Think Memoirs of a Geisha meets Taken.
…A young Arabian Queen must marry a wild, wicked and wilful Desert Prince to save her people from civil unrest and protect the wealth of her Kingdom…Charisse never expected to find love with a man who looked and lived like a rock star rather than a prince…But tragic events in her past threaten to destroy her Kingdom and her life, too…Can their fragile love survive…
Khalid entered an airy and light space with huge doors on all sides open to the elements and stopped dead.
Well, well, this was a pleasant surprise.
While the rest of the palace was luxurious, furnished with heavy teak and decorated in a traditional Arabic style that tended to make it dark and claustrophobic, here the walls were chalk white with huge paintings, slashes of modern art, hung strategically around the room. A log burner in brushed stainless steel rose majestically through the cavernous ceiling. The space throbbed with energy and life.
It smelled of candle wax, flowers, and warm woman.
The maid indicated a couple of seven foot sofas set at right angles and groaning under the weight of silk cushions in bright jewelled colours edged with gold tassels. “Please sit, Highness.”
She closed the double doors to the suite quietly behind her.
Khalid picked a seat which gave him the best view of the room.
Intrigued, he leaned back, crossed long legs, and made himself comfortable.
Glass bowls teaming with fresh flowers scented the air.
Beeswax candles, thick as a man’s fist, marched down a wide coffee table made of tempered glass holding a variety of books on antiquity along with the latest glossy western magazines for women.
A movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention.
Two wolfhounds with rough shaggy coats of dirty grey sat like statues at the entrance to another space. Hazel eyes studied him with interest.
“Would you like tea or coffee?” A young woman’s voice called out.
His brows rose.
Must be another maid, and one who didn’t know her place. Domestic staff did not shout at an El Haribe Prince.
Imagining his brother’s outrage at the break of strict protocol, Khalid grinned.
The dogs rose, moving as one and padded before a metal and glass tea trolley pushed by one of the most beautiful young women Khalid had ever seen.
And he’d seen more than his fair share.
He thought she looked vaguely familiar.
His mind flicked through a mental file of women, but he couldn’t place her.
A silver waterfall of hair fell to a narrow waist.
She was dressed in pale blue designer jeans that fitted her in all the right places and a pale grey Rolling Stones short sleeved T-shirt. She was tall. Five feet eight inches and about one hundred and ten pounds. A bit on the skinny side. Her small breasts were high and firm. The long limbs and fine bones were all in proportion. Combined with a lightly tanned skin, she was simply stunning.
But it was the large eyes that caught Khalid’s lungs.
They were a sparkling blue, the colour of a Mediterranean sky in summer, and edged with thick dark lashes.
He read a fierce intelligence, curiosity and a deep sadness in their beautiful depths.
Those marvellous eyes blinked into his.
“Would you like milk?”
Her soft voice was well-educated with a hint of France, and that voice slid over his senses like warm honey.
She smiled and Khalid’s mind went blank.
“Ah, black… thank you.”
He accepted a bone china cup and saucer and frowned at her, almost certain that he’d seen her before. “Have we met?” he asked now.
Those amazing eyes stared deep into his.
And he was sincerely shocked to read something like contempt.
“Oh, I know who you are, Prince El Haribe. My late husband followed your… exploits very carefully.”
Using small tongs, she placed a couple of tiny pastries on a plate and offered it to him. Another too polite smile had him narrow his eyes.
He took the plate as she poured herself a coffee, popped a pastry in her sensual mouth and sat next to him.
Then she leaned back to study him.
“Your late husband?” Khalid murmured unable to tear his eyes away from hers.
Cocking her blonde head in a way that made him decide she looked utterly adorable, her smile curled his toes as more mischief entered those fabulous eyes.
She placed her cup and saucer on the table and held out her hand.
Khalid placed his hand in hers.
It wasn’t electricity that jolted up his arm but a buzzing attraction that made his heart beat too fast and made him go as hard as a rock. He couldn’t help but savour the moment, it had been a very long time since a woman had affected him like this.
Her hand was delicately boned.
The skin was soft, silky smooth to his touch as the scent of vanilla, honeysuckle and shampoo along with warm woman spun around his heightened senses.
Her blue eyes glittered into his and her voice sounded so husky it tingled the base of his spine and shot liquid fire into his groin.
“Charisse El Haribe. I believe I am to be your wife. How do you do?”
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