Sheikh's Unlikely Desire

BOOK: Sheikh's Unlikely Desire
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Sheikh’s Unlikely Desire

 

By: Sophia Lynn

 

All Rights Reserved.
Copyright 2015-2106 Sophia Lynn

 

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Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

EPILOGUE

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CHAPTER ONE

Even from the air-conditioned interior of her Mercedes, Leah could see the glimmer of heat rising off the pavement nearby. It was another scorcher of a day in Los Angeles, and anyone who was smart was spending it indoors and comfortable or by the side of a glimmering blue pool, wearing shades and dipping into the water whenever the heat got to be too much.

Leah sighed. At least, that was the image she’d had of Los Angeles when she first came out there. It was even true for some of her firm's clients. However, as an up-and-coming lawyer in the entertainment field, her hours were long, her work was often taxing, and many of her luxuries, like her beloved car, were acquired second hand from people who were far better off.

She exchanged glares with one of the security guards who was walking up and down the pavement. They had already had words about how long she was allowed to wait in the airport’s guest pickup area. She wasn't moving. This case could make her career, and the last thing she was interested in doing was blowing it by keeping Sheik Zayn al-Fasi waiting. She was just bracing herself to have another shouting match with the guard when there was a tumult at the doors.

There were a number of men dressed in formal dark suits. They may have been impeccably dressed for New York or Boston, but in the heat and casual atmosphere of LA, they looked hopelessly out of place. Despite the heat, none of them seemed to wilt as they moved from the air-conditioned airport lounge to the sunbaked pavement outside.

Leah was just beginning to wonder if they were the people she was looking for when the bodies parted and she saw the man standing at the center of it all.

He was enormous, easily half a head taller than most of the men around him, broad through the shoulders and with the lordly patience of a lion venturing among lesser animals. He was dressed all in white, his tunic and trousers cut to fit his large frame, and the shocking white set off his dark skin, his jaw-line beard and the absolute darkness of his short black hair.

For some reason, Leah felt a frisson of tension run through her body. Something about this man made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.

Almost as if he could sense her gaze, he turned to face her. Now she could see that his eyes, which she would have guessed to be as dark as his hair, were actually a shocking light green. It made it look as if he could see right through her. Perhaps in that moment, he did.

His face in repose was calm, but the moment they locked gazes, something passed between them. He went from repose to a kind of hunter's avidity that made her heart beat faster. Was this how gazelles on the savannah felt right before they made a desperate sprint for survival?

The approach of the security guard woke Leah from her reverie. Suddenly she realized two things. The man in white was likely exactly who she was waiting for, and the security guard was not going to stop her.

With a muttered curse, she swung out of the car, snapping to her feet and facing the guard. She was not a tall woman; her sharp black heels put her at just under five feet, five inches. Her deep auburn hair was pinned in an intricate bun, and she wore a smart cream blouse and dark trousers that she hoped helped her look a little taller.

“Hey, I told you that you only get ten minutes before you have to move on,” the guard said.

“Fifteen,” she snapped. “I read that sign, and I have fifteen. I am picking up my passenger right now, so just back off.”

The guard's face darkened, and he started for her. “You got a lot of lip on you,” he growled.

At another point, perhaps Leah would have been intimidated or given the situation up for a bad job. Right now, however, she was on a mission, and she couldn't be distracted by people who thought they could simply throw their weight around.

“All right,” she snapped, pulling out her smartphone. With a push of a button, she turned it into a high-tech, sharp-imaged recording device, and she focused it on the man approaching her.

“You want to say anything for the camera?” she growled. “Is there anything you want to say to your bosses, who will be receiving this if you come one step closer to me?”

The man looked like he was going to argue, video evidence be damned, but then he shook his head, obviously thinking better of it.

“Just move along quickly,” he snapped, and went to harass people parked behind her.

Leah scowled after him, but then abruptly, she remembered that she had been getting out of her car for a purpose. She spun to find the mysterious man in white looking at her, and the look on his face was one of open approval and humor.

In a moment, her victory turned to humiliation, and if a hole had opened up in the hot pavement, she would have happily stepped through it. Instead, she had always been a woman who knew when she had to simply step up to face the music, so she forced herself to walk forward.

“Sheik Zayn al-Fasi? I'm Leah Montgomery from Hiller and Hiller.”

His grin didn't change at all, and he came forward to meet her. “I am Sheik Zayn,” he said, his voice low and surprisingly smooth. “You are my escort, then.”

“I am, but I was not told about your entourage,” she said, glancing back at the men in black. Now that she was closer, she could see that they were not businessmen at all, or even the assistants that the wealthy and powerful seemed to acquire in LA. Instead, the men moved with the calm assurance and watchful presence of bodyguards.

Zayn waved a hand negligently. “They are hardly an entourage, and they can find their own way, I am sure,” he said pointedly, turning to a tall, hawk-faced older man who stood by his side. “Can't you, Azim?”

 Azim scowled. “It is not the safest...”

“Nowhere in the world is safe, old friend,” said Zayn bluntly. “After all, can you disagree with the fact that I will have a fine protector in this one?”

Leah blinked when she realized that they were referring to her. Suddenly she was pinned under the dark eyes of half a dozen men who seemed to be inspecting her as if for the safety of the sheik. Azim started to speak again, but Zayn waved him off.

