Debt of Honor
by Opal Carew
Edge of Ecstasy
eBook ISBN: 9781927444023
Detained by an domineering sheikh for a crime she did not commit…
Angelica couldn’t believe that hopping off a plane to search for one-of-a-kind souvenirs could lead to so much trouble. Now she is detained in an exotic country by a devastatingly handsome sheikh… and ends up in his harem.
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Angelica couldn’t believe that hopping off a plane during a refueling stop to search for one-of-a-kind souvenirs could lead to so much trouble.
She sat staring at the glossy mahogany desktop in front of her, wishing she still wore the light, cotton sundress she’d donned this morning. The unaccustomed heat pressed down on her like a heavy blanket, smothering her last few ounces of energy. She scooped up her long hair so the breeze from the overhead fan would cool her neck. The small relief it gave seemed an intense pleasure compared to the rest of this dreadful day, and she closed her eyes to savor it. This long, robe thing she’d been forced to wear covered too much of her, as far as she was concerned. She’d undone the top few buttons, but perspiration glazed her back and dripped down between her breasts.
Why hadn’t she stayed on that darned plane?
She heard the door behind her open, and then close with a firm thump. Despite her curiosity, she sat still in the stiff, wooden chair, determined not to glance around.
Who was it this time? Hopefully, not those two goons who had dragged her here. She had explained to them that she’d done nothing wrong, that in fact, she’d been the victim of a robbery, but they’d barely understood a word she’d said or they’d chosen not to. She couldn’t be sure.
They’d kept her sitting here for at least two hours, with no regard to her comfort. Right now, she should be safely aboard her homeward bound flight to Toronto. Asleep.
The newcomer’s presence seeped through the room, filling her with tension. As the seconds drifted by, curiosity overwhelmed her.
She twisted around to look.
The man who stared back at her was the most sinfully gorgeous man she’d ever seen. Raw masculinity emanated from his tall, muscular body. His dark hair flowed to his broad shoulder in waves, accentuating his square jaw, softened by full, yet masculine lips.
He had the most stunning eyes. Intense. Dark. Penetrating.
His gaze swept over her, making a few stops along the way. On the open buttons down the front, making her intensely conscious of the fact that, at the angle he saw her, the swell of her right breast was visible. On the sash she’d added to cinch this loose, frumpy robe at the waist. On her crossed legs. She had pulled the robe up to her knees in an attempt to cool off, knowing she revealed less leg than she had in her sundress, yet suddenly she felt shamelessly brazen.
Finally, his gaze pivoted to her face. The intensity of it disturbed her.
He strode across the room and settled behind the desk, laying a manila folder in front of him.
“Who are you? And why am I here?” she demanded.
“I am Kadin and I am the one who will ask questions.”
His voice was quiet, but filled with authority. The fact that he spoke English sent a wave of relief through her, followed immediately by frustration. She had a dozen or more questions to ask. She’d already missed her flight out of here, and her wallet, passport, and luggage had been stolen. She still had her purse, at least, she had until they’d brought her here and confiscated it, but she had no money.
Where would she stay tonight? How would she buy a ticket to get another flight home? And if she succeeded in getting a ticket, how would she get across the border without a passport?
Her frustration turned quickly to anger. “Look, I was dragged here against my will and I demand that—
“Silence.” His eyes flared to a fiery black. “After what you have done, you have no right to demand anything.”
“What I’ve done?” she shot back, ignoring the chill rushing down her spine at his intimidating tone. “I haven’t done anything. You don’t seem to understand—”
“I understand very well.” His sharp glare fixed on her as he extended his arm toward her.
A large green pendant on a gold chain hung from his hand. An emerald. Actually, the largest emerald she’d ever seen. She reached out to touch it, but he snatched it into his fist.
“This is Dhiya’s. As are the clothes you wear now,” he stated flatly.
Her eyes widened. “So you know who robbed me.” Relief washed through her. “I guess that means you’ve caught her. Great. I’d really like to get my things and …”
His dark eyes narrowed dangerously.
“Don’t play me for a fool. Why was my beloved Dhiya’s pendant in your purse? Why was she seen boarding a plane wearing your clothes, traveling on your ticket, using your passport?”
