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HER SHEIK PROTECTOR

July 2010
First Book in the Desert Sons Trilogy
ISBN: 978-0373276882

Darin Kadir had to protect American Rylie Hunt at all costs. Seeking answers, she'd traveled halfway around the world to find him. Now she is a target of his family's arch nemesis and must trust Darin in order to survive.

Caught up in a covert war between two families, Rylie wants only to find her father's killers and bring them to justice. She doesn't want to fall in love. But the desire burning in Darin's eyes is unlike anything she's ever known. Will she surrender her heart—or become a casualty of a war across the ages?

 

More about The Desert Sons Trilogy

 

“No buts.” Darin had had enough. “You can have the gun. And I’ll slip the train porter money to keep an eye on the corridor and on your door. You should be safe enough.”

He inched his arm around Rylie’s waist and began shuffling her out of the dining car. But the moment her body was pressed to his, their combined heat raced along his veins and landed hot and erotic at the base of his spine.

Impossible. Not now. He eased his grip on her and backed away to a more respectable distance. But he kept them both moving forward through the passenger cars.

Rylie never spoke a word. When he gave her the gun and final instructions on how to use it, she glared up at him with a look that could’ve set fire to a glacier.

“Stay safe,” he reiterated while turning his back on that gorgeous but furious face. “And be here when I return.”

He took a deep breath and walked out of the door, praying all the while that by leaving her alone he wasn’t making one of the biggest mistakes of his whole life.

Rylie stared at the back of the closed door, still waiting for Darin’s return and to hear him say he needed her help. Ten seconds. Forty. One minute. Two.

Well, dang it.

Okay, she got that he was worried about her. Really she did. But she’d also hoped he was coming to know the person she was inside. The person who could never in a million years wait around in safety, sitting on her hands while someone she cared about worked to save her life.

Uh uh. So not going to happen, Darin.

It was amazing how close she felt to him in such a short time. How well she knew the real him even with few words spoken between them. How could he care about her and not know her any better than he apparently did?

And he did care for her, she was absolutely positive. Um, maybe his emotions were based mostly around lust, but he did care. She could easily see that in the way he looked at her and in the way he kept demanding that she stay safe.

Her insides were already jumping, raring to follow after him. But she would sit here for one more minute first. To be sure he didn’t turn her around in the corridor and find a way to lock her inside their cabin.

Images churned in her mind as she perched a foot over one knee, flapping it up and down in mid-air with nervous energy. She cared about him too. More than cared. In fact, what she’d been feeling verged on an once-in-a-lifetime thing.

But was it real? Her emotions had been on such a roller coaster ride since she’d first set eyes on him that she hardly knew what to think. It had started out with her being sure she hated him. Positive he’d had a hand in murdering her father. Now she knew he was no murderer. Taking a life in self defense had all but killed him, too.

As the days and hours had gone by, she’s been experiencing many other feelings toward him. Some she couldn’t even name. Lust was right up there on top, of course. But there was so much more.

That last kiss had been…special. It was the kind of kiss that spoke of millions of tomorrows. The extraordinary sort of kiss that brought to mind knights in shining armour about to give up their lives for the woman they loved. A kiss like nothing in her experience.

Love? Not a remote possibility in their case. Darin didn’t even know the true her. And would he still care as much if he did? Maybe not. Maybe they came from such differing backgrounds that he would never be able to respect a strong woman. A woman who wanted to stand beside her man and not behind him as they faced life together. A woman like her.

And how did she feel about him deep down? She knew there was a lump in her chest whenever she thought about him. A lump in her chest and a wildly crazy heat at her core. The man seriously turned her on.

She had an idea of how the two of them could become closer and get to know one another better. But first she had to make sure he stayed alive.

Two hours later Rylie’s ears were popping again as she crept through the quiet corridors, looking for any sign of Darin or the Taj Zabbar kidnapper. The train must be heading lower, going in the direction of the lake below the mountains. Rylie could almost feel gravity pulling her downward.

She must’ve been just missing Darin and the kidnapper while she searched. It was possible they had ducked into a cabin or hidden behind a closed door when she’d gone by. But she had traveled the length of this train twice, looking. Now she wasn’t sure what was left to…

The train rounded a steep u-curve right then, and Rylie got a good view through the windows into another corridor as the snaking cars doubled back on themselves. There, maybe only two or three train-car lengths ahead, she saw two men locked in mortal combat in the well-lit corridor of a sleeping car.

Darin.

Blasting out of her own corridor at a dead run, Rylie swore under her breath. She should be covering his back. She was the one with the gun after all.

She pushed through pressurized door locks and tramped across the little bridges called vestibules that connected two cars. Through one car. Then into the next.

By the time she hit the third empty corridor in a row she was breathing hard and very confused. She’d seen them. Clearly. It hadn’t been a dream.

Then she heard a noise coming from the end of the car. It sounded as though someone had momentarily gone through the pressurized door onto the next vestibule. Shoving hard to open the door, she blinked at sudden air movement and turned her head in that direction.

To her amazement, she saw shoes…well, feet with shoes on them…as they disappeared up a ladder that she’d never noticed before. A ladder to the roof of the train? Why?

After she heard a distant shout, sounding for all the world like Darin’s voice, the why didn’t seem too important. If he could chase someone to the roof of a train, she could follow.

 

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