The Prince and the Pregnant Princess(Desert Rogues, Book 6)(37) by Susan Mallery
He hadn’t even charged her for the extra months. Cleo wouldn’t be surprised to learn that either the king or Sadik had phoned him first to make sure things went smoothly for her, but she decided the details didn’t matter.
“Will you miss your life in Spokane?” he asked, sounding almost tentative.
“I don’t yet. Ask me in a couple of months.” When the shock of getting married had faded somewhat and she was ready to deal with the reality of life in Bahania.
“I suspect you will find much to like here,” he said. “And speaking of things to like…”
He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small, black velvet box. “My parents did not have a love match,” he said matter-of-factly. “Their marriage was arranged, and I doubt that either of them was very fond of the other.
However, my paternal grandparents were truly in love.”
He opened the box. Inside was a sapphire ring. “The ring is part of a set,” he said. “My grandfather gave my grandmother a thirty-carat stone for their twenty-fifth anniversary. She had this ring made, along with earrings and a necklace.” He slipped the ring on her left hand. “I should have provided you with an engagement ring before. I’m sorry I didn’t think of it until now.”
She stared at the glittering stone. The ring fitted as if it had been made for her.
Sadik sat up and reached for a wooden box on the coffee table. She hadn’t even noticed it. The carved wood looked old, and when he opened it, she saw it had several small compartments, all holding black velvet boxes.
“Here are the earrings,” he said, showing her double drop earrings surrounded by diamonds. As promised, there was also a stunning sapphire necklace.
Cleo fingered the jewelry. She’d worn some pretty impressive pieces during her last visit to Bahania. The borrowed finery had made her feel like a princess.
But it was practically cut glass when compared with this bounty.
“Why do you want me to have this?” she asked.
He frowned. “You are to be my wife,” he said, as if that explained everything.
“My grandmother left me her jewels with the understanding I would pass them on.”
His gaze softened with an understanding that stunned her, he said, “No woman has seen these since her death, Cleo. They are only for you.”
She swallowed against a sudden tightness in her throat. She wouldn’t have thought he was sensitive enough to realize she was worried that Kamra, too, had adorned herself with the stunning set.
“Thank you,” she whispered, overcome more by his thoughtfulness than the gift itself.
He smiled, then bent low and kissed her. His mouth was soft yet demanded that she yield to him. Had she been able to speak, Cleo would have pointed out that she had no plans to resist. Not when it felt so completely right to put her arms around him and feel his body close to hers.
When he parted his mouth, she did the same. He slipped inside her mouth, his tongue gently stroking hers. Shivers of delight rippled through her. Passion flared. They had only made love once since she arrived, and she found herself quickly warming to the idea.
But instead of taking things to the next level, Sadik broke the kiss and sighed.
“I think we should wait until later,” he said, sounding regretful. “Although you continue to tempt me.”
Cleo accepted his decision. Her response surprised her. Had Sadik continued kissing her and maybe started touching her, she wouldn’t have refused him. Even now the wanting seemed to grow inside of her. She knew it was because she loved him. But would her love save her or be her downfall?
“There is more,” he said, returning his attention to the box. “As my wife, there will be many beautiful jewels for you to wear. But this one is very special. It was a gift from Queen Elizabeth, the first one, to the queen of Bahania.”
As he spoke he drew a delicate and beautiful tiara out of the a velvet bag.
Despite the age, the workmanship was exquisite. The white gold encircled the diamonds in a series of circles. Large, pale pearls hung down, swaying as Sadik handed it to her.
Cleo couldn’t believe it. She had joked with Zara about getting a cast-off tiara or two. The elegant head-piece truly symbolized being a princess. She couldn’t believe that Sadik had simply handed her one, especially not one with such an amazing history.
“Is it really that old?” she asked. “Is it safe to touch it?”
“Yes to both. Sabrina is the expert in antique jewelry. Actually the tiara disappeared for a time, taken by someone in the City of Thieves. It was only recently recovered. When I heard of it, I thought you would enjoy having it for your own. Will you wear it today?”
She nodded, because it was impossible to speak. Sadik was showing her a sensitive side she wouldn’t have believed existed. Maybe this marriage did have a chance.
“There are those who say a bride is not to wear pearls on her wedding day,” he said. “That her new husband will make her cry once for each pearl.” He touched the lustrous orbs. “There are nine pearls in the tiara. May I only disappoint you nine times in our long life together.”
Tears filled her eyes. He didn’t say anything. Instead he held her close and for now, that was enough.
The wedding took place in the small chapel in the palace. There was seating for perhaps a hundred, but less than twenty sat in the ancient pews. Cleo paused at the back of the church, more nervous than she would have thought.
Sadik stood waiting at the end of the long center aisle. Candles flickered.
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