Malik might be all-powerful and super wealthy, but he isn't at
liberty to marry a wife of his choosing. His future's been mapped out for him
since birth. But the beautiful Charlotte captivates him in a way he's never
experienced, and he will stop at nothing to keep her in his life, and in his
Faber’s in a Swiss ski village to look into the mystery of her parentage. She
doesn’t want to be derailed from her research, but when she walks into a bar
and hears a tall, handsome man singing the most beautiful version of Hallelujah
imaginable, every single cell in her body is intrigued … Later, in the warmth
of his limousine …
“Fancy,” she said with a dry
tone, as he effortlessly uncorked the bottle, smothering the loud ‘pop’ with
the palm of his hand.
“You don’t like champagne?” He
asked, pausing in the act of filling a glass for her.
“It’s just a bit of a step
down from the Ukrainian wine I usually drink.”
He laughed throatily. “You are
She shrugged. “This is so not the norm for me. Riding in the
back of some space-ship car, drinking a bottle of champagne that probably costs
a month’s rent on my flat, with a strange man I can’t decide if I’m annoyed at
or...” she tapered off, her cheeks warm as she realised what she’d been about
to say. Wildly attracted to.
“Yes?” He urged, his lips
tilted in undisguised amusement.
“Even more annoyed at.” She
substituted crossly, but his mocking glance showed he understood exactly what
she’d been thinking.
The silence was anything but
comfortable for Charlotte. Every second she spent in his company was doing
strange things to her central nervous system. She could have sworn her skin had
actually begun to tingle. Finally, he spoke. “So because this is unusual you
want to end it?”
“No,” she contradicted. “I’m
not ending anything. You kindly
returned my coat, and that’s the end of our business together.”
“I think you’re wrong,” he
said quietly, handing the champagne to her.
“Oh, do you?” She was
surprised that her fingertips wrapped around the stem of the glass. Even more
so when she lifted it to her lips and tasted the incredibly fine liquid.
“I think our business together
is just beginning.”
She laughed, in spite of the
way her bones seemed to melt at his softly spoken words. “That’s such a cheesy
line,” she chided. Who cared that it had the exact effect he’d intended? Her
heart was racing, her nipples straining against the soft fabric of her shirt.
She was excited. Very excited.
“Not one I’ve ever used
before,” he promised huskily.
She found his declaration
difficult to believe. He was too effortlessly charming. Too confidently suave.
“That doesn’t matter. I’m not the kind of woman you think I am.”
“Oh? And what do I think you
She rolled her eyes,
self-conscious suddenly. “I know the way I look. I know that men see big
breasts and blonde hair, and think I must be lining up for one night stands.”
“And you’re not?” He asked,
leaning forward, so that his face was only an inch from hers.
“God, no!” She shook her head,
but when she realised that it brought her mouth within striking range of his,
she cleared her throat and pressed back in the seat. “Look, to each their own.
I think it’s great that women can have a healthy sex life in this day and age.
I’m not a prude. But I don’t appreciate being hit on by men I’ve just met. Even
if you are as sexy as they come.”
Malik didn’t know whether he
wanted to laugh in amusement or groan in frustration. He was not accustomed to
being turned down. Even before he’d ascended to throne of Ashan, he had never
found it difficult to entice women into his bed. The problem had been kicking
them out when they no longer interested him. But the desire this woman had
flared in him was intense. He wanted to explore it.
And yet, there was something
about her that was even more appealing than the way she made him feel. She was
fascinating. Like a bug under the microscope, he was enjoying watching her
“You think I’m sexy,” he
repeated, and this time, when he moved closer to Charlotte, his mouth hovered
just above hers.
Charlotte gulped nervously.
“Yes.” It was just a whisper. A soft admission of thought-guilt.
“Good.” He took possession of
her mouth, as he had wanted to do from the first minute he’d seen her. He’d
intended it to be a light kiss, but the second they connected, his body sparked
with electricity, and the kiss blew out of his control. His hands hungrily ran
the length of her body. He balled her shirt in his fists and lifted it, so that
he could feel her warm skin beneath. Her heart shuddered beneath his touch as
he skimmed his hands over the lace of her bra. He lowered his mouth, nibbling
and tasting the sensitive flesh to the side of her neck.
Charlotte’s moan was almost
his undoing, but he forced himself to remember who he was, and where he was.
His driver was completely scrupulous but Sheikh Desara had a reputation and a
code of honour to protect. Public love-making was not acceptable. With eyes
that glittered with promise, he lifted his head, but he kept his hands where
they were, in contact with her generous curves.
“Invite me into your hotel,”
he demanded, moving his thumb in a rhythmic pattern across her sensitised
Charlotte was tempted. Oh, so
tempted. But she knew she couldn’t do it. She shook her head. “I told you, I
don’t go in for one night stands. One kiss isn’t going to change that.”
Malik’s respect grew, for he
knew how torn she was. Her desire for him was as great as his for her, yet she
was sticking to her original declaration.
“I understand,” he surprised
her by saying. “I have no interest in a one night stand with you, anyway.”
“You don’t?” She squeaked,
immediately regretting that she’d said ‘no’ to what would undoubtedly have been
a night of mind-blowing sex with this guy.
“Oh.” She cleared her throat
then handed the champagne back to him. The disappointment was gripping. “Then
if you’ll just get my coat...”
“First, I want you to promise
me something,” he said quietly.
“What is it?”
“Have lunch with me tomorrow.”
He named the finest restaurant in the resort town, run by a famous French chef.
“I... but why?”
“I should have thought that
would be obvious.” He said smoothly. “I don’t want a one night stand with you.
But I do want you.”
Charlotte lowered her eyes,
her mind buzzing with doubts. “So lunch is what? A pre-cursor to seduction?”
He reached over and lifted her
chin with the pad of his thumb. “Yes.” He would have her. It was written in the
stars as surely as her cheeks were flushed with desire and her pupils dilated
with lust. Before he returned to Ashan, he would have conquered Charlotte
Faber. Body, mind and soul, she would be his.