He shuddered as her mouth slid down his chest. Yes, she was the most important person in his life. The one he depended on. And he was losing her. Tonight was the last night they would have alone before he had to return to the palace and take up the duties of king while he waited for the coronation.

Selfishly, he thought of keeping her with him, of keeping her in his bed and in his life—but it was impossible. She was his unsuitable bride, not at all the sort of woman the council would approve of as his queen. She’d won over many people in the palace, whether she knew it or not—but not the hardened council, who saw any woman who was not of Arab descent as highly inappropriate. They had the power to make his life—and hers—hell if he did not conform to tradition and take a Kyrian wife. He closed his eyes and cursed Rashid and his father both.

He had no right to keep Emily. She had a father who needed her and a life waiting in the States. Once she was gone, once his life settled into the routines of being king, he would become accustomed to his life without her in it. It wasn’t as if they were in love. It was lust and friendship and the pain of losing someone he’d known for so long.

And that was not a reason to ask her to give up everything and remain in Kyr.

Her tongue glided around his belly button—and then her cheek rubbed against his cock and his body stiffened. She laughed softly before taking him in her mouth. Kadir had a sudden need to plunge into her mouth, to make her his this way, too, but he forced himself to remain still and let her torture him.

Her mouth was hot and wet and magical and he gave himself up to the pleasure, his eyes closing and his back arching as the sensations built inside him, propelling him to another orgasm as strong as the last.

But he couldn’t bear to come this way when they had no time left. He wanted to be inside her, her body wrapped around his, her eyes glazing and breath panting as he took her over the edge with him.

He reached for her and dragged her up his body, thrusting his tongue in her mouth and kissing her hard. She knew what he wanted and she reached for the strip of condoms beside the bed, tearing one off and then breaking the kiss to roll it on before sinking down on top of him.

She took him deep, until they both groaned with it. His hands spanned her hips, gripping her hard against him, and her palms pressed into his chest as she held herself up.

“You’re beautiful, Emily,” he said, stunned at the picture she presented with her hair falling over her shoulders to tickle him as she leaned forward. Her breasts were high and round and her eyes glittered with some mysterious emotion as she took his mouth possessively.

She whispered as she leaned back again, “You say that to all the girls—”

But she didn’t get to finish the sentence because he yanked her down and kissed her hard. And he didn’t stop kissing her, or thrusting up inside her, until she shuddered around him and ripped her mouth free, gasping his name into the darkness of the tent.

He didn’t let her recover before he flipped her over and rode her deeply, driving her across the bed, driving his demons before him. Vaguely, he thought he was too rough, too uncontrolled, but she gripped his buttocks and lunged hard against him when he would have slackened his pace.

It was a war, but one that exacted pleasure rather than pain. They finally climaxed together, gasping and groaning and sweating and swearing, before rolling apart and kicking the covers off the bed.

When he could speak again, he turned his head, watched her chest heaving. “I don’t,” he told her between breaths as anger and confusion swirled inside him.

Her gaze was puzzled. “Don’t what?”

He gritted his teeth. She didn’t even know. “Say that to all the girls,” he ground out. “You keep trying to bring others between us, but there’s no one in my head except you. No one else I want.”

“I’m sorry,” she said, her voice soft. And hovering on the brink of tears, he realized.

He reached for her hand, caught it in his and squeezed. He was angry with her for bringing other women into their bed and yet he’d trained her to think that way. He thought of all the times she’d escorted his dates from his suite and wanted to groan. Damn him for being so thoughtless. So arrogant.

“It’s my fault. I know it. I’ve not behaved well.”

She let out a shaky sigh. “You behaved like a rich, entitled, handsome prince. And I have no right to blame you for it. It’s who you are.”

A wave of anger flooded him again. And frustration. “It’s not who I am,” he practically shouted. “It’s who you want me to be.”

He shoved his way off the bed and took care of the condom before yanking on his clothes. She sat up, her eyes wide in the darkened tent.

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