The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(4) by Susan Mallery
How much had changed? Even as he silently asked the question, he found he didn’t want to know. He rose and walked into the palace.
The king fell into step with him.
“At least she remembered you,” his father said.
“Obviously with great joy.”
“Perhaps she fainted with relief that you were to be together.”
Reyhan didn’t bother answering. Emma hadn’t seen him in six years, and from what he’d been able to find out, she’d never made any attempt to get in touch with him. He had no idea what she recalled of their brief…relationship, but he doubted her fainting had anything to do with relief.
The guest quarters were on the second floor. Reyhan went directly there, wondering if his father would mention that other arrangements could have been made. Fortunately, the king remained silent.
Reyhan swept inside the suite of rooms he’d had prepared for Emma and set her on the sofa. A maid hovered in the corner.
“Find out when the doctor will arrive,” he said.
The woman nodded and picked up a phone from the small table in the corner.
Reyhan returned his attention to Emma. She lay perfectly still. She hadn’t moved at all while he’d carried her.
He sat next to her on the sofa and took her hand in his. Her fingers were cold.
He brought them to his mouth and breathed on them.
“Emma,” he murmured. “You must awaken.”
She moved her head slightly and moaned.
“The doctor will be here in fifteen minutes,” the maid told him.
“Thank you. A glass of water, please.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“Someone else could have carried her,” the king said from the seat he’d taken across from the sofa. “Someone else can care for her now.”
Reyhan narrowed his gaze. “No one touches my wife.”
His father rose and crossed to the door. “It has been six years, Reyhan. Are you sure you still wish to claim the title of husband?”
Wish it or not, it was his. As was she.
Emma felt as if she were swimming against a very strong tide. But instead of water, she was trapped by air she had to push through to reach the surface.
Thoughts formed and separated, her body felt heavy. Something had happened. She remembered that much. But what?
A cool, smooth surface pressed against her mouth as a strong, male voice demanded, “Drink this.”
She parted her lips without considering refusing the request.
Water slipped into her mouth. She drank gratefully, then sighed when the glass was removed. Better, she thought, and opened her eyes.
Oh, my—it was him! Her eyes hadn’t been playing tricks on her. She could feel the heat and strength of him as he sat next to her on the sofa. His hip pressed against her thigh. One of his hands held her own, while his dark gaze trapped her as neatly as a cage held a small bird.
She wasn’t sure if she said the name or merely thought it. Was it possible? After all these years?
She blinked and wondered if this was nothing more than a vivid dream. Only, her luck wasn’t that good. No, the truth was he was real and she was in his presence, which didn’t seem possible. It had been six years, she reminded herself again. Six years since he’d used her and tossed her aside. Six years
since she’d hidden at her parents’ house, crying for what could have been, secretly waiting for him to come and claim her, only to find out she’d waited in vain. He’d never come, and eventually she’d returned to her life—older, wiser and emotionally battered.
“So you return to us,” he said, his low voice rumbling like distant thunder. “I don’t remember you fainting before.”
She bristled at the assumption that he knew things about her.
“I don’t faint,” she told him.
“Recent events suggest that you do. It was a long trip. Were you able to sleep at all?”
He spoke so casually, she thought in amazement. As if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. As if it had been a few days rather than years since they were last together.
Outrage blossomed into fury. She wanted to yell at him, to scream or maybe even throw something. But years of being told that a lady didn’t show her anger made it difficult for her to do more than glare.
Reyhan lightly touched her cheek. “I see by the shadows under your eyes you did not sleep on the plane. At least not for long. Hardly a surprise, I suppose. You were not told why you were brought here. As I recall, you were always impatient and eager to find out things.”
Her attention split neatly between his words, which annoyed her, and the light stroking of his fingers against her skin. When his thumb grazed her lower lip, she was stunned by a jolt of awareness. The sensation cut through her like lightning, heating and melting everywhere it touched.
No! She would not react, she told herself. She wouldn’t feel anything. She refused to. If this man really was Reyhan, then he filled her with nothing but contempt. He was beneath her notice.
One corner of his firm mouth turned up slightly. “I see you want to spit at me like an ill-tempered kitten,” he murmured. “There is anger in your eyes.” He glanced at her fingers. “No claws. I doubt you can do much damage.”
Then he stunned her by kissing her knuckles.
She felt the warm brush of his mouth clear down to her toes. The hot, melting sensation grew until she wanted to purr like the kitten he’d mentioned. She thought about—
“Stop that right now,” she said, snatching her hand back and folding her arms across her chest. The instruction was meant for both of them. In the past twenty-four hours, her world had taken a turn for the confusing, but she was determined to figure out what was going on. Which meant staying focused on the task at hand and not getting caught up in being in the same room as Reyhan.
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