The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(36) by Susan Mallery
Forty minutes later she made her way through the hallways of the palace. She found Reyhan’s office with only a single wrong turn and practically beamed at the man in the foyer.
“Princess Emma,” he said, leaping to his feet. “I’ll tell your husband you’re here.”
Emma continued to smile at no one in particular and practically floated into Reyhan’s office. He hung up the phone as she entered.
“Is there a problem?” he asked, sounding both distant and stern.
“No. Of course not.” She paused expectantly and waited.
He stared at her. A grandfather clock in the corner ticked. The silence grew.
She felt some of her happiness bleed away, and with the sensation came the chilling thought that he had regrets about what had happened.
After a few seconds, he rose and circled around his desk. “I’m very busy, Emma.
Is there something you need?”
He spoke almost coldly, as if she were an assistant who had lingered too long.
Trepidation clutched at her chest and she took a step back.
“I thought…” She swallowed. “I was just…” Mentioning her fantasy of a lunch break on his desk seemed impossible.
Who was this distant stranger? she wondered frantically. Where was the hotly passionate man from the previous night? What had happened?
He waited, watching her, giving nothing away. She remembered then that he’d tried to leave the bedroom and she’d been the one to stop him. Had she kept him against his will? Had he not wanted to make love with her? Had he done it out of obligation?
Her eyes began to burn but she refused to give in to tears. She was all grown up now, and she’d known what she was doing when she’d invited him into her bed.
She’d wanted to make love with him. If there were consequences, they were her responsibility.
Pride squared her shoulders and raised her chin. She met his dark gaze. Maybe this was the moment to get answers to her questions.
“Why did you ever marry me?” she asked. “And once you decided to return to Bahania, why did you stay married to me? I don’t believe it was because you were afraid to tell your father what you’d done. You fear no man.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Maybe not to you but I want to know what’s going on. You disappeared from my life for years, then you dragged me back here, played the charming host, then disappeared. Last night—”
A knock on the closed door interrupted her.
Reyhan frowned. “What is it?” he called.
His assistant stepped into the room. “I’m sorry, sir. I wouldn’t have disturbed you except you and Princess Emma have been summoned by the king. He wishes to see both of you right away. It seems her parents have arrived at the palace.”
“They can’t be here,” Emma murmured as she and Reyhan walked through the maze of corridors. “They don’t like to fly. They never wanted me to. All our vacations were by car.”
But here they were. As she followed Reyhan into a large reception room, she saw her parents standing with the king in an obviously awkward moment of silence.
When she came to a stop, Reyhan paused beside her. So far, he hadn’t said anything, and she was grateful. This was going to be difficult enough without him taking on her family for withholding significant information from her for years.
In the second before they looked up and saw her, she studied them. Her mother was small and a little bent, her thick hair more gray than red, her father much taller and spare. They looked old, frail and out of place. Funny how all her life they’d seemed so powerful. She’d been afraid to defy them, to question the rules. Her only act of rebellion had been to fall in love with Reyhan and then run off with him, and she’d paid for that several times over. Now she saw they were just people. Older, out of their element and afraid for her. They had acted out of love, however misplaced, taking control because she’d never told them they shouldn’t.
“Emma!” her mother shouted as she saw her. Both her parents rushed over and hugged her fiercely. Reyhan moved away.
“Are you all right?” her father asked. “Have they hurt you?”
“What? I’m fine. Everyone has treated me exceptionally well.” She thought about last night. Well didn’t begin to describe it.
“You shouldn’t have left Dallas,” her mother said as she brushed at Emma’s sleeve. “You know you’re not strong. Situations like this confuse you.”
“I would think finding out you’re a princess would confuse anyone,” Emma said, trying to step back, but they held on tight.
Flanking her, they turned to the king. “We’ve filed an official complaint with the State Department protesting our daughter’s kidnapping,” her father said.
“Dad, no. I wasn’t kidnapped. I’m here as the king’s guest to deal with my marriage to Reyhan. You’re seriously overreacting.”
“Am I?” He looked at her. “You up and disappeared, you lied to us about where you’d gone. For all we know, they’re brainwashing you.”
From the corner of her eye she saw Reyhan take a step forward. Outrage darkened his features. She didn’t want to think about how much her father had just insulted the king.
“I’m not being brainwashed,” she said, then realized it was a foolish argument.
If she was, would she know?
“As your daughter’s husband, it is my duty to care for her,” Reyhan said stiffly. “I assure you, her safety and well-being are my primary concern.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online