Sweet Revenge Ch. 09byharemgirl©
Richard lay on his bed, staring grimly at the roof of his tent. A burning pain throbbed in his left shoulder where his wound was beginning to heal, but it didn't compare to the ache in his heart. His memories of the last two weeks were hazy, but he clearly remembered every detail of the day he had been shot.
Lord Rawlins had intended to kill him. It had been sheer luck that the bullet passed through Richard's shoulder rather than his heart. He had lost a lot of blood, but with Fatima and Samiya nursing him diligently night and day, he had survived. Now, he lay weak as a kitten on his bed, with nothing to think about except Karina.
Disbelief had been his first reaction to her betrayal. He had refused to accept that she had wanted Rawlins to kill him. However, the more Richard thought about that day, he had to admit that there was no way Rawlins could have known all the details of her abduction and her relationship with him unless Karina had told him.
That knowledge sliced through Richard's heart like a knife. He had been convinced that she loved him and wanted to stay with him. She must have been planning to leave him all along and had only been using her body to convince him that she cared for him. Karina was quite the little actress!
Denial was quickly replaced by anger, and that emotion simmered and festered in greater intensity with each passing day. What a fool he had been! He knew that his plans for revenge against William Sinclair had been a mistake. Richard had been directing his anger at the wrong man from the beginning. He had regretted his actions before, feeling a burden of guilt for having hurt Karina. Any guilt he suffered was long gone. Karina was a cold-hearted, deceitful, disloyal, insincere...
Richard was jerked from his bitter contemplation by Amir poking his head inside the tent. His friend smiled warmly and came to stand over Richard.
"You are looking better with each passing day. I think you will live, my friend."
Richard smiled weakly and nodded. "You can't get rid of me that easily." His eyes scanned Amir's dusty clothing. "Do you have news of Karina?"
Amir sat beside the bed and frowned. "Yes, but you are not going to like the news I bring." He watched Richard carefully before continuing. "I did just as you requested. I contacted our men inside William Sinclair's house." He hesitated slightly and winced as he said the next words. "I'm sorry to tell you Rashid, but Karina was married to Lord Rawlins the day after her return to Cairo."
"What!" Richard roared the word as he tried to sit upright on the bed. His sudden movement caused shards of pain to rip through is shoulder, and he couldn't suppress a groan of agony. He didn't know which hurt worse, the wound in his shoulder, or the burning ache in his heart.
While Richard had been stewing over Karina's betrayal for the past two weeks, he had been secretly hoping that he would hear some news to prove that she had not really turned her back on him so coldly. The news that she had married another man the very day after she had ordered him killed left him little doubt about her true feelings. She couldn't have done something so heartless if she had any feelings for him. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut and swallowed against the pain in his heart.
Amir placed a hand on his uninjured shoulder. "Easy, my friend. Reopening your wound won't change matters." He gave Richard a stern look before resuming his report. "It seems the newlyweds are exceedingly happy together. They have attended social gatherings on several occasions. From all accounts, her husband dotes on her. Rumor has it, he is so enamored with her that he bought her an entire new wardrobe." Amir cleared his throat nervously. "Their servants whisper about how much time they spend alone in his bedroom. Apparently, Karina hasn't even been to visit her father since her marriage. She sent him a note saying that she needed time alone with her new husband." Amir raised one disgusted eyebrow, waiting for his friend's reaction to that bit of news.
The thought of Karina in another man's bed tore at Richard's gut. The speed with which she had married was bad enough. Hearing news of what an eager bride she was felt like rubbing salt into an open wound. Richard's eyes burned with both pain and fury. When he spoke, his voice was a savage growl.
"I want you to plant several men in and around Rawlins' home. I want to know every detail of Karina's daily routine, where she goes, what she does, what she wears, everything!"
Amir watched him worriedly. "What are you planning Rashid?"
Richard looked at him, and the deadly gleam in his eyes made the Amir more than a little apprehensive. "I am planning to ensure that Rawlins pays for everything he has done."
Amir nodded grimly. "What about Karina?"