“Meet me at the hotel. I will have Ms. Montgomery take me there, and we can discuss our strategy once we have settled. That is my final word on it.”

She had thought that Azim would argue further. She had been on the sidelines of many different arguments between talent and security, but apparently, Zayn commanded more presence than a spoiled rock star or feisty starlet. Once Zayn made his pronouncement, Azim nodded shortly.

“At the hotel then, my lord.”

As Azim stepped away to deal with their own transport, Zayn turned to her.

“Shall we, Ms. Montgomery?”

She knew in her head that it could not have been so long a moment where time stood still and she simply stared at the man who towered above her. It was likely less than a few seconds, but still she had to make herself straighten up.

“Yes, we shall,” she said decisively. “Come on, and I'll get you settled at the hotel.”

The first hitch came when they both came to the driver's side of the car.

“Well?” Zayn asked, and she glanced at him curiously.

“Is... there something wrong with the passenger's side door?” she asked.

“No, but if I am to drive us, I am going to need those keys.”

Leah's parents had always said that it was a wonder she could make her living as a lawyer when her mouth simply said whatever her mind thought first. This time, it wasn't even words, but a bright laugh.

“Ha, that's funny. You're not driving my car.”

He raised an eyebrow at her, opening his mouth to speak, but sheik or no, she’d had plenty of men trying to tell her what was right and what wasn't at the moment.

“Look, no. I've lived in Los Angeles for six years. Before that, I was in New York. I've had to drive in Beijing and Calcutta, and let me tell you, those were hilariously terrible places to be in a car. So unless you can show me a comparable resume that means you can handle LA streets, there is no way in hell I am letting you behind the wheel of this car.”

For a long moment, he simply stared at her, eyes narrowed. It gave her the time to mentally review her words and to realize exactly how she sounded. Her stomach sunk.

Oh god, I'm going to get fired and disbarred
.

Then the sheik shrugged, a slight smile on his lips. “Very well, I defer to your judgment, Ms. Montgomery.”

Somehow, he made it feel as if he were doing her a favor when he climbed into the passenger's seat. She was stunned for a moment, but then she hopped into the driver's side, grateful for the sudden cool burst of air.

There was something a little unnerving about the way he watched her with those cool, amused green eyes as she pulled out of her space and joined the flow of traffic. She remembered that sudden feeling of being stalked, of being a prey animal that had been sighted by a predator. She wondered why that made her heart beat a little faster.

“Welcome to the United States, Sheik al-Fasi,” she said, clearing her throat. She was an old pro at silence when it came to sweating out people on the witness stand, but when it came to people who were simply watching her while she tried to navigate rush hour traffic, it was apparently a different matter.

“It is properly Sheik Zayn,” he said, an amused note in his voice. “That is how I would be addressed in Almira.”

“Is... Is there something different I should call you?” she asked hesitantly.

“When it comes to court records, I will be referred to as Sheik Zayn or Sheik Zayn al-Fasi. You however... you should call me Zayn.”

The deliberate note of sweetness in the last sentence made her risk a quick glance at him. He looked out of place in her car, as if she had simply looked over and seen a lion lounging in the comfortable leather seat. It was beautiful, it was simply watching her, and at any moment, she felt as if she was going to get pounced. What happened after that...

“Zayn...” The name felt strangely sensuous on her tongue. She forced herself to watch the traffic. The freeway was fast and wild, and it needed the attention, but more than that, she also wanted to make sure that she didn't focus too much on the way he was making her heart beat faster, the way she could feel an unaccustomed blush come up through her cheeks.

“Mmm. And you are Ms. Montgomery?”

Leah laughed a little. “We're pretty informal about things here on the West Coast,” she said. “Just Leah's fine.”

“Leah. Pretty.”

She started to reply, but then a semi came barreling out of nowhere, making her change lanes with a quick jerk of the wheel. An echoing horn told her what the people behind her thought of her maneuverings, and she resisted the urge to flip them off in deference to her company.

Another quick glance at Zayn reassured her that he wasn't horrified by LA traffic, but instead grinning widely at her skill at getting through it.

“So you were speaking the truth when you said that you had skill,” he said.

“Yeah, and, well, this is my baby,” she said a little guiltily, drumming her fingers on the wheel. “You could be a NASCAR driver, and I likely wouldn't let you drive.”

Zayn shrugged. “I like to drive well enough, but when it comes to getting from one place to another, I prefer horses. I give my driver at home in Almira plenty of work, but at the end of the day, I'd rather be on horseback. That is the only way to see the desert.”

Something about the idea of Zayn on a desert stallion made her blink a little, and she coughed to hide it.

“You looked a little startled when I wanted to drive,” she remarked. “Is... do women not drive in Almira?”

Whatever space she had been trying to fill with those idle words became charged with frigid cold and ice. She didn't even have to look in the mirror to see that his expression had frosted over.

“Of course women drive in Almira,” he said bitingly. “They also hold jobs, gain advanced degrees, and vote. They have voted since the 1900s, something that cannot be said for the United States.”

She could tell that she had tripped headlong into a touchy subject, and when she thought about it, she flinched. There was the instinctive urge to back pedal, to say that she hadn't meant what she said, but the problem was that however unheedingly, she had.

BOOK: Sheikh's Unlikely Desire
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