The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(11) by Susan Mallery
Stone paths meandered through what looked like a formal English garden. A fountain gurgled, while birds sang from nearby trees.
Hardly what she’d expected for a desert nation, she thought, then remembered the desalinization plant Alex had pointed out on their drive from the airport.
Bahania created much of the fresh water her people used. Interesting, but hardly what was on her mind.
She turned her attention from the garden to her left hand. Reyhan had placed a simple gold band there after the ceremony. He’d kissed her and promised to replace it with any ring she would like. At the time she’d thought he’d been caught up in the romance of the moment, making promises he could never keep. Now she knew he’d been telling the truth.
But why hadn’t he told her the rest of it? About him being the prince and that he’d always planned to return there? And why hadn’t her parents been able to find out that she was really married? Who had told them the ceremony had been a sham and why hadn’t they questioned the information?
Would it have made a difference? After the fact, she could say yes. But at the time? She’d been hurt and afraid and not that interested in being Reyhan’s wife.
Their few days together as husband and wife had been spent in bed. He had wanted her with a passion that had terrified and confused her. While she hadn’t minded him touching her, she hadn’t much liked it, either. He’d been too intense, too hungry, too everything.
Now the thought of those dark eyes gazing at her with unmistakable desire made her breathing quicken. Which so did not make sense. She had no reason to be attracted to Reyhan. She barely knew him. She wasn’t even sure she liked him. So why was she anticipating the next time she saw him?
Reyhan walked from the residential wing of the palace toward the business wing, moving quickly but with his thoughts still outpacing his steps.
There wasn’t a part of him that was not on fire with desire for Emma. He needed her as he needed the wide spaces of the desert. She was as much a part of him, and yet as out of reach as the stars.
If only he’d been able to keep her from coming to Bahania. But his father had insisted on meeting the woman Reyhan had married and then left behind. Royal pronouncements could only be avoided for so long, and in the end he had run out of excuses. So Emma was here—haunting him. He wanted her with a grim desperation that threatened his world, and he could not have her. Not before and not now.
She was, he acknowledged, the one woman on earth who could bring him to his knees. Him—a prince. A man of power and action. If she knew how he really felt…
He reminded himself she did not know, nor would she be affected if she did.
She’d made her feelings clear six years ago and there was no reason to think they would have changed.
Only twelve more days, he told himself. He could survive that, especially if he avoided her.
He reached the business wing and asked his assistant to come into his office.
When the young man was seated, Reyhan pulled out his schedule. He was about to find himself very, very busy.
Emma restlessly wandered around the suite. She might be an honored guest of the king, but she wasn’t sure what that meant in terms of what she could and could not do. Were there self-guided tours of the palace? The maid had disappeared and she didn’t know who else to ask. The last thing she wanted was to wander into some forbidden room and find herself at the wrong end of a pointy sword.
She stared at the phone and wondered what would happen if she picked it up. Did the palace have an operator? In movies, the White House always did, and the palace was at least twice as big. Wasn’t an operator required?
A knock on the suite’s main door saved her from finding out. For a split second, her heart fluttered in anticipation. Reyhan? Had his meeting ended early and had he decided to return to speak with her? Had…
She pulled open the door and tried not to look disappointed when she saw Cleo standing there. The petite blonde had a baby in her arms.
“Remember me?” Cleo asked. “We met last night.”
“Of course,” Emma said with a smile. “You came to rescue me.”
Cleo grinned. “Someone had to. These princes,” she said, shaking her head. “They have no idea how intimidating they can be, and between you and me, we can’t ever let them know.”
She walked into the suite and held out her daughter. “This is Calah. I’m going to say ‘Isn’t she beautiful?’ and I really need you to agree with me. I know, I know. Every mother thinks her baby is beautiful. I hate being a cliché, but there it is.”
Emma glanced at the sleeping baby. “She is beautiful. You and your husband are going to have to beat boys off with a stick.”
“I suspect Sadik will just glare menacingly and that will be enough.” Cleo plopped down on the sofa and held out the baby. “Are you a cuddler or do infants make you uneasy?”
Emma sat next to her and took Calah in her arms. “I love holding babies. I’m a delivery room nurse so I’m around newborns all the time. It’s a great specialty and I love it, but every now and then I get the urge to move to pediatrics.”
Cleo’s eyebrows arched. “Ah, so you love children. Does Reyhan know?”
“I don’t think so.” The information would hardly matter. He might want heirs but not with her.
“Interesting. So tell me everything about your life.”
Emma gently rocked the baby and breathed in the sweet scent of her. “There’s not much to tell. I’m a nurse, I live in Dallas and now I’m here. But what about you? How did you come to be here, and married to a prince?”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online