The Sheik and the Bride Who Said No(Desert Rogues, Book 9)(50) by Susan Mallery
The glow of all the campfires seemed to stretch out for miles. She pressed her fingers against the cool glass window and wished for a second chance to take back the angry words she and Murat had exchanged.
He’d hurt her. She refused to believe he’d spent last night making love with her only to prove a point. Their time together had to have meant something to him, too. But why wouldn’t he admit it? And why had he let her go so easily?
Just like before, she thought sadly, when she’d broken their engagement. He’d let her go without trying to stop her then, too.
The trip back to the palace took less than thirty minutes. She made her way to the suite she shared with Murat and let herself inside.
Everything was as she’d left it, except that the man she’d married was gone. She had no idea when he would return or what they would say to each other when he did.
She wandered through the room, touching pictures and small personal things, his pen or a pair of cuff links. She missed him. How crazy was that?
Something brushed against her leg. She looked down and saw one of the king’s cats rubbing against her. She picked up the animal and held it close. The warm body and soft purr comforted her. Still holding the cat, she sank down on the sofa and began to cry.
“So, how was it?” Billie asked the next morning as she threw herself on one of the sofas. “I can’t imagine riding through the desert. Flying would get you there much faster.”
Cleo sat next to her sister-in-law and swatted her with a pillow. “The journey is the point. When you fly you never get to see anything.”
“Yeah, but you get there fast.” Billie grinned. “I’m into the whole speed thing.”
“And we didn’t know that.” Cleo fluffed her short, blond hair. “Did you have a good time? I thought you would have been gone longer.”
“It was great,” Daphne said, hoping the cold compresses she’d used earlier had taken down some of the swelling around her eyes. Crying herself to sleep never made for a pretty morning after. “I enjoyed the riding, and the tent was incredible. Like something out of Arabian Nights. There were dozens of rugs underfoot, hanging lights and a really huge bathtub.”
Billie smoothed the front of her skirt over her very pregnant belly. “Tubs can be fun. Anything you want to talk about?”
“Not really,” Daphne said, trying to keep things light. “The cultural differences were interesting. I enjoyed watching Murat work with the council.”
“You weren’t gone long enough to get to the City of Thieves, were you?” Cleo asked, then covered her mouth. She winced and dropped her hand. “Tell me Murat told you about it. I so don’t want to be shot at dawn.”
“Not to worry. He did. And, no, I didn’t make it there.”
She’d been looking forward to it, too. She hadn’t really wanted to leave the caravan. She’d acted impulsively in the moment. Why had she reacted so strongly last night? Why had he been so willing to fight with her and let her go?
“I wanted to see Sabrina and meet Zara,” she said.
“They’re both very cool,” Cleo said. “You’ll have time later. Or we could plan a lunch. The show-off here can fly us out there in a helicopter.”
“Cleo’s just jealous because I’m talented,” Billie said with a grin.
“It’s disgusting,” Cleo admitted. “And she brags about it all the time.”
Daphne felt a wave of longing. These women weren’t sisters, yet they were closer than Daphne had ever been to anyone in her family. If she stayed, she could be a part of this, as well.
Cleo shifted to the edge of the sofa and laced her hands together. “I’m not sure how to say this delicately, so I’m just going to blurt it out. Something’s up.
You’re obviously unhappy. You’re back early and Murat isn’t with you. Given how you two came to be married and all, Billie and I were wondering if you wanted to talk. You don’t have to, but we’re here to listen.”
Daphne bit her lower lip. She did want to confide in someone, but…”You’re both in very different places.”
“Okay.” Billie looked confused. “I know you mean more than us sitting on the sofa and you sitting on a chair.”
Daphne couldn’t help laughing. Cleo stared at Billie and rolled her eyes.
“She means we’re in love with our husbands and she’s not sure she is.” She glanced at Daphne. “Is that right?”
“I knew that,” Billie said. “I guess you have a point. But Murat isn’t so bad, is he?”
“I don’t know.”
Daphne realized it was the truth. That while she hated what he’d done to her—how he’d used circumstances and manipulated her to get what he wanted—she wasn’t sure how she felt about the man himself.
“There’s the whole ‘going to be queen thing,’” Cleo said. “Does that count for anything?”
“Of course it doesn’t,” Billie said. “Daphne has more depth than that.”
Cleo sighed. “I actually wasn’t asking you.”
“Do you two ever stop arguing?”
“Sure,” Cleo said. “When we’re not together.” She linked arms with her sister-in-law. “Billie and I have fabulous chemistry. I love sniping at her more than almost anything. It’s like a sporting event.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online