The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(2) by Susan Mallery
They also provide a significant percentage of our country’s oil.”
Emma might have only taken one political science class at college, but she wasn’t stupid. She got the message. When the king of Bahania invited a young Texas nurse to vacation in his country for a couple of weeks, the United States government expected her to go.
Was she being kidnapped?
The idea was both insane and terrifying.
“You can’t make me go,” she said, more to hear the words than because she believed them. She had a feeling that Alex and his friend could make her do just about anything.
“You’re correct. We would not force you to accept the king’s invitation.
However, your country would be most grateful if you would consider granting him this request.” He smiled. “You’ll be perfectly safe, Ms. Kennedy. The king is an honorable man. You’re not being sold into a harem.”
“The thought never crossed my mind,” she told him hotly, even though it had.
A harem? Her? Not on this planet. Men didn’t find her especially appealing, and she…Well, she avoided matters of the heart. She’d fallen in love once and it had been a complete disaster.
“This is a great honor,” Alex said. “As a personal guest of the king, you’ll be staying at the famed pink palace. It is quite extraordinary.”
Emma walked back to her chair and sank down. “Can we stop for a second and reflect on the reality missing from this situation? I’m a nurse. I deliver babies for a living. Unless the king has a pregnant wife or something, why on earth would he be interested in me? I’m assuming if you know my passport number, you also know I’ve only been out of the country once and that was six years ago.
I live a quiet life. I’m boring. You have the wrong person.”
Alex’s good cheer didn’t waiver. “Two weeks, Ms. Kennedy. Is that so much to ask? Those volunteering for military service give much more.”
Oh, darn the man. He was going for guilt. She really didn’t like that. Her parents had been experts at it and she hated the sense of having disappointed anyone.
“I’ll accompany you to Bahania,” Alex continued. “To assure your safe arrival.
Once you’re settled, I’ll return to Washington.” He paused. “You’re being given a wonderful opportunity, Ms. Kennedy. I hope you’ll consider it. If we can leave for the airport in the next hour, we will be in Bahania by sunset tomorrow.”
Her mind swirled. “You want me to go with you right now?”
Emma glanced from Alex to his friend by the sliding glass door. She had a bad feeling that if she refused, she would be taken against her will. Not exactly thoughts to warm her heart. It looked as if she were going on a trip.
Two and a half hours later, Emma found herself sitting on a luxurious private jet as the lights of Dallas disappeared below. She had a large suitcase in the cargo bay, a small overnight case next to her feet and, as promised, Alex Dunnard in the seat across from hers.
She still wasn’t sure how it had all happened. Somehow Alex had gently ushered her through the process of calling the hospital for time off, packing and leaving a message for her parents that she’d gone away with a friend. The white lie had been his suggestion, made so that her parents wouldn’t worry.
Then she’d showered, changed and found herself in a limo the size of a football field. Now she was on a plane and sitting in leather seats so soft and comfy, she wouldn’t mind having the material made into a jacket.
On the bright side, if she was being kidnapped, it was by someone with money and style. The downside was that she’d managed to put her entire life on hold for two weeks with exactly two phone calls and a request that her neighbor pick up her mail. What did that say about her world?
Before she could decide, a uniformed young woman approached. “Ms. Kennedy, I’m Aneesa and it will be my pleasure to serve you on our flight to Bahania.”
Aneesa rattled off the expected flying time, mentioned a stop for gas in Spain and offered selections for dinner.
“When you’re ready to retire for the evening,” she continued, “there is a sleeping compartment for your use.” She smiled. “Along with a bathroom, complete with shower.”
“That’s great,” Emma told her, trying to sound calm. As if this sort of thing happened to her all the time.
“Shall I serve dinner?” Aneesa asked.
“Uh, sure. Why not?”
When the attendant had disappeared to what must be the plane’s galley, Emma turned to Alex.
“Are you going to tell me what’s really going on here?” she asked.
“I’ve told you all I know.”
“That the king wants me as his guest for two weeks,” she summarized.
“And you don’t know why?”
Not exactly helpful.
She returned her attention to the countryside below and wondered if she would ever see Texas again. Then, determined not to wallow in unpleasant and scary thoughts, she pulled out the entertainment guide and pretended interest in the various DVDs available for her viewing pleasure.
A half hour later, the meal was served. The food was beautifully prepared and delicious, if Alex’s speed of consumption was anything to go by. Emma picked at the baked chicken dish and refused wine. She studied her travel companion—a well-dressed man in his mid to late forties. Nice looking, married—if the wedding ring was anything to go by. Did Mrs. Dunnard mind her husband flying off at a moment’s notice? Had it been a moment’s notice for him or had he known about the trip in advance? And why on earth did the king of Bahania want to meet with her?
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