The Sheik (Chapter 3, page 1 of 33)


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Chapter 3

The warm sunshine was flooding the tent when Diana awoke from the deep
sleep of exhaustion that had been almost insensibility, awoke to
immediate and complete remembrance. One quick, fearful glance around
the big room assured her that she was alone. She sat up slowly, her
eyes shadowy with pain, looking listlessly at the luxurious
appointments of the tent. She looked dry-eyed, she had no tears left.
They had all been expended when she had grovelled at his feet imploring
the mercy he had not accorded her. She had fought until the unequal
struggle had left her exhausted and helpless in his arms, until her
whole body was one agonised ache from the brutal hands that forced her
to compliance, until her courageous spirit was crushed by the
realisation of her own powerlessness, and by the strange fear that the
man himself had awakened in her, which had driven her at last moaning
to her knees. And the recollection of her abject prayers and weeping
supplications filled her with a burning shame. She loathed herself with
bitter contempt. Her courage had broken down; even her pride had failed
her.

She wound her arms about her knees and hid her face against them.
"Coward! Coward!" she whispered fiercely. Why had she not scorned him?
Or why had she not suffered all that he had done to her in silence? It
would have pleased him less than the frenzied entreaties that had only
provoked the soft laugh that made her shiver each time she heard it.
She shivered now. "I thought I was brave," she murmured brokenly. "I am
only a coward, a craven."

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