The sheikhs purchased br.., p.16
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       The Sheikh's Purchased Bride, p.16

         Part #3 of The Sheikh's Every Wish series by Holly Rayner
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ELEVEN

  One morning, a couple of weeks after their conversation by the statue, Amie was enjoying some quality time with Malik, before she would head to his mother’s in the afternoon.

  Amie was an endless chatterbox over the coffee and fruit bowls that Malik had prepared. It seemed that almost every morning he was up before her, ensuring there would be a delicious breakfast waiting for the two of them. This morning she found that she couldn’t stop talking, about the day ahead, the monuments they’d seen the days prior and the reading she’d done about them before bed…

  Yet, Malik seemed farther away than she was used to. Sure, he smiled at her quips and responded with laughter in the right places, but something about him seemed… off.

  “How long will you be out with my mother today?” he asked, casually sipping his coffee.

  “Probably a couple of hours, why?” Amie smiled and set her cup down with a louder clink than she’d meant to. “You got big plans for me tonight, mister?”

  Malik stared down at the newspaper; not to read, but to fill in the crossword. “No, actually,” he breathed slowly. “I have some business to attend to today, and I probably won’t be back until after you’re asleep.”

  “Oh.”

  “I’ll leave the car with you. My driver will take you to my mother’s and then anywhere else you like after that.”

  She nodded slowly and spun her teaspoon in her coffee cup; careful not to let the spoon ding any of the edges. “Company business?” she prodded cautiously, hoping her tone didn’t betray the tinge of jealousy she felt.

  “That’s right,” he said simply. No explanation.

  If she didn’t know any better she would say he was angry with her. Actually, the more she thought about it, the more it felt like she was angry with him.

  She found herself growing eerily quiet after that, unable to help but wonder where he was really going. Was it for work, or pleasure? She had no right to be jealous, she knew, but she couldn’t help the sick pang that shot through her stomach as she wondered if he would be entertaining another woman for the day.

  “You don’t mind that I’m hanging out with your mom, do you?”

  “Hanging out?” Malik laughed. “No! Why, do you think I’m feeling left out?”

  She shrugged and mocked, “I don’t know, she makes a pretty mean baklava.”

  With a long sip, Malik finished the last of his coffee and set the cup in the sink. “Don’t I know it,” he teased. “Come here for a second, I want to show you something.”

  She blinked and stood from her chair to follow him, delighted as he grabbed onto her hand to lead the way. With that, it was official: she had a crush on her boss. The way he talked, moved, spoke, ate—it didn’t matter, it all sent butterflies through her stomach. She was trying her best to stay professional, but with every day and every inch of hidden affection he showed her, she fell deeper and deeper into his charms.

  He showed her to a room at the farthest end of the hall; the home theater. It was a medium size, with eight comfortable lounge chairs set in two rows of four at the center. At the far wall was an oversized projector screen. The whole room was made to look like an old-fashioned theater. Large speakers that could be seen peeking through red velvet curtains that hung at the side of either wall.

  “What’s all this?” she asked with surprise.

  He shrugged. “Sometimes sitting on the couch just doesn’t cut it.”

  He pulled her by the hand and led her down the sloped room to where he had set up an array of pre-packaged sweet and salty snacks. On one of the center chairs was a collection of oversized pillows and a large blanket from a guest room. This must be what jumping into a pile of leaves feels like when you’re five years old, Amie thought to herself.

  “I felt bad that I won’t be back till late tonight, so I have you set up for a proper marathon,” he said, handing her a nearby remote. “Just choose whichever movie you want off of the screen and be prepared for a night of relaxation.”

  “Does a personal masseuse jump out of there too?” she winked.

  Malik merely smiled and got cozy in the chair he had set up for her, piling the blanket into a heap on his lap. “Pretty comfortable, if I do say so myself.”

  She laughed. “Can’t take your word for it. I’d better try it out for myself.”

  With that, she jumped into his lap and sprawled her legs across him. She squished into his lap as though she were a cat preparing for a nap before declaring that she’d found the most comfortable spot in the house.

  So much for professionalism.

  Malik laughed and grabbed her waist to tickle her. She squealed and squirmed against him until the two of them were sitting dangerously close to one another.

  “Hey,” she said in almost a whisper; her laughter still creeping on her lips. “Thank you. This was the sweetest thing ever.”

  “Sure, no problem.”

 
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