The Sheikh's Accidental Heir(8)

By: Leslie North

He smiled and sat.

Dessert turned out to be custard that had been left on ice at the table. That’s where the smells were coming from. A bowl of fresh raspberries sat beside the custard, revealed only when Ahmed whisked away the silver covers that had been hiding the delicacies. Each bowl of custard sat it its own small ice bucket. He served her and she dove in—she’d never been one to pass up a dessert.

Closing her eyes, she let the mix of vanilla and spices roll around her mouth—she caught a faint hint not just of clove but a touch of brandy in the custard. Just a faint taste. It was perfect. She instantly wanted the recipe.

“Good?” Ahmed asked.

She nodded, a hand over her mouth. She swallowed and said, “Perfect. I almost hate to spoil the custard with fruit, but I need to try it that way, too.”

“I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself.” He couldn’t have sounded more satisfied with himself if he’d cooked it himself.

They ate and sipped the wine, which worked perfectly to clear the palate and add complexity to the dessert. She asked him what he’d seen of New York, and she was shocked that he’d seen nothing. “How long have you been here?”

He shrugged. “Two days of meeting after meeting after meeting. My brothers drag me from one office tower to another. I don’t even get glimpses, since I’m usually in the middle of our limo.”

She stared at her empty bowl and wrapped a hand around the stem of her wine glass. He’d given her a lovely evening—and it had been fun. She had precious little of that in her life. Looking up at him, she gave a nod. “Okay, you get two days. I’m not booked, and I’ll have to make a few calls, but we can do the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty and the 9/11 Memorial tomorrow. And a play—you have to take in a play if you’re in New York. The day after, we’ll stroll Central Park, eat hot dogs and hit the Met.”

He stared at her, eyes dark and wide. He didn’t say anything. She turned her wine glass a few times. “That is, I mean…if you want and you can get the time—”

He put his hand over hers. “I will make the time.”

“Your brothers—your business? It’ll be okay?”

He gave a nod. “If you can make the time to show me your New York, I can make the time to be a gracious guest. But only if, in turn, you will allow me to pamper you as you never have been before—the best food, the finest clothes…you have but to ask for anything and I will grant it to you. For two days.” He lifted her hand to his lips and pressed a kiss onto her palm. “For two days, we will belong to each other. We will enjoy life, yes?”

Melanie’s hand tingled under his touch. Her palm dampened, and her pulse thudded quick and hard. She parted her lips and sucked in a breath. She’d always been the girl who always played by the rules—and where had that gotten her? Well, the business would be fine for two days—George, her assistant, would see to that. Two whole days of fun. Two days of being a guide for a sheik and being treated like a princess. It was a better deal than any Cinderella had ever had.

Turning her hand in his, she gripped his tightly. “And let’s enjoy each other without any unnecessary complications.”

His ran his thumb over the back of her fingers. He stood and pulled her to her feet. “That is a deal I am more than happy to make.” Pulling her close, he kissed her.


She tasted of vanilla and wine, and she parted her lips for him, invited him to do more than take a small sample. She came into his arms, willing, her slender body pliant and warm. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she pulled him closer.

Ah, but she was heaven—she was demanding and like nothing he had ever known. He lost track of time…lost track of everything except her. The feel of her in his arms. The softness of her mouth. The sharp edge of her teeth. He almost forgot to breathe.

She pulled back slightly and stepped from his arms, her eyes glinting. Picking up her glass, she drained the last bit of her wine, tipping her head back and exposing her throat to him. “I’m not wasting an ounce of a Montrachet.”

He laughed, poured the last of the wine into her glass—and the last of his wine, too. Taking her free hand, he pulled her with him, up the stairs and to the loft bedroom.

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