All for love 3 series.., p.49
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       All for Love - 3 Series Starters, p.49

           Kris Pearson
 

  “But you said it was delicious?”

  “Yasmina’s cooking...”

  “Not what your body’s telling me, Laurel.” He licked the tines of his fork clean and reached across to scrape them gently over her nearest nipple—her very prominent aroused nipple which was all too visible through the flimsy lace of her half-cup bra and the shining blue fabric of her modestly cut tunic.

  She gave an involuntary gasp and squeezed her eyes shut. When she dared to open them, his smile was huge, and his hand had deserted her leg.

  She watched in disbelief as he picked up his knife to cut through some meat. Her other nipple felt way left out of the game. And he was eating, unconcerned, as though it was all he’d ever had in mind.

  Chapter Eleven — Awakened

  Rafiq chewed and considered. Oh yes, she was a responsive little thing. He could make this very good for her—and therefore very good for himself as well. He’d give her a couple of minutes to wind down, and then he’d enjoy winding her up again. Winding her tighter this time. Winding her as tight as he was.

  He watched as she dropped her gaze and made an effort with the food.

  “Yasmina always prepares my favorite dishes when I visit”, he said. “We should reward such devotion with clean plates.”

  Laurel nodded until she managed to swallow. “How often do you visit the lodge?” she asked, desperate to escape from the seductive cloud he’d created around them. “Where do you live otherwise?” Her legs still quaked and her peaked nipples still felt super-sensitive and wouldn’t be subsiding any time soon, but she was pleased she could at least talk some sort of sense.

  “I have an apartment in the capital—Al-Dubriz. I often work away from the city. Right out of Al Sounam, in fact. So I need somewhere that’s easy to come and go from.”

  She tried to look as though this was fascinating news.

  “I get to the lodge perhaps a day or two each month. Not often enough. But it’s a haven for me, as it was for my parents.”

  She speared a cube of eggplant. “And you always pack a bag to bring here as though you’re a visitor? Surely you didn’t need to bring evening clothes.”

  “I think I did. It makes an occasion of dinner. I knew you would be beautifully dressed. Undo some buttons for me, Laurel.”

  It took a moment for her to register his lightning fast change of subject. “What?” she gasped.

  “Undo some of the buttons. I want to see more of you.”

  She sat, fork in hand, unmoving.

  “That one,” he said, reaching across and releasing the first button. “And that one.” The second one popped open. “And this.” The third button came free. He pushed the fabric aside so the tops of her breasts were displayed, and then returned to his meal.

  She glanced down in consternation. She was not entirely exposed, but she was not very covered now, either. The edge of the low-cut black bra was almost visible. A tiny pink bow glimmered in the candlelight.

  He sent her a smile that was almost brotherly. “Very pretty,” he said.

  She reloaded her fork and raised it to her lips. He was playing again? She chewed, having no idea if she would ever be able to swallow. And then his legs snaked back around her ankle.

  They continued to eat, although not a lot of food disappeared. The air swirled thickly around the table, enclosing them both in a haze of desire. They laid down their cutlery within seconds of each other.

  Yasmina’s soft footsteps approached. Laurel yanked the edges of her tunic together and rested her chin on her hands to disguise her state of undress.

  Rafiq passed compliments on the food, Yasmina served dessert and coffee, and he dismissed her for the night. They were now quite alone.

  His hand slid under the table top again and came to rest on her thigh. Her breath rushed out and then in. It sounded harsh and dangerous in the now silent house.

  “So where were we?” he asked, slowly gathering up her skirt fabric again, handful by languid handful.

  “About there,” she stammered, as she felt his long clever fingers starting to stroke against her super-heated skin.

  “About there,” he repeated, circling softly. “Undo the rest of your buttons for me, please Laurel.”

  This time his request sank in faster.

  “No.”

  He stopped circling. “Yes,” he said. He waited. She blushed even pinker if that was possible, and eventually slipped one more from its buttonhole. His hidden fingers started their skin-dance again.

