'Who are you and what are you doing here?'
'I'm Lina. I'm here to serve you,' her gaze skittered away to fix on a point beyond him, 'in any way you wish.' She swallowed, the movement accentuating her long, slender throat and the beauty of her pale gold skin.
For a dazed second Sayid's brain snared on the idea of nuzzling her fragrant flesh. He caught the velvety scent of roses on her skin and wondered how she'd taste.
The temptation was so alluring, he stepped back to be sure he didn't act on it. She stiffened at his movement, revealing a tension she fought to hide.
'Who sent you?'
'My father's brother. He sent me as a goodwill gift to the previous Emir.'
A goodwill gift! Sourness filled Sayid's mouth. That was the sort of nation his uncle had ruled. Where a woman could be treated as a commodity. Old memories stirred, leaving a rancid taste on his tongue.
As the new Emir, he had a lot of work to bring the country into the current century.
'The previous Emir is dead.'
Sayid had believed the women in his uncle's harem had been sent away as the old man's prostate illness worsened and he became impotent.
'I know, S…sir. He died soon after my arrival and I never met him.' Her eyes flickered to his, then away. 'My condolences on your loss.'
'Thank you.' Sayid felt neither loss nor sorrow at his uncle's death. The old man had been a poor steward for their country and personally deplorable, a mean, brutal voluptuary. 'But with his death, you are free to go. You're not required here.'
Huge, violet eyes met his. Was that fear he read there? 'Oh, no. You misunderstand. That is,' she swallowed, dropping her gaze to the floor as if afraid she'd said the wrong thing, 'not misunderstand, of course.'
She shook her head and a lock of glossy, dark hair slid over her shoulder, curling past her breast all the way to her waist. For the life of him, Sayid couldn't tear his gaze from it.
'I can't leave, sir. It's all been arranged.' She curved her lips in a tentative smile that didn't show in her eyes. 'With your uncle's death I now belong to you.'Reviews Return