The Sheik's Kidnapped Bride(Desert Rogues, Book 1)(51) by Susan Mallery
Eva walked over to the desk and touched a few keys on the computer. “I’ve begun to work on your calendar,” she said. “You have two meetings scheduled for this afternoon. They’re to introduce you to the local presidents of two of our largest foreign banks.”
The woman kept speaking, but Dora could no longer hear the words. She’d gone into panic mode, wondering what on earth she’d thought when she’d told Khalil she’d wanted this particular job. She was going to fall on her butt and it was going to be very public and very—
“Your Highness?” Eva asked. “Is everything all right?”
The young woman was exceptionally pretty, with beautiful, thick hair cut in a fashionable wedge and a long jacket and skirt outlining a slender body.
“I’m fine,” Dora assured her. “Would you please upload files on those two presidents and their banks. I’m interested in their last yearly report, figures we have for the most recent two quarters, as well as copies of articles from local papers. I want to see what kind of press they’ve been getting in El Bahar. Oh, and general information on banking in general. The number of local versus foreign banks, the percent of citizens using local banks rather than foreign banks, any estimations on offshore accounts here.”
Eva scribbled notes as Dora talked. “Anything else, Your Highness?”
Dora sighed. “I know it’s important to address me respectfully, Eva, but we’re going to have to come up with something shorter than ‘Your Highness.”’
Eva smiled. “I’ll get right on all of this, ma’am.”
“You do that. Let me know when you start uploading files to my computer.”
Eva nodded and started to leave, but before she could pull the door shut behind her, Khalil appeared and pushed his way inside.
Her office was a big room, but Khalil stood well over six feet, and with him filling the space, the walls seemed to shrink together. Dora looked at her husband, half enjoying, half hating the swell of gladness that rushed through her. Despite the fact that he made her crazy, he was a very handsome man and easy to look at.
Today he wore a tailored suit that emphasized the powerful lines of his body…a body that she’d touched and tasted the previous evening until they were both breathless with desire. She’d kept true to her word and resisted him whenever he tried to make love with her. He’d also told the truth when he’d promised to seduce her night after night. They were playing a silly game, and she wasn’t sure when it was going to end, or how they were going to determine a winner. She only knew that she was ridiculously happy to see him and that she was going to do her best to keep him from knowing.
“Do you like it?” he asked, prowling around the room. “My office is right next door. I know you would have preferred something on your own, but there are proprieties. The king wasn’t sure about the wife of a prince going to work, even as a liaison.”
Dora hadn’t thought of that. “I’m sorry, Khalil. Did I make trouble between you and your father?”
He shrugged. “He came around.”
He paused in front of her desk and ran his fingers across the smooth surface. The deeply colored wood had been polished until it gleamed and reflected the brass lamp sitting by the desk blotter.
He walked to the armoire by the door and pulled it open. “The printer is in here, along with your own fax machine. It will be quieter in the cabinet. There’s a small button on your desk that will tell you when you have a fax coming in.”
He moved back to the desk and touched the phone. “My number is preprogrammed. Just push star-one and you’ll be connected right to my office. Malik is star-two and Jamal is star-three.”
“Why would I need to call your brothers?”
Khalil straightened and looked at her. “You’ll be taking over projects from all of us. While I’m responsible for all resource development, except for oil, as well as assisting emerging industries, Jamal handles the country’s finances while Malik looks after our oil interests and, as the crown prince and heir, represents El Bahar abroad. All of us have dealings with foreign businesses. Your responsibilities will put you in contact with all three of us on a regular basis.”
Dora swallowed and tried not to let her nervousness show. Once again she realized she’d been arrogant and presumptuous in her request for this job. She hadn’t thought through the scope of what she would be doing.
“I’ve asked Eva to schedule introductory meetings over the next few days,” he said. “They should get you up to speed. As you’re my wife, you’ll be reporting directly to me.”
“Yes, of course,” she said, still stunned by her blunder. Could she really do this?
“You’re not afraid, are you?”
She looked up and squared her shoulders. “Of course not. I’m more than capable.”
Khalil’s gaze was steady, as if he knew she was terrified. But he was obviously willing to let her bluff her way through. She decided that however much work it took, she would master this job and make both of them proud of her.
She crossed to her desk and took a seat. “So, do I get paid?”
She’d meant the comment as a joke, but Khalil didn’t smile. “Why would you need the money?”
To be honest, she hadn’t much thought about it. “I suppose I don’t.”
He braced his hands on the desk and leaned forward, crowding her and making her want to roll her chair away. “Make no mistake about your place in all of this. You are my wife, and you will stay my wife.”
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