A Christmas Bride for the King

Page 44

Any of the remaining ice around her heart, that had protected her for years, was well and truly burnt away in this conflagration. How could she deny this man the release he sought in her arms when every bit of her ached to give him that release and then selfishly take her own...?
The surge of emotion Salim had felt when he’d seen Charlotte standing there in the silky robe was too much for him to take in. The need he’d felt for her was instantaneous and urgent. The need to lose himself in her until the pain went away.
She was arching her body into his and her mouth was so soft and sweet... He couldn’t hold back even if he wanted to now. It was fast and furious, but somehow he managed to navigate them so that her back was against a wall.
They didn’t even make it to the bed.
Salim lifted Charlotte so that her legs were wrapped around his waist, then pulled at her robe like an animal until she was bared and he could feast on her breasts, tugging first one and then the other nipple into his mouth, their pointed tips sending his arousal levels into orbit.
He somehow managed to pull up his own robe and she reached down between feverish kisses, finding his rock-hard erection and freeing him from the confines of his trousers.
For a second, while she held his body in her hand, he pulled back and looked at her. Her eyes were wide and glazed, her cheeks flushed. Hair to
usled. His chest grew tight.
He removed her hand from his shaft and with less finesse than he’d ever shown in his life he found the heart of her body, where she was slick, tight and hot, and thrust up so deep that they both stopped breathing for a long moment.
When her hips moved against his he withdrew, before slamming back in. Her muscles clenched around him and he let loose the beast inside him until their skin glistened with sweat and he had nowhere else to go but to pull out before he lost all control, to spill his seed across her belly.
He’d never done that before, because he’d never not used protection, but right now he couldn’t even drum up shock or recrimination.
Charlotte was looking at him wild-eyed, her hips still moving against him, and to his shame and mortification he realised that she hadn’t climaxed.
She was biting her lip as Salim lowered her to the floor, instructing roughly as he knelt before her, ‘Put your leg over my shoulder.’
She did, and Salim pushed apart the robe even more, so that her body was bare apart from the flimsy belt dissecting her belly where he’d branded her. He spread apart her thighs and laved her body, hearing her sighs and moans, feeling her fist in his hair as he plunged two fingers inside her and found the sensitive nub of her pleasure, suckling on it remorselessly until she too fell apart, screaming her release.
When she was spent, Salim rested his head against her hips and for the first time in his life felt a sense of peace so profound that it silenced all the voices in his head.
* * *
Later, at the glittering banquet, Charlotte still felt flayed. They’d made love like two animals. Except she couldn’t drum up any sense of shame or humiliation. It had felt wild and strangely cathartic. As if something had been burnt clean.
Incinerated, more like.
She caught Salim’s eye now, across the table, and her inner muscles clenched. His mouth tipped up slightly on one side, as if he knew exactly what she was going through. She scowled at him and looked away, trying not to think about how he’d carried her into the shower afterwards and soaped her thoroughly—so thoroughly that she’d splintered to pieces again while he’d watched her with an intensity that she hadn’t been able to escape.
Just before she’d returned to her room he had said, ‘I didn’t use protection...’
Her face had flamed as she’d thought how erotic it had felt to have him spend his release on her skin.
She’d hurriedly assured him, ‘It’ll be fine. I’m not at a dangerous part of my cycle’.
And she wasn’t, so she could be relatively sure there would be no repercussions. But it had shocked her how easily she’d forgotten about safety. And how easily a very illicit image of a small, earnest dark-haired child with blue eyes had sneaked into her imagination.
The chatter of the banquet brought Charlotte back to the present moment and panic rose inside her.
Imagining babies and being queen... She was in so much deeper than she’d appreciated.
* * *
Salim was finding it hard not to stand up and walk around the vast banquet table to where Charlotte was sitting. Her face was turned away as she spoke to someone else, and one word thrummed in his blood: mine.
She was a vision in a gold kaftan, her hair piled high on her head. He’d noticed several men’s gazes lingering on her all evening, and it had taken all his restraint not to drag her across the table and claim her.
His body was still heavy, replete with carnal satisfaction, and yet, as ever, there was an edge of growing hunger. Already. He observed her as dispassionately as he could, feeling a little desperate at the effect she had on him, but he couldn’t be objective.
It struck him then, as he took in the delicate line of her jaw and aquiline profile... She looked regal. Maybe that awareness had precipitated his taunt earlier—that she wanted to be a queen. Suddenly Salim thought of how very perfect Charlotte would be as a queen, but she would have to be someone else’s, wouldn’t she?