Sheikh's Hired Mistress(4)

By: Sophia Lynn & Ella Brooke


“Well, I’d hate to disappoint a sheikh. Maybe we can find something to intrigue us here,” Laine suggested.

Aziz looked around, with a mischievous glint in his eye. He held up a finger and nodded, then walked away quickly. Laine stood there, waiting as he slipped through the crowd. She thought for a moment that Aziz would find another woman with an eye-catching dress and be pulled in that direction. Every move he made seemed well-rehearsed. He’d seduced a woman or two in his time.

He would probably be a better match for Emma, to be honest. Hedonism wasn’t exactly Laine’s forte.

Laine looked up at the nearest screen on the wall. It had gone black and flickered to a screensaver of a doodle bouncing around. The music had stopped. For a moment, the party guests milled around discontentedly, but then new music began—a funky brass-led tango wafting out over the speaker system.

Aziz returned and took her hand.

At once they were in the middle of the floor, his hand in hers as he swept her in circles. Their dance moves didn’t quite add up to a tango, but that was fine. Laine didn’t know how to tango. She did know that the feeling in her chest—the light, breathless, and joyful feeling—was one she hadn’t experienced in years.

He’s a player. He knows how to do this to women, she told herself. But then he gave her a dip, and a twirl, and then pulled her close to his broad, warm chest, and her reservations evaporated.

“Everyone is looking,” she said, turning her head out to face the party.

Aziz caught her chin with two fingers. “As they should. There is nothing else worth looking at.”

Laine’s heart sped up in her chest. Was it from the adrenaline of being in the spotlight? Was it being so close to Aziz? She couldn’t tell, but she liked it. The rush of feeling surged through her like a wave, and suddenly she was rising onto her toes, clutching the sides of Aziz’s face, and pressing a kiss to his full lips. The scruff of his light beard brushed against her chin as she kissed him, and his palm clutched possessively against her back. Laine shuddered.

“A…Aziz,” she muttered. The music had stopped without her noticing, and the two of them stood there, pressed against one another. The air around them seemed to vibrate.

“You started it, tiger,” he said with a heavy voice. He didn’t let go.

“I did, I really did, but…” Laine frowned and tried to come to her senses. This wasn’t her. She wasn’t the woman who drew the attention of the most powerful man in the room. She wasn’t the woman who drew every eye to her. “I…I need some air,” she stammered, starting to squirm in Aziz’s grasp.

Aziz slackened his grip but reached for her when she hurried across the floor and escaped out onto the balcony.

There Laine flung herself to the rail, causing several people to turn in alarm. She ignored them, sucking in deep breaths of the cold night air and gripping the railing so hard that her fingers started to smart. What had she just done? Why had she danced with him? Why had she fled? Neither actions were sensible. Aziz exuded experience and control but was no danger to her. The only danger, perhaps, was that he would now find a less skittish object for his attentions.

“Laine…”

Again, Laine sensed his approach before he even spoke. A shadow from the balcony lights fell over her. Inevitable, his being so tall. She gave the rail another squeeze and lifted her head to meet his gaze.

“Are you all right?” He began to unbutton his suit jacket.

“I don’t get out much. I’m not used to…” She gestured toward the party inside. “Oh, but it was so much fun! Why aren’t they dancing? What’s the point of going out at all, if you’re going to be like that?”

Aziz nodded slowly and shucked off his jacket. “They’ll talk for days of who danced at this dreary little party.”

In a sweeping movement, Aziz draped his jacket over her bare shoulders. Laine smiled lopsidedly. There was nothing little about this celebrity party, but it was funny that it seemed so to him. He probably crashed bigger and better soirees every weekend.

“Thank you.” The chill was somewhat abated, but her skin prickled nonetheless. She both did and did not want this evening to end. “I sorry. It wasn’t your fault. I think…I’m not that comfortable being the center of attention. Especially not here.”

“These people aren’t for you. They want to be seen but not known. They are big but make themselves smaller.” Aziz’s mouth soured on the last word. He placed his large, strong hands on her shoulders.

Laine let her eyes fall half-closed as Aziz bowed over her, brushing a few locks of hair aside as he cupped her face. “You need less of a crowd, or a different crowd.”