my goddess.” He swept her up into his arms, didn't register the journey to the platform bed. He laid her on it, arranged her limbs as if they were flowers, tracing every line demarcating her tawny tan from her still-creamy areas with his tongue. “We'll sunbathe naked from now on. I want to see your inner lioness fully manifested. We'll do anything and everything.”
A peach flush evened out her color and her eyes turned almost black as she writhed. “Yesâ¦please, anythingâ¦everythingâ¦”
The totality of her hunger and trust shot to his heart, tampering with its rhythm. He anchored her as she began to buck beneath him, his fingers lost in the mindless pleasure of spanning her sharp concavity, digging into her taut flesh.
She whimpered a white-hot tremolo that attested to a pleasure she couldn't breathe for its power. “Harres, take meâ¦
Hearing her say
in his mother tongue felt like a giant hammer shattering the last pillar of his control. He would
later swear he'd heard the shrieking snap of his mind giving way, the howling implosion of restraint's end.
A rumble rolled inside him like distant thunder as he snapped her turquoise panties down her silken legs. She was golden down to her last secret. Rising on his knees, he barely pushed his drawstring pants down enough to release an arousal that was beyond rock now.
The look of feverish hunger, of shocked intimidation on her face made him want to hold back, take it infinitely slow and gentle. And they made him want to ram into her, ride her, grind his flesh into hers until she wept with the closeness, broke with the pleasure, dissolved in the fusion.
Feeling the world receding in a white noise of incoherence he grabbed her thighs, would have pressed them apart if they hadn't fallen wide-open.
She arched, writhed, tried to drag him to her, inside her.
He pulled back, tried to regain control. She was tampering with his sanity, at the verge of destroying it. He could hurt her. Even if he knew he'd pleasure her, too, he had to hold back.
He opened her folds, forged a path between their molten heat, but denying her the full entry she craved. She came off the bed at the first touch of their most intimate flesh. He laved his hardness in her nectar, rubbing her in escalating rhythm, until she was sobbing. He alternated between shallow nudges and circular strokes, over and over and over, teasing without fully taking.
She rose on her elbows, lips open with distressed gasps, her eyes spewing azure wildness and invitation of anything at all he would do to her.
Then he moved in a tighter rhythm until she fell back
on the bed, legs shaking wide, her back bowed deep as she convulsed into wave after wave of a screeching orgasm.
Seeing her lost to pleasure, pleasure he'd brought her, made his heart thunder with pride, with relief, with uncontrollable lust for more. He was already addicted to the sight, to the experience. He wanted it again. And he set about having it.
He stroked her swollen flesh, soothing it, desensitizing it. Drenched in tears and satiation, yet darkening with a deeper hunger, a wilder need, her eyes seethed as she watched him perform those ultimate intimacies on her, owning her flesh, manipulating her responses, extracting her ecstasy.
Soon, her pleas were a litany. “No, no moreâ¦more, youâ¦youâ¦take me, take me,
, now. I will take you now, finish you, claim you, brand you. I will plunder you and pleasure you until you weep with the satisfaction,
He rose onto his knees, kicked off his pants, cupped her buttocks in his hands, tilted her, opened her petals. He started to invade herâ¦and it hit him like a sledgehammer.
He almost keeled over her with the realization.
He did slump over her, his head to her breasts, his whole frame shuddering.
She cried out, tried to drag him up, but he resisted her, raised his head, the words cutting him on their way out. “When we get back to the capital. I can only take you fully then.” He smoothed the look of distress off her brow, rasped, “But I'll pleasure you now, in so many other ways.”
Understanding dawned in the pieces of heaven she had trapped in her eyes. Then a slow, sensuous smile spread her lips. She clamped her legs around his back, pulled him up. He acquiesced, slid over her slippery ripeness, mingling their moans and shudders and sweat.
Once he reached her lips, she gave a throaty moan of scorching seduction. “You
take me now. It's safe. For at least a week. You can trust me. I'm a doctor.”
So it was a safe time for her. He almost wished it wasn't, and he'd take her knowing that.
If it was up to him, he was sure. He wanted it all with her, now, no waiting. He needed her to know, everything.
“I trust you,
with my life. And more. And I only cared, for you.” She nodded, her eyes adoring him into oblivion, the perfection of her belief pouring fuel on his conflagration. He filled his hands with her, unconditional love made flesh of his flesh. “And I'm safe, too.”
She nipped his chin, as if chastising him for needing to voice this. She believed he would never endanger her in any way, didn't need to be told.
And she was opening her arms for him to fill, her beloved body quivering, her every cherished feature emanating her need in bludgeoning waves.
It was too much. He wanted too much. All of her. At once.
His growl sounded frightening in his ears as he sank his teeth anywhere in her flesh on a blind swoop. They dug in where her neck flowed into her soft, strong shoulder like that time during their ordeal when her nearness had meant life. She jerked and threw her head back, giving him a better bite. He took it.
He was a hairbreadth from going berserk. He tried to rein in the frenzy.
Then she made rationing his passion impossible.
“Show me how much you want me.” Her voice reverberated in his brain, dark and deep. Wild. “Give me everything, take everything, ride me, finish me. I can't bear the emptinessâ¦
With a growl of surrender he stabbed his fingers into
her short locks, pulled her head back for his devouring. She bombarded him with a cry of capitulation and command. He drove her into the thin mattress with a bellow of conquering lust. And on one staggering thrust, he embedded himself all the way to her womb.
They arched back. Backs taut, steep curves. Mouths opened on soundless screams at the potency of the moment. On pleasure too much to bear. Invasion and captivation. Completion. At last.
His roar broke through his muteness as he withdrew. She clutched at him with the tightness of her hot, fluid femininity, her delirious whimpers and her nails in his buttocks demanding his return. He met her eyes, saw everything he needed to live for.
