The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(8) by Susan Mallery
Reyhan knew it was not. His father’s request was more than reasonable, and yet he would have given much to keep Emma away.
He nodded once and walked to the door. “Excuse me, Father. My presence is required at a meeting.”
The king nodded, and Reyhan left.
As Reyhan walked toward the business wing of the palace, he wondered how he would endure the next fourteen days. There was much to occupy his time—negotiations for oil purchases, dealing with a small band of renegades, reviewing a list of potential brides. Yet he knew none of that would fill his mind. Instead he would think of a woman—the woman he had married. Emma. Their time apart had done nothing to diminish his need for her. Six years ago she had been his greatest weakness, and so she remained.
He paused at the door to his office. No one would ever be permitted to know, he promised himself. Wanting her, needing her, had nearly destroyed him once before. That would not happen again. In two weeks the king would grant their divorce, she would be gone and he, Reyhan, would be allowed to remain strong.
That he would live the rest of his life without her was of little consequence.
He had survived this long. He would survive the rest of his days. Survive—not live. He reminded himself that most of the time, enduring was more than enough.
Emma awoke to the not-so-surprising realization that, despite the doctor’s promise, little about her situation had changed or improved during the night.
Not that she’d expected either, although it would have been nice.
She sat up in the huge bed and pulled her knees to her chest. She remembered the doctor insisting she take something to help her sleep, then she’d changed into her nightgown and nearly collapsed into bed. Then nothing.
The good news was she felt more rested. The bad news…well, where exactly was she going to start? There was so much to consider. That she might really be married to Reyhan and might have been married all this time. That she was in Bahania and he was the son of the king.
She shook her head. Way too many difficult thoughts for first thing in the morning. She should take a few minutes and get her bearings, then deal with the weirdness that was her life.
Emma rose. Her toes curled in the plush carpet that was thick enough to serve as a mattress in a pinch.
The bedroom had been decorated in pale yellows and blues. Ornate, carved dark wood furniture made up the elaborate headboard, footboard and matching nightstands. An armoire stood across the room. When she crossed to it she found a large television inside, along with a DVD player and a wide assortment of movies. There was also a detailed listing of the various channels available via satellite.
“Amazing,” she murmured as she touched the carved birds and flowers on the door.
The bedroom itself was about the size of the average three-bedroom house back home in Dallas. She remembered the living room had been equally huge. With two parts anticipation and one part trepidation, she walked into the bathroom.
Huge didn’t begin to describe it. Her entire apartment could have fit inside, with room to spare. The long marble vanity was about twice the length of her main kitchen counter. The tub had whirlpool jets and could have served as a playground for an entire water park full of seals. There was a glass-enclosed shower, towels as big as bedsheets and every toiletry known to womankind.
Emma turned in a slow circle and tried to imagine what it would be like to live somewhere like this permanently. Was it possible to get used to this level of luxury, and would the palace continue to be a delight?
Twenty minutes later she’d showered and washed her face. After dressing, applying mascara and some lip gloss, she returned to the bedroom and put away the rest of her clothes. With that done, there was little to do but explore the rest of the suite and try to figure out what she was going to say when she next saw Reyhan.
In the light of day she knew that there was more to their relationship than her parents had told her six years ago when she’d returned home brokenhearted. But what exactly?
She left the bedroom and walked into the living room of the suite. The shutters were open and pulled back. The view was so amazing—blue ocean, bright sky, the tops of several trees—that she hadn’t noticed Reyhan. But when she turned, she saw him seated at the dining room table in the corner. He studied the newspaper in front of him and hadn’t seen her, either.
Her first thought was to bolt for the safety of her bedroom, but before she could get her feet to move, she found herself mesmerized by the man himself.
He was so handsome, she thought, remembering how his dark good looks had stunned her the first time they’d met. His hair was cropped short, in a stylish cut.
Strong cheekbones emphasized the leanness of his features. His eyebrows were pulled together, giving him a stern expression. He looked intense and dangerous, something she remembered from their past together. Being around him had always left her tongue-tied and feeling more than a little foolish. That sensation returned big-time.
She winced as she recalled accusing him of marrying her to get a green card. He was a member of the Bahanian royal family. No doubt he could come or go at will just about anywhere in the world. As for wanting her in his bed…she had her doubts. The experience had been a disaster and after those first couple of nights, Reyhan had never come looking for her again.
“How long are you going to stand there?” he asked without looking up from his paper. “I have ordered you breakfast, Emma. You didn’t eat before or after you arrived at the palace. I don’t want you making yourself ill.”
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