His Defiant Desert Queen(2)

By: Jane Porter

Yes, she was taking a huge risk, coming here under a false name, but she needed money. Without this paycheck, she wouldn’t be able to pay her next month’s mortgage.

So here she was, dressed in a long fox fur and thigh high boots, sweltering beneath the blazing sun.

So what if she was naked beneath the coat?

She was working. She was surviving. And one day, she’d thrive again, too.

So let them look.

Let them all look—the disapproving sheikh and his travel guard—because she wouldn’t be crushed. She refused to be crushed. The clothes were beautiful. Life was exciting. She didn’t have a care in the world.

Despite her fierce resolve, perspiration beaded beneath her full breasts and slid down her bare abdomen.

Not uncomfortable, she thought. Sexy.

And with sexy firmly in mind, she drew a breath, jutted her hip, and struck a bold pose.

Keith, the Australian photographer, let out an appreciative whistle. “That’s beautiful, baby! More of that, please.”

She felt a rush of pleasure, which was quickly dashed by the sight of Mikael Karim moving closer to Keith.

The sheikh was tall, so tall he towered over Keith, and his shoulders were broad, dwarfing the slender Australian.

Jemma had forgotten just how intensely handsome Mikael Karim was. She’d modeled in other countries and had met many different sheikhs, and most had been short, heavyset men with flirty eyes and thickening jowls.

But Sheikh Mikael Karim was young, and lean, and fierce. His white robes only accentuated the width of his shoulders as well as his height, and his angular jaw jutted, black eyebrows flat over those intense, dark eyes.

Now Sheikh Karim looked over Keith’s head, his dark gaze piercing her, holding her attention. She couldn’t look away. He seemed to be telling her something, warning her of something. She went hot, then cold, shivering despite the heat.

Her stomach rose, fell. An alarm sounded in her head. He was dangerous.

She tugged on the edges of the coat, pulling it closer to her body, suddenly very conscious of the fact that she was naked beneath.

Sighing with frustration, Keith lowered his camera a fraction. “You just lost all your energy. Give me sexy, baby.”

Jemma glanced at the sheikh from beneath her lashes. The man oozed tension, a lethal tension that made her legs turn to jelly and the hair prickle on the back of her neck. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong.

But Keith couldn’t read Sheikh Karim’s expression and his irritation grew. “Come on, focus. We need to wrap this up, baby.”

Keith was right. They did need to wrap this shot. And she was here to do a job. She had to deliver, or she’d never work again.

Jemma gulped a breath, squared her shoulders, and lifted her chin to the sun, feeling her long hair spill down her back as she let the heavy fur drop off her shoulder, exposing more skin.

“Nice.” Keith lifted his camera, motioned for his assistant to step closer with the white reflective screen, and began snapping away. “I like that. More of that.”

Jemma shook her head, letting her thick hair tease the small of her spine even as the fur fell lower on her breasts.

“Perfect,” Keith crooned. “That’s hot. Love it. Don’t stop. You’re on fire now.”

Yes, she was, she thought, arching her shoulders back, breasts thrust high, the nipples now just exposed to the kiss of the sun. In Sheikh Karim’s world she was probably going to burn in the flames of hell, but there was nothing she could do about it. This was her job. She had to deliver. And so she pushed all other thoughts from mind, except for giving the image they wanted.

Her shoulders twisted and the coat slid lower on her arm, the fur tickling the back of her bare thighs.

“Lovely, baby.” Keith was snapping away. “So beautiful. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re a goddess. Every man’s dream.”

She wasn’t a goddess, or a dream, but she could pretend to be. She could pretend anything for a short period of time. Pretending gave her distance, allowing her to breathe, escape, escaping the reality of what was happening at home. Home. A sinking sensation filled her. What a nightmare.

Battling back the sadness, Jemma shifted, lifting her chin, thrusting her hip out, dropping the coat altogether, exposing her breasts, nipples jutting proudly.