  “No more,” she said, trying to sound firm and hoping he hadn’t heard the breathy little hitch in her voice.

  “But I shall see a great deal more of you in that pretty bikini.”

  She closed her eyes and tried to find some self control or self possession—or something.

  Every time a man had made suggestive remarks to her in the past it had seemed dirty and degrading, but Rafiq’s quiet voice and hypnotic eyes and warm fingers on her skin combined to make her crave more of his attention, not less. He was simply patting her knee, for heaven’s sake. Well, not exactly patting, and maybe not quite her knee any more either, she acknowledged as his fingers caressed a little higher. Why didn’t she bat his hand away?

  “Because you’re enjoying it, Laurel,” her body told her. “You’re liking the way he’s making you feel—all fluttery inside, and hot and bothered.”

  “The bikini’s different—that’s for swimming,” she finally said. “I’m not getting undressed at the dinner table.”

  “And how is the bikini different?” he asked, mock innocence in his dark gaze.

  “Because you can’t see through it!”

  “So I’d be able to see you through this charming lacy lingerie, would I?”

  She was astonished to find the hand not dancing over her thigh was now investigating her neckline, popping more buttons undone, pushing the tunic further aside so half of one white breast was exposed. His thumb brushed over her just-hidden nipple, once, twice, as she sat there breathless.

  And then he stopped.

  “Indeed I can, Laurel,” he said. “Right through. You’d better go and put the bikini on so I can’t see you, or who knows what ideas I might get?”

  He stood, plucked two fat grapes from the platter of fruit that Yasmina had brought in, and put one into his mouth.

  “They’re very good,” he said, swallowing, and offering the other one to her. Nonplussed, she opened her mouth for him, and instead of feeding her he bent and kissed her, taking full advantage of her parted lips to deepen the kiss into absolute possession.

  Her pulse pounded in her ears. Showers of sparkling stars might well have cascaded from the dining room ceiling. Nothing had ever come close to the sensations he incited in her as he drew her up from the chair and pulled her hard against himself and kissed her and kissed her and kissed her.

  He tasted of grapes; he smelled of man, and the smooth cloth of his jacket covered a body that felt like paradise. She let out a muffled moan of frustration.

  Rafiq pushed the tunic off her shoulders and down her arms. Her breasts strained toward him, barely covered by the cobweb-fine lace.

  She let the tunic fall and stood there panting.

  Rafiq exhaled very slowly. Were they ever going to get as far as the lake? She was now his to command, but unusually it felt as though she had power over him, too.

  “I knew you’d be beautiful,” he said hoarsely. “I could feel your body was very feminine when I first held you.”

  Laurel sensed the balance had definitely tipped a little. His eyes, which had been amused and playful throughout dinner, were now huge and hungry... his voice deeper, edgier, more foreign. He looked every inch a Sheikh, powerful and potent.

  And he looked like her Sheikh. The flirting had given way to something altogether denser and darker, and she knew there was now every probability they were going to make love. The long held fear that had started with Gary Gorridge’s frightening exhibitions was losing its grasp on her. At la
st she desired to know a man—this man—because he made her feel so thoroughly womanly.

  She drew a deeper breath and exulted as he watched her breasts rise and fall. She expected he’d grab for her and try to wrestle off her clothing. Men in the past had done that, and she’d struggled away, fearful and embarrassed. Amazingly, she wanted Rafiq’s hands on her, wanted to please him, wanted more of the strange wonderful sensations flooding her body.

  Yes, it would end in heartache—she knew that. He’d said she’d stay only a fortnight, and then be forcibly returned to New Zealand. But when would she ever again meet such a fascinating man? When would she find another lover with a body so lithe and supple that she wanted quite desperately to touch it? A lover with such power over her that anything might be permissible?

  Never. It was as simple as that.

  She stood stock still as his eyes roamed.

  As his hands settled on her hipbones, caging her slim waist.

  As he nodded and quietly repeated, “Beautiful.”

  “Shall I go and change into the bikini?” she asked in a very small voice.

  “So I can see more of you? By my moonlit lake?”

