Sweet Revenge Ch. 04byharemgirl©
As the days passed, Richard and Karina grew used to sparring with each other. He grew accustomed to having to overcome her resistance in bed. She would always tell him she hated him, she would cry and beg for him to stop, and when that failed, she would try to remain impassive to his touch. She could never hold out for long against his relentless seduction. She invariably succumbed to her own body's needs and responded with reluctant passion.
Against her will, Karina began learning the traditional skills of the Bedouin women. She had never had to do any cooking or cleaning, having grown up with a house full of servants. She was shocked to learn that Richard expected her to do these chores for him, as if she were a loving wife rather than his captive. Karina had bristled at the prospect of having to perform those duties, and at first she had refused.
"I won't do it! I won't be your slave! Isn't it enough that you have shamed me? Find some other woman to clean your clothes and cook your meals." She turned from him in a huff.
It had been the second day she was in the village, and they were alone in the tent. Richard sat watching her for a long moment, before he rose and went to stand directly behind her. She felt his warm breath tickling her nape before he grasped her shoulders and turned her to face him, but she refused to meet his eye. He waited patiently until her eyes finally rose to meet his, and the rebellion was written clearly in her snapping blue eyes.
"If you do not wish to clean my clothes and cook my meals, I can easily get someone else to do those things." He grinned down at her.
Karina's surprise was obvious as she considered his beguiling smile. Before she could comment, he continued in a lazy drawl, as his eyes dropped to her breasts.
"However, you must realize that if you are not busy with chores that will give me even more time to explore your other...talents."
His meaning was obvious, and Karina's face flushed an angry red. She would have slapped him, but he caught her wrist in an iron grip, and she struggled ineffectually to gain her release.
"How dare you! Is that all you ever think about? Surely you have other, more pressing matters to attend than always trying to bed me!" Her eyes flashed as she glared up at him.
He was unperturbed, and his chuckle grated on her nerves as he twisted her arms behind her back to hold them in one of his hands, simultaneously pressing her body firmly against his own. He ran his other hand suggestively over her hip before reaching behind to cup her bottom, while his eyes twinkled wickedly.
"On the contrary, my sweet. I can think of nothing more pressing than enjoying your lovely body."
He trailed hot kisses down her face and neck and bent her back over his arm so that he could nip playfully at her nipple through the fabric of her dress. She squirmed in frustrated rage, but her struggles were useless against his superior strength. He chuckled again. When he straightened and looked down at her, his eyes danced with amusement.
"Of course, if you were busy attending other chores, I would have no choice but to defer to your duties." His eyes raked her suggestively, before he released her wrists and allowed her to twist out of his embrace.
Karina groaned in frustrated rage and glared at him over her shoulder. "Oh!" she shrieked. "You really are a crude, inconsiderate oaf! I hate you, and I hate having to serve you, but anything is preferable to entertaining you in your bed all day!"
Richard threw back his head and laughed. He was obviously unaffected by her insults, and he turned to leave the tent but paused to smile at her.
"I will send Fatima to instruct you in your duties. Please see that they are performed well."
He quickly ducked through the flap, grateful that Karina didn't have anything handy to throw at him. He grinned to himself, as he thought how beautiful she was when she was angry. Her eyes flashed blue fire, and her breasts trembled with agitation. He was almost sorry that he had given her some other tasks to fill her time, and his grinned widened as he thought about the night, when he would enjoy taking her again. As he walked away, he whistled a cheerful tune.
Thus Karina had taken on the duties of caring for Richard and maintaining his tent. She learned to milk goats and how to make yogurt cheese, called lebneh. She kept the tent neat and tidy, and Fatima showed her how to clean Richard's clothes. While Karina fumed over the amount of clothing he seemed to go through, she was secretly grateful that he was so concerned with personal cleanliness. The thought of being bedded by some dirty, sweaty male made her skin crawl.
It galled her to serve him, but Karina did so with a quiet dignity that impressed Fatima. The older woman watched her work, and she praised her efforts. Karina was a very fast learner, and in no time, she had mastered the skills required for everyday life in the village.
