The Sheikh's Secret Love Childpart #2 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise Series by Holly Rayner / Romance & Love
The Sheikh’s Secret Love Child
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:
Rosie closed her eyes as the staff door swung shut behind her, trying to slow her breathing. She’d already changed out of her scrubs, hoping to slide back into reality after countless hours on the obstetrics floor.
She couldn’t quite shake the feeling of that one woman’s hand, squeezing her fingers throughout the duration of her labor. Rosie knew the circulation would come back eventually—she’d been through it enough times before. But God, lately it seemed that every shift was more stressful than the last. And her mind, more than her fingers, was feeling the strain.
She stuck her headphones in, opting for an album her father had played for her countless times before he died, one that still calmed her. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young hummed into her ears, and she walked quickly, compiling a list in her head of all the things she needed to do once she returned home. For one, she needed to take a long, hot shower to scrub off the smell of hospital from her skin.
Downtown Seattle was mad at rush hour: people revving home from work—angry tech guys who made too much money honking their horns while shoving their glasses up their noses. She heard an ambulance roaring toward the hospital and spun her eyes away, not wanting to think about that world another moment longer. She gave the hospital enough of her time.
Rosie had lived in the city long enough—since college, actually, when she’d moved from rural Washington—to understand the wild dynamic of downtown (the very reason why she didn’t live there, although she probably couldn’t afford it anyway).
A brief moment of anxiety moved her feet more quickly. She was nearing the bus stop across the street—the final freedom. Once she hopped on the bus, which would take her back to the trendy district of Capitol Hill, she could close her eyes and truly sink into the music. She took a quick glance left, then right, and shoved out into the street in a diagonal jaywalk.
And that’s when it happened.
A bright red Lamborghini, darting fast through the streets, was headed straight toward the slim, beautiful redhead as she swept across the street, completely unaware that she was walking into traffic.
She curled her hair back, bringing her fingers through it, as the album switched to track three. Would she have chicken for dinner, she wondered. She supposed she could order pizza. God, the single life, she thought. Her last boyfriend had moved to LA two years before, and her nights had since devolved to finding solace in carbohydrates and cheese, before passing out on the sofa.
All at once, the car, with its sleek, expensive finish, swerved left to avoid her, darting left, then right. A squeal of tires brought Rosie’s eyes to the unfolding action just milliseconds before the gorgeous vehicle crashed headlong into a telephone pole, shaking the pole to its core.
Rosie let out a scream, placing her hand over her mouth and feeling that familiar panic, the one she so often had living in her gut on the obstetrics floor, flood through her.
The car scrunched almost immediately, bringing the driver’s body close to the telephone pole and spewing steam over the grass. Already, cars were stopping all around, their drivers pushing from their doors and gazing wide-eyed at the destruction. Each of them looked in mourning over the vehicle before turning their eyes toward Rosie, whose statue-like figure had begun to emit tiny tears.
“Oh my God,” she finally breathed.
She turned off her music and raced across the street, making sure to look both ways. She was always exhausted after her shifts at the hospital, but it had never led her to cause anyone else harm before.
The steam was piling high as she reached the Lamborghini—a car, she reasoned, that must have cost more than anything she’d ever purchased in her life—even more than all of those things put together. The driver was leaning forward, coughing.
Rosie thrust her hand over the handle and opened the door, gazing wide-eyed at the man. “Are you all right?” she said, breathless.
The man waved his hand, as if to prove that he could still move it. He turned his face toward her, then, and looked her in the eye—making her stomach flip in the process.
“Ah, it’s you,” he said lightly.
Something about the way he said it stirred something in Rosie immediately. She frowned, skeptical, and assessed him. The man before her looked Middle-Eastern, perhaps—and deeply handsome, with high cheek bones and a deep, gorgeous skin tone that brought out his dark brown, almost black eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” Rosie blurted out, shaking her head. “I wasn’t paying attention, and I just—”
“Walked across the street without looking?” the man finished, smiling slightly. His teeth were a supreme white, and his smile was playful, coaxing.
