The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(48) by Susan Mallery
Reyhan frowned. “Did he say why he wanted it?”
“He’s not talking. I have a few theories of my own. He could sell it on the black market and make a few bucks.”
“That sounds like too much work for him and his friends.”
“Agreed. He could also sabotage it somehow and then return it to inventory. When the replacement parts were put into service, we could have a pretty impressive disaster.”
Reyhan shook his head. Was that possible? Had the boys decided to act on their threats? “We’re going to have to inspect all parts in inventory and anything put into service in the past few months.”
“I’ve already got men on that. I’m also rounding up the rest of his buddies.
They’ve scattered so it may take a while.”
“Keep on it. I’ll be there in a couple of hours.”
“Good. Maybe Fadl will talk to you. I’m getting nowhere.”
“I’ll see what I can do. As the prince, I can make certain threats to his family he wouldn’t believe from you. I’ll be there shortly.”
“We’ll be waiting.”
Reyhan hung up the phone and considered his options. While he had been willing to keep his bargain with the chiefs up to a point, the rules had now changed. If Fadl was stealing—or worse, sabotaging—then he and his friends had to be stopped. Being young and sons of chiefs would not protect them anymore.
He called his assistant into his office and made arrangements for his meetings to be rescheduled. Once he’d reserved the helicopter and told the pilots where they were going, he walked to his father’s offices. The guards there waved him inside, where he found the king on the phone.
“Reyhan,” his father said cheerfully when he’d hung up. “What brings you to me this fine morning?”
“Will has detained Fadl, Bihjan’s son.” He quickly recounted what his security chief had told him.
King Hassan didn’t look happy. “Have they moved from making threats to acting on them?”
“That’s what I plan to find out. Will is going to invite Fadl’s friends to join him in custody. We’ll send a team in to search their camp. If they’ve already sabotaged replacement parts we should find evidence. Regardless, all the equipment will be inspected.”
“Which means shutting down production for a few days.”
Reyhan had already done the calculations. “We’ll be back online at the end of the week.” He shook his head. “There is also the possibility this was Fadl’s plan all along. To get caught in such a way that we would have to shut down. But I won’t take the risk. All the wells will be inspected.”
“What are the international ramifications?”
“Minimal. We’ll issue a statement saying we’re running scheduled inspections, and production for the next month will be increased to make up the difference.”
The king raised his eyebrows. “But the inspections aren’t scheduled.”
“They are now.”
“Good point. When do you leave?”
“As soon as we’re done here.”
“I’m sure Emma will enjoy the trip.”
Reyhan stared at his father. “You can’t be serious. I am not taking her with me.”
“Of course you are. You already have their leader in custody and will soon have the rest of his men. She won’t be in any danger. If you’re truly concerned about her standing out, have her put on native dress. I’m sure she’ll look especially fetching.”
Reyhan glanced at the sleeping tabby on the sofa in the corner and thought about throwing the creature at his father. But he recognized the stubborn look in the king’s eyes and knew he didn’t have a choice. Take Emma. It was a ridiculous request, and he refused to acknowledge the sudden pleasure he felt.
He left his father and headed for his rooms. At least Fadl’s activities had been more passive than violent. Reyhan wouldn’t have to worry about Emma walking into the middle of a gunfight.
He steeled himself, vowing not to react when he saw her. She sat on the sofa, reading and looked up when he entered.
“I have to go into the desert,” he said. “I’ll be gone a day or two. The king has suggested you accompany me.”
Her green eyes were wide and unreadable. She looked both hurt and broken. As if her spirit had received one too many mortal blows.
That was his doing, he acknowledged shamefully. He’d been the one to reject her over and over. He reached for the phone and pressed three buttons. As he waited for his call to be answered, he wondered if there was some way he could explain so that she would understand and see this wasn’t about her. Not really. His actions were about himself. Then he admitted he doubted that information would be of much comfort to her.
He made his request, hung up and returned his attention to her.
She hadn’t moved, except to close the book. “Are they for me?” she asked, referring to the traditional garments he had ordered.
“Yes. I’ll need you to wear them while we’re at the camp. I don’t expect any trouble, but regardless, they’ll keep you safe.”
“You don’t want me to go with you,” she said flatly.
“What I want isn’t important.”
“It is to me.”
He stood behind a club chair and rested his hands on the back. “This is business. There has been an arrest. I’m confident everything will go smoothly but as I am not completely sure, I would prefer you not be there.”
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