Seduced by the Sultan

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Authors: Sharon Kendrick
life, so I wasn’t entirely sure you’d be able to cope.’
    ‘I don’t think you’d need to be an astrophysicist to be able to decipher the instructions on the side of a packet of coffee,’ he commented wryly. ‘And I have learnt the art of self-sufficiency in the desert.’
    ‘Really?’ She took another sip of coffee.
    ‘Really.’ His dark gaze swept over her. ‘Even a sultan must know how to fend for himself. I have made meals from roots and brewed pots of sweet tea when I have been setting up camp with my troops. Fundamental lessons of self-sufficiency are essential when preparing for warfare—and all men are equal in the desert.’
    Cat heard the sudden hard note of passion which had entered his voice. Had he enjoyed that kind of self-sufficiency and equality? It must have been elusive to someone who had grown up in a palace. But she’d never really given him the chance to do that, had she? With her, he hadn’t had to lift a finger. She had taken over every domestic element of their life together as she’d tried so hard to be his textbook lover. And maybe he hadn’t wanted her to try that hard. Maybe he had wanted more equality than she’d been prepared to give him. It was a sobering thought.
    ‘The desert sounds...amazing,’ she said, aware of how wistful her voice sounded.
    ‘It is,’ he agreed. ‘Although it is also a barren and unforgiving place, where the instinct for survival takes precedence over everything else.’
    The instinct for survival.
    Catrin’s heart began to pound as she thought about her own survival instinct. Where was that instinct now? Forgotten beneath that undeniably hungry look he was slanting at her, making her wish that things hadn’t changed and that she could just go over to him and lose herself in his embrace. She forced herself to focus on the sunlight which was spilling onto the pots of flowers on the terrace outside. ‘It’s a gorgeous day.’
    ‘I know it is. What do you want to do?’
    She knew the answer he wanted. The answer she was longing to give him. She wanted to go straight back to bed, only this time to make love. She wanted his kiss and the hard thrust of his body. She wanted him to take away this ache of desire which was pooling softly at the base of her belly and to rid her of this terrible sense of frustration.
    But something told her that would be a cop-out. And right now she felt much too vulnerable to risk having sex with him.
    ‘I’d like to do something different. Something on my terms for once.’
    ‘Such as?’
    She looked out at where the rest of the city lay far below them. ‘I’d like to go somewhere without you being shadowed by a whole team of bodyguards. I’d like to get in a black cab and go to the cinema and eat popcorn without anyone knowing who you are. I’d like to pretend that we’re just the same as any other couple.’
    ‘Anonymity, you mean?’
    ‘That’s exactly what I mean.’
    He looked at her for a moment and then, brilliantly and unexpectedly, he smiled. ‘Then I place myself in your hands completely, Cat,’ he said softly.
    She felt a warm glow of satisfaction as she finished her coffee and went off to get ready, while Murat spoke quietly to his bodyguards. And although they weren’t happy, they agreed to a very low-key presence throughout the day.
    For Catrin, it felt like another small triumph. She knew it didn’t mean much, but for her it meant a good deal. The hours which lay before them seemed to have endless possibilities. And she was the one making all the choices.
    * * *
    They walked across Hyde Park and ate breakfast croissants in a café overlooking the glittering waters of the Serpentine. They walked along the riverbank, before making their way to Covent Garden, where they found a small art gallery which was, inexplicably, almost empty. It felt liberating to walk from painting to painting, discussing each one in detail, and she almost forgot the shadowy presence of the bodyguard hovering

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