Sheikh's Forbidden Conquest(8)

By: Chantelle Shaw

Abruptly he switched off the shower, dried himself and pulled on a pair of trousers. Midway through shaving, he heard a knock on the door of the suite, which he ignored, forgetting that he had sent his staff away. Three impatient raps followed, and he cursed as the razor slipped in his hand and the blade nicked his chin. Grabbing a towel, he strode out of the bathroom and across the sitting room to fling open the door.

‘Ms Howard! This is a surprise!’

Lexi frowned. ‘Is it? I left a message with reception saying that I would be here at five.’

Kadir recalled that the phone had rung as he’d been on his way out of the door to go to the gym, but he hadn’t bothered to answer it. ‘I’m afraid I didn’t receive any message,’ he murmured.

How could his smile be so wickedly sexy? Lexi jerked her eyes from the sensual curve of his mouth and tried to ignore the fact that Sultan Kadir Al Sulaimar was half naked and had obviously just taken a shower. Droplets of water clung to the whorls of black hairs that grew thickly on his chest.

When she had rescued him, his body had been hidden beneath a bulky waterproof sailing suit. But now Lexi was faced with rippling muscles, gleaming olive-gold skin, broad, satin-smooth shoulders and his tight-as-a-drum abdomen.

Her eyes were drawn to the fuzz of black hairs that arrowed down from his navel and disappeared beneath the waistband of his trousers, which sat low on his hips. Her mouth suddenly felt dry. She lifted her gaze back to his face and her stomach swooped when she discovered that he was even more gorgeous than she remembered from their first meeting.

The combination of his lean, chiselled features and deep-set dark eyes was mesmerising. His mouth was full-lipped, and curved into a sultry smile that sent a tingle through Lexi’s body. Her breath seemed to be trapped somewhere between her lungs and her throat. She needed to say something, anything to break the prickling silence that became more intense with every passing second so that she was sure he must be able to hear the loud thud of her heart.

She said the first thing that came into her head. ‘You’re bleeding...on your chin. No, closer to your lip...’ She pointed, trying to direct him as he lifted the towel he was holding and pressed it against his face.

‘I started shaving when I was fourteen. You’d think I’d be better at it by now,’ he said ruefully. He thrust the towel at her. ‘Will you play nurse?’

His voice was as sexy as his smile—deep and rich, caressing her senses and conjuring up images in her mind that were shockingly inappropriate.

‘I should go,’ she muttered. ‘This is obviously not a convenient time...’ Not when her heart was beating painfully fast. Lexi did not understand why he affected her so strongly. For ten years she had worked in a predominantly male environment and had met her fair share of good-looking men. But none like him, whispered a voice inside her head. Even his title—Sultan of Zenhab—was exotic and made her think of a desert oasis beneath a starry sky, a tent draped with silks, and him, naked, his bronzed, muscular body sprawled on satin cushions and his dark eyes gleaming as he beckoned to her to come to him.

Lexi swallowed. What on earth was the matter with her? She felt as though her body was on fire.

‘You’re not bothered by the sight of blood, are you?’

The amusement in his voice pulled her back from her erotic fantasy. Thank goodness he couldn’t possibly have known what she had been thinking. His question jolted her mind back to her experiences of a real desert—the dry, unforgiving landscape, clouds of choking sand stirred up by the downdraught of the Chinook’s rotor blades, the screams of wounded men, the smell of blood and dust and vomit.

‘No, blood doesn’t worry me,’ she told him calmly, in control once more. The cut near to his bottom lip was still bleeding. She pressed the corner of the towel against his face and somehow, without her being aware that either of them had moved, she found herself inside his suite and he shut the door.

She immediately became conscious of how close they were standing. His warm breath whispered across her cheek and the mingled scents of soap, his spicy cologne and something more subtle—the sensual musk of maleness—stirred her senses. Her breasts brushed against his bare chest and the contact with his body sent a ripple of awareness through her.

Panic was an unfamiliar emotion for Lexi, but she was shaken by her reaction to the Sultan. She lifted the towel to see if the cut had stopped bleeding and saw that her hand was trembling. In Afghanistan, when she had flown behind enemy lines to pick up casualties, her nerves had been as steady as her hands on the helicopter’s control stick. Why did this pampered playboy prince who had probably never done a day’s work in his life disturb her?