The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(38) by Susan Mallery
“Show the Kennedys to their quarters,” he said, then nodded and left.
Emma’s mother huffed. “Just like that. You have a life. Has he forgotten that? Responsibilities. A job.”
Emma blinked in surprise. Honestly, she’d forgotten all about that. Her world back home. Funny how it had faded from her memory so quickly.
“You’re right. I’ll have to take a leave of absence.”
“They won’t like that,” her father told her. “You’ve not even been working there a year.”
Good point. “I’ll have to explain things,” she said, not sure how she was going to. Would anyone believe her? “If I do get fired, I’ll find another job when I get home.”
“A very cavalier attitude,” her mother said. “You were raised better than that.”
“Mom, I know you’re worried. I appreciate that, and I know you only came here because you care about me. But I’m twenty-four. It’s time to let me live my life my own way. If I make mistakes, then I’ll recover from them.”
Her mother’s mouth dropped open, while her father seemed equally surprised. She took advantage of the silence and smiled at one of the servants.
“Okay,” she said. “Lead the way.” She linked arms with her parents. “You two are going to love this place. The rooms are amazing. And the views, even better than when we went to Galveston my senior year of high school.”
Her mother sighed. “I don’t like any of this, Emma. It’s not you.”
“I know. But from what I can tell, I don’t have a choice. The king has to give his permission for a prince to get a divorce. So I’m stuck here until that happens.”
Two months with Reyhan. What would that time bring? Would she learn to understand the man she’d married so impulsively? Would she be eager to leave when the time was up? Or would she find herself falling in love? And if it was the latter, would he love her back or would he still want to get rid of her so he could marry someone else?
Reyhan didn’t return to his offices. Instead he walked to the garages where he took the keys for a Jeep and drove out of the city. An hour later, surrounded by desert, he stepped out into the warm afternoon and raised his face to the sky.
He wanted to yell his frustration, to rip and tear something. Anything. He wanted to travel north, deep into the inhospitable land and become someone else.
Two months. It was an eternity. How could he survive spending his days and nights with her? How could he be close to her and not reach for her?
Last night had been paradise. A miracle. When he’d left her bed this morning all he’d been able to think about was how much he wanted her. Having her had only increased his need. When she’d walked into his office, he’d held on to his control with every ounce of will he possessed. Just a few minutes longer and he would have snapped.
“I am Prince Reyhan of Bahania,” he yelled to the heavens. “I am a man of power, of substance.”
Yet in the presence of a mere woman he was weak. He would travel any distance, complete any task, risk life, limb anything, just for Emma.
He clutched the side of the Jeep. There had to be a solution somewhere. An
answer, a trick, a way to survive two months around her without going mad. He couldn’t give in and take her into his bed. If he did, he would never let her go. And if she stayed…
He sucked in a breath as he considered the possibility. To have her stay was to love her. To give her his very soul. Then he would be nothing but a shell of a man. A spineless creature—a parasite.
No! That could never happen. Somehow he would conquer this. He would find the strength to turn away from her. To resist her. When the time was up, he would let her go. It was the only way. The alternative was unthinkable.
Emma went with her parents to the guest suite. It was similar to the one she’d had and even the ever sensible and conservative George and Janice Kennedy were impressed.
“You can see the ocean,” her mother said as she stared out the large French doors.
“It’s the Arabian Sea,” Emma told her. “Bahania has some beautiful beaches.
Tourism is an important industry.”
Her father opened the suitcase one of the servants had left on the bed. “I can’t believe they wanted to unpack for us. Like we’re invalids or something.”
“It’s not that they thought you were incapable,” Emma said. “It’s part of the service.”
“I’ve always done my own cooking and cleaning,” her mother reminded her. “I never did understand those women who pay someone else to come in and clean their dirt. It’s not right.” Her mouth pressed together as tears filled her eyes.
“None of this is right.”
Emma took her hand and led her back into the large living room. Her father followed. When the two of them were seated on the sofa, she curled up in the wing chair across the glass-topped coffee table.
“We have to talk about it,” she said.
Her mother pulled a lace-edged hankie out of her sleeve. “There’s nothing to say. That man was trouble before and he’s trouble now.”
“Don’t distress yourself, Janice,” her father said gently. “We’re here now and we’ll make sure our girl is safe.”
“I know. It’s just…This place. It’s so big and fancy.”
“The palace is amazing,” Emma said, trying not to get sucked into a familiar pattern of panic when she upset her parents. Knowing she made her mother cry was enough to give her a stomach ache for three days. But she couldn’t keep giving in. King Hassan had been right when he’d said it was time for her to make some decisions about her life.
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