Malik tilted her chin back with a finger. His eyes searched hers, and the concern she saw there made her heart lurch. “Did I hurt you?” he asked, his voice so tender.

“No,” she said. Then again, stronger, “No.”

There were different kinds of hurts. But she knew he was talking about physical pain, and that was definitely not a problem. Emotional pain was another story.

“Good,” he said. “Because I need you, Sydney. I need you.”

And then he was kissing her again, and she was opening to him, taking him deep inside. He held her hips hard, thrusting into her, their bodies melding together. His strokes were deep, expert, driving.

She gave herself up to him, gave herself up to the rhythm and beauty of it. Sydney wrapped her legs around him, arched her body so that her breasts could press against his bare chest.

His mouth moved over her throat, his voice saying words in Arabic, and then he bent and took her nipple in his mouth, pulling hard so that the spike of pleasure shot to her sex. She was on fire for him, her body primed and ready for another shattering orgasm.

She felt as if she were swelling with something too wonderful to be contained, as if she would fly apart any second. Malik’s thrusts grew more frenzied, his hold on her tighter.

And then his hand slid between them, finding her sweet spot, sending her over the edge.

She splintered apart in one long wave, coming with a gasp, his name spilling from her lips.

It did not end there. She was holding on to him, shuddering, her legs wrapped high around his hips as continued to pump into her. But his strokes were slower, more deliberate.

Not so frenzied.

And she knew he was drawing this out, giving her every moment of pleasure he could while waiting to take his own.

“Malik,” she said. But it came out as a sob.

“Again, Sydney. I want to watch you come again.”

She squeezed her eyes tight, tried not to focus on the sensations beginning to build in her core. Because she would be senseless in his arms if she let him keep taking her over the edge like this.

“I can’t,” she cried.

“You know you can.” It was a firm command.

And then he lifted her up, his big hands splaying across her bottom as he carried her out of the bathing room and into the bedroom. Their bodies were still joined. His gaze was hot on hers, intense. She wondered how he did it, how he kept such a tight rein on his need.

But she pushed the thought away because she didn’t want to go there. Didn’t want to consider that she might not mean anything to him, that he was capable of this because he had no emotional attachment.

Because it was just sex.

He put a knee on the bed, tumbled her back onto the mattress. And then he was withdrawing from her, sliding down her body. Before she could protest, he slid his thumbs into her sex, spread her open.

His tongue touched her hot flesh, his mouth closing over her clitoris. He suckled the sensitive flesh there with the same intensity as he’d shown to her nipples. His tongue darted over her, his teeth nibbling oh, so gently.

Her release sucked the air from her lungs. She sobbed his name, begged him to stop.

But not because it hurt, and not because she didn’t like it.

It was simply too intense, too soul-shattering. She would never be free of him this way. Never be able to love another man, to be with another man if this is what she had to remember.

“Again,” he said, before driving her once more to the peak.

When she came again, he crawled up her body, kissing his way over her sensitive skin. He was still wearing the riding boots, his black trousers open at the waist and hanging low on his hips.

Sydney could only stare. He was an erotic fantasy, a desert lover come to claim her. She was aching, quivering with need. The pale maiden ready for the possession of her dark lover.

“Do you want me, Sydney?”

“You know I do.”

“That wasn’t enough for you?” he asked silkily.

She shook her head against the pillows. She knew she must look wild, her hair plastered to her head from the shower, her skin flushed with the glow of amazing sex. But she didn’t care.

She needed him inside her. Needed him to breathe.

He urged her up, turned her so that she was facing away from him on all fours. He stroked her sex, kindling the flame again until she was panting with need.

And then he plunged into her. Sydney arched backward, her hair fanning across her back. Malik wrapped an arm around her waist, held her against him as he thrust into her body. His other hand found her, moved expertly against her slick flesh.

It was raw, earthy, and she loved it. He could have taken her gently, reverently, but instead he’d taken her with all the power and wildness he possessed.

It wasn’t fairy tale lovemaking—but she didn’t want fairy tale lovemaking. She wanted this.