  “If you want.”

  “You know I want, Laurel. You know I want to take this off, too,” he said thickly, raising one hand to run a finger along the line of tiny pink bows that edged the black lace.

  Still he didn’t grab. But he did press her backward onto the dining table, bend his dark head to her breasts and suckle through the lace. He tugged on each nipple deeply as she leaned there, astounded, painfully sensitive—but what sweet pain it was.

  She couldn’t stop the gasp of surprise and pleasure each time his mouth enclosed her flesh, and he smiled as he drew back, leaving her desperate for more.

  Ten minutes later they bumped over the sand in the big white SUV. Rafiq took the same two hundred yard route they’d followed on horseback. The sun had retreated, leaving a spectacular golden horizon, and he drove without lights, not wanting to spoil the serene atmosphere of the desert. The dark outlines of the palms against the deepening sky were guide enough to his destination.

  Laurel could scarcely breathe as she sat in the luxurious leather seat beside him. She wore the blue tunic unbuttoned over her black and white polka dotted bikini, and she’d bundled her hair up to keep it out of the water.

  He was bare-chested. Did he have swimming trunks under his jeans? She would have given anything to touch him, to stroke him, but she felt curiously shy after the torrid intimacy of the dining room.

  She had carried, at his suggestion, the almost untouched platter of fresh fruits Yasmina had provided for dessert. The aromas of apricots and grapes and figs drifted sweetly through the car.

  He found the place he wanted and braked to a halt.

  “My family always swam right here,” he said. “This part of the lake is only a few feet deep. Come.”

  Laurel pushed the door open and levered herself out, balancing the fruit. Rafiq arrived beside her in seconds, took the platter, and slid it onto the vehicle’s roof.

  ‘Now’, her nerves screamed. ‘Touch me now.’

  She leaned toward him, hands running up over his hard chest to settle around his neck, tenderly smoothing the warm skin she’d been craving to know. Her fingertips registered the scars, many more than she’d thought. She lowered her head and laid her cheek briefly over his heart.

  “They hurt you,” she said fiercely, fingering the place on his shoulder where the bullet had wounded him.

  “A long time ago,” he murmured, cupping her bottom and pulling her into the cradle of his hips. He was hugely aroused and made no effort to hide it. “We humans forget pain, and just as well, or no woman would ever bear a second child.”

  She sighed, and buried her face against his throat, inhaling his scent. He was as dark as the night, exotic, desirable, perfect.

  Rafiq held her close. Bare skin moved over bare skin as his other arm slid around her waist.

  “I found the big old fur throw my family picnicked on all those years ago,” he said after several luscious kisses. “Swim with me first and then I’ll wrap you in fur and feed you dessert, piece by piece. It gets cold in the desert surprisingly fast.”

  He smoothed his cheek along her brow and released her from his embrace. She watched as he gathered up a huge bundle from the rear seat and spread it out on the shore.

  Why did he often remind himself of the family he had so tragically lost? Why did he chase the past like this? Surely it could bring him only pain? She slipped off her tunic, removed her watch and sandals, and placed them on one corner of the luxurious throw.

  Everything about her sparked and burned now. She wanted his skin. Wanted to see him, touch him, and hold him. Perhaps be totally possessed by him.

  Her breath caught in her throat as he sloughed his jeans off and tossed them aside. The full moon glanced off his long lean torso and hard-muscled legs. He looked cast in bronze and too perfect to be real.

  He held out one hand—much more a command than an invitation. She stepped across to where he stood, and gave a surprised laugh as she found herself swept up in his arms. He carried her into the lake. Slowly they submerged until he was chest deep in the tepid water.

  “Miss Kiwi, I’ve been imagining this all day, he said huskily. “You’ve no idea how much I wanted to have you in my arms again—and for you not to be afraid of me or angry with me.”

  He dropped a tiny kiss on the tip of her nose, and allowed her body to drift down beside his. The wonderful privacy of the desert night began to work its sorcery; they twined sinuously around and against each other, splashing gently. Time drifted by with each ardent embrace. Soon he untied her bikini top and tossed it up onto the shore.

