The Sheik's Kidnapped Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 1)(9) by Susan Mallery
“As you said, better to know now.”
“Right.” She gave him a quick smile, but it was as much of a lie as if she’d told him she’d long since recovered from Gerald’s betrayal.
“Have you spoken with him?” he asked.
“Gerald? No, and I don’t want to. He’s only going to yell at me. I’m not sure how he’s explained my disappearance to Mr. Greene.” She swallowed. “I’m glad we’re through,” she said firmly. “He told me he cared about me, and he was lying. I could never have stayed with someone like that. This is all for the best.”
She spoke the truth, however Khalil doubted if she believed it completely. He knew she would with time, and she would begin to get on with her life. Until then, the greatest kindness would be to keep her busy. That was, at least, something at which he could excel.
The grandfather clock in the corner of the main sitting room chimed the hour. Dora counted along, then had to hold back her surprise when she realized it was already midnight. It seemed only a few minutes had passed since she and Khalil had sat down to talk. But that had been nearly three hours before, and she knew that if she had a drop of sense in her head, she would excuse herself and head off to her own room.
Except she didn’t want to go. Not only did she want to hear how the story ended, but she wanted to continue to sit here, staring at Khalil and allowing herself to pretend that he was so much more than just her boss.
“My grandmother was angry with Malik for disobeying her,” he was saying. “She took his prize stallion and sold him. By the time Malik figured out what had happened, it was too late. The poor animal had been gelded. Malik was so furious he marched up to our father and demanded that Fatima be whipped for her insolence.”
“Error in judgment,” Dora said, imagining an angry twelve-year-old boy whose plans to start a breeding ranch had just been thwarted by fate in the form of his grandmother and an impatient horse seller.
“Exactly,” he told her. “Instead it was Malik who was severely punished. For three weeks, he was only allowed to leave his room for his lessons, and he had to apologize for ‘borrowing’ our grandmother’s mare in the first place.”
Khalil set his brandy down on the coffee table in front of the long sofa and leaned back in his seat. “I remember speaking with him while he was being confined. He told me that when he was finally king, he would create a law that would make grandmothers answerable to their grandsons, especially when the grandsons were crown princes. When Fatima found out, she was most unimpressed. She informed Malik that first he had to grow up to be king, but at the rate he was making mistakes, that wasn’t going to happen.”
Dora laughed. “Let me guess. Now Malik and his grandmother are extremely close.”
“Of course. We all adore her. Our mother died when we were quite young. She raised us. She is an extraordinary woman.”
His large, dark eyes took on a faraway expression. Dora knew that he was no longer in the large New York suite, but had instead returned to El Bahar. What was it like there, she wondered? That mysterious land of which her employer spoke. Was it as wonderful as she imagined?
“Will Malik be king?” she asked.
“When our father dies. Malik is a good leader, if a little imperious and dictatorial.”
“That must run in the family,” she murmured as she took another sip of her drink.
Khalil stared at her, then raised his eyebrows. “I know you’re not speaking of me.”
“Of course not.” But she couldn’t keep the smile out of her voice.
“It is simply because you are a Western woman,” he informed her gravely. “You’re too used to having your way in all areas of your life. Had you been raised correctly, you would not think ill of me.”
“Raised correctly?” She laughed. “I don’t want to think about what that means. And while we’re on the subject, I don’t think ill of you. I’ve very much enjoyed working for you. The time has gone by very quickly.” She couldn’t believe there were only two more days until he returned to El Bahar. “I’ll be sorry when you’re gone.”
She spoke the last sentence without thinking, then wondered if she’d made a mistake. In the past twelve days she’d gotten to know her employer. He was imperious and dictatorial, but he was also fair. At times he treated her as if she were a computer or a robot, but she didn’t mind that. He was never hurtful—the way Gerald had been. Khalil didn’t comment on her appearance, make snide remarks, or speak down to her. When he asked her opinion, he expected her to have one, and then he listened as she spoke. If the matter involved something strictly “American” more often than not, he took her advice.
He was also a rich, handsome prince and prime female fantasy material. She tried to ignore that information, but occasionally she forgot and found herself getting lost in his eyes, or the perfect tailoring of his suit.
“You have been most efficient,” he told her. “I’ve been told that I expect too much of my staff, but you’ve never once complained. I appreciate that, along with all your hard work.”
She felt herself flush slightly at his compliment. “You’re just grateful not to have to deal with Bambi,” she said teasingly.
He didn’t return her smile. “I believe I would have been forced to strangle her. It would have created an international incident.”
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online