Karina saw a different side of Richard when he interacted with his people. He was kind and even-tempered. He rarely laughed, and occasionally she glimpsed a look of deep sadness when he thought no one was watching.
It was clear that he took his role as sheik seriously. He worked long hours each day, and everything he did, he did well. The village children were drawn to him, and he obviously enjoyed playing with them. The villagers loved him, and Karina could see why.
Karina admired the delicate embroidery that the women had on their clothing, and Fatima began to teach her the intricate stitches. The older woman took pride in Karina's handiwork, and they often sat together sewing and talking. On one of those days, Karina had stopped sewing and looked at Fatima with a puzzled expression.
"How is it that you speak English so well? Did Richard teach you?"
Fatima smiled and blushed lightly. "No, I learned from Rashid's father."
Karina watched her with wonder. "I didn't realize that you knew his father. When did he teach you?"
Fatima sighed, and her eyes took on a faraway look, as she remembered the time she had first met Lord Malcolm Bryant. "Malcolm brought Richard to Egypt after his mother died, and he often brought him to visit our camp. Rashid was very young, just a boy really, and we all enjoyed when the two of them would come for visits. They began to stay for longer periods of time with us, sometimes several months at a time, and we taught them about our way of life. They learned our language and many of us learned English from them." She released a wistful sigh. "Those were very happy times for me."
Karina smiled at her in surprise. "You loved Richard's father, didn't you?"
Fatima met her eyes and blushed again but didn't look away. "Yes, I did. I loved him very much, and he loved me too. I think he would have married me, but he was afraid of the effect it would have had on his son's future. For him to have taken an Arab as his wife would have caused a scandal." She smiled secretively. "Still, it didn't keep us apart. We were very happy together, and Rashid was like a son to me. You see, my own husband and son died several years before that. My son would have been about the same age as Rashid, and while he could never replace the son I lost, I was happy to have him in my life. Both Malcolm and Rashid filled an aching void and brought joy back into my life."
Fatima blinked and returned to the present. "Anyway, that was all many years ago."
Karina thought about what she had said, as the two of them resumed their sewing. Fatima had obviously loved Malcolm very much. Karina's thoughts returned to Richard, and she blushed. He made her feel as if her body were no longer her own to command. With a simple touch or even a look, he could send her heart racing in anticipation. When his eyes traced her naked curves, she felt a hunger in the pit of her belly, and it was only when he took her, pressing deep inside her body, that the ache was satisfied.
Although she had tried to resist him, her woman's body responded on its own, and she wondered if she were all that different from Fatima. If Richard had not kidnapped her as part of his scheme for revenge, she might have been content to be his mistress. Even as the thought occurred to her, she dismissed it, shaking her head.
There was a definite routine to life in the village. Each morning, Richard would wake up early, rousing Karina for a morning romp in bed. He would leave her exhausted and sleeping in the bed, while he rode out before daybreak to exercise his horses and patrol the area with the other men of the village. They were usually gone for several hours. While they were gone, the women prepared a breakfast of fruits, bread and cheese. The men would return and share the repast. Then all villagers would participate in the care of the animals in the camp. There were goats to be milked and horses and camels to be fed and rubbed down.
The afternoon was for quiet work. The men would usually relax in their tents, while the women worked at cooking or sewing. Fatima had begun to show Karina how to prepare some of the more complicated traditional Arabic foods, and she found Karina to be an apt pupil. Though she had never had to cook before, she enjoyed working with Fatima, and she had already learned how to prepare several dishes.
The meals in the village were often taken as a group, and the villagers shared a sense of community that intrigued Karina. When they sat around in large circles, eating, laughing and talking, Karina couldn't help but contrast their customs to the staid dinner parties she had attended both in Cairo and in England.
The Bedouins had a warmth and love for life that appealed to her heart. They were hardworking and dedicated to each other. They were even kind to her, and they treated her with consideration and respect. The ones who could speak some English began to converse with her occasionally, and Karina had begun to build friendships with many villagers.
