The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(28) by Susan Mallery
“If you were the least bit brave, you’d talk to him,” she murmured to herself.
“Put it all out on the table and see what happens.”
A sensible plan.
She crossed to the phone, intent on calling him at his office, but before she could there was a knock on her suite door.
Reyhan? Her heart pounded at the thought. She replaced the phone and hurried to the door.
But instead of her handsome husband, a young maid stood in the hallway. The girl handed her a note, nodded and left. Emma closed the door, then unfolded the piece of paper. As she read, her chest tightened and her spirits sank.
My thanks for a lovely day. Unfortunately, some minor trouble in the oil fields calls me away. By the time you read this I will have left by helicopter. I’m not sure of the date of my return, but I will make sure it is before you leave Bahania for good.
Disappointment swelled inside of her. He was gone and she might not see him again until it was time for her to go back to Dallas. Not exactly the actions of a man overwhelmed by passion. Had she misread him completely?
She hadn’t been very good at understanding Reyhan when they’d first met.
Apparently time and distance hadn’t changed that fact.
“It’s for the best,” she whispered, crushing the note in her hands. “I’ll go home and this will all be forgotten. I’ll get on with my life. Find someone else and get married.”
Although she had no idea who that someone else might be. Reyhan was going to be a tough act to follow.
“For a woman with a brand-new wardrobe, you’re pretty down in the mouth,” Cleo said the next morning.
Emma nuzzled baby Calah’s sweet-smelling head and sighed. “It’s guilt. Reyhan spent too much on me. The clothes are beautiful, but…”
Cleo rolled her eyes. “What? You don’t deserve them? Emma, we’re talking about the royal family. They’ve been rich for about a thousand years. Trust me. Your shopping spree didn’t even count as pocket change.”
Emma wanted to mention that the trip to the boutique hadn’t been her idea, but she thought it might sound like she was making too big a deal of things. Cleo didn’t think anything was out of the ordinary. Reyhan hadn’t minded. He’d wanted her to buy more than she had. The guilt was hers and she should deal with it by herself. Except…
“I didn’t really need them.”
Cleo laughed. “That’s your mother talking. It’s a very parental thing to say.
Isn’t it fun to buy things you don’t need and not have to worry about cost? Think of this as the fulfillment of your every-female shopping fantasy. Besides, I know you made Reyhan happy. From what I can tell, all the princes like to take care of women. It can be occasionally annoying but for the most part it’s pretty nice.”
“So you’re saying I went shopping just to keep him happy?”
“If it helps with the guilt, sure.”
Emma smiled. “I’m going to look pretty silly wearing a beaded gown in the grocery store on Saturday morning.”
“Not if you’re over in the imported foods section. Tell everyone you’re European.”
“That might work.” Emma thought of the beautiful evening gowns sitting in the suite’s large closet. “Are there a lot of formal functions here at the palace?”
“Two or three each month. I’ve only just started attending them, what with being pregnant and all.” She rubbed her baby’s arm. “But now that Calah is here and I’ve had a chance to recover, I have social obligations, not to mention charitable ones.”
“What do you mean?”
Cleo blew her daughter a kiss, then turned back to Emma. “I’m in a unique position to help people. In a way, that’s a bigger dream fulfillment than the shopping. I’ve spoken with Sadik and the king, and I’m getting involved with homeless children. There aren’t very many in Bahania and El Bahar, but it’s a big problem in other countries. I had something of a twisted upbringing for my first few years and I know what it’s like to be alone and scared. Sabrina and Zara, the king’s other daughters, each have their causes. Sabrina’s seriously into finding antiquities and returning them to their rightful countries so people can enjoy their heritage. Zara is a former professor. She’s working on a network of scholarships for girls who want to go to college but can’t afford it.”
“Sounds exciting,” Emma said, hoping she didn’t sound as wistful as she felt.
Cleo was right. The chance to help people by using nearly unlimited resources would be a wonderful way to spend her life.
What would she have done if she and Reyhan had stayed together? She’d always loved children, especially babies. Maybe something with prenatal care. Not that she was going to get the chance to find out.
“How much longer do you have here?” Cleo asked. “I was hoping we could fit in a field trip so you could meet Sabrina and Zara. They live in a very interesting place.”
“Not here in the city?”
When Cleo didn’t seem willing to say anything else, Emma considered her question. “I was told I would be here two weeks, but I don’t have an exact date for my return. I guess that’s up to the king.”
Not that she was all that anxious to head out, she thought. Spending time with Reyhan had been exciting and fun and something she wouldn’t mind doing more. But with him gone…She sighed. Her simple life had sure had gotten confusing.
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