The Sheik's Kidnapped Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 1)(3) by Susan Mallery
She moved the cursor to the top of the spreadsheet and saw what Khalil was trying to do. “Where’s the raw data?” she asked as she realigned columns.
He reached for a manila folder, then motioned for her to slide back to the window seat. He sat next to her and pulled out several sheets. “I’m doing a comparison. We’re considering purchasing one of two companies. I want to do several cost analyses, then pull apart their income statements.”
Dora glanced over the pages he held, then nodded. She could have done the work in her sleep. “Do you want gross sales to be net of returns or do you want to analyze returns separately?”
Dark eyebrows rose slightly, then he answered her question.
Two hours later, Dora pushed the built-in printer back between the seats and handed Khalil his report. “There are two copies there,” she told him. “And you have the disk.”
Bambi still sat in the front of the cabin. She flipped through a fashion magazine, apparently unconcerned about her loss of a job. Dora wished she could be as blasé about her own circumstances.
The pilot came on over the intercom and informed them they’d been cleared to land. Dora took her seat at the rear of the plane and fastened her seat belt. She glanced at her watch and stifled a moan of dismay. It was after seven in the evening, which meant it was four in Los Angeles. How was she supposed to speak to someone at her bank now? She bit her lower lip. If she’d been thinking, she could have called from the plane, catching someone before the bank closed. But she hadn’t been thinking. It looked as if she was going to spend the night at the airport, sleeping on a bench. What a perfect end to her hideous day.
After they’d landed, she took her time standing up and leaving the plane. There was something especially humiliating about walking around in a wedding dress that didn’t fasten up the back, and she preferred to be humiliated in private. But when she walked down the narrow staircase, onto the field, she found Khalil and Bambi still standing by the jet.
“I said you were fired,” Khalil was saying.
Bambi smiled. “I know. Thank you, Khalil. It was so difficult working for you. Not just because your business stuff is, you know, so complicated, but because I could barely hold myself back.” She pressed her impressive body close to his. “I want you.”
Despite herself, Dora slowed to listen. She thought the only ongoing soap opera had occurred in her life. Apparently other people suffered from the same problem.
“Ms. Anderson, I have no interest in you, personally or otherwise. You are fired. Get out of my sight.”
Bambi pouted. Her lips were a perfect rosebud of bloodred. “You don’t mean that. You’re rich and I’m beautiful. We belong together.”
He stiffened, as if insulted. “I am Prince Khalil Khan of El Bahar. You will not question my word.”
Dora felt her mouth drop open. Bambi hadn’t been kidding. He was a prince. A real prince. She frantically searched her memory for some information on El Bahar. Not much came to her, except a vague recollection that the country was somewhere on the Saudi peninsula, was ruled by a king with three sons and had long been neutral in political issues.
“But Khalil,” Bambi wailed. “I was Miss July.”
Dora’s gaze settled on Bambi’s body and didn’t doubt the young woman’s statement. She was incredible enough to be a centerfold. While Khalil showed admirable restraint and good taste, they would have made an impressive couple.
Khalil looked at Dora. “I don’t know your name.”
“That’s because you didn’t ask me,” Dora said, stepping toward him and holding out her hand. “I’m Dora Nelson.”
Khalil seemed momentarily startled by her forwardness, then took her hand in his. She’d had a split-second premonition, a voice in her mind calling out a warning, so she was nearly prepared for the jolt of pure heat that slammed through her when they touched. It was all she could do not to jump back. Khalil, of course, was completely unaffected. He released her hand and gave a slight nod.
The perfect ending to a perfect day, she thought, wishing she could laugh, or at least not break down sobbing.
“Thanks for the ride,” she said, forcing lightness into her voice. “You’re a real prince.” She paused, pressed her fingers to her mouth. “Sorry. That came out wrong. I’m a little tired. But I am grateful.” She turned to go.
“Wait! Ms. Nelson, I would like to speak to you. I am temporarily without an assistant. As I’m in your country for the next two weeks, I wondered if you would consider working for me until I leave.”
“This is ridiculous,” Bambi said, stamping her high-heel-shod foot. “I’m beautiful. She’s not. In fact, she’s—”
Dora winced and braced herself for the insult, but it wasn’t forthcoming. She realized that Khalil had motioned to two men standing by the entrance to the terminal. She hadn’t noticed them before, but they came over and took Bambi by the arms.
“Stop,” the blonde called as she was led away. “You can’t do this to me. Khalil, I know you want me. We’ll be great together. Khalil, no. You’re so rich and I—”
The glass door cut her off in midsentence. Dora breathed a sigh of relief. Khalil did the same.
“A most distressing woman,” he said. “As I was saying, would you consider a temporary job? The pay is generous. Five thousand a week.”
She blinked. “Dollars?”
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