Kisses can subjugate. They can enslave. They can humiliate. Ana knew these things from past experience. But this—this tender exploration of her person—lifted her up, left her breathless, cherished, and wanting. She understood now that kisses could seduce. Coupled with the gentle touch of his hands she knew with bone deep awareness how easily he could do it.
I should stop this.
His hands grasped her waist, and he lifted her effortlessly to perch on a fallen block of stone, so that their faces were even. She put her hands on his shoulders to steady herself, and he gave a gentle tug so that she fell forward into his arms, her feet still firmly planted on the edge of the block. “Better,” he murmured, planting a swift kiss on her chin. “My neck ached from bending.” He began spreading those gentle seductive kisses along her jaw line.
She knew she ought to put a stop to their lovemaking, but she began to follow his lead, moving her mouth to the edge of his and over to his ear. Somewhere deep inside a familiar voice warned her; men come, take what they wish, and leave. She ignored it.
“We’re still weeks from Khartoum, Sekhmet. Bashkim—”
Use of the nickname made her lips curl up into a smile. “Neither Bashkim nor Khartoum has anything to do with it. You have your work, your goals.”
“And you have yours.” He shifted and tried to cradle her head against his shoulder, but she pulled away to sit down on the block.
“Tell me now. What is it you seek at Meroë?” She didn’t need his secrets, but she desperately needed to calm her raging arousal. And his.
He knelt in the sand, planted both elbows on the stone block next to her, and cocked his head to look at her. “Scholars have devoured knowledge of the ancients for the past forty years. Much has already been nailed in place, but much hasn’t. There are lines of research, not just things to uncover, but things to interpret and explain.”
“Yes, but what is it you think you will find there.”
“Inscriptions in meroitic script. The more I have—”
“—the more likely you can decipher it. Holy angels above, Aeneas, no one has been able to do it. There is no Rosetta stone for meroitic script.” His blue eyes, darkened with passion and night, glowed back at her in the moonlight. “That’s why, isn’t it? Because it is difficult. Because some think it impossible.”