The sheikhs twin baby su.., p.1
The Sheikh's Twin Baby Surprise, p.1Part #1 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner
The Sheikh’s Twin Baby Surprise
By Holly Rayner
Copyright 2016 by Holly Rayner
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part by any means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the explicit written permission of the author.
All characters depicted in this fictional work are consenting adults, of at least eighteen years of age. Any resemblance to persons living or deceased, particular businesses, events, or exact locations are entirely coincidental.
Table Of Contents:
I let out a deep sigh and looked out the limo window. Evening was falling on the desert city like elegant drapery, lights flickering on in buildings and street shops, but the streets were no less bustling than usual.
The culture of Al-Thakri was a lively, social one, and it showed in every inch of its capital city. Beautiful women clapped along the sidewalks in stiletto heels and smart skirts, while men in fine, tailored suits bid them good evening, phones plastered to their ears.
Dotted in between the modern skyscrapers and high-rises, the buildings of old Al-Thakri remained, sand and limestone facades that had survived centuries of wear and war and desert heat to stand as testaments of a glorious past. The sphinx—the symbol of Al-Thakri—was everywhere, used as decoration on buildings new and old alike.
The place was a wonderland; a fairy tale I never would have thought I’d be able to experience.
And yet, even so soon after arriving, I was considering leaving it all behind. It had only been six months since I had been scooped up by the royal family of this beautiful nation to serve as a private doctor to the eldest son, but it felt like much longer.
The limo came to a smooth stop at a traffic light, and at the edge of my attention I heard a soft but insistent voice.
“Dr. Green? What are you thinking?”
It was Omar—or, more properly, the Sheikh of Al-Thakri, next in line to the throne, and my employer.
I turned at the sound of his voice, and saw his dark, handsome face staring back at me with some anticipation. His deep brown eyes glittered. In front of him, he was holding up two velvet boxes, each of which contained a pair of cufflinks.
“Diamond or ruby?” he asked me earnestly.
I took a thoughtful glance at each of the options and let my eyes wander over Omar’s face, and his perfectly tailored tuxedo. Something bright was shining in his eyes tonight.
“Ruby,” I said, pointing a freshly manicured finger at the velvet box on the right.
Omar smiled, as if he had been hoping for that answer. He snapped the box holding the diamond cufflinks shut. “Good choice.”
“I’m not really qualified to make decisions like that, you know,” I said back to him with just a hint of teasing in my voice. “My stylist at the palace would agree. She almost fainted when she saw the wardrobe I brought with me. So my apologies if you happen to get any comments about your cufflinks tonight.”
Omar laughed richly, and a happy bloom spread out in my chest as I laughed with him.
I didn’t add that it was nice to be of some use around him lately. As a physician who had spent two years treating patients in war-torn countries with Doctors Without Borders, the current environment was giving me more than a touch of the doldrums. It wasn’t something I had admitted to the Sheikh—I was having a hard enough time admitting it to myself.
The luxurious living that came with being included in the royal entourage was amazing. The fact that I had earned enough money in six months not only to deal with the angry letters regarding my overdue student loan payments, but also to put away a sizeable nest egg for the next journey in my life, were benefits for which I was extremely grateful. But there wasn’t much use for a trauma physician in the entourage of a healthy, young, handsome Sheikh who never got more than the occasional scrape from playing tennis. He hadn’t even caught a cold once the entire six months I had been in his employment. Frankly, I was bored out of my mind, and more than a little upset at the implications my boredom made about me as a person.
Maybe I was a terrible person, but the dullness of my employment here made me long for the dust and heat of the field hospitals where my hands actually felt like they were making a difference in the world. I saved countless lives in those two years—and lost a few, to be sure, ghosts that follow every doctor, nurse and midwife in the world. But there was no question that I was making a difference. There was no question that I was loved and appreciated by the people I helped.
But here? In the air-conditioned, oil-rich cities of Al-Thakri, living alongside some of the richest rulers in the world, I wasn’t so sure I was making a difference at all, and it was starting to grate on me.
At least I knew how to pick out a pair of cufflinks, I thought bitterly.
“Almost arrived, sir,” the driver, Abdul, called from the front of the limo.
“Wonderful,” said Omar. He finished putting on the cufflinks and gave me a big, beaming smile.
It made my stomach flutter. I did my best to keep from blushing as I smiled back.
The smile—and the butterflies—died quickly when Omar spoke. “I hope Jada is wearing something with a fiery tint to it. It will match the rubies.”
I nodded quickly and turned back to look through the window. “Yes, it would,” I said quietly.
I didn’t want to talk about his date—not this one, nor any of the others he’d had lately. In the past six months, an endless parade of heiresses and princesses had rotated in and out of the Sheikh’s life, all vying for his favor. He’d been set to take the throne ever since the death of his father, some months before I arrived, but he would need a queen alongside him to make it proper—a queen who would give him an heir to continue the royal bloodline.
I couldn’t quite admit to myself just how much it was beginning to hurt to watch the courtships from afar.
I’d long ago stopped resenting the girls personally, and I expected that Jada would be no different. Most of them were too vapid and shallow to hate properly; instead, they had become a faceless mass of competition for a man who didn’t even realize I felt anything for him.
Somehow, that made it all worse.
The car glided to a halt on the curb next to a glittering, high-rise building. Smartly-dressed shoppers glanced curiously at the tinted windows, but didn’t slow their pace down the landscaped sidewalk.
We’d barely waited a moment before the doors of the high-rise were opened by a doorman in a maroon uniform, and out from behind him came the woman who must have been Jada.
I felt a pit form in my stomach; she was a goddess with tanned skin, black hair, and a body like a supermodel. Her plump lips were stained a beautiful shade of red, and her black eyeliner was painted in a perfect cat’s eye that would have taken me weeks to apply on my own. I said a silent prayer for the stylists in the palace that I was able to access.
Of course, she was wearing red.
As she approached the car, I moved to sit next to Rafiq, Omar’s most trusted bodyguard who never left his side. Jada stepped into the car, moving carefully in her stiletto heels, and sat down next to Omar, smiling beautifully as he leaned over to kiss her cheek. She gushed over him until she noticed the rest of the entourage in the limo—myself and Rafiq—and her face squished like she smelled something rotten.
“This is my physician, Dr. Carrie Green,” Omar said, with a hand extended my direction. “She and Rafiq are my constant companions.”
“Constant?” repeated Jada suspiciously. “Why do you need a doctor everywhere you go? Are you ill?”
“No, no,” laughed Omar, sliding an arm around the back of the seat and her thin shoulders. “But a man in my position can’t afford to take any risks with my health. If someone were to make an attempt on my life, Dr. Green here could be the one to save me.” He looked at me with a glint in his eye. I smiled back.
“Someone is trying to assassinate you?” Jada’s voice sounded like she couldn’t decide if she was afraid or impressed—maybe a little of both.
Omar shrugged. “One never knows where the streets of his journey will take him.”
Jada said nothing in reply as the royal motorcade pulled back onto the streets, and I couldn’t help assuming that she was wondering if she’d bitten off more than she could chew.
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