The Sheikh's Accidental Heir(5)

By: Leslie North



Khalid strode off to Zaid’s side. Ahmed turned away from him—his older brother was wrong. Someday Ahmed would earn their father’s respect. Just not today, given what he was planning.

The party seemed to be winding down—guests were taking their leave. Khalid and Zaid still worked the room, and Ahmed sat where he was, frowning at his water and wondering why Khalid’s words stuck under his skin like a sliver of glass.

Find something he wanted?

Was he not always doing that? And always having his father or his brothers tell him that was not a fit thing for the son of the Sultan of Sharjah? Of course, that only made him go out to find yet another thing to irritate his father. He knew he enjoyed that a little too much—it had been his only hobby growing up and the only way to ever get his father’s attention. Well, too late to break such a habit now.

He grinned suddenly. Besides, it gave his father more to do—Father adored nothing more than a good lecture.

“Standing, he set his water down, smoothed his suit and headed over to shake the hands of their last guests.

Turning to Zaid, he said, “I think the caterer is ready to shut it down, so we should probably call it a night.” And please get yourselves back to your own rooms.

Zaid frowned, but it was obvious Khalid wanted to leave—no doubt to have a long talk with his wife who waited for him. Ahmed put on the innocent smile he had perfected over the years—as if he had no plans at all. But he was very much planning on an evening he would not soon forget—one with the lovely Melanie.





2





“You waited!” Melanie couldn’t hide the surprise or excitement in her voice when she found her gorgeous sheik waiting just outside the hotel. One look at him and she’d figured him as a flirt—he had that look in his eyes, part mischief and part trouble and way too attractive. She also knew her own weakness—she loved bad boys.

He gave her an easy grin, one that had her heart speeding up and left her palms damp. “Did you think I wouldn’t show?”

“Admittedly, yes. You seem the type who’d have a steady supply of women eager to spend time with you.” His dark eyebrows pulled tight and a touch of hurt lightened his eyes. She stared back at him, daring him to try a line on her.

Slowly, the spark came back into his eyes. He’d changed from his suit into jeans and a black polo that he wore open at the neck. She could see a touch of curling, dark chest hair peeking out and golden-brown skin. His dark hair had a touch of wave in it and reached almost to his shoulders, framing his strong face. A neatly trimmed beard followed a firm jaw line, emphasizing solid features. Earlier, he’d looked bored—and she’d pegged him as the son who hated business. The playboy son. Now she wasn’t so sure. There seemed to be hidden depths to Ahmed.

He spread his hands wide. “While I will admit that yes, most women seem to throw themselves at me.” He paused to look her up and down. “I do enjoy a bit of a chase.”

“So, what, I’m a rabbit now?” She mimicked his gaze, looking him over. “To your wolf?”

Taking her arm, he led her to a black sedan that seemed to be waiting for them at the curb. “Well, you know what they say about rabbits.”

Melanie blushed, but she met his stare. “What—they taste like chicken?”

He laughed. The driver held the door for them. She glanced at it. Was she ready for this? How long had it been since she’d last been on a date? She brushed at her black trousers—she hadn’t even had a chance to change. She glanced back at Ahmed. She was pretty sure she could guess where this was heading, but dammit, she was tired of being too responsible, too hard working and being the girl who never had any fun.

Going out with Ahmed—a real prince, the son of the Sultan of Sharjah—was at least going to make for a great story someday. Weren’t her friends always telling her she was always following the rules—and not really getting anywhere because of that?

Throwing caution to the wind, she stepped into the car and slid across the backseat. The leather smelled new, gave like a dream and there was enough room to almost call this a New York apartment.

Ahmed slipped in beside her, saying, “Just so you know, I don’t care for salad.”

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