In fact, only Samiya treated her with coolness. Everyone else treated her with respect and friendliness, despite the fact that she shared Richard's bed. Everyone in the village knew that she was an unwilling victim in their sheik's plan for revenge, and they didn't condemn her for something she had no control over.
Karina sat sewing with Fatima one afternoon, trying her best to ignore Richard. He sat across from the two women, and he was busy repairing a bridle. He was wearing his riding pants, and he had removed his shirt in the privacy of their tent. Karina tried to concentrate on her stitches, but her eyes kept returning to the rippling muscles and sinews of his arms. Fatima noticed the younger woman's interest, and she hid her smile.
They all three looked up when they heard someone approaching the tent. Karina recognized the man who stuck his head inside the flap. He was one of the new housemen her father had hired shortly before her abduction, and her interest was immediately sharpened.
Fatima smiled at the visitor. "Abdul! I am glad to see you are well!"
He returned her smile before dropping to the ground beside Richard. They spoke in lowered voices but in English, and Karina strained her ears to hear their words, as she continued to work on her stitches.
"Your plan worked perfectly, sir. I did just as you said. I told Lord Sinclair that his daughter had been seen boarding one of your ships, bound for England."
Richard nodded as he continued to work. "And he accepted my offer of help?"
Abdul bobbed his head quickly, "Yes, sir. He accepted my explanation that you felt responsible for the disappearance of his daughter, and he boarded your ship believing he was in pursuit of her. He should be gone for several weeks before he finally catches up with the Sea Falcon to find out that the Englishwoman aboard only resembles his daughter."
Richard nodded his approval and looked up to see that Karina had paused in her stitching. She glared at him, and he knew she hadn't missed the exchange.
"So, he isn't suspicious at all?" he asked blandly.
Abdul unknowingly confirmed what Richard had already told Karina. "No sir, he believes his daughter ran away because she was angry at him. He feels guilty, thinking everything is his own fault. He has no idea you abducted her."
"Good. Then, everything will proceed according to plan," Richard murmured. "You will return to Sinclair's house, and keep me informed of any changes."
The two men discussed a few more details of Richard's plan, this time in Arabic, and Abdul finally rose to leave. Fatima knew Karina was angry. She sensed that her presence was no longer required, and she rose to accompany Abdul, as they left the tent together.
No sooner were they out of earshot, than Karina pinned Richard with a heated glare. She had maintained a secret hope that her father would find her. Now, that hope was destroyed.
"So, you sent my father on a wild goose chase."
"I told you that I had plans to keep him busy."
Richard's quiet confidence infuriated her, and she rose with a frustrated shriek, tossing her embroidery aside. She stalked to the farthest corner of the tent, refusing to look at her captor.
Richard could understand her anger and frustration, and he felt a need to soothe her. He followed and pulled Karina back against his chest. At first, she tried to throw off his embrace, but he merely tightened his hold on her and brushed warm kisses along the back of her neck.
As usual, it only took a few moments for his body to respond to her closeness, and his erection was a solid ridge, pressing against her bottom. She looked up at him with wide eyes, suddenly still.
"Please, just leave me alone," she whispered. "Please return me to my father. Haven't you had your revenge already? I am completely disgraced."
His heart thudded heavily in his chest as he stared into her beautiful eyes. He could no more resist her pull than a moth could resist flirting with a flame. He cupped her head to hold her still for his kiss. Just before his mouth captured hers, Karina released a frustrated groan.
Her dress provided no protection, and in moments it lay in a pile at her feet. His arms were a gentle prison, forcing her to feel the slide of his muscular limbs against her softer ones. Karina wished that Richard's hands didn't feel so sinfully delightful as they explored her body. She tried not to breathe in his musky male scent as he laid her on his bed and covered her body with his. She did her best to ignore the ecstasy of his fingers on her skin, his mouth on her nipples.
But in the end, it was too much of an effort. Once again, she surrendered to his insistence, and she moaned with relief when he plunged deep inside her. Their eyes met and locked as he possessed her with deep, thorough strokes.
