The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(53) by Susan Mallery
His two companions were in the truck behind them and the young nomad-rebels farther back.
“When will you three head out?” she asked casually, wishing he would untie her wrists. Her shoulders ached and her skin was raw.
“Don’t even think you can bat your eyes at me and get me to spill my plans, Princess. You’re pretty, but I’m not going to fall for it.”
She shrugged as if it didn’t matter, then stared out of the windshield.
Visibility had dropped to a few hundred yards. The road was covered with blowing sand and debris. She squinted as she thought she saw an outcrop of rocks in the distance.
“Here’s the place,” Billy said, stopping the truck. He took the keys and tucked them into his shirt pocket. “I’m going to leave you here, Princess. Tell me you’re not stupid enough to try and escape into this mess.”
“I’ll stay here,” she promised, knowing she would. Running now would be idiotic and suicidal.
Billy disappeared into the storm. Emma waited, trying to be patient, knowing Reyhan was close and wanting to run to him. But she couldn’t be a distraction.
He would have a plan and she didn’t want to get in the way of that.
After what felt like a lifetime, but was probably only ten or fifteen minutes later, Billy opened the truck door.
“Show time,” he said, and pulled out a knife.
He slit the ropes holding her wrists together. When she tried to move her arms, pain shot through her. She forced herself to ignore it and flex her arms until she could move them freely.
She saw Billy’s two companions just behind him. They were equally scary with their close-cropped hair and multiple weapons.
“Climb on down,” Billy said, motioning for her to step out of the truck.
When she stepped onto the ground she realized her escorts were the least of her problems. Sand attacked her like a giant angry beast. She couldn’t see, couldn’t breathe, could barely move. Grateful for the voluminous material covering her body, she pulled up her head covering and tugged the edges so she could protect her nose and mouth. Billy grabbed her arm and led her deeper into the storm.
When they stopped, she looked up and saw Reyhan.
“I’m here,” she called, trying to jerk free of Billy’s hold.
The mercenary didn’t let go. “Transfer the money,” he yelled, then jerked his head toward his buddies. “Check the download.”
The men pulled out small handheld devices. Emma strained to break free, never taking her eyes from Reyhan. He wore protective glasses and a heavy cloak, but she would swear he was staring right at her. She could almost hear his voice, willing her to be strong.
“Here it comes,” Billy’s friend yelled.
“What have you done?”
The fierce question came from somewhere on the left. Billy turned toward the man racing toward them.
“Shut up, kid. Stay out of this.”
“No! You have kidnapped the wife of Prince Reyhan and now you ransom her?”
“Welcome to the games the big boys play. You and your friends were too much like girls to go through with your plans, so I had to pick up a little expense money elsewhere.” Suddenly Billy was holding a gun in his other hand. “Stay out of this kid, or die. It’s your choice.”
Emma was so stunned, she nearly stumbled. “Don’t hurt him,” she demanded, pulling at her arm and suddenly jerking free.
Billy spun toward her. “Don’t screw this up, sweetheart. I’ll take you out if I have to.”
She heard Reyhan’s voice over the storm, over her fear and over the rapid pounding of her heart.
“Let her go,” the first man insisted. He charged Billy.
Emma read the mercenary’s intent before he ever acted. Even as he raised the gun, she flung herself at his arm, shoving him down. The gun went off.
The sound of the gunshot cut through the roar of the storm. Suddenly men where everywhere and bullets filled the air. Emma didn’t know where to run or hide, nor did it matter. All she could think was that she had to get to Reyhan. Then something large and heavy crashed into her and she was trapped on the ground.
Panic flared. She couldn’t breathe. She struggled until a familiar voice spoke into her ear.
“Be still. You are safe.”
Reyhan. Fierce gladness swept through her and she wanted to roll over so she could cling to him.
More bullets cut through the storm. There were cries of pain, curses and the howl of the wind. Suddenly Reyhan was off her and pulling her to her feet. They were running toward the truck.
“Billy has the keys,” she yelled to Reyhan. “In his pocket.”
Reyhan didn’t answer. Instead he circled around to the passenger side and shoved her inside.
“Stay down,” he ordered. “Under the dash.”
Then he was gone.
Emma huddled on the floorboards and prayed as she had never prayed in her life.
That Reyhan would be safe. That no one else would be hurt. That they would all get out of this alive.
Time ticked by. Hours? Minutes? She wasn’t sure. At last there was only the sound of the storm and she risked looking out the passenger window.
The three mercenaries were captured, sitting on the ground, their arms and legs bound. Several of the injured were being treated by men she thought must work for Reyhan. Relief coursed through her, making her weak and nauseated. They had survived.
After a time, Reyhan returned to the truck. “Are you all right?” he asked as he climbed in beside her and put a key in the ignition.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online