Connie Brockway
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Jim met her eye and finally nodded. "Look," he said, "there's only the one blanket and the camel's blanket and the camel."

Ginesse frowned.

"That's pretty much all we have for warmth."

"And each other," she said reasonably.

He started. "Well, yes. I was going to suggest—"

"Of course you were. It would be silly not to cuddle together. My brothers and I used to do so all the time. My mum called it a puppy pile. So you lay next to the camel and I'll curl up into you, like a spoon."

"Ah. No," he said. She peered at him, wondering why he sounded so strange. "No, you press up next to the camel and I'll sandwich you in."

She shrugged. "All right."

Perfectly reasonable and innocent-seeming ideas had always been her bĂȘte noire, Ginesse realized some minutes later when she lay on her side wedged between the stinky, one-eyed camel and Jim Owens's taut, hard body. True, he was warm. No, he was hot. It emanated from his skin, seeping into hers. And she felt very safe and secure, but she didn't know what to do with her hands. She tried clasping her hands together in an attitude of prayer and nestling them between Jim's shoulder blades, but that created an unwelcome space between Jim and her, and since the whole object of sharing body heat was to share body heat, that rather defeated the purpose.

Besides, the afreet within her suggested, since all that masculine beauty was now on the table, so to speak, it seemed a shame not to take advantage—just a small advantage—of what circumstance had thrown her way and see whether he felt as good as he looked.

He did. That was the problem. He felt even better than he looked. She looped an arm around his waist, and at once his whole body went still and tight, like he'd received an electric shock. He was so…dense, so hard, like a living statue, like warm granite. She rested her hand on the corrugated planes of his belly that jumped into sharp relief. She laid her cheek against his back and heard him make some sound of discomfort.

"Are you okay?" she whispered worriedly.

"Yes. Yes." She felt more than saw him nodding vigorously. "I'm good. This is fine. It's fine. Go to sleep."

Sleep? How could she ever sleep? His virility flooded her senses, both arousing and soporific at the same time. Amazing. She'd never experienced anything so alien, so exotic, and so delicious. She resolved to stay awake and hoard every moment, catalogue each sensation, each shift of muscle and each heartbeat—

"Are you praying, Mr. Owens?" she asked, certain she'd misheard him.

"Yup," he said. "Now, if you don't mind I better get back to it."

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