The Sheikh's Pregnant Prisoner(7)By: Tara Pammi
A vein stretched taut at his temple, something hot and indecent uncoiling in his eyes. “Is that as well as you knew me or even better?”
There were so many things wrong with that question that she couldn’t sift through the nuances for a minute. “What...does that mean?”
“You fell into my bed three days after we met. You traveled halfway round the world to see a man who walked out on you. I will not put much stock in your judgment right now.”
A soft whimper fell from her mouth and Lauren hated herself just as much as she hated him.
Her judgment? He was using their weakness, their utter lack of control when it came to each other against her?
“You’re manipulative too, great.” She whispered the words softly, slowly, as though she needed to believe them herself.
A headache was beginning to blur her vision. “David isn’t even aware of our...liaison,” she said, intent on making him understand. “When he told me he was traveling to Behraat, I persuaded him to let me join him, made him wait until my visa was through. He didn’t even know why I was coming.”
“Why what, Zafir?”
“Why did you come to Behraat?”
Because I’m a silly, sentimental fool. Because, even after all these years, I still didn’t learn.
He was right. Her usual common sense had taken a hike from the minute she had woken that morning six weeks ago and found him gone. But she’d acted the fool enough.
“I thought you were dead, Zafir.” The hollow ache she had battled for six weeks resonated around them. “I came to see the Behraat that you told me so much about. I came to Behraat to mourn you.”
He flinched and took a step back. Shock radiated from him.
“I saw the news coverage of the riots. When I didn’t hear anything from you, when they reported the number of civilian casualties, I thought you had died fighting for your country and its people,” she paused to breathe, to pull air past the lump that seemed to have wedged in her throat like a rock. She rubbed her fingers over her eyes, feeling incredibly tired. “But I’m such a fool, aren’t I? If you had cared, you could have picked up the phone, no wait, you could have barked a command like you did before, and one of your thugs could have informed me that you were alive. That you were through with me.”
He didn’t blink, didn’t move, just stared at her. Had he thought it meant nothing to her? Had she meant nothing to him?
“I never promised you anything, Lauren.”
She nodded and the movement cost her everything she had. “As you pointed out so clearly a few minutes ago, it was an affair at best, an exchange of sex.” She laughed through the tears edging into her eyes, through the haze of something clouding her eyes. All of a sudden, she felt woozy, as if there wasn’t enough oxygen in the room to breathe. “I’ve realized that the man I came to mourn doesn’t exist.
“Or if he did, he’s truly dead.”
Her words hit Zafir like a fist to his gut, rendering everything inside him still. The man he’d been with her, he had been neither the orphan nor the ruler.
He’d been just Zafir, free to pursue whatever he wanted.
But not anymore. Never again.
She licked her lips and swallowed visibly, her skin losing the little color she had. “Now, unless your plan is to torture me, in which case I demand a lawyer, please order one of your thugs to bring me some water. My throat feels like it’s on fire.”
Her gaze unfocused, she swayed on her feet and slid down the wall in a tangle of limbs.
Zafir caught her before she hit the floor, his heart pounding.
Propping her up, he tugged her close, pushed the silky strands of her hair away from her forehead. She was burning up and dehydrated.
It could happen to anyone visiting such a hot clime for the first time, but her fainting was a direct result of his actions. Because she had been locked up the whole morning without water. On his command.
With her body slumped against his, he pulled his phone out and called Arif.
He traced the stubborn angle of her jaw with his finger, mesmerized by the contrast of his rough, brown hand over her delicate soft skin. That was it.
She had mesmerized him the moment he had set eyes upon her. Stunning features, alabaster skin and a sensuous mouth that could make a man forget he wasn’t allowed something as frivolous as a blazing hot affair.
And even if he had somehow resisted her beauty, her biting tongue and no-nonsense attitude had won him over.
He had never met a woman like her before.
But she’d been a distraction, a respite, all that he could ever have. So he had walked away when it was time for him to return to Behraat.
But, why hadn’t he, as she’d so recklessly demanded, told her he was through with her? A simple phone call would have done it...why hadn’t he been able to let go?