The Sheik and the Princess in Waiting(Desert Rogues, Book 7)(54) by Susan Mallery
“I’m fine. Is there…” She glanced out the window. “Are there a lot of injuries? My bodyguards?”
“A few. One of the mercenaries took a bullet to the arm. A couple of the rebels were shot, as were three of Will’s men. None are fatal.”
“Good.” She swallowed. “Was anyone killed?”
“One of the rebels. I knew him and his father. He was just seventeen.” Reyhan looked weary and distressed.
Emma’s stomach lurched. “Oh, God. It was my fault.”
“No.” He turned on her. “Not your fault. These boys who wanted to play at being dangerous men brought this upon themselves. No one took them seriously, not even me. I knew their game and thought they would outgrow it. We were all wrong.”
He started the truck. “It’s time to get you to safety.”
She was still stunned by the news that there had been a death. “I’m a nurse. I could help.”
“They’ll be fine. Will’s men are all trained in combat first-aid. He’s very thorough. That’s why I hired him.”
He started driving. She stared out the windshield and tried to come to terms with all that had happened in the past few hours.
“I’m sorry I was captured,” she said. “I wasn’t trying to make trouble.”
“The fault is mine. I shouldn’t have allowed you to come here. I should have ignored my father.”
“Hard to do when he’s the king.”
Reyhan clutched the steering wheel more tightly. “He presumes too much and plays games with us all. This one could have cost you your life. I will never forgive him for that.”
The force of his words stunned her. “Reyhan, he didn’t know. None of us knew.”
“Agreed. But it was a possibility.”
He was acting as if he cared. This from the man who couldn’t wait to divorce her. Thoughts swirled in her head. She felt exhausted.
He read her mind. “Close your eyes,” he told her. “Rest.”
“No. I want to stay awake and keep you company on the drive.” The storm still swirled around them and made visibility nearly impossible.
“I know my way.”
She supposed he would. This was his land, his desert. She leaned against the side of door and let her eyes drift closed. Maybe she would relax for a couple of minutes. What could it hurt?
Emma drifted off to sleep. She didn’t know how long she’d been out, but she was awakened by a horrible crashing as the truck roared into what looked like the side of a mountain.
For a second, she was disoriented. Not sure where she was or why, she frantically glanced around. When she saw Reyhan slumped over the steering wheel, her memory returned and with it, panic.
Had they run off the road? Why had he driven into the rocks? She unfastened her seat belt and scrambled across the bench seat, then eased Reyhan into a sitting position.
His face was unscathed. She checked for bumps and bruises, but there weren’t any. He hadn’t hit his head.
“Reyhan,” she called frantically. “Can you hear me?”
He didn’t answer.
Why was he unconscious? She began to check for other injuries. First his shoulders, then his arms. She slid her hand down his side and drew them back when she felt wetness. Blood covered her right hand.
“No!” she whispered, horrified and afraid. The thick stickiness told her he’d been bleeding for some time. Reality crashed in on her.
“You were shot,” she breathed. “Oh, God. It can’t be.” Hadn’t he known?
She glanced around frantically. She had to get him somewhere that she could examine him. Maybe the back of the truck. But without a first-aid kit, what could she do? She didn’t even know where they were.
He stirred and groaned.
“Reyhan? Can you hear me? You’ve been shot.”
He opened his eyes. “It’s nothing.”
“You’re bleeding and you passed out.”
He blinked at her, then stared out the front of the truck. “We’re at the caves,”
“At them? We’re practically in them.” She looked at the crumpled front of the truck. “I’m not sure it’s going to still run. Are we close to the security camp?”
He shook his head, then groaned. “We’re at the Desert Palace. My aunt’s house.
Through the caves. We need to go through the caves.”
Emma wasn’t sure if he was delirious or not. But if there was a house nearby, maybe she could get some help.
She stepped out onto the ground. The storm had lessened to the point where she could see the landscape around them. They were in some kind of small canyon with the front of the truck mashed up against a sheer rock wall. To the right was an opening to a cave.
She turned in a slow circle and saw nothing. Not a road, not a building, not a hint of life. They were truly alone.
The fear returned and with it a conviction that she wouldn’t let Reyhan die. She couldn’t. He might not care about her, but she loved him.
She crossed into the mouth of the cave. The opening was huge with the ceiling soaring up what looked like two stories. There was a small chest to the right of the opening and she crossed to it.
She opened it and inside she found flashlights, batteries, water, food and a first-aid kit. When she turned back to the truck, she screamed. Reyhan leaned against the entrance. He was pale, shaking and bleeding.
“What are you doing?” she demanded as she raced back to him. “Stay still. You can’t lose any more blood.”
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