The Prince and the Pregnant Princess(Desert Rogues, Book 6)(40) by Susan Mallery
His first instinct was to order her to smile, but the ridiculousness of the instruction stopped him. He could force Cleo to do as he wished, but he knew he would have little luck making her feel as he would bid. She could be both stubborn and difficult.
Patience, he told himself. He would be patient and she would come around.
He kissed her gently on the mouth, resisting the passion that flared instantly.
“Go to bed,” he told her. “I will not bother you this night.”
She pressed her lips together, then nodded gratefully and headed for the bedroom. As he watched her go he had the fleeting thought that she would be taking the only bed in the suite, which left him in the uncomfortable position of being a bridegroom with nowhere to sleep.
Once he was alone, he glanced around for something with which to occupy himself.
The food did not interest him, nor did he want to watch a movie or read a book.
He prowled restlessly through the living room, then down the hall to the two empty bedrooms. The first would be for the baby. He tried to imagine how his son would look sleeping in his crib. Sadik frowned, then tried to imagine anything about his son. He did not have contact with infants or small children, nor did he know anything about Cleo’s pregnancy. He barely knew when the child was expected.
His frown deepened as he made his way to the second bedroom. The makeshift office had not been used in some time, but the computer would be adequate for his purposes and it was hooked up to the Internet.
In a matter of seconds he’d logged on to a search engine and typed in the word pregnancy. Far too many links came up. He chose several at random and began to read. An hour later he saw there was much to be learned. He clicked his mouse on an on-line bookstore and searched their stock. When he’d ordered a half dozen different books on pregnancy and childbirth, he returned to the various Web sites and began to read.
Cleo woke up shortly after dawn. Except for a bathroom break, she’d slept through the night, resting more deeply than she had in weeks. She might not like her current situation, but knowing her fate apparently allowed her to relax about it.
She knew it was time to make the best of a bad situation. Upsetting herself couldn’t be good for the baby, and being depressed would only make her feel worse. She and Sadik were married. In her case the “for better or worse” seemed to be starting out on the “worse” end, but her complaints were her own problem.
She had shelter, food and a man who desperately wanted his child. They were healthy and her future was secure. Considering all that, the dream of true love seemed a little greedy.
Sadik had been right when he’d pointed out they had passion and mutual respect.
And friendship. For the most part they got along. She enjoyed his company, and she would guess he enjoyed hers. That he’d been able to let her go without once thinking about her was irrelevant.
There were worse fates than being married to a wealthy, handsome prince who didn’t love her.
That decided, she got up and brushed her teeth. She was trying to decide if she wanted to eat before or after her shower, when there was a knock at the bedroom door.
Sadik let himself in before she could decide what to do. He glanced first at the empty bed, then made his way into the bedroom.
“You’re already awake,” he said, sounding disappointed.
Cleo was too taken aback by the tray he held in his hands to answer.
“I’ve brought you breakfast,” he said. “Please return to bed. I will serve you.”
She was so surprised she nearly stumbled. “You’re serving me?”
“Yes. It will be this way every morning through your pregnancy.” He set the tray on the nightstand. “Unless I have to travel for business. Then I will have one of the servants bring in your breakfast.”
Cleo thought about pointing out that she was more than capable of walking to a breakfast table. Especially considering that there was one right in the suite.
But his thoughtful act did a number on her hormone-sensitive emotions. She found herself fighting tears.
Rather than try conversation, and risk those tears, she simply made her way back to bed and pulled the covers up to her chin.
Sadik motioned to the tray with a flourish worthy of a magician performing a disappearing act. “Fresh fruits, all picked at dawn from the palace garden.
Scones because I know you like them.”
She didn’t want to think about the past, but his comment made the memories impossible to resist. The first night they’d been together had stretched into the following morning. As they had both been too busy flirting the previous evening to eat, they’d been starving. Sadik had ordered up breakfast, offering Cleo her choice of several items. She’d been rapturous about the scones. In fact, he’d gotten into the habit of collecting favors from her by promising scones in return.
Her gaze slid from the plate overflowing with the fragrant pastry to a bright purple drink in a tall glass. Her stomach turned at the sight of it.
“What’s that?” she asked.
“A protein drink,” he said. “I found the recipe on the Internet last night. It has many of the essential nutrients both you and the baby need. There are also several ingredients, such as ginger, to ease any lingering morning sickness.”
“I felt fine until I took a look at that drink,” she muttered. “Does it have to be so purple?”
He looked offended. “The color is the best part.”
“Then you drink it.”
Instead of responding, he handed her the glass. She took a sip. It actually wasn’t so bad.
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