Read Personal Assistance (Entangled Ignite) Online

Authors: Louise Rose-Innes

Tags: #Ignite, #romantic suspense, #Louise Rose-Innes, #romance, #soldier, #Personal Assistance, #entangled, #special forces

Personal Assistance (Entangled Ignite)

BOOK: Personal Assistance (Entangled Ignite)
8.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Her life is in the hands of a man she can’t trust…

Trapped in a country in the midst of a rebellion, Hannah Evans is on the run for her life. Her only hope of escape is to join forces with disgraced Special Forces operative Tom Wilde, who is overseeing the extraction of all British nationals from the embassy. It’s a form of punishment for his last failed mission, from which neither his body, nor his mind, has fully recovered. When he meets Hannah, he sees an opportunity to redeem himself. The information she holds is important enough to end the civil war—all he needs to do is get her out of the war-ridden country alive and back to Britain.

The sexual attraction between them is too intense to ignore, but Hannah knows the career-soldier has a hidden agenda. Can she trust him to lead her to safety, or will he sacrifice her in his bid for redemption?

Personal

Assistance

Louise Rose-Innes

Table of Contents

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2014 by Louise Rose-Innes. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Entangled Publishing, LLC

2614 South Timberline Road

Suite 109

Fort Collins, CO 80525

Visit our website at
www.entangledpublishing.com
.

Ignite is an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC.

Edited by Tracy Montoya

Cover design by Fiona Jayde

ISBN 978-1-62266-208-1

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition August 2014

For Mum.

Chapter One

The document that was to change her life looked like any other official document. It was on crisp, white paper, had the royal logo emblazoned on the top, and was held together by a single staple. The words
For HRH Prince Hakeem’s Eyes Only
spread across the top page in a somewhat ominous manner, but then again, Hannah had seen many such documents in her six-month tenure as the prince of Syman’s personal assistant.

She smiled as she picked it up off her desk and headed toward the prince’s personal chambers. It was early, not yet seven o’clock, and the prince would still be in his dressing room. All important documents were to be handed to him without delay.

She enjoyed her job at the royal compound. Syman was a fairly Westernized Arab nation, and being an island kingdom, it had many exotic coastal resorts and casinos where the rich and famous flocked to on weekends and holidays. As the prince’s PA, Hannah often accompanied him to events at the glamorous hotels and resorts and frequently shopped in the dazzling shopping malls. It was pretty much a dream job.

But glamour wasn’t the only reason Hannah had taken the job. After her father had disowned her for not “doing her duty” and joining the family business, Hannah had needed a way to support herself. With what the prince was paying her, she could save enough in two years to return to London and open up her own PR firm. That was her real goal: independence—and a job she enjoyed.

The sound of her father’s disapproving voice still echoed in her mind.

Evans and Sons is one of the most prestigious accounting firms in the region. It’s your duty to join the company.

The only problem was Hannah didn’t want to work at the family firm. Accounting wasn’t for her. She was a people person, like her mother. A future in public relations was what she wanted, and this job was a step in the right direction. Being so involved with the Prince of Syman would look great on her CV.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Hannah turned a corner and careened straight into a cleaning lady with arms full of dirty linen. She spoke Arabic in the local Symanian dialect, which she’d learned from her grandparents as a child. It was the chief reason why the Prince had hired her over the other English-speaking applicants.

The girl gasped and then dropped to her knees to pick up the discarded linen. Hannah apologized a second time and bent down to pick up the document, which had been knocked out of her grasp. It had fallen open to the first page, and Hannah’s hand froze in midair as her eyes took in the meaning of the Arabic words.

Evacuation & Measures For Civil Unrest

Unrest?
There had been rumors, but nothing concrete. Her mind struggled to make sense of the heading. Without touching the document, she read on…

With civil unrest in neighboring Arab nations such as Egypt and Syria, plans must be put in place for the evacuation of the royal family and subsequent suppression of similar uprisings in Syman.

Hannah glanced around, but apart from the girl scurrying away, the passage was deserted. The plush carpets made no sound as she grabbed the document and walked into the ladies’ room instead of continuing to the prince’s chamber, as had been her original intention.

Aware that she could get into serious trouble for reading an official document, she took a deep breath and sat down on the gleaming white toilet lid. There were no cameras in here. The door to her cubicle was locked.

She had to be quick so no one noticed her absence. Focusing, she read the entire four-page document from beginning to end. Afterward, hands trembling, she stared at the cubicle door, unable to get her head around what she’d just read.

