The Sheikh and the Virgin Secretary(Desert Rogues, Book 10)(26) by Susan Mallery
“Rafiq has nothing to do with it,” she told Eric. “The only one who was unfaithful in our relationship is you. Of course, given how much you cheated, it makes sense that you would assume the worst about everyone else. But I’m not like that. I take my commitments seriously.”
“So this just happened?” Eric asked, sounding incredulous. “I find that tough to believe.”
She shrugged. “I don’t care what you think. Your opinion doesn’t matter to me.
Not anymore. It’s over between us and I’m relieved. I think it’s sad I’m not in more pain. It makes me think I haven’t loved you for a long time.”
Eric pointed at Rafiq. “You replaced me with him? You’re an idiot if you think it’s going to last. You’re caught up in his money and title, but that’s not going anywhere. He’ll never marry you. You’re from different worlds. He thinks this is fun now, but he’ll get tired of you and then toss you aside.”
“Maybe,” Kiley said calmly. “The difference is when Rafiq wants to end the relationship, he’ll say it to my face. He’ll be honorable. He won’t cheat on me behind my back.”
Eric reached for her. Rafiq grabbed his arm. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
Eric jerked free and retreated a step. Rafiq let him.
“I’m not the only one who sneaks around, Kiley,” Eric said. “What about you? Do your parents know about him? Do they know what you’re doing? It’s not as if you’re willing to take him home this weekend to see Heather’s new baby.”
Kiley had been mad before, but now she was furious. She’d seen Rafiq grab Eric.
From the look on Rafiq’s face, he would be happy to beat up the other man. She was almost tempted to let him do it.
“How dare you?” she breathed. “You called my parents.”
“Of course I did. I’m worried about you. They mentioned the baby and that you’d be coming to visit.” Eric turned to Rafiq. “Didn’t know that, did you? Kiley has a big family. I was always welcome there. They liked me. Think they’ll say the same about you?”
Kiley wasn’t sure what her family would say about Rafiq, and she wasn’t planning to find out. In truth, now that Heather had had her first baby, Kiley wanted to go home for the weekend. She’d planned to tell Rafiq over dinner. She still would. She just hated how Eric made it sound as if she were keeping secrets.
Rafiq leaned back in his chair and regarded Eric. “Kiley was telling me about the baby when you interrupted. It is unfortunate you’ve finally realized what you lost, but the fault is yours. Kiley is gone and you have no one to blame but yourself.”
Eric took a step toward him. “I oughta nail you.”
Rafiq placed his napkin on the table and stood. He topped Eric by several inches and outweighed him by fifteen or twenty pounds of muscle.
“Do you think that’s possible?” Rafiq asked with a casualness that belied his temper.
Kiley didn’t know what to do. A part of her wouldn’t mind if Rafiq beat the crap out of her ex-fiancé. But this was a public place and she didn’t think Rafiq would appreciate the potential publicity.
Just then an older man hurried toward them. Two burly cooks and a big waiter accompanied him. He paused by the table and bowed his head.
“Prince Rafiq, I’m so sorry. I did not realize this man was bothering you.
Please allow me to escort him outside.” The man snapped his fingers, and the two cooks grabbed Eric.
“Hey, you can’t do this,” Eric said.
“It seems he can,” Rafiq said as he sat down. “Know this. If you bother Kiley again, I will speak with the senior partners at your law firm. She has told you to stay away from her. It would be best for you and your career if you did just that.”
Eric was hustled out of the restaurant before he could respond. Kiley felt the interested stares of the other diners.
“I’m sorry,” she said, barely able to look at Rafiq. “I don’t know how Eric found us or why he even bothered looking.”
“Are you all right? Did it trouble you to see him?”
“It’s embarrassing to have him make a fuss, and I hate that you had to get involved.”
“I would have stepped in sooner, but I thought you would want to handle him.”
“I did.” She reached for her wine and took a sip. “I don’t get it. He was so willing to ignore me for so long. Now that I’m gone, he’s acting as if it’s a big deal.”
“Perhaps it is,” Rafiq said. “He realizes what he lost.”
“So what? I was an idiot for ever getting involved with him. What a weasel.”
Rafiq nodded slowly. “There is a strength about you I didn’t recognize at first.
I admire that.”
His compliment pleased her. “Thank you. I don’t feel especially strong.
“Was Eric the reason you’ve been distracted for the past couple of days?”
He’d noticed? And here she thought she’d been keeping her worries to herself.
Was she really bad at concealing things or was he more observant than most?
“No. It wasn’t Eric. It’s actually a couple of things. I didn’t want to bring them up at work because I’m trying to keep our personal life out of that.”
“Now I’m intrigued.”
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