The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(10) by Susan Mallery
“Why did you marry me?” she asked him, knowing it hadn’t been for any of the usual reasons. At the time she’d thought Reyhan had loved her, but his behavior proved otherwise.
He chewed and swallowed. “You were a virgin,” he said calmly. “I would not have defiled you.”
Ten simple words that made her drop her fork, push back her chair and spring to her feet.
“What?” she demanded. “You married me to sleep with me? The whole thing was about sex?”
If love was out of the question, shouldn’t he have at least liked her? Shouldn’t he have pretended to care?
“Sit down, Emma. You’re overreacting.”
She took her seat before she remembered she wasn’t going to let anyone run her life ever again. Once seated, it seemed silly to stand up and make a fuss. She settled on glaring at him.
Reyhan looked at her. “Why are you so outraged? Do you think there are any men who marry without the thought of their wives being a sexual partner?”
“Most men think about more than just doing it.”
That made him get stiff and stern. His gaze narrowed. “I am Prince Reyhan of Bahania. When I married you, I not only gave you my name and protection, but honored you by making you a princess of my country. Had you been willing to continue our relationship, I would have brought you here where you would have lived in this palace. Neither you nor our children would have wanted for anything. I would have been faithful to you until I breathed my last breath. Who and what you are would have been passed along to our children, and through that, you would have joined in the history of my people. I believe that would be
defined as more than just doing it.”
“But you never told me any of this,” she reminded him, feeling more than a little embarrassed. “Nor did you ask me if this is what I wanted with my life.
What about my plans? My dreams? Marrying you could have changed my world forever.”
“Is that such a bad thing?”
She thought of her small apartment and her quiet life. She remembered her conversation with Cleo the previous night and what she’d said about the palace and the princes.
“You didn’t give me a choice,” she said. “Not about staying or going. You married me without telling me the truth, then you disappeared without a word.”
Reyhan leaned back in his chair. “Our recollection of the events that happened are very different, but that is of no consequence. What matters is our present circumstances. We are married—something neither of us wishes to continue. The king’s permission is required for a prince to divorce, and he has insisted you spend two weeks here until he will grant the decree.”
Countless years of having her life run by her parents had made Emma hypersensitive to being told what to do. Her first instinct was to tell Reyhan that maybe she didn’t want a divorce, thank you very much. Maybe she wanted to stay married.
She stopped herself before she could blurt out the irrational statement. She didn’t know the man. She didn’t want anything to do with him. Of course she wanted to go get a divorce and go back to her life.
“You didn’t need his permission to get married, but you need it for a divorce,”
she said. “That doesn’t make sense.”
“I did need his permission to marry. I defied him.”
Simple words, she thought, but stunning. He’d defied the king? To marry her? Which brought her back to her original question—why?
For sex? He was a handsome, wealthy, royal guy. Couldn’t he get any woman he wanted? So why her?
She had a feeling that the earth would stop turning before she found out the answer to that one, so she chose another topic of conversation.
“So after the divorce you’ll marry someone else.” A thought occurred to her.
“Have you already chosen your new bride?” Cleo had said he wasn’t engaged, but was he already in love?
Reyhan shook his head. “My marriage will be arranged.”
Emma blinked at him. “You mean she’ll be picked by someone else? What if you don’t like her?”
He shrugged. “That is of little consequence.”
It felt like a really big consequence to her.
“But she could make you crazy.”
“Then we will have little contact. My duty is to produce heirs for the kingdom.
I will not turn my back on my responsibility.”
He had a duty? But where had all that duty been when he’d married her? And why would he agree to a wife he might not even like?
“Do you get to spend time with the potential brides in advance? Like The Bachelor for royalty?”
He rose, cutting her off. “I have a meeting,” he said politely. “Please think of your time here in Bahania as a vacation. In two weeks you can return to Texas as if nothing ever happened. In the meantime, if you need anything, please ask one of the servants. You are an honored guest of the king.”
With that he nodded and left.
Emma stared after him. She might be going home, but she doubted she would ever forget what had happened here. In a matter of hours, her world had turned upside down.
She rose and crossed to the French doors that led to a beautiful balcony. When she stepped outside, she saw the balcony stretched the length of the palace, perhaps even circling around it. A nice place to take a walk, she thought as she moved to the carved railing and leaned down to inspect the wonderful gardens below.
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