He rammed back against her clinging resistance, his home inside her. The pleasure detonated again. Her cry pierced his being. He thrust, hard, harder, until her cries stifled on tortured squeals. Then she bucked. Ground herself against him. Convulsed around him in furious, helpless rhythms, choking out his name, her eyes streaming with the force of her pleasure.
He rode her to quivering enervation. Then showed her the extent of his need, her absolute hold over him.
He bellowed her name and his surrender to her as he found his life's first true and profound release, ecstasy frightening in magnitude, convulsing in waves of pure culmination, jetting his seed into her depths until he felt he'd dissolved inside her.
But even as he sank into her quivering arms, instead of being satiated, he was harder, hungrier than before.
Which didn't matter. He had to give her time to recover.
He tried to withdraw. She only wound herself tighter around him, cried out, clung to him.
“There will be more, and more, soon, and always.” He breathed the fire of his erotic promise into her mouth. “Rest now.”
She breathed her pleasure inside him, thrust her hips to take him deeper inside her. “I can only if you stay inside me. I can't get enough of you,
“Neither will I of youâ¦ever.” She was driving him deeper into bondage. He loved it. He drove back into her and she pulsed her sheath around him until he groaned. “Tormentress. But just wait. I, too, will drive you to insanity and beyond.”
In response to his erotic menace, she tossed her arms over her head, arched her vision of a body, thrust her tormenting breasts against his chest and purred low with aggressive surrender.
Still jerking with the electrocuting release, he turned her around, brought her over him, her shudders resonating with his.
“Give me your lips,
â¦” he gasped, needing the emotional surrender to complete the carnal abandon.
She groped for his lips, fed him her life and passion. Then her lips stilled, still fused to his, as sleep claimed her.
Only then did he let go. And he slept. Truly slept for the first time since he'd gone to rescue her.
She wanted to lie on him forever.
For the past four days she'd gone to sleep like that, after nights of escalating pleasure and abandon.
She propped herself up to wallow in his splendor.
Unbelievable. That just about summed him up.
Just looking at him, her heart tried to burst free of its attachments and her breath wouldn't come until she bent closer to draw it mingled with his beloved scent.
He smiled in his sleep, rumbled,
I love you.
She caught his precious pledge in an open-mouthed kiss. He instantly stirred, dauntingly aroused, returned the kiss then took it over, took her over.
she gasped her acute pleasure and total love, as he swept her around, bore her down and thrust into her, knowing he'd find her ready and unable to wait. Their hunger was always too urgent at first, it took only a few greedy tastes of each other, a few unbridled thrusts, to have them convulsing in each other's arms, their pleasure complete.
After the ecstasy he drove her to demolished and re-formed her around him, he twisted again to bring her over him.
He sighed in contentment.
He'd explained what that meant.
was a concept that had no equivalent in English. More comprehensive than love, too carnal for adoration and as reverent as worship. It fit perfectly.
She rose over him, took a deep breath. “And I can't believe I thought of this only minutes ago, but I wasn't in any condition to think of anything beyond you.” She knew this would intrude on the perfection. But she had to say it. “I want you to know everything.”
Harres stiffened beneath her. She frowned in alarm as he disentangled himself from their fusion, sat up. It was one of the few times she'd seen him totally serious.
“This time is ours,
ya nadda jannati
. We will not bring anything or anyone into it. Plenty of time for that when we rejoin the world. Now only you and I matter,
ya malekat galbi
Talia shivered at the intensity of passion that permeated his voice. He'd just called her the owner of his heart. By now, she was certain she was.
She was also certain it wouldn't matter.
When they rejoined the world, it would tear them apart.
There was only one thing to do now. Cling as hard as she could to her remaining time with him. And tell him what he needed to know. “I need to tell you.”
His golden eyes were explicit with his aversion to letting the world intrude on them now instead of later. But he finally squeezed them shut, giving his reluctant consent.
And she started. “A month ago, I got a letter. It was addressed to Todd. He'd been living with me since he came back from Azmahar, before his conviction. All his mail comes to my house, and I take it to him when I visit. But something made me open this one. Two things. That all mail so far carried only more bad news, and I decided that this time, I'd try to do something about it and tell him only if I failed. The other reason was that it had Zohaydan stamps.”
His eyes went dark. He just nodded for her to go on.
“I didn't know what to expect, but it certainly wasn't what I found.” She shuddered again with the memory of the explosive emotions the letter had elicited. “The writer said he knew who was involved in framing Todd, that he could expose them, exonerate him. He asked that Todd come to Zohayd, where he'd supply him with the information. He had a huge stake in exposing them, too, but he needed it to be at a stranger's hand. And who better than someone they'd so deeply wronged?
“I realized only after I'd read the letter a dozen times that the writer didn't know Todd was in no position to fulfill his demand. There was an email included, so they could drum out details of the âmission,' as he called it. I wrote an email explaining the situation, but accepting their mission in Todd's place. Then, right before I hit Send, I reconsidered.
If the writer knew Todd was already convicted, he might give up on the whole thing. And from Todd's reports on the region, I thought he would balk at doing business with a woman. Not to mention that a female foreigner on her own would draw too much attention, all of the unwanted variety. And my plan formed.
“If this person didn't know Todd was in prison, then I could go as him. I had his passport, and I could pass for him with some disguise. I created a new email with Todd's name, emailed him with my acceptance. I got a response within an hour. All I had to do was buy a plane ticket to anywhere in the world to get into the airport's departure gates. Someone would meet me with a pass to a private-jet flight, so I could slip into the region without record of my entry. That worried me, about my departure, but I rationalized they would want me to leave, to carry out their exposÃ© for them. I thought I could also run to the American Embassy if I got into trouble.