Richard gritted his teeth. "She carries my child. I won't let her take my child from me. As for Karina..." Richard paused for several moments as he struggled to swallow the lump in his throat. "Karina no longer has a place in my life."
Richard turned away, effectively dismissing Amir. When the other man had left, Richard squeezed his eyes tightly shut. He felt utterly empty, and for the first time, he almost wished Rawlins' aim had been better.
Over the next four weeks, Richard drove himself at a frenzied pace to regain his former strength. He was obsessed by his need for revenge, and he knew that he had to completely recover before he could carry out his plans. At first, his progress was very slow. Even small tasks were difficult or impossible. With grim determination, he gradually made progress until Fatima declared him fully recovered.
While his days were filled with physical activity, his nights were pure hell. He spent countless hours alone in his bed, staring into the darkness and thinking of Karina. Part of him hated her and only wanted to punish her for everything she had done. But another part, the part that he tried desperately to quash, longed for her. His body craved the feel of her soft curves, and he remembered her clean womanly scent. Her image was burned on his brain. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw her. He remembered every nuance of her expressions, from anger to passion to loving tenderness. At least he had been fooled into thinking it was loving tenderness.
Richard longed for more than just Karina's body. He yearned for her sweet companionship, although he now knew that too had been a facade. He missed the time they had spent together, talking and laughing. He missed the joy she had brought to his life.
He tried to concentrate on how he was going to punish her. However, every night, when he slept, Richard's mind would relax, and Karina the seductress would haunt his dreams. He often woke in the middle of the night, heavily aroused and longing to possess her, only to remember that her place beside him was cold and empty. He would squeeze his eyes tightly shut and try to resume his dream rather than face reality without Karina.
During Richard's recovery, Samiya worked hard to instill herself into his heart. She tirelessly nursed him back to health, and she gave him gentle, healing massages after he had worked his body to the point of exhaustion. Richard appreciated her efforts, but she failed to stir his emotions.
One evening, Samiya followed Richard back to his tent after dinner. He heard her enter the tent, and he turned as she approached with a seductive sway of her hips. She stopped a few feet away, and without a word, she slipped her dress off her shoulders. She stood naked before him, but the sight of her left him cold.
"Samiya, please don't. I want to be alone right now," Richard said, frowning slightly.
"Let me love you," she whispered, as she wound her arms around his neck and pressed her body wantonly to his. "I know you have been thinking of Karina, and how she betrayed you. She didn't love you, but I do. I only want to make you happy." She stretched up and kissed him warmly on the lips.
At first, he fought the urge to return her kiss, but why shouldn't he take everything she offered? It was better than spending countless nights in frustrated agony. Karina had betrayed him. There was no reason to be faithful to her memory.
Richard cupped Samiya's buttocks in his hands and returned her kiss, letting his pent up longing and frustration flow into the exchange. He kneaded her breasts and trailed hot kisses down her throat. He found her nipple and suckled as if he were a starving man, only distantly hearing her delighted moans.
Samiya quickly divested him of his clothes, and they stretched out on his bed. Richard tried to enjoy the sensations as she worshipped his body. She was, after all, a very beautiful woman. He should be enjoying the sight and feel of her, but his emotions remain stubbornly detached. She gripped his cock and spread kisses over his chest as she stroked him. He held his breath, feeling the physical tension build.
Samiya's cloying kisses began to take a toll on his patience, and Richard felt an urgency to be done with it. He rolled her beneath him and plunged into her welcoming heat. Samiya clasped him to her, whispering eager words of encouragement as he rode her. It wasn't long before she climaxed, moaning softly as her pussy contracted around him. He closed his eyes and sped up his pace, plundering her body with deep, desperate strokes. Still, his fulfillment remained just out of reach.
Frustrated and angry, Richard snatched his eyes open and abruptly withdrew from Samiya. The fact that he felt guilty only increased his hatred for Karina. He groaned and rose from the bed.
Samiya frowned up at him. "What is the matter? Why did you stop?"
"I can't do this, Samiya. I'm sorry, I don't know what's wrong with me. I can't..."
"Shh," she whispered, gripping his thighs as she knelt before him. "Your wound has weakened you. Don't worry, I will help you."
