The Lion’s Embrace by Marie Laval
Posted by brriske
“Oh, my God,” Harriet breathed out. She glanced around, but nobody was
paying the two men the slightest notice. There was no time to think, a man’s life
was at stake. With a muffled cry she hurled herself at the tall stranger, jumped on
his back, and hooked her arms around his neck.
He let out a roar of anger and swirled round to shake her off, but she wrapped
her legs more tightly around his waist.
“Bon sang! Qu’est-ce que…”
He dropped the dagger, twisted his body, and managed to grab her waist to
slide her to the front so she was now against his chest. Aware she was losing her
grip she lunged forward and sank her teeth into his shoulder.
He growled, held her at arm’s length, and threw her off. She fell on the
cobbles. The turban softened the impact to the back of her head, but a vicious pain
at the bottom of her spine made her cry out. The man swore in French. Although
she only caught a few words, she understood he was angry. Very angry. His victim
She let out a sigh of relief. She had done it. She saved a man’s life. Her joy,
however, was short-lived. The Frenchman leaned over, picked her up by the collar
of her tunic, and lifted her as if she was no heavier than a bundle of cloth. The
savage glint in his eyes dried her throat; her heart hammered against her ribs.
“Please, don’t hurt me,” she pleaded, breathless.
His eyes opened wide in shock.
Since when did Tuareg fighters speak fluent English? Come to think of it, since when did they smell of Damascus rose soap?
He peered more closely at the face in front of him and saw two large, grey eyes bordered with long, dark eyelashes and the tip of a small nose above the dark blue scarf. He recalled the odd sensations when the soft, curvy body had thrust against
him earlier. This wasn’t a Tuareg fighter at all, it was a … He ripped the headdress
off and a mass of thick, honey blonde hair tumbled out.
“A woman? I thought as much. Who are you?” he asked in English. “What the
hell did you think you were doing just then?” He shook her a little, not to hurt her,
but enough to give her a fright.
The woman didn’t answer.
“You’re not so bold now, are you?” He narrowed his eyes, smiled his meanest
smile, and was satisfied to hear her helpless cry. She had cost him days of patient
stakeout. Now, because of her, Rachid was free to sell the map to the highest bidder. And he knew exactly who that would be.
“Maybe you want to take another bite?” he snarled, pointing to his shoulder.
“No,” she whispered.
“Actually, maybe I’ll be the one to take a bite. You look appetizing enough.”
He lifted her closer, until his mouth almost touched hers, and he felt her warm
breath on his skin.