Her jaw tightened. She didn’t like the sound of this. This situation looked like trouble with a capital ‘T.’ She had to straighten this guy out right now.
“I already explained to the other men that I went into the washroom and this woman—”
He slammed his fist on the desk, the sharp sound reverberating through the room like a gunshot.
She gulped back the rest of her explanation and stared at him. Quietly.
“That’s better. Now, you will listen.”
He stepped from behind the desk and paced, his hands folded behind his back. His white robes billowed as he strode back and forth.
“As I see it, there are two possibilities. One, you were involved in kidnapping Dhiya and transporting her out of the country. Two, you helped Dhiya at her request, taking her necklace as payment. Either way, you are in grave trouble. Both are an insult to me and my family.”
She shook her head in disbelief, knowing she had to set him straight.
“She robbed me at gunpoint.”
“Dhiya would never touch a gun.”
“—if you were a man, there would be many options open to me to exact justice.”
He sat on the edge of his desk facing her, his arms crossed over his chest.
Her heart hammered loudly and the muscles in her chest tightened painfully. Just what did he intend to do to her? She’d heard of officials in these small countries throwing people into prison for years because of some inadvertent transgression. She pictured herself stuck in a grimy jail cell, sharing scraps of food with rats.
“But I cannot bring myself to be so harsh with a woman.” He watched her with those coal-black eyes.
She let out a sigh of relief. She’d never wanted to use her gender as an advantage, but right now, she had no such qualms.
“What …?” Her voice came out choked, so she cleared her throat and tried again. “What do you intend to do with me?”
He stared at her for a long moment and his gaze slipped past her chin to her chest. She raised her hand to toy with the top button of the robe, at least the top button that was still fastened.
A drop of perspiration glided slowly down her neck. Like a breath of fire grazing her skin, his gaze seared her as he followed the progress of the drop as it forged a path down her chest, then disappeared between her breasts. He lingered on the swell of flesh peeking from the deep neckline. He might as well have been caressing her breasts physically for the affect he was having on her. Her nipples pebbled, hardening and peaking against the thin fabric.
Awareness shimmered through her, of his overwhelming masculinity, and of just how vulnerable she was.
His gaze shifted to her face.
“To repay the debt of dishonor, you will serve me.”
“What do you mean ‘serve you’? “
“You will warm my bed. Tonight, and for as many nights as I see fit.”
She blinked at him.
“I … beg your pardon?”
“You may well do, but I will not pardon you. You have wronged me and you will pay with the only currency you have as a woman. Your body.”
Her stomach clenched painfully and her hands started to shake. Oh, God. This couldn’t really be happening.
“You can’t mean …”
His hot gaze told her otherwise.
“But that’s barbaric.” Yet the thought of this man dragging her into his arms, his mouth devouring hers, sent shivers of excitement through her.
“Insults will not better your position.”
“How long do you intend to … keep me here?”
“When Dhiya returns, I will have answers. If you merely helped her, then I will consider your debt of dishonor repaid and I will let you go. If it turns out you were involved in kidnapping her, then your situation will change, for the worse.”
“And if she doesn’t return?”
His expression turned dangerous.
“You had better hope that she does,” he growled.
She bolted to her feet, her hands clenched into fists at her sides.
“You don’t seem to understand. I’m the victim here.”
Obviously, he wasn’t going to listen. Fear sliced through her, colliding with anger at the unfairness of it all. There had to be some way to straighten out this whole mess.
She glared at him.
“This is ridiculous. I have rights. I demand to see the Canadian ambassador at once,” she said with as much authority as she could muster.
She stomped across the room toward the exit and flung open the door. Two very large, very scary looking guards turned and stared at her. Their expressions dared her to try and leave. She took one step forward and they tensed. She glanced at the long swords settled in scabbards at their waists. Of course, they wouldn’t even need to unsheathe those things. All they’d have to do is pick her up bodily and put her where they wanted her.
“They won’t let you leave unless I allow it.”
She turned to face the man at the desk.
“And I will not allow you to leave my house, or my country, until you have paid your debt.”
She swallowed the lump forming in her throat.
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