She trailed kisses over his belly and guided his cock into her mouth with a soft moan. Richard watched her, a frown creasing his forehead. Why couldn't he relax and enjoy this? He closed his eyes once again and surrendered to Samiya's insistent touch.
She relentlessly worked to please him, licking and stroking, sucking and moaning. He tried to blot out the memory of Karina ministering to him in just the same way, but it persisted. He felt his body responding once again, and he groaned, desperately needing relief.
He gripped Samiya's head and thrust into her mouth like a man possessed. She made no protest, scrambling to accommodate his increasingly forceful strokes as he used her roughly. The tip of his cock rammed the back of her throat with every thrust, and Samiya could barely breathe. Just as Richard climaxed, a vision of Karina appeared in his mind. Her eyes looked accusingly at him as he poured himself into Samiya's eager mouth.
When his last contractions ended, Richard released his grip on Samiya's head and pushed her away. His body felt relief, but there was no sense of peaceful contentment.
"Please go," he muttered, turning away from Samiya.
She eyed him uncertainly. His coldness was disappointing, but she was pleased that he had allowed her as many liberties as he had. She felt certain that, given more time, she would be able make him forget about Karina. Samiya reluctantly dressed and slipped out of the tent.
Richard's thoughts returned to Karina, as he ground his teeth in frustration. He pictured her beauty, and his relief was short lived. The blood pounded through his loins, and his erection grew hard and throbbing, once again aching for release.
Richard tried to avoid picturing Karina in another man's bed, but his cruel mind was determined to dwell on the images. He imagined Rawlins stroking her breasts and thighs and eliciting moans of pleasure from her luscious lips. He wondered how many times she had knelt before her husband just as Samiya had done tonight. He closed his eyes and could see Karina, every detail clear in his mind. He saw her succulent breasts, her delicate pink nipples puckered into tight buds, her tiny waist, her gently rounded hips, her soft thighs flung wide, her sweet pussy glistening with her arousal. Worst of all, he envisioned her with her face alight with passion and her legs wrapped around her husband's waist as he plunged into her again and again and again...
Richard released an anguished groan. How he hated her.
When Richard was fit enough to proceed with his plans, he called Amir and Fatima to his tent. He waited until they were seated on either side of him.
"I am leaving tomorrow for Cairo. I won't be returning to you for a very long time." They both looked at him in surprise, but he held up a hand to stifle their protests. "My mind is made up, so there is no point in trying to dissuade me. This is something I must do."
"What are you planning," Fatima asked quietly.
"I will not involve you in my plans. I intend to ensure that the villagers will not suffer from my actions. I will be returning to England rather than here." He looked at Amir. "You must take over as Sheik." Amir was shaking his head and would have argued, but Richard continued. "I trust you, and the villagers trust you. I know you will do a good job."
Fatima gave a deep sigh of resignation. "While I am not happy about your plan, I understand. I will pray that you are safe, and that you can find some small bit of happiness."
She looked into his eyes and her own sparkled with unshed tears. She reached out to squeeze his arm and then left the tent. Amir watched her go before turning back to Richard.
"I will do as you say, but I would rather go with you into Cairo. Why must you go alone? Let me go with you, to protect your back. Then, I can return here after I am assured that you are safe."
Richard shook his head firmly. "No, I will be careful." He smiled grimly at his friend. "I have sworn to raise my child. I have no intention of leaving it without a father."
Finally, Amir nodded slightly and rose to leave. "Then, I wish you well, my friend. Allah go with you." He turned and left quietly.
Richard sank onto his bed with a weary sigh. He had planned everything in detail. He would kill Rawlins and abduct Karina. He intended to keep her only until she delivered his child, then he would reject her as completely as she had rejected him.
His plan brought him no joy. He had glimpsed true happiness during his time with Karina. All he could hope for now was to raise his child, showering it with all the love and devotion that he had wanted to give Karina. What became of her after she delivered his child was no longer his concern.
Two days later, Karina sat on the stool in front of her dressing table, fidgeting nervously. She glanced at the clock for the tenth time in as many minutes. It was almost time. Finally, she had a chance at freedom!
