The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(46) by Susan Mallery
He placed her in front of it and stood behind her with his hands on her shoulders.
“The jewels complete you,” he said.
She looked at the elegant stones glittering at her ears and around her neck.
They were lovely, but they didn’t complete her. Only he could do that.
She wanted to know what he’d thought about the possibility of her being pregnant. Had he even considered it? Had he worried? Wondered? Had he hoped?
She had. Now that she knew for sure she wasn’t pregnant she could admit that there had been times she’d thought it would be a good thing. That having a child together would be what they needed to connect. The truth or a schoolgirl fantasy? Now she would never know.
“Are you ready?” he asked, holding out his arm.
She nodded and slipped her hand into the crook of his elbow. They walked out of the suite together.
Emma had seen the formal ballroom on her tour with Reyhan but standing in the large empty space hadn’t prepared her for the reality of seeing it filled with elegantly dressed people, sparkling lights and a full orchestra.
There were about five hundred guests, including several prime ministers and heads of state. A film crew working on an action movie in the desert had been invited, along with a former American president and a Nobel Prize winner.
Reyhan introduced Emma to many of the guests. She smiled, said little and reached for a second glass of champagne from a waiter circulating with a tray.
“Are you doing all right?” Reyhan asked quietly.
“Considering this is my first official function as a princess, I’m doing great.
We’ll ignore the butterflies in my stomach, my knocking knees and the nearly overwhelming urge to bolt for the gardens. I have to admit I’d feel a lot more comfortable with the king’s cats.”
Reyhan smiled. “You’re charming and well-spoken. Everyone is impressed.”
His compliment made her beam. Just then her parents walked up. They were actually smiling. Could this evening produce any more surprises?
“Kitten, you look beautiful,” her father said. “Nearly as lovely as your mother.” He kissed his wife’s cheek.
Emma’s mother dimpled. “Oh, George, you’re just saying that.” She leaned close to her daughter. “Isn’t this party wonderful? We met that action star your father likes so much. Johnny Blaze. He was very pleasant, although his girlfriend looks thin enough to need Third World aid. And did you see the former president? He was very nice, too. Oh, and the king told us he’s sending us on a cruise on his private yacht. We’re going to explore the Mediterranean for a couple of weeks.”
Emma nearly dropped her champagne glass. “You’re going?”
“Of course. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He said the boat’s captain knows all the best places to take us.”
Her father winked. “It will be like a second honeymoon.”
Janice Kennedy actually giggled, then waved at Emma and Reyhan. “You two kids enjoy yourself. We have more famous people to meet.”
Emma watched them walk off. “That was pretty amazing. I owe the king big-time.
Not that I don’t love my folks. I do. But they can be—”
She smiled. “Absolutely. And a little judgmental. I hope they enjoy their cruise.”
“I’m sure they will.”
And she and Reyhan would be able to spend time together without her parents hanging around. The only trick would be getting him out of his office and paying attention to her. For that she would need a plan—and she would come up with one, just as soon as the champagne-induced fuzziness wore off.
The orchestra struck up another song, one that made her want to be in Reyhan’s arms. She looked around and saw several of the guests dancing. They swayed to the music and laughed.
“You are more easy to read that usual,” Reyhan said, taking her glass from her and setting it on a table in the corner. “Come. I will dance with you.”
She was so pleased, she didn’t bother to worry that he was doing her a favor.
Not when he pulled her into his arms and held her close. If only the song could last forever, she thought happily.
Reyhan rubbed his hands against Emma’s back and wished they were alone. Rather than dancing to music he wished to move with her in other ways. Perhaps it was the night, or how she looked or the invitation he saw in her eyes, but for some reason his resistance to her charms was weaker than ever.
He wanted her. More frightening than the desire was the truth that he wanted her in and out of his bed. He wanted to be with her, talk with her. He wanted to learn her secrets, discuss the future, name children and grow old with her. He wanted her to be his wife in every sense of the word.
He had the answer to his question about the baby. There wasn’t one and he couldn’t risk creating one with her. Yes, there was protection and it could be used, but that wasn’t the point. He had escaped the possibility and he would be a fool to risk a pregnancy.
But he had always been a fool where Emma was concerned. From the first moment he’d met her that night on campus. She had smiled at him and he had been lost.
She swayed with him, sighing softly and snuggling close. She belonged, he thought. Whether laughing with his people in the desert or conversing with heads of state. She fit in. She made people feel at ease and never expected to be the center of attention. She was smart, kind and a woman of honor.
The fire always lurking below the surface flared to life and began to consume him. The need grew until he had no choice but to give in. He took her hand in his and pulled her toward a small alcove behind on of the decorated pillars.
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