The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(18) by Susan Mallery
Her father was silent for a long time. “He came by a few times.”
She clutched the phone tighter. Reyhan had told the truth about everything. “You told him I didn’t want to see him. You decided for me.”
“Kitten, you were in no shape to deal with him. Have you forgotten what you went through?”
No. She would never forget. The pain would be with her always.
“Mom, did you write the letter telling him I never wanted to see him again?”
“I…Oh, Emma. It was for the best.”
She closed her eyes and wondered how her life would have been different if she’d known. She’d loved Reyhan as much as her childish heart had allowed, and she would have gone with him in a second. Had her parents realized that? Had they not wanted to see their only child living half a world away in a foreign land?
If she had only known…
“What about the money?” she asked, more resigned than angry. “Why didn’t you tell me about that?”
“We thought it was best for you not to worry about that,” her mother said primly.
Not to worry? “I have student loans and a ten-year-old car,” she said. “You had no right to keep that information to yourself. Spending it or giving it back was my decision to make.”
“You were so young, kitten,” her father said. “Too young.”
For all of this, she thought.
“Reyhan said he sent a letter telling me not to let pride get in the way of the money. After that, some has been withdrawn regularly. What did you do with it?”
“We didn’t spend it,” her mother said, sounding outraged. “We simply moved it into a money-market account. It’s all there, darling. I’ll show you the bank statements when you get home.”
She felt drained and weary. It had been an evening of too many emotions.
“Were you ever going to tell me the truth?” she asked.
“Of course,” her mother said.
“We love you,” her father added.
“When? Oh, let me guess. When you thought I was old enough.”
She was twenty-four and living on her own. She had a job, an apartment and something closely resembling a life. What rite of passage had her parents been waiting for?
She was sure in their hearts they had planned to tell her what had happened, but they would have put it off as long as possible. Partly because they wouldn’t want to make her angry and partly because they wouldn’t want her returning to Reyhan. She was beginning to suspect they would have done anything to keep her close. Even lie about her marriage.
“Why did you tell me the marriage wasn’t real?” she asked.
“We weren’t sure,” her mother said. “That lawyer we hired couldn’t verify it one way or the other. Best to be safe.”
“By telling me I wasn’t married when I was? What if I’d fallen in love and had gotten married again? I would have been a bigamist.”
“If you’d gotten serious about someone, we would have said something,” her father told her. “Emma, you have to understand our position in all this. We only want what’s best for you.”
Words she’d heard her entire life. For a long time she’d believed them, but now she wasn’t so sure. Did they want what was best for her or for themselves?
“I need to go,” she said. “I’ll call when I get home.”
“Emma, no!” Her mother sounded frantic. “You can’t stay there. It’s so far away.”
“I’ll be back in two weeks. Don’t worry. Everything is fine.”
She cut them off with a quick “I love you” then hung up.
Alone, confused and weary to her bones, she curled up in a corner of her sofa and wondered when exactly her life had become so messy and what she was going to do to get things in order.
The next morning Emma awoke with a brain full of questions and an achy feeling low in her belly. She knew the latter came from a night of erotic dreams with her and Reyhan as the stars. In her sleep he’d taken her over and over again and she’d been a willing participant. She’d pleaded and wanted and touched and surrendered happily.
Uneasy and more than a little apprehensive, Emma decided to ignore whatever not-so-subconscious message might be lurking in her dreams. Right now she had bigger problems—namely, what she’d said to Reyhan and how he’d told the truth about everything.
After showering in her Montana-size bathroom and dressing, she skipped breakfast. She owed Reyhan an apology and the nerves clog dancing in her stomach were unlikely to go away until she’d delivered it.
After getting directions to his office from the young woman cleaning the suite,
Emma stepped out into the main corridor and walked toward what she hoped was the business wing of the palace. Ten minutes and three more sets of directions later, she walked into what looked like a very busy, very upscale office facility. She crossed to the middle-aged man sitting at a reception desk.
“I would like to speak with Prince Reyhan,” she said.
The man’s neutral expression didn’t change but she thought she caught him eyeing her inexpensive dress and dismissing her.
“Do you have an appointment?” he asked.
She shook her head.
He reached for the large phone console on his desk. “I will call his assistant and check his schedule. May I ask who you are?”
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