Awakened by Her Desert Captor(10)

By: Abby Green

  He’d only come to his senses because there had been something in the way she’d kissed him—something he hadn’t believed... Something innocent. Gauche. But it was a lie—as if she’d been trying to figure out what he liked. Acting sweet and innocent after she’d just been completely brazen. Attempting to seduce him away from her sister.

  The only thing that had got Arkim through the past week of ignominy and public embarrassment had been the prospect of making Sylvie Devereux pay. And the kind of payment he had in mind would finally exorcise her from his head, and his body, once and for all.

  For months she’d inhabited the dark, secret corners of his mind and his imagination. She’d been the cause of sleepless nights and lurid dreams. Even during his engagement to her far sweeter and infinitely more innocent sister.

  Apart from the injury Sylvie had caused to Arkim with her selfish behaviour, she’d also recklessly played with her sister’s life. The young woman had been inconsolable, absolutely adamant that she wouldn’t give Arkim another chance. And could he blame her? Who would believe the son of a man who lived his life as if it was a bacchanal?

  The words Sylvie Devereux had said in the church still rang in his head: ‘This man shared my bed.’ And yet even now his body reacted to those words with a surge of frustration. Because she most certainly had not shared his bed. It had been a bare-faced lie. Conjured up to create maximum damage.

  Sylvie Devereux wanted him so badly? Well, then, she’d have him—until he was sated and he could throw her back in the trash, where she belonged.

  But it would be on his terms, and far out of the reach of the ravenous public’s gaze. The damage to his reputation stopped right here.

  * * *

  Sylvie looked out of the small private plane’s window to see a vast sea of sand below her, and in the distance, shimmering in a heat haze, a steel city that might have come directly from a futuristic movie.

  The desert sands of Al-Omar and its capital city, B’harani.

  Some called it the jewel of the Middle East. It was one of its most progressive countries, presided over by a very dynamic and modern royal couple. Sylvie had just been reading an article about them in the in-flight magazine: Sultan Sadiq and his wife Queen Samia, and their two small cherubic children.

  Queen Samia was younger than Sylvie, and she’d felt a little jaded, looking at the beaming smile on the woman’s face. She was pretty, more than beautiful, and yet her husband looked at her as if he’d never seen a woman before.

  She’d seen her father look at her mother like that.

  Sylvie ruthlessly crushed the small secret part of her that clenched with an ominous yearning. The cynicism she’d honed over years came to the fore. Sultan Sadiq might well be reformed now, but she could remember when he’d been a regular visitor to the infamous L’Amour revue and had cut a swathe through some of its top-billed stars.

  Not Sylvie, though. Once she was offstage and dressed down, with her hair tied back, she slipped unnoticed past all her far more glamorous peers. She courted endless teasing from the other girls—and from the guys, who were mostly gay—having earned the moniker of ‘Sister Sylvie’, because of the way she would prefer to go home and curl up with a book or cook a meal rather than head out to party with their inevitably rich and gorgeous clientele. A clientele that appreciated the very discreet ethos of the revue and any liaisons that ensued out of hours.

  But even they—her friends, who were more like her family now—didn’t know the full extent of her far from her stage persona she really was.

  ‘Miss Devereux? We’ll be landing shortly.’

  Sylvie looked up at the beautiful olive-skinned stewardess, with her dark brown eyes and glossy black hair. She forced a smile, suddenly reminded of someone with similar colouring. Someone infinitely more masculine, though, and more dangerous than this courteous flight attendant.

  That fateful day almost two weeks ago rushed back with a garish vividness that took her breath away. Reminding her painfully of the searing public scrutiny, judgement and humiliation. And his face. So dark and unforgiving. Those black eyes scorching the skin from her body.

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