The Sheikh and the Runaway Princess(Desert Rogues, Book 4)(59) by Susan Mallery
Great. Cala was offering a lifetime of companionship. Sabrina wanted love.
“Perhaps I can help,” Givon said, speaking for the first time.
Sabrina sniffed. “I don’t think anyone can. I don’t care if Kardal is willing to marry me. I won’t have him. He treated me as if my feelings were only there to be convenient for him. If he doesn’t love me back, I don’t want anything to do with him.”
Givon nodded. “I understand what you are saying. However, I have recently watched all three of my sons fall in love with wonderful women. Not one of them did it right. In fact they all came perilously close to losing the loves of their lives. Thirty-one years ago, I lost mine. So I have some experience in this matter. Kardal needs to learn what is important.”
Sabrina swallowed. “You know how to teach him that? Because I don’t.”
“I have a good idea.” He smiled. “Men often do not realize the importance of what they have until it is taken from them. With that in mind, I would very much like to offer you sanctuary from both your father and Kardal.”
She blinked. “You can do that?”
“Young lady, I am Givon, king of El Bahar. I can do anything I wish.”
Less than thirty minutes later Sabrina, Cala and several servants crossed toward Givon’s waiting helicopter. In addition to suitcases containing clothes, they carried with them several small trunks. Inside were the stolen artifacts Sabrina was determined to return to their rightful countries.
The helicopter blades circled lazily in the early-evening twilight, stirring up dust and the sweet scents of the desert.
“Princess, are you sure you want to do this?” Adiva asked, sounding worried and yelling to be heard over the engine. “The prince will miss you very much.”
“I hope you’re right,” Sabrina said as Cala kissed Givon goodbye and stepped onto the helicopter.
“What is going on here?”
At the shouted question, Sabrina glanced back and saw Kardal striding toward her. He’d changed into traditional garments and the front of his robe flapped with each step. He looked dark, angry and very dangerous. Sabrina thought about ducking into the helicopter, but instead she squared her shoulders. Kardal couldn’t hurt her any more than he already had.
“What are you doing?” he asked when he stopped in front of her.
Dust swirled around her, making her squint but she could still see the frown as Kardal planted his hands on his hips and stared down at her.
She wanted to scream with frustration. The man honestly didn’t know. When had he gotten so stupid?
“Because I fell in love with you and you played me for a fool. I was worried about you dying and you laughed at me. I’m leaving and I’m never coming back.”
“But if you love me, you must want to marry me. I will consent to the union. I wish us to be married.”
Givon moved close and put his hand on his son’s shoulder. “Tell her you love her.”
Kardal glared. “I do not need your fatherly advice at this late date.” He reached for Sabrina’s arm. “Enough of this game. Return to your rooms at once.”
“Not even on a bet.”
She jerked free of him and hurried to the helicopter. As she settled in her seat next to Cala, a man appeared in the door. Rafe! She gasped.
But he didn’t grab her or haul her out. Instead he stared at her for several seconds.
“He’s a stubborn man,” he said finally.
“I don’t expect him to change. I simply refuse to play his game anymore.”
Rafe surprised her by smiling. “You have backbone. I always figured you were exactly what he needed.”
She knew that Rafe was only trying to be kind, but his words were a knife to her heart. Why did everyone see that she and Kardal belonged together except Kardal?
“I can’t wait around until he figures that out,” she said.
Rafe nodded. Kardal approached. Rafe quickly shut the door, then stepped back and gave the pilot a thumb’s-up. Seconds later they were in the air, moving away from the City of Thieves.
Sabrina glanced out the window at the ancient castle. She’d been happy there. She’d fallen in love there. And now she was leaving and would probably never come back. She couldn’t remember ever feeling so broken and sad.
Cala touched her arm. “Things will work out. You’ll see.”
Sabrina didn’t say anything. Words of comfort from a woman who had lost the love of her life for thirty-one years didn’t make her feel better.
“I will not stand for this,” Kardal raged.
He paced the length of his office, unable to believe what was happening. One moment everything had been fine with Sabrina. The next she was in tears and threatening to leave him. More than threatening. She was gone.
“How could you help her?” he demanded of Rafe as he walked past the other man. “You work for me. You should have stopped her from leaving.”
Rafe shrugged. “So fire me.”
Kardal didn’t want to lose the other man, so he ignored his impertinence. He turned his anger on his father.
“Where are they? Tell me this instant.”
Givon leaned against a corner of the desk. A gleam of humor lit his dark eyes. “You’re not the only one with a secret castle. Both Sabrina and your mother are perfectly safe. When you’ve figured out what the problem is and how to fix it, I’ll take you to them. Until then, you’re on your own.”
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