Pregnant by the Sheikh(9)

By: Olivia Gates

“Even if you consider me different...”

“Not different. Unique.”

Her color heightened again with pleasure at what should have been an exaggeration but was anything but. “Even if you do consider me that, I can’t imagine other men’s weaknesses ever applying to you. You wouldn’t prey on anyone weaker.”

Her opinion of him had something searingly pleasurable swelling inside him. Yet...“I felt your anxiety, your distress. I still feel them.”

Something soft and even more hard-hitting than all her previous expressions came into her eyes as she cocked her head at him, her lips quirking. “Hello? You do realize you’re the most overwhelming man alive, right? As if that wasn’t enough, we broke every rule of personal interaction. Heck, we’ve already progressed to discussing wedding-busting plans. Excuse me if I’m rattled to my core.”

“You don’t need to be. I care nothing about rules. Between us those don’t exist. And you know it.”

“You think I know anything right now? I’m not even sure this is really happening or that you really exist. I only know that nothing has ever come close to hitting me this hard.”

“Another thing we share, then. Even before I saw you, you hit me harder than anything ever had.”

She scrunched her nose at him in adorable teasing. “Don’t you say what you don’t mean to try to tickle my ego.”

His lips twisted, admitting his condition to himself even as he did to her. “I do mean it. Your ego has every right to be rolling on the ground laughing.” Her chuckle tinkled like crystal with such genuine pleasure, he had to fist his hands to keep them from grabbing her. But he also needed to resolve this issue. “So were you just surprised I asked you back to my suite?”

That delightful lopsided grin flashed wider again. “Surprised is the understatement of the century. But seriously, I just needed a moment for a reality check. And to breathe. You, sir, are more breath depleting than the most insane roller-coaster ride.”

Just then another unprecedented thing happened. His own lips spread with a combination of emotions he didn’t recognize. If forced to name them, he’d guess they most approximated delight, indulgence, even tenderness.

His smile had an equal and opposite reaction on her. While everything about her made him hard as steel, she melted against the support of the column at her back.

Her gaze poured hot, glazed reproach over him, making him start to ache, throb. “You should be banned by law from doing that. Everything about you is already overkill. A smile, and that kind, too, can cause widespread damage.”

His smile only widened as triumph revved inside his chest. “No danger of that, as I have no smiles of any kind for anyone. This is exclusively for you.”

“So I’m a target group of one, huh?”

Something tightened in his chest as he heard the word target on her lips. What she’d been to him before he’d seen her. Now it suddenly felt wrong.

Oblivious to his thoughts, she gazed up at him with what he now believed was trust and...was that admiration, too? “I came here tonight thinking I’d run out of luck for life, but because I met you and you’ve offered what you have, no matter what the outcome will be, I’d already revised my opinion. But to be the sole recipient of your smile? Talk about my luck making a total turnaround.”

Giving in to his compulsion, he tugged her to his side. “I’m willing to talk about anything. Just not here. Come with me?”

She nodded, shyness tingeing her gaze, affecting him more because he knew only he elicited such a reaction from her, and it was genuine, like everything else about her. “Just promise me a chance every now and then to catch my breath.”

“Although it’s the last thing I want, I’ll give you all the time you need to feel at total ease with me.”

Her eyes twinkled impishly at him. “I don’t think it’s humanly possible to feel relaxed around you.”

After that first smile, another came easier to him. “Tension works, too. As long as it’s the delicious kind.”

She sighed dramatically. “I don’t know about that. What you provoke is too scalding to be called anything so benign.”

Her ready confessions of his effect on her surged through him again with such unstoppable desire. Unable to wait any longer, he swept her outside.

As he had her rushing to keep up with his eager steps, she melted into him, as if she needed his support. Then as he steered her toward the elevators, he felt her tensing against him.

This tightness in his chest returned. “Worried again?”

Her smile brightened once more, becoming whimsical as she shook her head. “You’d never be a threat to me, Sheikh Numair. If I have anything to worry about, it’s what an overpowering temptation you are.”

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