Karina checked her appearance. The woman who looked back at her from the mirror was extremely pale, and wide blue eyes looked out from behind sooty black lashes. Her face had been skillfully powdered to disguise the dark circles under her eyes, but she looked very fragile.
Her eyes dropped to her décolletage, and she frowned in displeasure. Despite her best efforts to rearrange the neckline, she could see the edges of her pink nipples peeking out of the dress. Stuart had destroyed all of her modestly designed gowns, so this hideous dress was the best she could do. She would have to make sure to keep her cloak fastened tightly if she wanted to preserve any modesty at all.
Karina and Sophie had carefully planned their escape. Sophie managed to find a ship that could carry them both to England. Karina gave her a diamond necklace and earrings to pawn, and Sophie used the money to purchase their tickets. They would be leaving with the early morning tide.
Sophie had purchased a sleeping tonic, and she was supposed to slip some into the soup that was to be served with dinner. With any luck at all, Stuart and his entire staff of servants would sleep soundly through the night. By the time the household roused, the Karina and Sophie would be on their way to England and safety!
Unfortunately, Stuart had ordered Karina to eat supper alone in her room. She had no idea whether Stuart and the staff had eaten the soup. This waiting was killing her.
Karina went over the details of their plan for the thousandth time, looking for any flaw. She would be able to stay with her aunt until she could get word to her father. She knew one way or another, her family would protect her from Stuart, but she had to put some distance between herself and her husband first.
Karina glanced at the clock yet again. What was keeping Sophie? The maid was going to come for her once she had verified that the servants were all asleep. Sophie would steal the key from that weasel James, and she would release Karina from her prison. Karina closed her eyes and prayed that everything would go according to plan.
Richard slipped into the Rawlins' house and made his way through the darkened study. His instincts were leaping. The house was too quiet.
He opened the door to the hallway and peeked through the crack. He strained to listen, but the only sound he heard was the ticking of the grandfather clock in the foyer. Where were all the servants?
He crept up the stairs to the master bedroom and tried the door. It was locked. Stealing a quick glance around him, Richard knelt and worked on the lock. It released with a soft click, and he cautiously peeked inside.
He tensed when he saw Stuart Rawlins lying sprawled on the bed. With another quick glance behind him, Richard slipped into the room and went to stand beside the bed. Stuart lay asleep on the bed, breathing deeply. At least he was alone, Richard thought with relief. He had expected to find Karina in bed with the bastard!
Richard eased his sword free and poked Stuart's chest. "Wake up," he growled.
Stuart didn't move except to snuggle deeper into the mattress. Richard gave him a harder poke with the sword.
"Wake up, Rawlins. It's time to pay for your sins."
There was still no response. Great! Richard finally had the opportunity to kill the bastard and he was asleep! This wasn't in the plan. He had planned to confront Rawlins and make him pay. Of course, he would give Rawlins the opportunity to defend himself, not that the bastard deserved it. Richard was actually looking forward to the duel. He wanted to watch Karina's face while he carved her husband into bloody bits!
He poked Stuart's chest even harder with the sword and was gratified to see a small drop of blood on the point of the sword. Still, the man didn't rouse. Richard frowned harshly. He couldn't wait around all night for the miserable coward to wake up. He had to get Karina out of the house before the servants were alerted to his presence.
Where was Karina? Richard had thought she would be with her husband. He made his way on silent feet through the dressing room and opened the connecting door a tiny crack. Ah, there she was! Richard stood watching her, trying to regain control over his breathing. He had remembered she was beautiful, but he was unprepared for the wave of longing that washed over him at the sight of her. It took him a few moments to collect his wits. Then he went to her, drawn against his will...
Karina felt a prickling along the nape of her neck. It was only because she was so nervous that she heard the faint sound of his footsteps in Stuart's room. He must not have eaten the soup! Now what was she going to do?
Karina sensed that she was being watched, and she dropped her eyes to her lap. She waited tensely as she heard her husband approach from behind. Her only option was to wait until he fell asleep on his own. She would hit him over the head and make her escape. Of course, that meant another night of torture, but with freedom just around the corner, she could endure it.