Karina expected to see mocking arrogance in Richard's eyes, but all she saw was a longing that matched her own. His eyes compelled her to understand some hidden message as he made love to her. But understanding was beyond her at that moment. It was enough to try and comprehend how she had fallen in love with a man that she had every right to hate.
Richard lay in bed that night, cradling Karina in his arms and thinking about Ameena. He couldn't forget the image of his wife lying dead with her bloodied face and abused body. He tried to summon all the fury that had sent him on this quest for revenge, but his anger was becoming increasingly hollow every day. His rage and hatred for William Sinclair had failed to keep Richard from falling in love with Karina.
Karina was innocent of any wrongdoing. She had accepted her fate with grace and dignity. She had never once been cruel or unkind to him or the other people who held her hostage, even though she had reason to be. He had meant to use her cruelly. He hadn't intended to fall in love with her. The thought of letting her go went against his every instinct.
Richard knew that Karina was beginning to care for him too. He had seen the look in her eyes when he made love to her. If he softened toward her, she would be even more deeply hurt when he returned her to her father. The only thing Richard could think of to lessen her pain was to make her hate him. It would be much better for both of them if he could find some way to put some emotional distance between them.
The answer to his dilemma came the next evening after dinner. Someone began to play music, and the mood around the circle became festive. Samiya rose and began to dance seductively in the firelight. The men whistled encouragement, as she dipped and swayed. Her hips gyrated seductively as she lifted her arms above her head and looked around at the men with half-lidded eyes and parted lips.
The musician, sensing Samiya's mood, slowed the beat of the song to a sensual pace, and the men began to clap in unison, encouraging her to entertain them further. Richard clapped along with the others. Samiya wore a long black dress, which flowed loosely around her, and the bodice and back were liberally embellished with red stitches. The fabric clung to her curves as she whirled in slow circles before the fire. She lifted the hem of the dress to display glimpses of trim ankles and shapely calves. Conversations had ceased when she began to dance, and Karina looked at Richard and found his attention centered on Samiya's swaying hips.
Samiya snatched the scarf from her head, and her long, black hair flew in circles around her. Her smile was sultry and her tongue darted out to trace her parted lips, as she used the scarf to draw attention to different parts of her body. She lifted the heavy mass of her hair and let it drop slowly back into place, as her lids hung heavily over her dark eyes. She had all the men's attention, but she was only interested in Richard. She leaned toward him and wound her scarf behind his neck, as she bent over him and allowed him an unhindered view into her bodice.
Amir sat on Richard's other side, and he frowned in disapproval. He had come to admire Karina for her strength in the face of adversity. He was also aware, as were most of the other villagers, that Karina had begun to fall in love with her captor. When Rashid walked through the village, Karina watched him longingly. Amir knew the pain it must be causing her to witness Samiya's seduction. He reached up a hand to push Samiya back, but Rashid surprised him when he pushed his arm away, and gave tacit approval as Samiya continued to dance over his outstretched legs.
Richard was acutely aware of Karina's displeasure, and he suddenly knew how to stir her hatred. What better way to keep her from becoming too attached to him than by letting her think his interest had moved to someone else?
Karina tensed and held her breath as she watched Richard's reaction to Samiya. He seemed to be enjoying the other woman's attention. Samiya smiled and danced away, but her eyes returned to him often, and though she danced in the center of the circle, it was clear to everyone that she was issuing a clear invitation for him.
Karina quietly rose and made her way to their tent, as her heart thudded painfully in her chest. She told herself that she hated Richard and it would be a relief if his interest shifted to the other woman. Maybe then, she wouldn't have to entertain him in his bed anymore.
She slowly undressed and crawled beneath the sheet. She could still hear the erotic music, and she knew the men were enjoying the dance even now. She wondered bitterly if Samiya had stripped her clothes off by now and was dancing naked before Richard. It had been bad enough that his people knew Karina was his mistress. Now, the humiliation was so much worse to know that he could so easily dismiss her. She obviously meant nothing to him.
She told herself that the tears that slipped down her cheeks were only from anger. She curled into a tight ball of misery and cried until she fell asleep from pure exhaustion.