The Sheik and the Bride Who Said No(Desert Rogues, Book 9)(60) by Susan Mallery
Her heart took a nosedive for her toes. Rational thought left her as hope—foolish hope—bubbled in her stomach.
Murat took the seat opposite hers and leaned toward her.
“How could you leave without telling me you love me?” he demanded.
“I…I didn’t think you’d want to know.”
He scowled. “Of course I want to know that my wife loves me. It changes everything.”
She couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t do anything but drink in the sight of him.
“You told me to leave,” she reminded him.
“I thought you were anxious to be gone.” He glared at her. “This is your fault for not confessing your feelings.” His expression softened. “I am happy to know my love is returned.”
She couldn’t have been more surprised if he’d told her he was a space alien.
“You l-love me?” she asked breathlessly.
“With all my heart and every part of my being.” He took her hands in his. “Ah, my sweet wife. When I realized how badly I had treated you, I did not know how to atone for what I had done. Setting you free seemed only right, even though it was more painful than cutting off my arm. When you accepted my decision without saying anything, I thought you did not care about me.”
“I was too shocked to speak,” she admitted. “Oh, Murat, I do love you. I have for a long time. Maybe for the past ten years. I’m not sure.”
He stood and pulled her to her feet. “You are a part of me. You are the one I wish to be with for always. I want you to share in my country, my history. I love you, Daphne.”
She wasn’t sure if he pulled her close or she made the first move. Suddenly she was in his arms and he was kissing her as if his life depended on her embrace.
She clung to him, needing him more than she’d ever needed anyone ever.
He pulled back. “But if you must leave, I will let you,” he said.
She couldn’t believe it. “But you said—”
He smiled. “You may go, but I am coming with you. I will be next to you always.”
She laughed. “I don’t want to go anywhere. I love Bahania and I love you.”
Right there, in the walkway of a jet, Crown Prince Murat of Bahania dropped to one knee.
“Then stay with me. Be my wife, the mother of my children. Love me, grow old with me and allow me to spend the rest of my life proving how important you are to me.”
“Yes,” she whispered. “For always.”
He stood and reached into his jacket pocket. When he withdrew a ring, she started to shake. Then she realized he wasn’t holding the diamond band he’d given her after their marriage. Instead he held a familiar and treasured engagement ring—the one she’d left behind ten years ago.
“My ring,” she said breathlessly. “You kept it all this time.”
“Yes. In a safe place. I was never sure why, until now. I know I was keeping it for you to wear again.” He slid on the ring, then kissed her.
Lost in the passion of his body pressing against hers, she barely heard the crackle of the intercom.
“Prince Murat?” It was the pilot. “Sir, are we still going to America?”
“No,” Murat said into the intercom. He sank onto a chair and pulled Daphne onto his lap. “We are not.”
“Are we going anywhere?”
Murat leaned close and whispered in her ear. “Do you have any pressing engagements for the rest of the afternoon?”
She shifted so she could straddle him. “What did you have in mind?”
He chuckled, then pressed the intercom button again. “Once around the country.”
“Which gives us how long?” she asked.
He reached for the buttons on her blouse.
“A lifetime, my love. A lifetime.”
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