The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(20) by Susan Mallery
She didn’t have an answer to that, although she was more than willing to try the kissing again. Not that Reyhan seemed to be offering.
“So all this time after the fact, we make peace with the past,” she said. “And in a few days the king will authorize a divorce.”
Ouch. His agreement stung a little. Foolish, she told herself. She couldn’t possibly have any interest in him. Better to get this all behind her and start over. She would find someone else—someone more like her—and settle down. Have kids. That was her destiny—not a handsome prince from a foreign land.
She stood, and he rose, as well.
There was so much so say, and yet nothing. What could have been would stay a mystery.
“I was wondering about palace tours,” she said.
He frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I’m unlikely to get back to Bahania anytime soon. I would like to take advantage of my remaining time here to see something of the palace and the city.”
“You may go anywhere you like in the palace.”
She laughed. “Gee, thanks, but wandering around lost isn’t my idea of a good time. I’m interested in hearing about the palace itself. Maybe some of the history. Is there a regular tour offered? I could join that.”
“I will take you anywhere you would like to go.”
“That’s really nice of you, but unnecessary. I know you’re busy.”
Not that she would mind spending time with Reyhan. Being around him made her insides flutter—a new and thrilling experience. But he had responsibilities that didn’t include her.
“Until the divorce, you are my wife. I will show you the palace and the city. We will begin today after lunch.”
“That sounds like more of an order than a request.”
He smiled. “You were the one to mention the tour. I am accommodating you.”
Hmm, if he said so. Emma figured there was no point in arguing. Not only would Reyhan likely win, but having the argument would prove her to be a complete idiot. She wanted to spend time with him, which he was offering. A smart woman would smile and say yes.
“I look forward to it,” she said brightly. “What time?”
“Two o’clock. Is that convenient?”
She laughed. “It’s not like I have a full social calendar. I’ll be ready.”
He reached out and took her hand, then drew it toward his mouth. At the last second, he turned her fingers and pressed his lips against the inside of her wrist.
The hot, damp contact sent shivers zipping up her arm. Tension invaded her body and she would swear her knees were within seconds of buckling.
“Until two,” he said, and released her.
Emma left quickly while she could because the alternative seemed to be throwing herself at him and begging him to never let her go. A feeling she couldn’t deny, nor could she explain.
Reyhan showed up promptly at two. While he still looked hunky and appealing in the suit he’d been wearing earlier, Emma had agonized over her clothing choices.
She’d wanted to look sexy and glamorous and enticing. All a challenge based on the contents of her suitcase. Not that her closet back home would have been that much help. She spent her workdays in scrub pants and brightly colored shirts and her evening attire pretty much consisted of khaki pants or long skirts and casual tops. Not exactly the fashion-forward clothing she would need to catch the eye of a prince.
A prince very interested in divorcing her, she reminded herself as she smoothed the front of her skirt and smiled brightly. Reyhan had made it more than clear he was intent on getting her out of his life. Not exactly the actions of a man prepared to be overwhelmed by her modest charms.
“What interests you most?” he asked as she stepped into the hallway and shut the door of her suite behind her. “There is an impressive display of centuries-old jewelry in a few of the public rooms.”
“I’m sure it’s lovely,” she told him, “but I’m more of an antique furniture and tapestry kind of girl.”
Reyhan raised one dark eyebrow, but didn’t comment on her statement. Maybe he didn’t believe her, which wasn’t her problem. Sure, she liked sparkling things as much as the next woman, but they weren’t her world.
“Very well,” he said. “We’ll begin in the older section of the palace. The original structure was built in the late 900s. Since then, the pink palace has been updated and enlarged several times. Once, during the reign of Elizabeth the
first, the daughter of a wealthy merchant was captured and held for ransom by the bastard son of the king. After a time, instead of returning her, he fell in love with her. They married and lived happily together. For their tenth anniversary, he presented her with a chapel—a miniature representation of a cathedral she’d seen once in France. We’ll begin there.”
Emma walked next to him, trying not to get caught up in the heat his body generated. “Were many women captured and held against their will?”
Reyhan smiled. “It is a time-honored tradition for sheiks to take that which they admire.”
How comforting. “So there’s a harem here in the palace, too?”
She wasn’t sure if she wanted to see it or not. Imagine a place where women were held simply to offer pleasure to one man. Of course there would be a lot of free time. She could catch up on her reading.
She glanced at her estranged husband and wondered what it would be like to be captured by him. Would he be kind? Demanding? She shivered at the thought of either. The wanting that was always just below the surface when he was around, burst into life. Her body ached to be close to his. She wanted him to pull her against him, kiss her, caress her. Instead she had to be content with the occasional brush of his arm against hers.
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