The Sheik's Kidnapped Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 1)(4) by Susan Mallery
“Yes, of course.”
It was more than she made in a month back in Los Angeles.
She looked around the airport. Khalil’s job was a gift from heaven, and miracles had been in short supply lately. She nodded. “Sure. I’ll do it, on the condition that I can have an advance so I can buy myself some clothes.”
He took his wallet out of his inside jacket pocket and peeled off several hundred-dollar bills. “Here.” He handed her the money. “This is for you. As far as the clothes, we’ll call from the car, and you can have what you need delivered to the hotel.” He flashed her a smile. “Consider it a signing bonus.”
Dora felt all the blood rush out of her head. It wasn’t the sight of the money or the fact that her problems had been, at least temporarily, solved. It was the impact of his smile. The contrast of dark skin against white teeth, the way his lips had curved up at the corners. He’d been transformed from terrifically handsome to absolutely irresistible.
Just then, a long, dark limo pulled up next to the jet. The two men returned from their escort duties in time to hold the rear door open for Khalil and herself.
In her career as an executive secretary, Dora had found herself traveling in style a time or two, but never before in the company of a prince. She slid across the smooth leather seat to the far side of the vehicle. One of the suited men stepped in next and sat facing her. Khalil settled onto the bench seat next to her. The last suited guy—was he a bodyguard?—got in next to the driver.
They pulled away in a matter of seconds. Dora found herself fighting a smile and then laughter. Just that morning she’d been in her own apartment in Los Angeles, planning her day, expecting to be married at the end of the month. Now she was in New York, in a limo with an El Baharian prince. She’d lost her purse, her fiancé and her dignity. Yet all she wanted to do was laugh. Was it hysterics or simply relief that she wasn’t going to be spending the night on a bench at the airport?
Khalil popped open the top of the armrest he’d lowered between them and pulled out a cellular phone. “Here’s where we’re staying,” he said, handing her both the phone and a gold-embossed business card. “Phone the hotel, and ask them to recommend a boutique that can deliver clothing to you this evening, then get in touch with them, and order what you need. Have them bill my room at the hotel.”
He gave her a second card that proclaimed him as Khalil Khan, minister of resource development, El Bahar. She supposed the small crown in the top, center of the card made it clear he was a member of the royal family.
She glanced around the interior of the limo. The suited man stared out the rear window, but he could obviously hear everything that was being said. As could Khalil, not to mention the two men sitting up front. She swallowed. Oh, joy. She was going to have to order a week’s worth of clothes, not to mention lingerie in front of four strange men. It seemed as if her good fortune was never going to end.
The lobby of the elegant hotel stretched up at least three stories. Dora tried not to gawk as she took in the fine furniture, the expensive rugs, and the chandeliers that sparkled like cut crystal…which they probably were.
She’d never been part of an entourage before, and the sensation was slightly disconcerting. Or maybe the attention they received had more to do with her attire than Khalil’s wealth. Dora attempted to look casual as they crossed the marble floor and headed to the registration area, but it was tough.
They were interrupted before they could reach the clerk waiting there. A small, well-dressed man bowed low before Khalil, then introduced himself as the night manager of the hotel. They were instantly whisked into the elevator, where the manager inserted a key before pushing a button for the top floor.
So the rich didn’t have to check in, Dora thought with a slight smile. How nice. They probably got to keep the plush bathrobes as well.
When the elevator doors opened, a discreet brass plaque listed only three room numbers. Dora swallowed. Three suites took up the whole floor? That wasn’t possible. Maybe there was a private club or a banquet room or something. There had to be. The hotel was huge. If there were only three suites on one floor, then they would be incredible, not to mention very large.
The manager turned left and walked a few feet before opening double doors. Khalil paused and motioned for Dora to go first. She did so, trying not to think about the fact that the sight of her bra strap and a triangle of bare flesh was anything but appealing.
She was so caught up in feeling self-conscious, she almost didn’t take in the dimensions of the main room. Then she saw the floor-to-ceiling windows and a view of the city and Central Park that made her gasp in disbelief.
The living room was the size of a basketball court and decorated to befit visiting royalty. There were marble pillars and huge sofas. Original art including paintings and a nearly life-size bronze of a horse. Tucked in the corner by the window was a baby grand piano. Hallways ran both left and right. The manager pointed to the left.
“The dining room is next door, and beyond that, the full kitchen. Please let us know if you’ll require the services of a chef. At the end are the offices. We’ve installed the office equipment you requested, along with the phone lines.” He motioned to the right. “Four bedrooms, including the master suite. A light supper is set up, and several items were delivered from the boutique. We put the latter in one of the bedrooms.”
Khalil nodded. “Thank you, Jacques,” he said, barely paying attention to the other man. “That will be all.”
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