  Laurel caught her breath as he lifted her and wrapped her legs around his waist. She bobbed almost weightless in the water, pressed against his aroused body, and with her breasts now caressed by the evening air and the moonlight. As his mouth closed first over one nipple and then the other, sucking and biting gently, she gasped and moaned and ground herself against his hardness.

  She trembled on the edge of something wonderful. He both frightened and fascinated her. She longed to touch. Explore. But right now he was totally focused on her instead—shifting his attention from one bared breast to the other, sending devastating waves of sensation through her so she could hardly think past the magic his lips and tongue and teeth created.

  ~♥~

  Rafiq closed his eyes and sank deeper into the pleasure of seduction. Laurel was so lush and feminine. Her full breasts drew his mouth toward them unerringly. Suckling her up-tilted nipples was like seeking nectar from sweet exotic flowers.

  And she craved him in return. She breathed hard now, murmuring his name and rolling her head from side to side in fierce paroxysms of rapture.

  He rocked his hips against hers in a slow chafing rhythm—and knew from her sudden gasp when he’d contacted more than just fabric.

  He deserted her nipple and took her lips in a passionate open mouthed kiss. She welcomed his tongue and began to suck on it with the same pulsing beat he was using against her clitoris. In seconds he had her on the very brink of her orgasm.

  Her breathing grew even more erratic. Then she moaned and stiffened as her ecstasy hit, and he triumphed as the glorious contractions ripped through her. Her cries floated out over the softly lapping water and were swallowed by the silence of the desert.

  He held her close until she was quiet again. She’d buried her face against his neck and refused to look at him, apparently embarrassed by her uninhibited display.

  He murmured to her in rapid Sounamese, telling her she was beautiful, desirable, a woman of passion and emotion.

  That she made him feel strong and potent and powerful in his masculinity.

  That he was blessed to be able to share such intimacy and joy with her.

  ~♥~

  Laurel heard his husky compliments and sensed he wasn’t disappointed. Bu
t she was overwhelmed and confused by the fierce and unsuspected frenzy he’d unleashed in her. All the years of holding back, of avoiding sex, had sharpened her hunger. Now the things she’d never before experienced filled her with wonder.

  He had awakened her. A deep longing for more flooded her. She sensed a lack of completion... the possibility of even richer treasures... wanted to return the pleasure which had been given to her so freely... yearned to explore his body and find what would thrill him in return.

  “Let me—please let me,” she whispered, relaxing her fierce hold on him so her legs slid down against his. She started to back out of the water, tugging at his hand, hoping he’d follow her to the shore. “I want to see you, not just feel,” she insisted. “I want the moon on your skin so I can discover everything about you. Lie down for me, Rafiq.”

  He was soon sprawled flat on his back while she pinned him down, stripped off his trunks and let her hands wander where they wanted.

  She sat naked astride his thighs and gazed at him in the dim light, not quite believing she’d found the courage to do this. She ran a finger along the slim stripe of hair on his belly and he growled with barely suppressed passion as her hand finally curled around his hard length.

  She stroked and squeezed, enchanted by his smoothness and the way the loose skin slid over the solid core of him. “He’s like a cat,” she whispered. “I can feel the muscles under his coat.”

  She hadn’t expected that. Not the soft velvet surface or the thrilling inner hardness, or the way he flexed in her hand as she explored. He was beautiful. Suddenly her long held fears seemed childish. She wanted to become a woman—and it had to be with this man.

  ~♥~

  Rafiq groaned when she changed her position and started to slide wetly and deliciously against him.

  “Condoms,” he rasped. “Let me up.”

  “No—I want you just like this so I’m in charge.”

  He toppled her over sideways and wrapped her in his arms and legs.

  “So who’s in charge?” he demanded, smile brilliant. “I’m not taking the chance of sending you home pregnant.” He pushed himself to his feet and strode the few steps to the car, not seeing she’d slumped down looking devastated until he turned back.

 
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