“I guess so,” Rosie said, blushing. “Are you okay?”
The man coughed again. “I just choked a bit on my fear of my impending doom.” He looked around, at the steam still streaming from the engine, and the glass that had dusted from the passenger window. “But I seem unscathed, don’t I? More or less?” He winked at her.
As he casually exited the squashed vehicle, Rosie watched him carefully. He was putting on a brave face for her, he had to be. If she’d been involved in this kind of crash—especially one involving so much money—she’d have been on the ground, bawling her eyes out. But then again, her mother had always said she was a bit dramatic.
“I’m so, so sorry,” Rosie said, taking his arm and guiding him from the wreck. “I’m such an idiot. My mind was in a million other places. I just left the hospital, you see… I’ve just worked twelve hours straight, and all I wanted to do was get home.” She felt small tears rally once more in her eyes, but blinked them away. She couldn’t cry in front of the man she’d nearly killed. She felt she really didn’t have the right.
The man gestured toward the car. “You know, it was just the adrenaline rush I needed, actually. It’s been kind of a boring day.”
“Boring?” Rosie shook her head, incredulous. In spite of herself, she found herself grinning at his confidence.
“Well, it’s not every day you destroy something so gorgeous,” he grinned.
Rosie bowed her head, hitting herself in the temple. How could she be so stupid? “Will… will the repairs be very costly, do you think?” she asked, feeling the creak in her voice. Was she really going to offer to pay for this? “I can come up with some kind of payment structure—something…” She trailed off, knowing she sounded pathetic, knowing there was no way she would be able to make any significant contribution to paying for the repairs.
The man flashed her that devilish grin once more, and her stomach stirred. Behind him, the car let out another creak and a puff of smoke burst from the front.
Rosie stifled a smile at the strange picture: at this gorgeous man, at the mess of his beautiful car, at the very fact that she, in her stupidity, had caused this. God, she was a klutz.
He stuck out his hand, then, and she shook it, shaking slightly. “I’m Hakan, by the way. And, you know, it’s really no problem. I was thinking about trading it in for a newer model, anyway.”
Rosie wasn’t sure what to say. She gaped at him for a moment before remembering she needed to tell him her name, as well. “It’s Rosie,” she whispered, then cleared her throat. “Rosie Lund. And I can’t imagine a better model than this.”
He slammed the car door closed and gazed at it, his hands resting on his waist. “Think we should call a tow truck?” he said, with the same nonchalance he might use if asking her where she wanted to eat dinner.
Rosie felt in her pocket for her phone. “I can call it. I’ve got it—”
But Hakan just waved his hand again, causing her to halt. “Seriously, I can get my aides to take care of it.” He laughed at her expression, at the panic she exhibited. “Really, it’s not going to be a problem. I’m sure my aides will thank you for just giving them something to fill their time.”
“They’re back at the hotel,” he said, gesturing. “I was on my way back there. The Edgewater. Do you know it?”
Rosie’s eyes widened. “Of course I know it,” she murmured.
The Edgewater was one of the most upscale hotels in all of Seattle. She’d entered it a few times back when she’d worked for a catering business as a college student, and she’d learned, once and for all, what luxury really meant.
Hakan began to rub his hands over his pockets, searching for something, distracted. He frowned before snapping his fingers and leaning down into his car, his fingers tentative over the shards of glass.
“Be careful!” Rosie said quickly.
But Hakan came back with several pieces of his iPhone, grinning. “It wasn’t enough just to destroy my car, was it?”
Rosie looked horrified before realizing Hakan was joking once more. “You can use mine!” She gestured, handing him the phone she could hardly pay for. She was willing, in that moment, to give him her arm, if it meant her guilt would go away.
“Don’t be silly. You know where the Edgewater is, right?”
She nodded, her eyes bright.
