The Sheikh's Heir(5)

By: Sharon Kendrick



But she didn’t fall for meaningless chat-up lines, did she? Hadn’t she learnt—from the humiliating example set by her own father—that men spent their lives saying things to women that they didn’t mean? And hadn’t she vowed never to become one of those women who drank up worthless compliments and then let their hearts get broken as a result?

Drawing back her shoulders, she stared at the exotic-looking man, pleased that she’d worn such ridiculously high heels which meant that their eyes were almost on a level. ‘So you’re a real live prince, are you?’

‘Indeed I am.’ For a moment, Hassan felt a flicker of impatience, acknowledging his own obstinacy. He didn’t like being recognised for his royal blood and yet he found it faintly irritating when his regal status was not alluded to. He wasn’t expecting her to curtsey—which was a good thing, since she clearly had no intention of doing so!—but a little deference surely wouldn’t have gone amiss? Surely she could have allowed a small amount of awe to creep into an English accent which he found oddly difficult to place. ‘In fact, I am a sheikh,’ he expanded proudly. ‘My name is Hassan, and I am a prince of the desert.’

‘Wow!’

Hassan’s eyes narrowed. Was that sarcasm he had heard tingeing her voice? Surely not. People were always impressed by his sheikhdom, indeed being ravished by a sheikh seemed to be the number-one sexual fantasy among most of the Western women he met. Yet the uncertainty of her response fired his blood into a slow, pulsing heat. The cat-like slant of her blue eyes was very appealing and he felt another kick of lust as he imagined those eyes growing opaque in time to the powerful thrust of his body. He swallowed, for his groin had grown exquisitely hard in conjunction with his thoughts.

‘And now I think we are supposed to dance,’ he said unevenly. Slowly, he allowed his gaze to travel all the way down her legs to where her feet were encased in a pair of toweringly high stilettos. ‘Before you run off as the clock strikes midnight, and leave one of those gravity-defying and very sexy shoes behind.’

Ella’s heart hammered. Of course she knew the shoes were sexy—you didn’t wear heels this high because they were comfortable. But it came as something of a shock to hear him come right out and say so like that. There was something very blatant about his remark. It made her feel…weird… . As if she was something she wasn’t. As if she’d worn them so that an arrogant sheikh might look at her legs with unashamed appraisal. And she had certainly not done that.

Every instinct she possessed was screaming out to her to get away from him. But even as the adrenalin pumped around her body, wasn’t there a contrary instinct urging her to do precisely the opposite? Didn’t she have some insane desire for him to take her into his arms and pull her against his powerful body to see whether he felt as good as he looked?

‘I’m not really that into dancing,’ she said truthfully.

‘Ah, but that’s because you’ve never danced with me,’ he drawled as he took her by the hand and led her onto the dance floor. ‘Once you have, you’ll change your mind. You’ll become an instant convert, believe me.’

Ella swallowed. What an arrogant boast to make! Now was the moment for her to wrench her hand away from the firm grip of his fingers and walk away from him and these confused emotions she was experiencing.

So why was she letting him lead her to a spot where the overhanging chandeliers spilled their fractured diamond spangles onto the glossy dance floor? Because she liked his touch, that was why. It was that simple and that complex and it was doing strange things to her. Making her feel light-headed and excited. Making her heart race as if she had just endured an hour’s hard workout at the gym.

She felt a brief flash of shame but still she didn’t move. And she knew she was about to betray her family by dancing with a man who despised them.

Without warning, Hassan took her into his arms and his presence enveloped her, just as his shadow had done earlier. His body felt as warm and as hard as she’d imagined and she moved closer to him, as his hands splayed possessively across her back.

Remember all those things he said about your family, she reminded herself dazedly. About Izzy sounding like a crow and them all being nothing but tramps.

And yet it was difficult to remember the insults when he was holding her in his arms like this. Difficult to do anything other than melt against him.

‘You smell beautiful,’ he murmured. ‘Of summer meadows in the sun.’

With an effort, Ella lifted her head to stare at the proud jut of his jaw. ‘What do sheikhs know of summer meadows?’

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