But she did care for her husband. She felt the knowledge settle within her, warm her, spreading throughout her body and mind like wildfire, energising her thoughts and actions.

Restless, she got up from the chair and walked through the suite, curious as to its layout and its luxury, until she found herself in an elaborate bedroom, designed with the same glory as the rest of the embassy.

The sight of the large, modern, sleek bed reminded Eloise of Odir’s promise earlier that evening, and in an instant her body was ready. She ran her fingers over lips that still felt bruised from their earlier kisses, wanting to cover her mouth, to stop the words that were filling her heart from falling from her lips. Otherwise they’d escape, and they’d speak of her feelings for him, of this new, delicate love she had found.

She knew he wasn’t ready to hear those words from her. Not yet. But perhaps she could show him. With her touches...with her kisses.

The ripple of desire lifted the hairs on her arms. Her body was throbbing between legs which she drew together to clamp down on the wet heat of need. How had she become so cravenly wanton in just a matter of hours?

Odir loomed behind her and the air about them which had so recently been full of confession was suddenly thick with desire. Eloise inhaled it deeply, wanting it to fill her, needing it. Her body moved of its own volition, pressing back against the hard planes of her husband’s chest. Someone groaned—whether it was her or him Eloise couldn’t tell any more.

His lips came down upon her bare shoulder and his arms wrapped around her breast and lower stomach. He gathered the silk of her gown in his hand, bunching it against the top of her thigh, whilst his fingers played with her nipple already hard beneath his touch.

‘I keep my promises, habibti,’ he whispered wickedly in her ear.

She heard the desperation that quivered in his words...rejoiced in the fact that he was as quickly undone as she. Her arms reached behind her, bringing him and his arousal closer against her body. The action reminded her of earlier that evening, when they had been beneath the night sky. And this time she knew it was she who groaned, the sensuality of the sound shocking herself.

‘When you make that noise it drives me wild, Eloise. Look what you do to me,’ he said, turning her in his arms to face him. ‘Look.’

The guttural tone of his words ran through her. She did see what she did to him. And she wanted to show him what he did to her. How he made her feel. What he’d given back to her in these last hours. The undoing of the past. She wanted to show him how it could be. What their marriage could be like.

He took her hand and pressed it against the length of his powerful arousal. Hard, hot and utterly the most magnificent thing she had ever felt. To have this man—this ruler of a kingdom—at her command was inconceivable. And she wanted it more than she wanted her next breath.

His mouth came down on hers and she relished it. Relished the power that burned between them now that they had been stripped bare of all the lies and secrets. Each time they had come together it had been to use this passion, this insatiable need, in order to escape. But she wasn’t hiding any more. All of her was open to him, exposed to him in a way she hadn’t been before.

And it was shocking in its intensity.

If she had thought coming together with him before had been incredible, it was nothing in comparison to this. She clung to every second, every touch, every taste, revelling in the energy that brought her alive within his embrace.

As his tongue pressed into her mouth she took it, long and deep, within her. She fought to match him, plunged her own tongue into the wet heat of his. Instead of bringing capitulation it enflamed their mutual desire. Teeth scraped against tongues, lips grazed against teeth, and heart clashed against heart.

His hands came down around her backside and lifted her against him. Her shoes dropped onto the floor as he marched them over to the bed. Instead of letting her go he stood there, holding her in his arms, allowing her open legs to press against his erection, and she shifted her hips forward to feel the tip of his arousal meet her core.

She rocked her hips once more and it was enough.

He knelt on the bed and laid her down, maintaining a kiss that served only to bring them closer. He kicked off his shoes, tore at his shirt, and as she lifted her dress over her head he rid himself of his trousers and underwear.

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