The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(6) by Susan Mallery
Reyhan seemed to get bigger and taller as his temper grew. His anger was as tangible as the sofa she sat on, but a lot more frightening. His gaze narrowed and his mouth twisted into a disapproving and scornful line.
“A green card?” he asked, his voice thick with tension. “Why would I need that? I am Prince Reyhan. I am heir to the king of Bahania. I have no need to seek asylum elsewhere. This is my country.”
He spoke proudly and with the confidence of who knew how many generations of royalty behind him.
“Yes, well.” She cleared her throat. At the time, him wanting a green card had made sense. But now…”So that’s not why you married me.”
“It was not. I was in your country to continue my education. I earned my master’s degree there.” His expression turned contemptuous. “I honored you by giving you my name and my protection. As for trying to get you into my bed, the effort was hardly worth the meager reward.”
She shrank back into the cushions. Humiliation joined the fear. As much as she tried to block out their nights together, they continued to haunt her. She supposed her part of it could be an illustration of what not to do on one’s wedding night and the few nights that followed.
Not that it was her fault, she told herself, trying to grab on to a little temper to give her courage. She’d been the virgin. He should have done better, too.
But if Reyhan hadn’t married her to get a green card or to sleep with her, why had he?
“Are you sure the marriage was real?” she asked. “My parents’ lawyer said that it wasn’t.”
“Then their lawyer was mistaken.” Reyhan glared at her. “You are my wife. That is why you were brought here. Now that you are in my country, in my home, you will treat me with respect and reverence. Is that understood?”
The need to bolt for freedom grew exponentially.
But she never got to say whatever she’d been about to blurt out. For just at that moment, a petite, curvy, beautiful young woman walked into the room.
“This isn’t good,” the woman said. “I heard Emma had arrived and fainted at the sight of you. Is that true?”
Reyhan turned his attention from Emma to the woman. His glare only deepened.
The woman rolled her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re insulted. But don’t forget, I gave birth to your older brother’s firstborn, so you have to be nice to me.”
“One wonders what Sadik sees in you.”
The woman leaned close and smiled. “I’m a hottie. It’s a curse, but there we are.”
Emma didn’t think things could get more shocking, but she was proved wrong when Reyhan actually smiled at the woman, then kissed her forehead.
“Can you fix this?” he asked the woman.
“I’m not sure if you mean Emma or the situation. If you ask me, the one who needs fixing is you.” She held up her hand before he could speak. “I’ll do my best. I promise. Now why don’t you give us some girl time together? I’ll answer Emma’s questions and make her feel at home. You can go work on your charm.”
Reyhan raised his eyebrows. “I’m very charming.”
“Uh-huh. Just a tip here. The ‘I’m Prince Reyhan of Bahania’ thing gets old really fast. Trust me. Sadik tried it on me, too.”
“You’re a troublemaker.”
Reyhan nodded at Emma, then at the woman and left. Emma watched him go.
“Is this really happening?” she asked, feeling both weary and more confused than ever.
“It sure is,” the other woman told her. “Right down to you sitting in the middle of the Bahanian royal palace.” She plopped down next to Emma on the sofa and smiled. “Let’s start at the beginning. Hi. I’m Cleo.”
“I’m Emma. Emma Kennedy.”
Cleo looked her over. “Love the hair. My sister-in-law Sabrina puts red highlights in hers, but the color is nothing like this. Is it real?”
It took Emma a second to process the question and realize Cleo wasn’t asking about the hair itself, but the color.
“Yes, it’s natural.”
“Me, too,” Cleo said, tugging on her short, spiky blond hair. “I put in gold highlights once, but was that a mistake. I thought I’d look more elegant and classy, which is so not going to happen. I’m stuck being a tacky bottle blonde for the rest of my life. No biggie. I mean I’m a princess, so now I can be royal and tacky, which I like.”
Emma felt as if she’d fallen into an alternate universe. “I’m sorry. I don’t understand.”
Cleo grinned. “I know. I’m rambling. Plus, do you really care about my hair? So here’s the thing. You’re in Bahania, and Reyhan really is a prince. There are four of them altogether. Murat is the oldest and heir to the throne. Then Sadik, my husband. He’s in charge of finance. Reyhan is next. He runs the whole oil thing, and let me tell you, do they have a bunch of that floating around under the sand. Then Jefri, who is putting together a joint air force with El Bahar.
There’s also Zara, who was my foster sister and didn’t know she was a princess until about a year ago, and Sabrina, the king’s daughter. She lives in the desert, but that’s a whole other story.”
“Oh.” Emma wasn’t sure what to say. Her level of confusion had just gone off the scale. “That’s a lot of people.” She swallowed. “And you’re Princess Cleo?”
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