The Sheik's Kidnapped Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 1)(5) by Susan Mallery
The manager bowed again. “It is our great pleasure to have you as our guest, Prince Khalil. My staff is here to serve you.”
“Yes. Good night.”
Dora still couldn’t believe she was in this room, listening to this conversation. She had to keep telling herself to press her lips together so that her mouth wouldn’t fall open in shock. She hadn’t known that suites like this existed, let alone ever dreamed that she might spend the night in one. Or maybe Khalil planned to give her a small room somewhere else. Who cares, she thought, suppressing a grin. Any room in this place was going to be fabulous.
Khalil spoke to the two suits, and they disappeared down the hall. Then he turned to her. “I find the bodyguards tiresome,” he said. “However, my father insists my two brothers and I are protected when we travel away from El Bahar.”
“It seems like a sound precaution,” she offered, not sure if a comment was expected.
“I suppose. They stay in the suite and accompany me when I leave. But they are discreet and won’t be in your way.”
“I appreciate that,” she said. How nice to know that the bodyguards wouldn’t inconvenience her. And to think she’d been so darned worried about that, too.
“As you heard, your clothes are in your room. I ordered a light supper. That should be in your room, as well. I would like to begin our work day promptly at eight. The office is over that way.” He pointed to the hallway on the left.
“I’ll be there,” she told him. “If I get lost, I’ll phone for one of the maids to show me the way.”
“I think you’re intelligent enough to find it on your own.”
As he spoke, he smiled at her. She suddenly found herself slightly breathless and had to clear her throat before she could speak.
“I’ll do my best.” She took a step toward the bedrooms, then paused. “What do I call you? Your Highness? Prince Khalil?”
“Khalil is fine.”
She took another step, stopped and turned to face him. He was tall and forbidding in a deliciously handsome way. For a second, Dora wished that she was as beautiful as the Bambis of this world, that God hadn’t been quite so generous with brains and had instead given her a pretty face or a killer body. But He hadn’t, and she really didn’t want to give up her intelligence. Not after she’d gotten used to it being around.
“Thank you,” she said simply. “You were very kind to me today, and I appreciate it.”
He waved off her words. “My act of kindness as you call it, turned into my own good fortune. I would not have survived another day with that woman tormenting me. Good night, Dora.”
His final words were a dismissal, and she took the hint, heading in the direction of the bedrooms.
It wasn’t hard to figure out which was hers. Two doors were already closed and a third led to a huge master suite. She had a brief impression of a four-poster bed large enough to comfortably sleep four, a sitting area, complete with fireplace, and fantasy bathroom beyond. Then she made her way to the open door at the end of the hall.
The large space had been decorated with blues and golds. The furniture looked French and highly polished. A small table in the corner contained a room service tray, and more than a half-dozen shopping bags were lined up in front of the queen-size bed.
Dora hesitated, not sure which to deal with first, then her stomach growled, and she remembered that she hadn’t eaten since early that morning, back in her apartment in Los Angeles. She sat down and made quick work of the salad and roll, then moved on to the delicately flavored chicken, served with baby vegetables and saffron rice. She saved the gooey chocolate dessert for later.
Still sipping her glass of chardonnay, she moved to the bed and settled on the mattress. As she did so, the mirror on the dresser opposite reflected her image. She stared at herself and resisted the need to groan aloud.
She was a mess. Whatever makeup she put on that morning had either faded or drifted under her eyes, leaving her skin sallow and smudgy looking. Her short, dark hair had gone flat, and the ill-fitting wedding dress billowed out around her in a most unflattering way.
“My life is a mess,” she told her reflection and didn’t get a single argument in return.
Twelve hours earlier, she’d been happy and content, planning her wedding, preparing to travel to Boston with her boss-fiancé. Now she was alone in New York, at the mercy of a virtual stranger. Granted, the stranger was a prince, and how many people could say that about their rescuer? But he was hardly more than a temporary refuge. When her two weeks were up, she was going to have to return to the disaster that was her current circumstances. She would probably even have to face Gerald again.
The thought made her shiver, so she pushed it away. Instead of dwelling on something horrible, she bent over and pulled the first shopping bag onto the bed, then dumped the contents. She did the same with the next bag and the next until they were all empty and a huge pile of wonderfully expensive new garments surrounded her.
There were shoes and bras and nightgowns and dresses and skirts and blouses. A tissue-wrapped box contained an entire set of makeup and brushes. Another zippered case had been filled with toiletries.
She stood up and yanked off the wedding gown, tossing it into a heap in the corner, then pulled on the first dress, a soft blue silk shift that skimmed over her full hips. Delicate roses in a slightly darker shade of blue had been embroidered into the shoulder and upper bodice, drawing the eye higher on her body and actually making her looked balanced.
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