The Sheik and the Princess Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 8)(28) by Susan Mallery
“I suspect there’s a deeper reason but right now I’m too tired to figure it out.
So here’s the thing. I’m going to keep seeing Jefri as long as both of us are interested and you can’t do anything about it. And if you continue to bug me, I will make good on my threat to leave and get a job somewhere else.”
His blue eyes, the same dark shade as her own, studied her. “You’re not kidding, are you?”
“No. It’s bad enough being the only girl in this family. I won’t be treated like an idiot as well.”
Her brother’s shoulders slumped. “Okay. You win. No more following you on dates.
As Doyle had never gone back on his word before, she decided to believe him.
“Good,” she said. “Now I don’t have to kill you.”
He grinned, then his gaze slipped past her to the coffee table. “Leftovers, huh? Anything good?”
“Didn’t you just have dinner at that restaurant?”
“Sure, but I can always eat.”
“Bank left,” Billie said into the microphone of her headset. “Bank, then roll.
That’s it, that’s it. I’ve got you now, you thick-headed mutant.”
She heard chuckling in her headset.
“I wonder how much of your intensity has to do with making your brother suffer for what happened two nights ago.”
As always, Jefri’s rich voice made her tingle. “There’s a little of that,” she admitted as she kept her gaze on the instrument panel where she watched as the four planes converged.
“Get him,” she said cheerfully. “We’ll do a double tone-lock. That will be very cool.”
“As you wish,” Jefri said.
Seconds later she heard Doyle swearing as he clicked on to their communication channel.
“You did that on purpose,” he complained.
“Doyle got beaten by a girl,” she said in a singsong voice.
One plane instantly disappeared from her radar. Seconds later the door to the simulator jerked open and her brother glared at her.
“Don’t ever say that to me again,” he told her, doing his best to look fierce.
Billie wasn’t the least bit impressed. She stuck out her tongue. “Beat you in twenty-seven seconds. That’s pretty pathetic.”
He muttered something under his breath and stalked off. Jefri took his place in the doorway.
“Remind me not to annoy you,” he said. “You do not seem to forgive and forget.”
“Not where my brothers are concerned. We did very well this morning.”
“I agree. I find I much prefer flying with you than against you.”
She grinned. “A wise man.”
“I thought we might try dinner again tonight. Are you available?”
She was more than available, she was practically at the point of begging. “I could make the time.”
“Good. I have a plan to avoid the press.”
“We are going to another country.”
That evening they flew over the desert in a private luxury jet, although neither of them were at the controls. Billie fingered her curls, hoping her hair was big enough for the significance of the event and took the glass of champagne Jefri offered.
“So this is why we’re not flying ourselves,” she said.
She took a sip and tried not to read too much into Jefri’s smoldering looks, while ignoring the way her thighs kept going up in flames.
It was all too much, she thought as she took in the rich leather interior of the jet. Too much luxury, too much man and way too much class. He looked amazing in his tailored dark suit. After the last debacle, Billie had given up on original and had slipped into a simple, black cocktail dress. She felt she looked good, but what did she know about a prince’s expectations?
“So, where are we going?” she asked more to distract herself than because she cared about the destination.
“Oh. They’re not that far away.”
“Agreed, but no one should bother us there.”
“I’ve never been, but I’ve heard it’s very beautiful. Too bad it’s night, we’re missing the desert.”
“You can fly over it any time you would like.”
“Not all of it,” she said with a smile. “There is some very restricted airspace out there.”
Oddly enough in the middle of nowhere. She’d noticed it the first time she’d planned her flight in to Bahania.
“What on earth are you keeping hidden in the middle of the desert?”
She expected a teasing response. Instead Jefri studied her intently. “It is a secret.”
“What kind? Military?”
He shook his head. “We think of it as a treasure.”
She tried to imagine what it could be. What kind of treasure could exist such that planes couldn’t fly overhead?
As she sipped more champagne, she thought about her research on the area and recalled mention of a fabled city—The City of Thieves.
No. That wasn’t possible. A secret city?
“Is it bigger than a bread box?” she asked.
He smiled. “Much.”
“If I drove there instead of trying to fly there, could I see it?”
“What would you like to see?”
“I’m not sure.”
“When you decide, we’ll talk about it.”
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