She could also see very clearly that his motives for not wanting to be King of Tabat for longer than absolutely necessary had nothing to do with his own selfish needs. It was based on something far deeper and darker.
Acting on an instinct she couldn’t deny, Charlotte reached out and took the glass of alcohol out of Salim’s hand. She raised it to her mouth and drained it. The liquid slid down her throat, leaving a burning fire in its wake and rushing to her head.
She put the glass down carefully on a table and looked back up at Salim. He was watching her. Emotion surged in spite of her best efforts to burn it away with the whisky.
She aimed for a wry smile, but it felt wobbly. ‘You don’t actually need my expertise at all—you’re a natural.’
‘Are you telling me you think your services are no longer required?’ Salim’s voice was harsh.
The rush of alcohol-induced confidence trickled away and Charlotte felt cold. ‘No...that’s not what I’m saying.’
‘So what are you saying?’
She refused to let this austere Salim scare her away. ‘Do you want me, Salim? Because if you don’t that’s fine. I’ll leave right now.’
For a heart-stopping moment she saw the struggle on his face and in his eyes.
But then he reached for her as he said gutturally, ‘Yes, damn you—yes, I want you.’
It was all she needed to hear. She reached up and put her arms around his neck, pressed her mouth to his.
Salim knew he was playing with fire, but he was incapable of resisting. Charlotte’s mouth moved under his and he gave in to the dark hunger inside him—a voracious, needy hunger.
He wrapped his arms around her back and hauled her to him, feeling the length of her slender body trembling against his as he took control of the kiss and gorged on the sweetness she was offering.
Charlotte gave up trying to make any sense of anything—she just knew, as Salim started kissing her back, clearly showing her who was boss in this exchange, that she never wanted him to stop.
He’d awakened her on a sexual level but she knew very well that their time was finite. She felt that same greedy desire she had last night, to experience as much as she could.
When he pulled back from kissing her she went with him, opening her eyes, her vision blurry for a minute. He took her by the hand and led her through his rooms and into a vast bedroom, dominated by the biggest bed she’d ever seen in her life.
He stopped by the bed and let her hand go. ‘I want to see you.’
Charlotte’s inhibitions had been burnt away by alcohol and revelations. She had nothing left to hide behind, so she took off her clothes.
Salim’s blue gaze devoured her from head to toe. Once again the thought that he could find her so compelling was unbelievable and heady. Too heady to resist.
He reached for her and pulled her close. Her hands automatically searched for his shirt buttons, undoing them unsteadily because he was pushing her hair back and pressing kisses to her neck and shoulder, the scratch of his beard sending shivers through her whole body.
Her breasts felt heavy as he cupped one in his hand, his thumb moving back and forth over her nipple. The sensations connected directly to the pulse between her legs, where she was throbbing with hot, damp need.
When he pulled back slightly his shirt was open, but still tucked in. He made short work of untucking it and pulling it off, his hands going to his belt and then his trousers, undoing them and pushing them down to the floor.
Now he wore just briefs, and they were tented over his erection. Charlotte remembered how she had felt when he’d thrust inside her...how full and stretched... She reached out instinctively and cupped a hand over him.
He said roughly, ‘Take them off.’
With trembling hands she pulled them down from his lean hips and over his erection, down over powerful thighs and to the floor. She was almost kneeling at his feet now, and she stayed there.
She looked at that part of him that was so unashamedly masculine. She reached out and heard the breath hiss through his teeth as she wrapped her hand around his length, fascinated by the silky smoothness of the skin around that column of steel arising out of dark hair.
She touched the bead of moisture at its head with her thumb. She wanted to taste it and leant forward, licking with her tongue. Lust exploded inside her as the tart, salty taste impacted on her tastebuds and she wanted to taste more. She placed her mouth around him and for a heady moment felt a sense of unbelievable feminine power as she explored the bulbous head of his erection with her mouth and tongue.
But then he stepped back, out of her reach, and his hands came under her arms, lifting her up.
She immediately felt self-conscious. ‘Was I doing something wrong?’
Salim shook his head, his eyes burning so bright it almost hurt to look into them. ‘No. But I need to be inside you right now more than I need your mouth on me...’