissed once in her life, on a date with a young man in college. He had been nice enough, but she was so inexperienced that just being around him had made her nervous. At the end of their awkward evening, he’d moved in for a kiss and she’d bolted for the safety of her dorm room.

But there was no bolting from As’ad. With his arms around her, she had nowhere to go. Not to mention the fact that she didn’t want to run.

She’d wondered about kissing, had wondered if she was the last innocent in a world where even twelve-year-olds seemed to know more about men and sex than she did. She’d wondered how it was possible to enjoy someone being so close, pressing his mouth against hers. Worse, using his tongue in some intimate way.

Would she feel trapped, uncomfortable, violated?

The short answer was no, she thought as As’ad moved his mouth gently against hers, teasing, caressing, but not taking. Even though his arms were around her, she didn’t feel trapped. Instead she felt protected and wanted.

The wanting was new, as was the odd hungry sensation inside of her. She needed to be closer, although she couldn’t say why.

She put her hands on his shoulders, feeling the strength and heat of him. As’ad would keep all in his world safe, she thought, distracted by the pressure of his lips. It would be nice to feel safe.

She inhaled the masculine scent of him, liking the fragrance. She enjoyed the feel of his body so close to hers. She grew bolder and slipped her arms around his neck, bringing her front in contact with his.

He increased the pressure of his mouth on hers. His strong hands traveled up and down her back. When he stroked his tongue against her bottom lip she gasped in shock, then felt the soft, erotic touch of his tongue against hers.

Fire shot through her. The unexpected heat made her tremble as she almost expected to go up in flames. Sensations exploded everywhere, especially in places that were usually without them. Her breasts ached in a way they never had before. Her legs felt funny—trembly and weak. She stood frozen, unsure, awkward, yet willing him to keep on kissing her.

Fortunately As’ad seemed more than capable of reading her mind. He explored her mouth with his tongue, making her tingle and want to lean into him. She ached, but couldn’t say for what. She clung to him, and at last, tentatively, slowly, carefully, touched her tongue to his.

A low, masculine groan burst from him. The sound filled her with a sense of sensual power she’d never experienced before. She touched his tongue again and felt a reaction in her own body. A clenching. A wanting. A hunger.

She let herself get lost in the touching, the intimate kiss. It was heaven. She could do this for hours. She liked how her body turned to liquid. She liked everything about kissing him.

But instead of reading her mind again, he put his hands on her shoulders and eased her away from him.

“What?” she breathed.

“Perhaps another time,” he said calmly. “When we are alone.”

Kayleen bit her lower lip and turned her head. While much of the village had gone about their business, there were still several obviously interested people observing their kiss. As she looked at them, they grinned. A couple waved. A few of the women laughed knowingly.

“Now no one will question that you are mine,” he told her.

They arrived back at the palace shortly after ten. Kayleen met Lina in the suite she, Kayleen, shared with the girls.

“We’re back,” she said. “Thanks for staying with them.”

“It was fun,” Lina told her. “So how was your evening?”