The Sheik and the Bride Who Said No(Desert Rogues, Book 9)(54) by Susan Mallery
“Of all the arrogant, terrible, hard-hearted men on the planet. To think I missed him.” Talk about stupid.
“Never again,” she vowed. “Never ever again will I think one pleasant or kind thought about—”
The door to the suite opened and Murat walked in. She stood and glared at him.
“Don’t even try to talk to me. I’m furious.”
Murat closed the door and walked toward her. “I just spoke with my father.”
“Unless you’re going to tell me he’s agreed to us getting a divorce, I’m not interested.”
He unfastened his cloak and draped it across a chair. “He took me to task for annoying you.”
“Really? Well, he’s a very smart man.”
Murat ignored her comment. “He was most disappointed we were not getting along better, especially in light of all his effort to bring us back together.”
“I…” She blinked. “What?”
He motioned to the sofa. She sank down next to the cat she’d been petting and waited while Murat sat across from her.
“He told me that he has been waiting a long time for me to pick a bride. When I seemed reluctant, despite the various women in my life, he decided there must be some reason from my past. He made a study of my previous relationships and kept coming back to you and our broken engagement.”
“That’s right,” she said. “Broken and not fixed.”
“When he discovered you were unmarried, as well, he decided to bring us back together to see what happened.”
“That’s not possible.” She refused to believe it. “I wasn’t brought here for you. I came because of Brittany…”
She felt her mouth drop open and quickly pressed her lips together. Sensible Brittany who, out of the blue, suddenly decided to marry a man she’d never met and move half a world away.
“She was in on it,” she breathed.
“Apparently. No one else in your family knew. My father found out that the two of you were close and contacted her. Together they hatched this plan.”
“No.” Daphne shook her head. “She would never do that to me. She’s not that good a liar.”
“Apparently she is.” He motioned to the phone. “Feel free to check with her.”
“I will.” She picked up the receiver and punched in the number for her sister’s house. When the maid answered, Daphne asked for Brittany.
“Hey, Aunt Daphne, how’s it going? College starts in ten days and I’m so excited. Mom’s still annoyed with you, but she’s getting over it. She thinks I should start dating the governor’s son. He’s okay, I guess, but not really my type. What’s up with you?”
Despite Murat’s revelation and the possibility that Brittany had been a part of some plan, Daphne couldn’t help smiling as she listened to her niece’s monologue.
“I’m good,” she said. “I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you, too. Think I could come over there for winter break? We could go shopping and ride a camel. It would be fun. Plus I’d love to finally meet Murat.”
“I’ll bet you would. Sure. You can come here. But first I need to ask you something. Did the King of Bahania get in touch with you a couple of months ago?”
Brittany sucked in a breath. “What?”
“Did he want you to pretend to be willing to marry Murat to lure me back to Bahania? Brittany, I want the truth. This is very important.”
The teenager sighed. “Maybe. Okay, sort of. Yes. He called and we talked. He was really nice. Not at all like I imagined a king would be. He said that the reason you hadn’t fallen in love with any other guy was that you still loved Murat but you wouldn’t admit it to anyone. Not even to yourself. At first I told him he was crazy, but then I thought about it for a while and I decided he might be right.”
“So I said I would marry Murat so that you’d get all worried and stuff. Which you did. I felt bad on the plane. I was acting so shallow, but it was important.
And then you went to see Murat and I came home.”
“Did anyone else know?”
“Are you kidding? Mom would never have agreed. I sort of felt bad about how excited she got over me marrying a prince and all. But, sheesh, how could she take it seriously? He’s so old.”
“Practically in his dotage.”
“But it worked out great. Right?” Brittany sounded slightly unsure of herself.
“I mean you married him and everything. You’re happy, Aunt Daphne, aren’t you? I’d never hurt you for anything. You know that, right?”
“Of course I know that. I love you, Brittany. You’ll always be my favorite niece.”
Brittany laughed. “I’m still your only niece, but I know what you mean. How did you find out?”
“The king told Murat.”
“Was he furious?”
“He was unamused.”
“But you’re okay.”
Daphne thought about the young woman she’d loved for eighteen years. Whatever Brittany had done, she’d acted out of love and concern.
“I’m completely fine. I love you.”
“I love you, too. Let’s talk soon.”
Daphne hung up the phone and looked at her husband. “It’s true. Brittany was a part of it from the beginning. She pretended to be interested in marrying you to get me on the plane.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online