The Desert Prince's Mistress
beneath his and her arms came up to wind around his neck, like tendrils of ivy clinging to sun-warmed brick.
    ‘Darian—’
    ‘You don’t like it?’
    She grazed her lips over his, unable to stop herself. Just once, she told herself. She would kiss him just once. But she kissed him again, and again, and then again, and his low laugh of delight made her want to do it some more.
    She tried to speak, but her lips were so dry and her head so spinning that the words came out as a parched kind of whisper. ‘It isn’t a question of not liking…’
    ‘But that’s the only important question, darling. Nothing else is worth asking.’ He drifted his mouth along the line of her jaw. ‘Is it?’
    Her head fell back and his lips moved immediately to her neck. Lara shuddered. In her befuddled state of desire his words seemed to make perfect sense, and this was dangerous indeed. Very dangerous.
    She should pull away and ask him to take her home. If he wanted her that much then he would be prepared to wait—and wouldn’t that be what any woman in her right mind would do? Wait at least until she had told him the momentous news she had?
    So why were her fingertips running over the back of his head as if learning him by touch? Why was she doingnothing to stop him when he ran the flat of his hand down over one breast and then back again, where it lingered, and she could feel it growing tight and hard against him.
    Because she couldn’t, that was why.
    She lifted her head, which felt as if it was weighted with some heavy metal—like the gold which matched the hot, molten colour of his eyes. Two flares of colour ran along each aristocratic cheekbone, and at that moment he looked like a pure Marabanese, with all the accompanying pride and arrogance that went with that ancestry.
    Yet his hard mouth had been softened by her kisses, so that for one second he looked unexpectedly vulnerable. It was like having a curtain twitch and seeing behind it a glimpse of a man you dared not dream existed. A man with softness beneath the hard, polished exterior, making him utterly irresistible. And with something approaching shock Lara realised that she wanted him now, no matter what the consequences.
    She remembered the first time she had seen Khalim and had almost melted into a puddle on the floor. Was she just one of those women who were suckers for arrogant and exotic-looking men who seemed to make most normal men look like a pale imitation of the real thing?
    Darian sensed her reservations melting away and smiled lazily as he ran his hand down over her stomach, which curved faintly beneath the clinging cream fabric of her dress, and then down further still, until it edged up beneath the thin material. He splayed his fingers with arrogant possession over the space of cool flesh above her stocking top and Lara felt her thighs part, as if no power on earth could have stopped them.
    ‘You do like it,’ he purred approvingly, and the pad of his thumb stroked the silken flesh there. He felt her squirm, enjoying the look of helpless pleasure which made her lips form a disbelieving little Oh!
    She tried one last, futile time. ‘We shouldn’t be doing this,’ she protested half-heartedly.
    ‘Want me to stop?’ This as his fingertips floated tantalisingly close to the moist, filmy barrier of her panties, and she shook her head distractedly.
    ‘No!’
    He kissed her, and his words were muffled against her lips. ‘You just want me to know that you aren’t in the habit of leaping into bed on a first date, is that it?’
    Lara felt her cheeks grow hot. ‘Well, I’m not—’
    ‘And neither am I,’ he murmured silkily. ‘So we’re equal, aren’t we?’
    If only he knew!
    ‘And now that we’ve established that…’ He pulled her into his arms and began to kiss her—only this time he really kissed her, deep, searching seeking kisses, which dissolved away everything but the need to be joined with him.
    ‘Darian,’ she moaned weakly as he

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