The Prince and the Pregnant Princess(Desert Rogues, Book 6)(51) by Susan Mallery
“How are you?” he demanded. “Do you feel well? Should you be resting? Are you hungry?”
Sabrina lightly touched her husband’s face, then stepped free of his embrace.
“Kardal—I’m great. Really. You’ve got to stop doing this.”
“You’re my wife. Of course I’m concerned about you.”
“Yes, but if you make me crazy, I’ll be forced to stab you in your sleep. Now get back to work.”
He kissed her fiercely, then spun on his heel and retreated.
Zara glanced at Cleo. “Sabrina has a secret.”
The king of Bahania’s youngest daughter shrugged as she led the way down the corridor. They entered a large living area with several sofas pulled up around a large coffee table overflowing with trays containing a traditional English tea.
Cleo was still caught up in Kardal’s need to see his wife in the middle of the day. They had been married for almost two years. Should he be over that by now?
The envy she’d been feeling twisted in her chest, making her wish for things that weren’t going to happen—at least not in her marriage.
Sabrina sank down on one of the couches and motioned for the other women to do the same. But instead of leaning back, she sat forward and stared intently at Cleo.
“I’m pregnant,” she said.
Cleo had barely sat down, but she instantly sprang to her feet and hurried toward Sabrina. The two women hugged.
“I’m so happy for you,” Cleo said genuinely.
At least she could say that without feeling as if she were lying. She was happy Sabrina was going to have a baby. They could discuss infants and pregnancy to their hearts’ content without boring everyone else, and their children would grow and play together.
Tears glittered in Sabrina’s eyes. “I’m about two months along. I didn’t say anything when I first found out because there was so much other stuff going on, but I’m ready to let everyone know.” She brushed at the tears on her cheeks. “I don’t get it. I’m barely feeling any morning sickness, but I can’t seem to stop crying.”
“Hey, that happened to me all the time, too,” Cleo said, returning to the sofa and plopping down. She glanced at Zara. “Feeling any pressure?”
Zara chuckled. “Maybe a little. But Rafe and I have talked about kids, and while we want several, we both would like at least a year with just the two of us. We want to travel and adjust to being married.” Zara glanced around at the soaring thirty-foot ceilings and the eight-hundred-year-old tapestries on the walls.
“Plus I have to get used to living in the City of Thieves.”
“That’s not a hardship,” Sabrina said with a wave of her hand. “It’s great here.
To be honest, I hate being away from the castle.” She leaned forward and began pouring tea. “Please help yourself.”
Cleo eyed the table laden with all kinds of cakes, cookies, sandwiches and scones. There were also silver-trimmed glass bowls filled with different kinds of salad nestled on ice, and plates of fruit.
They discussed Sabrina’s pregnancy. Cleo mentioned the name of the doctor she was going to see for her monthly checkup, and Sabrina talked about the
possibility of seeing a midwife from the village outside the main castle. The whole time they talked, Cleo could feel Zara watching her. Finally she turned to her foster sister.
“You might as well tell me what’s on your mind. You know you’re going to say it eventually.”
Zara tilted her head. She and Sabrina looked amazingly alike, with their long dark hair and big brown eyes. But while Sabrina was completely comfortable in her surroundings, Zara had the air of someone who expected to wake up from a dream at any moment.
“Are you happy with your life?” Zara asked.
The question surprised Cleo. It also made her choke as her herbal tea went down the wrong way.
Happy with her life? What was that? Cleo could recall specific events that had made her happy—an unexpected birthday party when she’d turned sixteen or a weekend trip with Zara. For her happiness came in measurements of hours, maybe even the occasional day, but never in terms of a life.
“I’m still adjusting,” she said, hedging.
Sabrina didn’t look any more convinced by her answer than Zara did. “How’s my brother treating you?”
She thought about his daily attentions each morning, when he brought her breakfast and talked to their unborn child. She thought of the tenderness of his embrace, when he pulled her close to make love with her.
“He’s good to me…in an arrogant-prince sort of way.”
Zara and Sabrina exchanged a glance. “Then why are your eyes so sad?” her former foster sister asked.
Cleo set down her tea. Part of her wanted to tell the truth because she needed to talk to someone. She felt a little strange about confiding her deepest feelings in front of Sabrina, but the odds were that Zara would tell her, anyway. Besides, Sabrina knew Sadik—maybe she could offer advice.
“He cares about the baby,” Cleo said slowly. “I know he has committed himself to the marriage.”
“But?” Zara promoted.
Cleo put her hand on her round belly. “We didn’t plan this. Once I went home, Sadik never bothered to get in touch with me. I’m not sure he would have ever thought of me again if I hadn’t shown back up on his radar scope. He wouldn’t have married me if I hadn’t gotten pregnant.”
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