“And I don’t know where it is. And I don’t have my phone to call anyone to come get me…”
Rosie frowned, unsure. “Do you, um. Need me to take you to there?” Her heart had quickened at the thought.
Hakan snapped his fingers, his eyebrows high. “Exactly. Knew you’d get there eventually.”
Rosie found herself grinning, so unsure about the man before her. Why didn’t he seem angry? Why was he willing to just leave his million-dollar Lamborghini there, on the side of the road, without a care?
She swallowed, realizing that it could have been a lot worse. She could have had a serious lawsuit on her hands.
“Well, let’s get going, then!” she said, clapping her hands softly.
Rosie felt like an idiot, but noticed that Hakan’s eyes shone with laughter as he turned and followed her down the street. She felt his gaze on her back, and she shivered, bringing her shoulders up higher. She didn’t want to seem too tired. She picked her feet up higher, beginning to relax; she wasn’t dead, and neither was he.
After a moment, Hakan joined her in stride, and she gave him a side-glance, wondering what to ask a man who seemed so important that he hadn’t batted an eyelash after the wreck. “So, what brings you to Seattle?” she asked him.
“Business, actually,” he said brightly. “Seattle never gets old for me. Not as chaotic as New York—where, for your information, I’ve actually never had a car accident.”
Rosie bowed her head slightly, knowing he was being playful. Was he flirting with her? She hadn’t been flirted with in so long, she wasn’t sure she’d recognize it.
“Yeah, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I’ve lived here about ten years now, which seems insane. Time really flies.”
“It does indeed. What do you do here?” he asked.
Rosie was taken aback by the question, blinking wildly. She was unaccustomed to answering questions about herself. “I’m a nurse, actually,” she said. “Obstetric nurse.”
“What’s that like?”
Again with the questions. His fingers were so close to hers as they walked, she was frightened they would brush against each other.
“Stressful,” she sighed. “I just finished a shift a few minutes ago. This woman grabbed my hand for hours during labor, and I was sure she would break my bones. You really don’t know your strength until you become a mother.”
Hakan laughed appreciatively. “But the baby was born healthy, and all that?”
“And all that,” Rosie said, smiling. Perhaps it was her turn to be playful. “A beautiful, healthy girl. It never gets old, that moment.”
“I can imagine.”
They were quiet for a moment, walking along the sidewalk. When people passed them, Hakan paused, allowing Rosie to go ahead. He would catch up with long strides immediately afterwards, demonstrating a level of manners that Rosie hadn’t viewed in any man since her father.
As she compared him to her father, Rosie realized she’d grown quiet. She cleared her throat, hoping to break up the awkwardness. The Edgewater Hotel wasn’t so far away, and yet, she was worried that he’d find her boring before they even caught sight of it.
“And what do you do? You said you were in Seattle on business?”
Nice one, Rosie, she thought. Ask him about his job. That’s really exciting.
“Yeah,” Hakan said. “I work in the media.”
“The media,” Rosie murmured, toying with the cryptic nature of the word. What did that mean, exactly? Was he a journalist? Was he on television? Of course he is, look at him, she thought, with that deep, syrupy voice, and those bright, straight teeth. “Well, that sounds exciting.”
“It can be,” Hakan affirmed, shrugging. He looked around him as they walked toward Pike Place Market, one of the most beautiful and vibrant parts of the city. “I came down here yesterday, by myself,” he said, gesturing around them. “They were throwing the fish at the market. One flew up and smacked an older lady in the face and she didn’t bat an eyelid. I couldn’t believe it. You Seattle folks are really tough, aren’t you?”
Rosie laughed. “I’ve never seen that happen before,” she admitted. “But I hardly come down here anymore. I kind of miss it, actually.” She and her college roommates used to go to Pike Place for lunch, running home in the rain after loading themselves on roasted nuts and fish sandwiches.
“You don’t live nearby?” he asked.
“It’s close, sure. I live in Capitol Hill. It’s just not convenient all the time.”
