The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(40) by Susan Mallery
“Good evening,” he said when he saw her. “Are your parents settled?”
Not the words of a man overwhelmed by passion and desire, she thought sadly as she fought her own visceral reactions to being in the same room as the man who had taught her what all the fuss was about.
“Yes. They love their rooms.” A slight exaggeration, but he was unlikely to press her. “How are you?”
He walked past her into the bedroom. She trailed after him, wishing he’d said a little more. “I’m having dinner with my parents tonight,” she said. “You’re welcome to come, but you don’t have to. I know they probably make you uncomfortable.”
Reyhan shrugged out of his suit jacket. “I would think the situation would be the reverse.”
That he made them nervous? Probably. “Would you care to join us?” she asked. “Do you have to because of what the king said?” Days and nights together. She still wasn’t sure what that meant.
He loosened his tie. “My father’s statement was meant to keep me from taking an extended business trip. We are not required to spend every waking second in each other’s company.”
Too bad. She twisted her hands together. “I didn’t know what to do about staying here. Should I? Do you want me to move to one of the guest rooms?”
Reyhan pulled his tie free of his shirt collar. “No. Stay here. I’ll sleep in the second bedroom.”
Supreme happiness crashed in and burned in a tenth of a second. “There’s another bedroom?” she asked, because the alternative was to ask why he didn’t want them to sleep together.
“I have a small office at the other end of the suite. I’ll have a bed brought in. We’ll have to share the living quarters and the bathroom, but I’ll make every effort not to get in your way.”
“But I…But we…” She swallowed and took a step toward him. “Reyhan, what’s going on? Why are you acting like this?”
He pulled his shirttail out of his trousers. Her gaze dropped to his belt and she had the sudden fantasy that he was going to get naked in front of her.
Wouldn’t that be a treat?
His expression turned weary. “It is only two months,” he said. “Surely you can endure my company that long.”
“Enduring your company isn’t the problem. Last night…” She cleared her throat.
“Reyhan, we made love.”
He turned away and crossed to the French doors. “It will not happen again.”
Stark words that clawed at her heart. “Because you don’t want me?”
Because it wasn’t good? Hadn’t she pleased him? Last night she’d been so sure, but now…
Her throat tightened, as did her chest. Her legs felt heavy and thick, as if they belonged to someone else.
He bowed his head briefly. “Two months, Emma. That is all. At the end of that time, you can return to Texas where you belong.”
And he would stay here, marry another woman and have children with her.
“But I thought…”
He turned to her. She’d never seen such coldness in a man’s eyes before. Such rejection. “You thought wrong.”
“I swear, there should be a law allowing wives of princes to lock their husbands in chains once a month. Just to keep them in line,” Princess Sabrina said, grinning.
“Would you want to beat him, too?” Cleo asked as she reached for a slice of cantaloupe.
“Only when he really makes me crazy. Probably every third month.”
“Works for me,” Princess Zara said cheerfully. “Not that I’d ever want to hurt Rafe, but threatening him from time to time would make me really happy.”
The three women laughed with delight. Emma smiled, knowing however big they talked, none of them was anything but completely in love with their husbands.
She’d sensed it from the first moment they’d met.
Cleo had arrived that morning to invite her to lunch. “Without your folks,”
she’d insisted. “Not that they’re not great, but you need a break.”
Sabrina and Zara, both daughters of the king, although by different mothers, had been charming as they’d welcomed Emma.
“So you’re the mystery woman Reyhan married,” Sabrina said as she passed around a plate of tea sandwiches. She was seven or eight months pregnant and a beauty with dark eyes and dark brown hair highlighted with red.
Zara, equally pretty but in a more quiet way, looked like her sister. She was pregnant, as well, but not so far along.
“I don’t consider myself a mystery,” Emma said, which was true. Compared with being a princess, her life was pretty boring.
“Reyhan never said a word,” Sabrina told her. “Not that any of my brothers are the chatty type. But a wife. That’s a big secret to keep.” She tilted her head and smile. “Then you appear out of the blue. Are you completely freaked?”
“I would be, too,” Zara told her. “Sabrina grew up with all this, so she’s used to it, but for the rest of us it’s been a challenge.”
Cleo laughed. “It’s true. Zara resisted being a princess for the longest time.”
“So did you,” Zara reminded her.
“For different reasons. You were one by birth. Sadik wanted me to be one by marriage.”
Emma was confused. “Didn’t you want to marry him? You’re so in love.”
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