The Sheikh's Accidental Heir(2)

By: Leslie North

“Beautiful,” he muttered.

Glancing up at him, she frowned and lowered her phone. “I’m sorry, what?”

He gestured to the skyline. “The view. It’s beautiful, yes?”

She looked where he was pointing and nodded. The sun pulled rays of gold and red from her dark hair and touched a little gold to her skin. “When you live here, you don’t often get the view from the thirtieth floor.”

“Would you like a drink?” He waved back toward the bar. “I could fetch us each something wet, miss…?”

“It’s Melanie, and no, thank you.” She smiled with just a curve of her lips, and he noticed her lower lip was full and sensual. “I’m still on duty.” Her voice was light, but her words carried a tinge of sharpness.

Ahmed chuckled and put out his hand. “I’m Ahmed. And now you sound like one of my father’s security men. My father would certainly prefer the bartender serve only our American business partners.”

She shook his hand, her grip firm. He liked her utterly Western attitude. Pulling her hand from his, she asked, “A traditionalist?” She tucked her phone back into a back pocket.

He leaned his shoulder against the wall next to her. This close, he could smell a hint of something like lemon—her shampoo perhaps. “Old fashioned is a better description. And angry.”

She tipped her head to one side. “Sounds like there must be a story there.” She nodded again, but didn’t ask questions.

Gesturing back to the door behind them, he found he wanted to tell her more. Something about those sparkling green eyes, shimmering with intelligence and a touch of sympathy invited a confidence. “My brothers and I aren’t above enjoying a good party or three. Things got out of hand at one of them, and word got back to him. So now we must work—and report back daily as if we are all still boys.”

She gave a laugh, and he liked the sound of it. A throaty chuckle, deep and genuine. “Dads always find out. But…aren’t you three pretty big to be doing what Dad always wants?”

He shrugged. “Habits are hard to break. Our father has trained us well to do as he asks—and to risk his temper…well, it is not always us who suffer but those around him. So we try carefully to protect them.”

“Ah, more of a when the cat’s not looking, the mice—” She broke off the words and looked him over, her eyes warming and the smile lifting the corners of her mouth again. “Okay, that image won’t work with any of you guys… Foxes loose in a hen house? Wolfs in the fold?”

Laughing, he shook his head. He forced his mouth down and tried to look serious. “We are most definitely not foxes.”

“Ah, I noticed you didn’t say anything about wolves.” Her voice was lovely, like music drifting past on a warm, summer night. Her lips perfectly formed every word as she spoke, taking their time as if carefully tasting each sound as it passed.

Ahmed looked her up and down again, making sure she saw his gaze was drifting over her body. “I’d like to make use of that pool at some point. Seems a shame to waste such a temptation. You should join me.”

Tipping her head to the side, she met his stare, her own equally assessing and—he thought—interested. But she shook her head and her mouth pulled down ever so slightly. She had a very straight nose—almost a little too strong for her face—and strong bones. And a determined chin. “A swimsuit isn’t part of my uniform.”

Leaning toward her, he let his arm brush hers. “Perfect. We can—”

She put a hand over his mouth. Her fingers weren’t soft, but were roughened by work. She also smelled of champagne and shrimp. “Don’t say it. Let’s not spoil the evening with clichés about skinny dipping. I gave that up in my college years.”

Taking her hand, he held onto the tips of her fingers. “I was going to say, we can sit with our feet in the water, looking over the city as if we owned it.”

She gave another soft, deep laugh. “Sure you were.”

“Now I am determined to figure out how to get you away from work. What if I pay your boss to let you take the rest of the day off?”

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