The Sheikh and the Virgin Secretary(Desert Rogues, Book 10)(44) by Susan Mallery
He narrowed his gaze. “And?”
“And I’ve heard rumors. Your father isn’t all that happy with you these days.
You’re over thirty, Rafiq. It’s time you married.”
“I see. Let me guess. You have a candidate in mind.”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. The daughter of a friend. She’s a wonderful young woman. Very beautiful and accomplished. She’s extremely well educated and has an advanced degree in music. She plays the violin. I would like to set up a meeting between the two of you. Nothing too stressful. Perhaps a brunch this weekend or next.”
He stood. “I’m not interested in the relative of anyone who would call you a friend. If nothing else, I would be forced to question her judgment.”
Carnie glared at him. “You’re going to have to marry someone, and we both know it’s not going to be that fool you’re sleeping with. She’s a nobody. Who are her parents? What lineage or talent would she bring to that match? Who would your children be?”
She continued to talk, but he wasn’t listening. He turned and walked out of her condo, then turned toward the elevator. One word repeated over and over in his head.
He and Kiley had been lovers for three weeks. In that time he’d taken her several times a day, making love with her until they were both exhausted. Yes, he had used protection…every time but one…the first time.
She’d been a virgin, inexperienced and unprepared. He’d been around her enough to know she wasn’t on The Pill.
One time, he told himself. Only one time. Yet she could be pregnant. Condoms weren’t foolproof.
He stepped onto the elevator and pushed the button for the parking garage. He was Prince Rafiq of Lucia-Serrat. If there was a child, there was only one thing for him to do.
Kiley sat curled up on the sofa, reading. When she heard the garage door open, followed by the low purr of Rafiq’s car, she did her best to continue to concentrate on her book, but she wasn’t fooling anyone. Her stomach clenched, her toes curled and everything in her body went on the alert.
She wanted to stand up and shout, “He’s home! He’s home!” But that seemed silly, what with the entire population of the house currently consisting of herself and the puppy, and the latter had already scampered for the door off the kitchen where she would dance and whine until her pack leader came in and acknowledged her.
Kiley knew she had it bad when she felt a slight flash of jealousy, knowing the puppy would get the first bit of attention. Then she decided to be mature, because that night she would have Rafiq in her bed.
“I’m home,” he called as he walked into the house.
“Hi,” she said back, and wondered if he made any announcement when he walked into the official residence back on Lucia-Serrat. Or was there some town-crier type who ran ahead telling all that Prince Rafiq had returned?
He came in carrying the puppy. “She gets far too excited about my arrival,” he said. “If she spins much harder or faster, she’ll injure herself.”
“She’s happy to see you,” Kiley said, willing to do a little spinning herself.
She walked up to him and kissed him. The puppy yipped happily at being caught in the middle and tried to lick them both.
She laughed and took her from Rafiq. “You’re a little crazy person, aren’t you?”
She glanced at him. “I’ve named her.”
He took her free hand and led her to the sofa. “What did you decide?”
“Fariha. It’s Arabic. It means—”
“Joyful or happy. I speak Arabic.”
She grinned. “Of course you do. I thought the name was appropriate and we can call her Fari for short.”
She sank onto the sofa and held Fari up in the air. “Do you like your new name?”
she asked the puppy. “Don’t you think it’s as pretty as you?”
Fari wiggled and yipped her approval. Kiley set her on the floor and watched her scamper to her chew toy by the window.
“How was your meeting?” she asked.
“Interesting.” He stared at her. “Are you happy here, Kiley?”
“What?” Silly man. “Of course I am.”
He took one of her hands in his and kissed her palm. “I know things have moved quickly between us. Becoming lovers, you moving in.”
Was he worried about her? “I’m fine with all that. I like being here. You’re a pretty fun date.”
“How flattering. Do you love me?”
The question came from nowhere and knocked the air right out of her. She didn’t know what to think, what do say. Heat flared on her cheeks as she realized that he must have guessed. Somehow she’d given herself away.
“I, ah…” She pressed her lips together. “Rafiq, I don’t understand.”
“It’s a simple question. Do you love me?”
Panic joined embarrassment. He hated that she’d fallen for him. She’d broken all the rules and he wanted her out of here. Oh, but she wasn’t ready to go. Not yet. They still had more time together.
She wanted to protest, to promise to do better. She wanted a lot of things, but wanting something didn’t always make it come true. So she drew in a deep breath and looked directly into his dark eyes.
“Yes, Rafiq. I’m in love with you. But before you panic, I want you to know this doesn’t change anything. I understood the rules when I first asked to be your mistress and I still understand them.”
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