Hidden in the Sheikh's Harem

By: Michelle Conder

She whirled on him, all fire and ice. Maybe ‘spitfire’ was too tame a word to describe her. She was more like a wild little cat with her dark, almond-shaped eyes and pursed lips.

‘Come, Farah.’

The girl rounded on the other man and, for all that Zach didn’t like him, he felt himself wince for the guy. ‘He’s just trying to rile you,’ she bit out.

Not stupid, then, Zach mused with reluctant admiration.

‘He is dangerous,’ the soldier returned. And he should know, since it had taken six of them to subdue him.

‘And tied up,’ she pointed out impatiently. ‘Which I have no plans to change.’ But Zach did and he felt another coil of rope give as he put more pressure on it.

‘What are your plans?’

Fascinated by the changed tension in the air, Zach stilled his movements. He sensed there was more behind that question than met the eye. The girl obviously did, too, but her scrunched brow indicated that she didn’t understand the meaning behind his question.

He wants in your pants, sweetheart, if he hasn’t been there already.

She released a slow breath. ‘Just give me five minutes here. I’ll meet you in the dinner tent.’

Slightly mollified, the soldier nodded tersely. He sneered at Zach before stalking out of the tent, letting the flap drop back loudly into place.

She stared at it, brooding.

‘Trouble in paradise, little cat?’ Zach offered, as if they were old friends taking tea together.

His question snapped her out of her reverie and she marched back to him. ‘Be quiet. And don’t call me that.’

‘I thought you wanted me to speak.’

She glanced down at the small metal bowl in her hand and frowned. ‘What I want is for you to eat.’

Zach’s stomach agreed with her. ‘I’m not hungry.’

She scoffed. ‘What is the point of starving yourself? You’ll die.’

‘So nice of you to care.’

‘I don’t.’

Her condescending attitude and lack of respect annoyed the hell out of him and he was starting to get some inkling as to the reasoning behind his ancestors’ methods of subduing a woman. He wouldn’t mind having this one bow down at his feet and acknowledge his superior position to hers. ‘You know, your father might want to send someone with better interpersonal skills to plead for leniency next time,’ he suggested testily.

* * *

Damn, but the urge to have this man bow and scrape at her feet was so strong Farah nearly pulled her small dagger out from inside the hidden pocket in her tunic and made him do it. His attitude was truly irritating.

As were those piercing golden eyes. Lion’s eyes. They said so much and nothing at all, just stared back at her as if he knew something that she didn’t. With the few days’ worth of beard growth covering his angular jaw, those implacable eyes made him seem harshly masculine and deeply imposing even though he was sitting on the ground. The tightly coiled energy he emanated made her think of a cobra about to strike. Or an eagle about to take flight and rip its prey to shreds. He wore a dusty black shirt that stretched across broad shoulders and jeans that hugged what looked to be powerful thighs, the muscles bunching periodically when he looked at her.

She’d known he was incredibly good-looking from the magazine pictures she’d seen, but with his aristocratic features, wide mouth and pitch-black, neatly cropped hair, he was something else in the flesh. Not that she cared.

‘I have not come to plead for leniency,’ she assured him.

‘Lucky.’ His eyes trapped hers in a challenging stare. ‘Because when I get out of here I have no intention of giving it.’

Her mouth twisted. ‘Perhaps you need a little longer to think about your position,’ she suggested, glancing pointedly at his bound hands.

‘Perhaps I do,’ he drawled carelessly.

Oh, but he was getting under her skin! She stared him down for another few minutes and then gave up. This wasn’t a contest, even though he seemed determined to turn it into one. ‘Nevertheless...’ she began, pausing when his hands clenched in his lap yet again. She made a mental note to check his bindings before she left. The last thing she needed was to return him damaged. It would only fare worse for her father. ‘You are not going to die on my watch.’

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