Pursued by the Desert Prince(10)By: Dani Collins
“We have more to talk about.”
He dropped his gaze to the pink-stained tissue crumpled on her desk.
She blushed, but it wasn’t all embarrassment. There was memory there, too. One that made her flush into her chest. The knowledge she was growing aroused again stimulated all the latent signals of his own desire.
Angelique looked away. “That was a mistake.”
“It was an effective distraction,” he allowed.
Her gaze flashed back to his. “That was not what I was trying to do.”
He shrugged. “Nevertheless, it put certain possibilities on the table.” He was already imagining that same explosive passion colliding on silk sheets. Or this desk she stood behind.
“I can’t,” she dismissed crisply.
“Why not?” A thought struck. “Are you in a relationship?” He tensed, dismayed.
“I wouldn’t have kissed you if I was, would I?”
“I don’t know.” He relaxed, starting to enjoy that pique of hers. It put a pretty glow in her eyes and revealed the intoxicating passion he’d tasted on her lips. “This is why we should have dinner. So we can get to know one another.”
“Are you in a relationship?” she shot back.
“No.” He scowled, not used to anyone asking questions so direct and personal.
She relaxed slightly, but her brow quickly crinkled in consternation. “Do you want to talk more about Sadiq? You still don’t believe me?”
“I want to go on a date, Angelique. I would think that was obvious.”
How could that take her aback? She actually retreated a half step. Her brows gave a surprised twitch, then, oddly, she looked uncertain. She dropped her gaze to her desktop. Bashful?
“I rarely date.”
“Then it should be a treat to have dinner with me.”
She laughed, which might have been offensive if she didn’t have such a pretty, engaging laugh. Her enjoyment was genuine and thorough. At his expense.
“I won’t apologize.” She held up a hand as she noted the way he folded his arms and set his teeth. “It wasn’t your conceit that got to me so much as the painful truth of that remark. You have no idea.”
Conceit? He’d been stating a fact.
She ran a fingertip beneath her eye, smile lingering.
“In gratitude for that exceptionally good chuckle, I’ll spare you some pain. I attract a lot of attention. I’m really not worth the trouble to take out. I know this because I’ve been told so more than once.” Her amusement faded to something more sincere. Resigned. Maybe even a tad wistful and hurt.
He started to say they could dine alone at his penthouse, then recalled his Paris residence was overrun by his mother and sisters and assorted female relatives.
“Your place then,” he said.
She shook her head, but there seemed to be some regret there. “Trella counts on certain spaces being kept private and our flat here is one of them.”
That devotion to her sister kept getting to him. The second nature of it. He understood it very well and had to like her for it.
“Dining in public it is, then.”
She grew very grave. “I’m serious, Kasim. My sort of notoriety is a punishment. You would be tarred as my lover overnight.”
“Since I intend to spend the night with you, where is the harm?”
“Do you?” she scoffed, flushing with indignation. And stirred sensuality.
He saw the deepening of her color and the swirl of speculation behind her gaze. The way she swallowed and licked her lips. Her nipples rose against the light silk of her top and filmy jacket.
He smiled with anticipation.
“That’s rather overconfident, isn’t it?” she said snippily.
“Don’t act surprised, Angelique.” He flicked his gaze down to the breasts that had flattened against his chest, the pelvis that had pressed into the thrust of his. “We’re very well matched and both intrigued to see where this could go. If you’re so eager you don’t want to go to dinner first, we can progress to that discovery right here and now. Provided you remove your necklace first.”
Her chin was not so narrow as to be pointed, but not so round as to be girlish. It was as perfect as the rest of her. She set it into a stubborn angle and said, “Punishment it is.”
She marched past him to the door.
“Maurice,” she said as she swung the door open. “A card, please. I’ll be dining with the prince later. Would you be kind enough to send someone to scout the restaurant of his choosing?”
She relayed the card to Kasim as he came up behind her. If he wished to be so forward, her glare spat at him, he could suffer the wrath of her celebrité.