The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(25) by Susan Mallery
She wanted to ask what made her deserving of beautiful things and if he meant it when he looked at her with fire in his eyes. Did he feel the sparks between them? Did the heat draw him? Had he relived their kisses, as she had, longing for more, for every intimacy?
Rather than risk a potentially embarrassing line of conversation, she went for something safer.
“Did you attend school locally?” she asked.
“No. Just the tutor, then to a British prep school, then an American university.”
He placed his hand on the small of her back and urged her down another crowded aisle. Several people bowed and smiled when they saw him. From what she could tell, Reyhan was very popular with his people. Probably a good thing when one was a prince.
“My father thought it was important for his sons to have a diverse education and contact with the West. Much of our business is conducted with American and European interests. Familiarity with mindsets and customs helps the process.”
She thought of her own small life. Aside from now, and except for their brief honeymoon in the Caribbean, she’d never been out of the state.
“I would imagine both Britain and America were different for you,” she said.
“I knew some of your ways from watching movies. I’d been raised speaking English as well as Bahanian, so I was comfortable with the language. But there were still lessons to be learned.”
She stopped and touched his arm. “Like what?”
He glanced at her. “When I first arrived at my university, I told a few people who I was. Word quickly spread and my time there became…difficult.”
“Everyone wanting to rub shoulders with a real, live prince?” she asked sympathetically.
“Something like that. Some young women were enthusiastic in their effort to get to know me.”
She could imagine. “You would have been something of a catch.”
One corner of his mouth curved up. “So I was told. When I went to Texas, I decided not to tell anyone who I was. A few recognized me from various articles in magazines and reports on television, but for the most part I was able to simply be myself.”
“I had no clue,” she said, more than a little embarrassed by the fact. “I guess I should have paid more attention to current events.”
He started walking again and drew her along with him. “Not at all. Your interest in me was about who I was as a person, not who I was as a prince.”
“The whole royalty thing would have overwhelmed me,” she admitted. “Actually, I would have run in the opposite direction.”
“And I would have chased after you.”
She glanced at him, wondering if he was teasing or telling the truth. Would Reyhan have pursued her? She wanted to believe he had been that interested, but was it really possible? She’d just been a very shy, inexperienced eighteen-year-old. Hardly the sort of woman to catch the interest of a sophisticated man of the world.
He took her hand in his and squeezed lightly. “You wanted to be a nurse. I know you graduated with honors, but I’m not that familiar with your work. Tell me what you do.”
It was difficult to concentrate with his fingers rubbing against hers. When his thumb brushed against her palm, she nearly moaned. Wanting burned low in her belly, making her ache and need.
So many physical reactions, she thought. Why was her body coming alive now? With him?
Better not to ask, she told herself and focused on Reyhan’s question.
“I’m a delivery room nurse,” she said.
His expression tightened with surprise. “You assist with births?”
“Pretty much.” She smiled. “It’s so wonderful to spend my day helping babies being born. It’s a time of joy and happiness for everyone involved.”
“I suppose that is more fitting than you dealing with men.”
“That’s not why I chose my specialty. I went into it because I love children and babies and I thought it would be very gratifying. I was right.”
“My sister-in-law recently had a baby. My sisters Zara and Sabrina are also pregnant.”
“I’d heard. Cleo told me.”
As she spoke, she raised her face toward his. Sunlight turned strands of her hair to the color of copper. Humor brightened her eyes and made her skin glow as if lit from within.
Beautiful, Reyhan thought desperately. She had always been beautiful.
Not that her being ugly would have helped, for if he closed his eyes when he was with her, he still wanted her. The sound of her voice was as musical as the rush of the tide. The scent of her body teased and enticed him. Her gentle spirit called to him, as did her intelligence and humor. Blind, deaf and mute, he would have burned for the lightest brush of her touch.
His need for her grew every second he was in her presence. Soon it would be as uncontrollable as a wild animal, and like that animal, he was in danger of devouring her. He had to get away from her but not just yet. One more day, he told himself. Then he would retreat to nurse his wounds and wait out her remaining time in his company.
“What will you do when you return to Dallas?” he asked.
“What do you mean? I’ll go back to work.”
Amusement tempered his growing desire. “Because you have bills to pay?”
She laughed. “Yes. All the usual things like rent and utilities, plus my student loans.”
She was still so innocent.
“I am Prince Reyhan of Bahania.”
She blinked at him. “Actually, I know that.”
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