The Sheik and the Princess Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 8)(35) by Susan Mallery
Tahira barely nodded. “The sisters were kind to me and offered many compliments, Your Highness. I would not dare to say I have talent.”
“Of course not,” Jefri murmured, wondering if there was a way out of this hell.
“She meets all your requirements,” the king said. “She is very pretty.”
Hard to know, what with her still staring at the floor, Jefri thought. Although her appearance was the least of it.
He had to get to Billie and explain. He had to make this right with her.
“You have arranged rooms?” he asked his father.
“Of course. Something with a view of the gardens. I thought Tahira would find that familiar. You had beautiful gardens at the school, did you not?”
Jefri swore silently. “I must excuse myself,” he told his father, then glanced at the girl. “Welcome to Bahania,” he said stiffly and hurried out of the room.
He made his way to the third floor and Billie’s suite. As he turned the corner, he saw Doyle lounging by the door. The large man stepped into the corridor and smiled coldly.
“I figured you’d come sniffing around here,” Doyle said angrily. “She’s not here and I’m not telling you where she is. What I will tell you is you’re the lowest form of life there is. This may cost my family the contract and me my freedom, but I plan to beat the crap out of you. Prince or not, you don’t have the right to act like this.”
Gone? Where could she be? Jefri thought of the possibilities and decided Billie would retreat to the airport and the Van Horn complex there.
“Are you listening to me?” Doyle demanded.
“No,” Jefri told him. “But I understand your fury. I have two sisters and I would do the same for them. The problem is you are not in a position to beat the crap out of me.”
Doyle narrowed his gaze. “You think I care that it’s against the law?”
Jefri did not have time for this but he knew Doyle would not let him walk away until this was resolved.
Jefri moved close to the other man. They were about the same height and size.
“Do not let the tailored suits fool you, Doyle. I have been trained by masters.
You will not get off the first punch.”
Doyle’s hands curled into fists.
Jefri shook his head. “You must believe me. I would never hurt her.”
“Too late for that. Where the hell do you get the right to take her away for the night? She’s not your plaything.”
“I agree. She is an amazing woman who constantly surprises me. Now I must find her and explain.”
“There’s no way she’ll forgive you.”
“That information will not stop me from trying.”
Doyle flexed his fingers. “If she’s still mad when you’re done, then you and I are having it out. Just so we’re clear. And for what it’s worth, you’d better have a hell of a good story.”
Jefri nodded, then left. He raced down to the garages where he collected his Jaguar and headed for the airport. He didn’t have a story at all. He only had the truth. But would it be enough?
Billie found that reaching a personal best on a video game where she saved the world from outer space-based villains didn’t make her feel any better. She was a little surprised she’d done so well, what with the tears blurring her vision.
There wasn’t a single part of her that didn’t hurt. Even her eyelashes ached.
Her body felt pummeled and her heart…She didn’t want to think about the damage done to that organ.
Funny how she’d tried to prepare herself for the reality of her situation with Jefri. She’d thought she’d known who and what he was. A prince. Not the kind of guy a woman like her had a chance with. She’d accepted theirs would be an affair and she’d been happy with that. But finding out he’d been engaged the entire time made her feel slimy and gross. As if she were the other woman. Which she very well was.
How could he have done that? She would never have guessed he was that kind of man. He’d struck her as honorable, which just went to show she was an idiot.
It hurt, she thought, as fresh tears spilled down her cheeks. This hurt more than anything, even that night when those guys had gone for her. They’d tried to damage her body, but Jefri had messed with her head and her heart.
She brushed her hand against her face and concentrated on the screen. More spaceships flew into view. She began to systematically fire at them, racking up points like crazy. All the explosions and sound effects from the machine provided a comforting blanket of white noise, but they didn’t prevent her from hearing steady footsteps on the concrete floor.
Every muscle in her body tensed. She knew who approached even before he spoke.
The need to run overwhelmed her, but she had a feeling he wasn’t willing to let her grieve in peace. Instead he would want to have his say and make it right.
How like a man. Just once, she would like to see one of them take responsibility instead of weaseling out of everything.
“I know what you are thinking,” Jefri said when he came to a stop behind her.
“Somehow I doubt that.”
She hated that she didn’t have to turn to know it was him. Her heart sensed his presence.
“You are thinking that I am a lying, cheating bastard who used you to get what he wanted. You are thinking you were tricked.”
She released her hands from the controls and let the aliens claim her last ship.
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