The Sheikh and the Virgin Secretary(Desert Rogues, Book 10)(6) by Susan Mallery
He wasn’t in a suit. She’d known Rafiq for more than two years, and she’d only ever seen him in a suit. Usually without the jacket. He took that off as soon as he arrived at work and rarely put it on except for certain clients. She’d seen him tired, cranky, mussed, with his sleeves rolled up and his tie pulled off, but she’d never seen him dressed casually.
Tonight he wore tailored slacks and a polo shirt. The latter told her that her first impression about his body had been correct—plenty of lean muscle sculpted into something darned close to male perfection.
She’d known she was out of her league, based on the women he was usually involved with. Now she realized she was out of her league because of the man he was. Talk about a bad idea.
He was rich, royal and dangerous. He was also gorgeous.
She bit back the need to apologize for taking up his time and scurry back to the limo to be taken home. She’d asked, he’d been interested, and the decision had been made. For reasons clear to no one, Rafiq had wanted her as his mistress. As soon as she stopped hyperventilating, she was going to accept that truth and deal with it.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
She managed a smile. “Not even close, but I’ll get better.”
“What will help?”
“The passage of time or a head injury.”
He smiled. “Perhaps some champagne.”
“A possible alternative,” she said as he led the way from the foyer into a step-down living room.
Seeing a casually dressed Rafiq had been one shock. Seeing the Pacific Ocean spread out before her like a fabulous painting was another. Floor-to-ceiling windows covered the entire west wall of the living room. She could see a deck, then a bit of sand, then moving, swirling beautiful blue ocean.
“Love the view,” she said.
“I’m glad. It reminds me a little of Lucia-Serrat. My house on the island there overlooks the Indian Ocean.”
“Is there a difference?”
He crossed to a glass-topped sofa table where a bottle of champagne sat in an ice bucket and a tray of appetizers nestled by two white plates.
Rafiq picked up the bottle and opened it. “The smell,” he said at last. “The sound of the ocean is the same, but if I close my eyes and breathe deeply, I can always tell where I am. At home, the salt air is more tropical.”
“While here it smells like Hollywood,” she said, accepting the slender glass he offered.
“Is that the scent?”
“I’m only guessing,” she said, staring at the bottle of Dom Perignon. Sure, she’d had champagne before but never anything this expensive. “I know in my head that Lucia-Serrat is a beautiful tropical island, but whenever I think of your part of the world, I picture sand and oil.”
“There is that, as well,” he said, gesturing to the sofa. “You are imagining traditional desert images. You can find the reality of that in El Bahar or Bahania.”
She doubted visiting either country was going to be on her near-term to-do list.
First she had to get her life back in order.
“You’re related to the royal family of Bahania, aren’t you?” she asked.
He waited until she’d settled on one end of the sofa and took the other for himself. “The king of Bahania and my father are cousins.”
“An interesting extended family.”
She tasted the champagne and was pleased by the light, bubbly flavor. “This is nice,” she said.
“I’m glad you’re enjoying it. Would you like something to eat?”
Food? Now? So not a good idea. She was already nervous. Eating would only upset her stomach, which could lead to an unfortunate throwing-up incident. Not a memory she wanted for her first visit to Rafiq’s house.
Oh, God. She was in his house! She’d agreed to be his mistress! Soon there would be nudity and sex and possibly bad language. Her life had become an R-rated movie.
She set down the glass and tried to think of something to say. Funny how she and Rafiq had never run out of things to talk about at the office. Of course there they had business to discuss and now they didn’t. Somehow it didn’t seem right to bring up the latest oil reserves or mention the meeting he would attend in the morning. She needed a slightly more “mistressy” topic. But what?
And how were they going to do it? Did he just make a move on her and she let him? Was there a universal question or signal she was supposed to pick up, because if there was, she was unlikely to get it.
“I can hear you thinking again,” he said with a smile. “You are nervous.”
“Wouldn’t you be?”
“Under the circumstances?” He considered the question, then said, “Yes.”
“Perhaps if we discussed logistics you would feel more comfortable.”
She doubted anything would help but, hey, stranger things had happened. “Okay.
“I have several upcoming social events I would like you to attend. I will get you a list of dates. In return, if there’s anything you want me to do with you, I will.”
Her sister was about to give birth, and after the baby came, there would be a big family get-together. Somehow she couldn’t imagine taking Rafiq to the party.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” she said.
“Why are you smiling?” he asked.
“Am I?” She shrugged. “Honestly, I can’t see you fitting in with my family.
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online