Someone came into the restroom and used the facilities. Still Hannah did not move. Her throat was dry, and waves of nausea swept over her. She leaned her head sideways against the wall and closed her eyes. What she’d read must be true, for there it was, in black and white in front of her. Yet she didn’t want it to be true.
Please let it not be true…

The person left, and she was once more alone.

Move
, her brain ordered, and somehow she managed to get to her feet. Opening the door, she stared at her reflection in the mirror. A shocked, white face stared back at her. In the space of five minutes, her whole reality had shifted.

How could Prince Hakeem condone such atrocities? The document detailed how protests had erupted on the southern coastal area of the island nation demanding an end to Internet censorship. Hakeem had sent in his personal forces, and hundreds of unarmed people—mostly college students—had died. How could he do that to his own people? And how could she not have known?

It took her two attempts to turn on the cold tap, her fingers were shaking so badly, and then the water gushed out at high pressure, ricocheted off the basin, and covered her face in a fine spray. The mishap forced her out of her mind fog.

Think logically. Calm down,
she willed herself.

Civil war was obviously more of a threat than she’d thought, if the prince’s security advisors were preparing for it now. The document listed an evacuation plan for the prince and his family, and similarly for the central government, so it could continue functioning in a secure location should the royal compound fall to opposing forces. There were several addresses listed in the document that Hannah assumed were safe houses. Two were on the east coast of the island kingdom, with direct access to the Gulf, while the other three locations were situated outside the country itself.

Hannah splashed cold water on her face, not caring if she smudged her makeup. The need to get a grip on her emotions was stronger. As the initial shock wore off, it was replaced with indignant anger that her seemingly civil employer was capable of such violence. Prince Hakeem prided himself on being one of the more modern, westernized Arab leaders in the Gulf. Obviously the threat of losing his reign had brought out the worst in him.

The document was written by the prince’s creepy security advisor, Anwar Abdul. Hannah had never liked him. The way he looked at her made her feel distinctly uncomfortable. His eyes were dark and filled with loathing, as if he had some unspoken grudge against her, although on the surface he was as polite as any of the other officials she worked with. To think he was the architect of this…unimaginable horror made her realize how evil he was.

Suddenly, Hannah knew what she had to do. No way was she prepared to work for people like this. In the short time she’d lived in Syman, she’d come to appreciate the stark beauty of the landscape, the contrasts between the sprawling urban cities and the glitzy coastal resorts, and the modesty and humility of the hardworking city folk. She couldn’t imagine it reduced to rubble, all those people displaced or out of work, unable to earn a living for their families. No, she wanted no part in this. She would just have to find another way to raise money for her PR company.

Squaring her shoulders, she went back to her office to write her resignation letter. She buried the evacuation document under a pile of paperwork in her in-box. She was not going to be responsible for passing it on to the prince. There would be no blood on her hands.

A shout from the reception area outside her office, which sat adjacent to the prince’s official office, drew her attention. She poked her head around the door. “What’s going on?”

The receptionist, a rake-thin man with pock-marked skin named Ahmed, pointed at the television. The 60-inch screen that was always tuned to the Arab Network News showed silent images of a crowded street. Angry men with guns fired at the sky. Scared women zigzagged around them, pulling children by the hand.

“Where is this?” she snapped.
Please let it not be here.

“Hamabad,” whispered Ahmed, his face paler than hers had been only moments before. The fine hair on her arms stood on end. Hamabad was the principality’s second-largest city after the capital, where she was based.

Oh my God, no. It can’t be true.

The Arab Spring had found its way to Syman. The document wasn’t a contingency plan—it was an urgent missive. Anwar Abdul must have known this was going to happen. Working so closely with the prince, Hannah was amazed she hadn’t heard about it before now. By the looks of things, neither had Ahmed. Perhaps that’s why they called it the Arab Spring, because it sprung up and caught everyone unawares. She stared at the screen. It was hard to believe the unrest she was witnessing was happening five hundred miles south of them, right now.

To hell with the resignation letter. A civil war meant all bets were off. The only thought in her head was to get as far away from here as possible. In a civil war, if that was what this was, the royal compound was probably the worst place to be. Any moment now it could come under attack.

But where could she go? The airport? Was that still operating? She had no idea, and no way of finding out. Panic threatened to overwhelm her.

Think,
she ordered her dazed mind.

What about the British embassy? That was on the other side of town, but within walking distance. She could go there. She was a British citizen.

