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Desert Knights

June 2011
ISBN #978-0373277315

Bodyguard Sheik by Linda Conrad

Expert marksman Morgan Bell is one of the best in the world. She agreed to one last assignment, never expecting to find sexy Sheik Karin Kadir heating up the cold desert nights. It leaves her longing for more… much more than his protecting her life.

 

More about The Desert Sons Trilogy

Desert Knights

 

Before Morgan finished checking their immediate area, Karim said, “I feel someone watching us again. But they’re too good to let themselves be spotted. You keep the thermal imager and check it periodically.”

“What are you going to be doing?”

The rustling noises of Karim digging in his pack ended with a familiar click. The sound of a gunstock being locked into place was something Morgan would recognize in her sleep. She dropped the hand holding the imager and turned.

“Holy mother-of…” Closing her gaping mouth, she stood, watching with fascination as he fit a thirty-round magazine into a state of the art KAC PDW 6x35mm.

Morgan didn’t know much about high-tech toys, but she knew about guns. All kinds of guns. And the Knight’s Armament, 35mm Personal Defense Weapon was the king of killing machines. Ultra lightweight and compact, the experimental design didn’t require much finesse. Just point and shoot and nothing within three hundred meters lived to tell the tale.

As he adjusted the weapon’s strap over his shoulder, Karim looked up at her with dancing, flirty eyes. “You keep watch. I’ll be ready for anything.” His deep baritone voice rolled over her in waves of lustful power.

Maybe it was the appreciation for such an excellent piece of hardware that he saw in her eyes. Or maybe it was the fire that had been ignited low in her belly by the mere sight of his handsome bronzed face, grown even darker with a five o’clock shadow, that made all the difference.

Whatever it was that had pushed him over the edge, Karim sprang to his feet and took her in his arms. Before she could react, he kissed her. An open-mouthed kiss. His tongue sought her tongue with sudden desperate need. Without any hesitation on her part, she threw her arms around his neck and held on for the ride.

Strong hands. Firm mouth. She’d known all along his kiss would be a little rough. A lot like fireworks. She felt herself exploding in a shower of wanting.

She hadn’t realized how much desire had built up between them until she responded to his low, sensual groan with a deep-throated moan of her own. Dear Lord, the man could kiss.

And more. There was something else, silent but acute, going on between them. It made her hungry to find out what, and she was never hungry. Never ready in an instant to demand everything from a man.

Deepening the kiss, his warm mouth welcomed her response. Tasting and exploring, he built the fire to nearly unbearable heights.

His hands wandered down her body, rubbing her shoulders, then down her arms. Moving lower, his fingers gently brushed her ribcage at the very edge of her already tender breasts. Finally, his palms cupped her bottom. With fingers splayed possessively, he drew her tight against his erection.

She gasped, jumped and pressed her belly even closer as her fingernails automatically dug into his shoulders, allowing her to hang on instead of spinning off the planet. Her whole body was on fire.

Just like that? How could this be? She had to catch her breath. Clear her head. Find some sanity.

All of a sudden, the horrible images that fouled her dreams on most nights, and that she’d worked so hard to banish, came back to strike a chilling blow to her ardor.

Stiffening, she broke the kiss and stepped away. Karim didn’t fight her.

He looked shell-shocked and breathless as his dark, endless eyes stared into hers. Exactly the way she felt.

Then he sobered. “Um… Hell. That was pretty intense.”

“Yeah,” was all she could manage. Her heart was pounding in her chest; so hard, she wondered if it would jump right out her throat.

“I didn’t mean for that to happen. But…” He struggled for words. “That wasn’t a simple kiss.”

“Nothing simple about that kiss at all.”

“What do you want to do about it?” His eyes filled with fear.

She knew how much the mission meant. To everyone involved. “The smart thing would be to forget it.”

“Is that what you want to do?”

Without answering him directly, she said, “Go on with the mission. As we travel we can think it over. Separately.”

“Is that what you want?”

“No. Not at all.” She almost reached out for him.

What she wanted was another kiss, this time initiated by her. More heat. Another blaze, all consuming and all powerful.

Karim took a step back. “Me neither. But it would be for the best. When the mission is over, we can get together, like a post-mission debriefing, and talk over our separate thoughts.”

Not a chance.

“Fine.” It was all she could do to force her trembling fingers to readjust the straps to her pack and rifle case in preparation to move out.

This time, as they traveled down the wider path, Karim stayed a few steps out in front. He advised her to stick close to the limestone cliff walls while he walked point.

Traversing down the pathways in this slightly separated manner gave her a chance to think. But her thoughts remained jumbled.

She’d seen the shock of his own actions reflected in Karim’s eyes. He hadn’t expected to kiss her like that anymore than she’d been ready for it. Well, that was one thing they had in common.

She doubted if they shared very much else.

No, the biggest problem for her seemed to be that he was a temptation. One that she had a feeling would probably overcome her regular reserve by the end of this mission. But he was also not what she wanted on a long-term basis. She’d had plenty of chances to jump the bones of adrenaline-pumping, testosterone-loaded men like him who would jump at a chance at a kiss during her years of working for the CIA. But she hadn’t, and for a good reason.

Men like Karim didn’t stick. Too soon they were off to the next mission or the next dangerous situation.

That wasn’t who she was now. Actually, deep down, that was never who she’d been. Circumstances had conspired to keep her going from one mission to the next, never settling down.

Never giving herself a moment to think about the past.

But now that her parents had both died and left her with her grandparent’s ranch, she was ready to make a home. A nest. Without her parents there, she wouldn’t necessarily have to think about the past. Only about a new future.

Lost as she was in contemplation, when the first shot rang out and echoed around the canyon walls, she dropped to a crouch in shock. But in less than a second she sat up, blinking and gasping.

Karim had gone down too. Only he didn’t spring back up.

Crawling toward his prone body, she snatched the KAC PDW at his side and blindly began spraying fire in a huge arc. Another shot rang out.

Gotcha, you fool. Now knowing the sniper’s position, she didn’t need to waste many more bullets before the weapons fire stopped altogether, and silence once again reigned on the trail.

Too silent. Ohmygod. Was Karim badly injured? Or had the sniper’s bullet stopped him for good?

 

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