The Sheikh and the Virgin Secretary(Desert Rogues, Book 10)(2) by Susan Mallery
He had sex with most of the women in his law school class, his neighbors, my neighbor, along with countless others. He propositioned two of my friends. At the time, they tried to tell me, but I wouldn’t listen. Talk about stupid.”
She spoke lightly, as if the words had no meaning. But he heard the pain in her voice and saw it in her eyes.
“You did not believe them?” he asked.
She shook her head. “I was fooled right up until last Friday morning when I walked in on him and a woman from his study group.” She blinked rapidly as if holding in tears. “That wasn’t even the worst of it. He c-came after me and told me it didn’t mean anything.” She paused to swallow, the tears closer to the surface now. “He never was very original. Then he told me that he was doing it for me. That he wanted to treat me with reverence and respect. So he kept that side of himself away from me.”
She looked at Rafiq. “My idea of loving someone, of feeling reverence, isn’t to cheat on her over and over again.”
“You canceled the wedding.” If Rafiq had planned to attend, he would have known before now. But an out-of-town commitment had caused him to send his regrets.
“Eric was shocked, if you can believe it,” Kiley said. “He actually thought I’d still go through with it because it was the next day and we had 250 people coming. Everything was paid for. But I wouldn’t do it. I loved him and I thought he loved me and I was wrong. Getting married at that point would only make things worse. So I canceled.”
She dropped her head and stared at the pad of paper on her lap. “My mom and I made phone calls. We couldn’t get everyone, so I went to the church the next morning and told them as they arrived.” She took a deep breath. “It was horrible.”
“You? Not Eric?”
She shook her head. “He took the tickets for our honeymoon in Hawaii and left with his flavor of the week. I hope they get rashes. And stung by jellyfish.”
Her courage surprised him. She could easily have sent a family member to stand at the church, but she’d done it herself.
“Why me?” he asked.
For the first time since walking into his office, a smile tugged at her lips.
“You’re a prince, Rafiq. That makes you the best candidate around.”
“Ah. I see.” He could discern out the rest of it. “Eric has accepted a job with the law firm I use. Therefore he will attend some of the same functions I do. As my mistress, you would go with me.”
“Exactly. Eric doesn’t like you,” she added. “I think he’s jealous. He’s tried to get me to quit a few times, but I refused. He would talk about the women in your life as if they were sluts or something but I’m starting to believe he was envious. He wants what you have. Or maybe he wants to be you. I don’t know and I don’t care. But I’m convinced that my being your mistress will destroy him.”
Rafiq considered her words. He had only met Kiley’s fiancé one or two times.
He’d never formed an opinion of the man until now.
“Do you want him destroyed?” he asked.
She nodded. “Then I want to walk away and forget he ever existed.” She looked at him. “There’s another reason I came to you. You’re a good man. You’d never treat a woman the way Eric treated me. You’d simply end things without any of the lies.”
Her assessment of his character was interesting. He could name twenty people who would do their best to convince her he was the biggest bastard on the planet.
But she was also right—he’d never lied to a woman. He’d never stooped to trickery or deception.
Was he considering her offer? Did he want Kiley as his mistress? He wouldn’t mind her in his bed, despite the complications. He liked her. The proposition had possibilities.
“There are logistics to be considered,” he said. “If we decide to move forward with this.”
They were discussing things so calmly, Kiley thought, more than a little amazed by the turn of events. She was willing to admit she was still emotionally numb from the shock of Eric’s betrayal, but even as she’d imagined a thousand ways this conversation could go, she’d never thought it would be so rational. Maybe this sort of thing happened to Rafiq all the time, but it was a definite first for her. Still, she was determined. She could forgive a lot of things, but not betrayal on that level. Not ever.
To think that Eric had tried to make her feel guilty about enjoying her job with Rafiq when Eric had been cheating on her. She’d been so careful not to talk about her boss and she’d always gone out of her way to reassure Eric. Just the thought of it made her want to throw something.
He had even complained about Rafiq’s generous gift of Baccarat crystal. A gift she currently had boxed up in her office to return to her boss.
“You’re the expert,” she told him. “You’re going to have to come up with the list.”
He smiled. “Of course. First there is the matter of what the relationship would entail.”
Okay, this might be the first time she’d ever applied to be a mistress, but she was fairly sure the ground rules were simple.
“I thought it would be about sex,” she said, then wished she hadn’t as his dark eyebrows rose slightly.
“Sexual accessibility is assumed,” he told her. “You would be as available as I wished and vice versa.”
He would be available to her? Interesting thought. Not that she could imagine herself picking up the phone and telling him to get naked and get ready.
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