“Ah, Capitol Hill. The ‘trendy neighborhood,’” he teased, giving her that grin again.
Rosie had begun to feel nervous, trailing her fingers through her hair. Something about this guy was gnawing on her, making her want to run away. She knew that was her social anxiety stirring, her fear that he would run away first. After all, she wanted him to stay, to continue asking her silly questions, to continue teasing her. She had promised her best friend, Amy, that she would be more open to guys. But this gorgeous man—with his Lamborghini and his job in the media, was he really even a prospect?
Rosie shook her head, her red curls wavering across her shoulders. She was probably just tired from the stress of it all, she thought. She knew Hakan would forget about her the moment he stepped into the grandeur of the Edgewater, and she would do the same when she leaped on the bus. She would return to her normal life.
“Here we are,” she said, gesturing toward the hotel which towered into the air, edging up against the gray Seattle clouds.
“Ah, that wasn’t so difficult,” Hakan said, bringing his arms to his hips. Rosie couldn’t help but notice the way his muscles quaked beneath his shirt. “Guess it’s time for me to wake the aides up to rescue my Lamborghini.”
Rosie smiled at him, knowing their time together had come to a close. She felt a cut in her lip come open from all the smiling, and the taste of iron slid over her tongue.
She searched for the right words. “Well, again. I’m so sorry about everything. And if I can do anything—” She flubbed her words, thinking about all the money she owed him: more money than she’d seen in her life. The payment plan would stretch on to her grandchildren.
But Hakan waved his hand, turning toward the pillar they stood beside and scribbling with a pen on a small piece of paper.
Rosie frowned, crossing her arms, falling to her social anxiety again. Behind her, Seattle’s traffic was blaring in full-force. Before her, was the water. She was standing between chaos and calm. She was losing her sense of self.
After a moment, Hakan spun back and, suddenly, wrapped his strong arms around her, closing her into an unexpected hug.
Shocked, she unstrung her arms from her chest to wrap them around his body, patting him soundly on the back. She laughed, feeling the giggles bubbling in her stomach.
“It has been a sincere pleasure, Rosie. And thank you for your help today. I would never have found the place without you,” Hakan said, bowing his head to her before spinning back and up the steps, into the hotel.
Rosie watched him, her head tilted, memorizing the way he had smiled at her, at the way his chest had felt against her cheek when he’d hugged her. Outside of work, she hadn’t had physical contact with another person in quite some time, let alone an attractive man. She shivered, feeling the utter surprise of being thanked for wrecking someone else’s car. Did he not remember the circumstances that had led to her helping him? Did he not care?
She slipped her hands down her flat stomach, to her pants, and discovered something sharp and jagged sticking out of her pockets. She glanced down and saw the corner of a thick business card jutting out, as if Hakan had shoved it there, mid-hug.
She turned, taking the object in her fingers and twirling it, awestruck. She felt as if she’d discovered a treasure. She walked toward the water, the breeze tickling her cheeks, as she read the name on the card: Sheikh Hakan Al-Raffayk Bin Zayn.
Sheikh? The name was longer than most sentences. And beneath it were the words “InZayn Media Agency.”
The words gave her pause. She had certainly heard the name of this agency before—what she now learned was a play on Hakan’s last name. She swallowed, realizing that when he’d said he worked in media, that he literally was the media—so much of it, anyway. She read much of his publication and partners’ works on her days off. She watched that news channel, as well. Had she seen him before, one of those lost faces on television?
Regardless, this turn of events explained the Lamborghini—and his nonchalance about wrecking it—much, much better.
Beneath the title of Hakan’s media agency was his phone number, an area code from across the country. And there, beneath the number, was his very own handwriting. There on his business card, he’d scrawled the words “Call me!”
She brought the card to her chest, her heart beating madly. Already, this man represented so many strange things. And, she thought absently, perhaps the strangest one of all was that he was interested in her.