The Sheik and the Bride Who Said No(Desert Rogues, Book 9)(56) by Susan Mallery
“You grow quiet,” he said, setting down his knife and fork. “Are you troubled about some matter?”
Troubled didn’t begin to describe her emotions.
“At the risk of starting another battle between us,” he said. “It has been nearly three weeks since the first time we made love. You have not started your period.”
“I know. I’m late.”
She watched him carefully, but his expression didn’t change. She wondered if he was crowing on the inside.
“Do you think you are pregnant?”
She wasn’t sure. “I don’t feel any different, but I don’t know if I should. I could get a pregnancy test and take it if you would like.”
“What would you prefer to do?”
“Wait a few more days. Sometimes stress upsets my cycle.”
She’d certainly had her share of that in the past month or so.
She expected him to insist that she find out that very evening. Instead he nodded. “As you wish.”
She couldn’t help smiling. “Are you unwell?”
“No. Why do you ask?”
“You never give in on anything.”
He sighed. “I am doing my best to nurture the flower in my garden. Do you feel nurtured?”
She held in a laugh. He was trying hard. “Nearly every minute of every day.”
“Ah. Now you mock me again.” He carefully put his napkin on the table and rose.
“I think my flower needs a good pruning.”
He had an evil gleam in his eye. Daphne stood and started to back away.
“You do not know what I have in mind.”
“I can tell it’s going to be bad. Now stop this. Think of your delicate flower.
You have to be nice.”
He made a noise low in his throat and started toward her. She shrieked and ducked away. In a matter of seconds he caught her.
In truth, she didn’t mind being dragged against him. Even as he pressed his mouth to hers, he caught her up in his arms and carried her into their bedroom.
“What about dinner?” she asked when he set her on her feet next to their bed and reached for the zipper at the back of her dress.
“I am hungry for other things.”
Murat worked through the messages left for him by his assistant. On the one hand he appreciated his new and warm relationship with Daphne. On the other, he found his workdays long and dull when compared with the nights he spent in her company. While his ministers spoke of the oil reserves and the state of the currency-exchange market, he thought of her body pressing against his and the way she cried out his name when he pleasured her.
Things were as they should be, he thought contentedly. She had made her peace with her situation. Now they would grow together as husband and wife. There would be many children and a long and happy life together.
His assistant knocked on the door.
“Come in,” Murat called.
Fouad entered with several folders. “The king wishes to change your lunch meeting to this afternoon. It seems he is to dine with Princess Calah.”
Murat smiled at the thought of his father having lunch with the charming toddler. “That is excellent. Have the kitchen send up a second meal to my suite.
I will dine with my wife.”
“Very good, sir.” Fouad set the folders on the desk. “I have had a call from our media office. Princess Daphne turned down an interview request from an American women’s magazine. They were surprised, as the publication is known for honest reporting. They were interested in making a connection with her, sir, not doing an exposé.”
“Perhaps she is not aware that such interviews are welcome. I will mention it to her.”
Fouad completed his business and left. Forty minutes later Murat walked into his suite to find the table set for two.
“This is a surprise,” Daphne said as she walked into the living room, then crossed the tile floor to kiss him. “A very pleasant one.”
“My father and I were to have lunch, but he chose instead to dine with a very attractive young woman. So I took the opportunity to spend some time with you.”
Daphne led him to the table. “Calah?” she asked.
“He loves that little girl.”
Murat’s gaze dropped to Daphne’s flat stomach. Did his child grow there? So far she had not gotten her period, nor had she offered to take a pregnancy test. He had decided to let her make the decision. If she was with child, he would soon know.
They sat across from each other and spoke about their morning. As she served them each salad, he mentioned the interview with the American magazine.
“You are welcome to speak with them,” he said. “I will not forbid it.”
“My flower heart trembles at your generosity,” she said in a teasing voice.
He pretended to scowl. “I can see I have been too lenient with you.”
“Not to worry, Murat. If I had wanted to give the interview I would have. But I wasn’t interested.”
Instead of answering, she mentioned that Billie and Cleo were planning a day trip to the City of Thieves and that she wanted to join them.
“Of course Billie wants to fly us there herself, and the king has said that would not be allowed. She’s too far along in her pregnancy.”
He watched her as she spoke, noting a slight shadow in her eyes.
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