The Sheikh's Accidental Heir(6)

By: Leslie North

She gave a laugh. “So, what did you have in mind?” She couldn’t believe she was in the car with an Arabian sheik and suddenly realized her words sounded more like a come on. “I mean, were you thinking pizza? We’ve got great Greek, but maybe that’s too close to home.”

He smiled and the leather creaked as he shifted a little closer. “I trust you haven’t had dinner.”

Melanie glanced at the driver. Traffic was thick this time of night, and they’d be lucky to get into a good restaurant. “My dinner is usually leftovers from the trays we were serving.”

He shook his head. “That is not a meal. What if we have dinner prepared for us back at my personal suite by Michelin Star chef, Michael Stubon?”

“I thought you wanted a real New York experience?”

“Is that not an experience? I am sure it will be delightful.”

“Sounds like it, and dinner prepared by Stubon is tempting, but I’ve got another idea.” Leaning forward, she gave the driver the address to Katz’s. The car pulled out into traffic, and the driver wove through the cars like a pro.

Melanie glanced over to find Ahmed watching her. She was pretty sure he didn’t know she wasn’t just a worker at MM Catering. She owned the business, but he’d spoken to her as if she was just one of the staff members. She liked the idea of being…well, being Cinderella for an evening. With a real prince and everything. Depending on how things went, she’d decide later just what more he needed to know.

So she asked him about his brothers, about his life back home, about his business interests in New York. He waved off the last question, talked with a touch of admiration about his two older brothers—as if he didn’t want to admit he cared for them, even though he did. She thought she saw something more in him than just a playboy prince.

But then he’d give her that crooked smile of his—the one that lit a slow light in his eyes—and she was pretty damn sure he was trouble on two legs. Muscles under the shirt suggested a body custom made for sin. His dark eyes would be any girl’s downfall, and the charm he had going was a weapon that would melt any woman’s heart.

Fun only, she reminded herself. She didn’t need man-trouble, but a fantasy night out was not a bad thing.

The sedan pulled up in front of the address she’d given the driver. She got out without waiting for anyone to open the door. Ahmed frowned at that, but she came around, grabbed his hand and pulled him into Katz’s Deli.

The place was packed, but Katz’s was generally packed at four in the morning or four in the afternoon. She dragged Ahmed to seats at the counter. He was glancing around as if he wasn’t sure about any of this, but Sybil was working—the woman looked as if she’d been here for sixty years, and that might be the truth.

“Whadda ya have?” Sybil asked in a shout that carried over the clatter of dishes and the noise of the hard walls in the diner.

Melanie glanced at Ahmed. He waved for her to go ahead. She ordered the pastrami on rye and knockwurst—there were other things on the menu that were a New York blessing, but Katz’s pastrami was hand sliced, perfectly seasoned and just about melted in your mouth. Ahmed glanced around again, but no one was giving him more than a glance. Not with a lady in real diamonds and a fur—worn even on a summer evening—at one table in a hard-backed chair, a few Goth punks clinging to their outdated retro eighties look, a couple of taxi drivers who’d stopped in and sat near a window to keep an eye on their cab, and a few custom Brooks Brothers suits who looked like they were straight off Wall Street trading floors. Katz’s catered to anyone with the money to buy a meal.

Ahmed started to ask about herself, but the food came out on heavy china plates, served with coffee they hadn’t ordered—Sybil liked to tell you what you needed with your meal. The bill was slapped down, and Melanie swapped half the pastrami onto the knockwurst plate. “Eat it while it’s hot like this.”

She cut off a hunk of his knockwurst and shoveled a forkful of bliss into her mouth. She closed her eyes and let the tastes wrap around her tongue—crisp meat seasoned by a decades’ old grill, with a touch of grease. What was more New York than this? Opening her eyes, she saw Ahmed watching her, elbow propped on the counter and a smile curving his mouth. “You are a sensualist.”

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