The Prince and the Pregnant Princess(Desert Rogues, Book 6)(34) by Susan Mallery
The king hung up the phone, rose and joined her on the sofa.
“I was speaking with my son, Reyhan. He is back from the oil conference.” Hassan smiled. “My sons make my life easy. They take over many of my responsibilities, leaving me free to speak with beautiful women.” He leaned forward and took her hand in his. “How are you feeling, Cleo?”
“I’m, ah, fine.” She cleared her throat. “From what I can tell, the baby is healthy. However, I’m getting close to the time for my next checkup. I guess I’m going to have to find a doctor here and send for my records.”
The king nodded. “We have many wonderful medical facilities in Bahania. Of most interest to you, I suspect, is the International Hospital. It is only a few miles from the palace and is considered a world-class facility. I believe there are several women doctors on staff.”
Cleo hadn’t had a chance to think about the logistics of giving birth in Bahania, but should she be trapped here, the thought of a woman doctor eased her mind.
“That would be great,” she admitted, not telling him that her greatest hope was that it wouldn’t be an issue. Given a little luck, she would be back home in the next couple of days and could see her regular doctor.
“Your Highness,” she began, “there’s something I need to talk to you about.”
He released her hands, but continued to lean forward, as if showing he was attentive. “Of course, my child.” He smiled kindly. “Before you begin, I must tell you how pleased I am by how things have worked out. Perhaps it would have been better if my son had not given in to temptation.” He glanced at her stomach, then returned his gaze to her face. “However, I cannot complain about the outcome. Sadik is the first of my sons to provide me with a grandchild. To you that may not seem like such a great accomplishment, but I can tell you that as one grows older one becomes concerned about the future generations. I want to know that the royal succession will continue.”
She didn’t like the sound of that. While she appreciated the king’s concern, she wished he were just a little less interested in her baby.
“Yes, well, I understand that you want your sons to have children. Or even
Sabrina or Zara.”
Hassan shrugged. “Sabrina’s firstborn son will be heir to the City of Thieves.
As for Zara, Rafe is not a prince. So you see, Sadik is the first to give me my heart’s desire.”
Cleo pressed her hands together. “When I told you I was pregnant, how did you know that Sadik was the father? I found out you only told Zara and Sadik about the baby.”
Hassan smiled. “I told your sister because I knew she would be gone for a time on her honeymoon. I felt that things would occur while she was gone and that she needed some warning. Also, you needed a friend, and who better than a sister?”
She couldn’t complain about his logic. “Good point.”
“As for Sadik, I had seen the two of you together when you had been here before.
There was something in the way you looked at each other that made me wonder what was occurring between you.”
Cleo sighed. She’d been falling in love, while Sadik had been enjoying her favors in bed. Not exactly a recipe for happiness.
“But I might have been a month or so along,” she reminded him. “The baby could have belonged to someone else.”
Hassan shrugged. “I had no way of knowing that. I told my son so that if the child was his, he could make provisions. If the child wasn’t his, then he needed to know not to get involved with another man’s woman.”
She wanted to ask what made him think that Sadik would want to get involved with her again, but what was the point? She was stalling because she was afraid to tell him why she’d come to see him.
She cleared her throat. “Your Highness, I mean no disrespect. I understand the honor bestowed on me by your son. He is Prince Sadik of Bahania and I’m…well, I’m no one.”
Hassan frowned. “Cleo. You are the daughter of my heart. You have great value.”
Apparently not enough value. After all, Sadik wasn’t willing to love her.
“I can’t marry him.”
She spoke forcefully, and when she finished, the words hung in the air. Hassan studied her face.
“Are you married to someone else?”
“What? Of course not. If I was married, I never would have slept with him in the first place.” She blushed slightly, thinking that one probably didn’t discuss sex with the king.
“Then I do not understand.”
Typical. Bahanian men seemed really slow on the uptake where her preferences were concerned.
“Sadik doesn’t love me. He’s made it very clear that he gave his heart to his late fiancée, and he has no intention of falling in love again.” She paused to gather her thoughts. “I know that sounds like a silly thing to you, but it’s very important to me. I don’t want to be with someone who doesn’t care about me.
It’s a horrible way to live a life.”
Hassan nodded. “My son can be stubborn and difficult.” He smiled slightly. “I believe he takes after me. But he will come around in time.”
“What if he doesn’t? You’re condemning me to marriage with a man who won’t care about me.”
“He cares. Sadik was most distraught when you left.”
She wanted to believe the king, but she had a feeling he was only saying things she wanted to hear. She decided to try a different argument.
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