Her office felt strangely foreign to her now. The air conditioner still moaned in its familiar fashion, the palm trees outside her window in the landscaped garden swayed in the breeze, the way they always did—yet everything had changed.

Hannah grabbed her handbag off the back of the swivel chair. Inside was her makeup and a few other essentials, but little else. No matter. There wasn’t time to go back to her quarters for anything. Opening the desk drawer, she found her passport and letter of employment and stuffed them into her bag. If anyone asked, she had the prince’s authority to be in Syman and to act on his behalf—although that might be more of a disadvantage now than an advantage.

She tied her headscarf under her chin. Although the dress code was relaxed in the office environment, she wore the scarf every time she left the compound. Being a westerner with pale skin and light blond hair drew enough eyes as it was. Today, she needed to blend in.

She cast one final look around the office in which she’d spent every hour of every working day for the last six months. Never in her wildest dreams had she pictured it ending like this.

Her gaze fell on her in-box. Should she take the evacuation document with her? It contained dangerous information. Information that the regime wouldn’t want falling into the wrong hands.

She could simply leave it on her desk, where it was when she’d come in this morning. The prince might assume she hadn’t read it. Might.

But if she took the document with her, she’d be committing treason. A crime punishable by death in most Middle Eastern countries. Did she want
that
hanging over her head?

On the other hand, the prince knew her too well. If he thought she’d read the document, she was as good as dead. Plus, she needed it to talk her way out of the compound.

Aware that the next step would implicate her, Hannah retrieved the document and tucked it under her arm.

Then, offering some lame excuse to her colleague, who was still transfixed by the television, she left.

Whenever Hannah’s job took her outside the compound, she was accompanied by her designated driver, Aneez, or the prince’s steward. Both were male. A woman was not allowed to enter or exit the premises unescorted.

Except now she had no choice. It would not be long before the prince discovered she was missing. She played the likely scenario through her mind.

He’d get to his office at eight o’clock. The prince was never late. She glanced at her wristwatch. Seven forty-five. Heavens. The events of the last forty-five minutes had flown past in a nanosecond.

When she didn’t bring him his morning coffee, he’d inquire where she was. The receptionist, if he’d come out of his stupor by that stage, would inform His Majesty that Hannah had gone out half an hour ago and not returned. The prince wouldn’t be immediately suspicious, but he would be puzzled. It was unlike Hannah not to be at her desk. She was a model employee.

In fact, over the last few months, she’d become indispensable to her royal boss. She controlled his diary, ran his errands, shopped for him and for his wives and children, remembered the names of all the parliamentary officials, and managed his official life seamlessly. Prince Hakeem, in return, showed his gratitude by granting her far greater freedom than most of his other employees, despite Anwar Abdul’s reluctance. It was that freedom that might be her saving grace.

She had half an hour at the most. Then they’d look at the security cameras. Every exit and entrance was manned by the latest in surveillance technology. The visuals fed through to security staff housed in the central compound admin building. Here, the prince’s security police waited patiently, should they have to stop someone coming in or, in her case, prevent someone from leaving the premises. The thought of those burly men with their dangerous weapons coming after her made her shiver.

Basically, there was no way to get out unrecorded, so Hannah didn’t even bother. Her main priority was sweet-talking a guard into letting her leave unaccompanied. It was a palace rule that all women leaving the compound be accompanied by a male companion or supervisor, to keep the palace employees that the prince and his guard saw as most vulnerable from being kidnapped and interrogated. She assumed this was for security reasons, although she’d never questioned it.

Aneez, her driver, was most likely having a leisurely breakfast, since he wasn’t needed until midmorning. She doubted he’d help her escape. The chauffeur was a traditional man, intensely loyal, and would know that she was acting unofficially.

Bougainvillea swept over the tall archways that bordered the garden to the side of the compound and offered a small degree of coverage. Hannah walked as fast as she dared to the pedestrian exit the staff was required to use. It was behind the complex, near the employee living quarters and out of view of the main building. The majestic front exit was for official business, and she was only permitted to use it when accompanied by His Royal Highness and his entourage.

BOOK: Personal Assistance (Entangled Ignite)
8.16Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Werewolves and Chocolate by Shauna Aura Knight
The Gist Hunter by Matthews Hughes
The Wedding Circle by Ashton Lee
Small Town Trouble by Jean Erhardt
Runaway by Heather Graham
Beyond the Stars: INEO by Kelly Beltz
The Broken Lands by Robert Edric
Gayle Trent by Between a Clutch, a Hard Place