Read The Sheikh's Undoing Online

Authors: Sharon Kendrick

The Sheikh's Undoing

BOOK: The Sheikh's Undoing
8.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
 

Crouching down in front of the grate, he watched as she began to blow on the flames to coax them into life, and Tariq found his eyes drawn to the skirt—which had now stretched tightly over her curves
.

He swallowed down a sudden, debilitating leap of desire, which made him harden in a way he wasn’t expecting. In five years of close contact with his highly efficient assistant, he could never remember noticing her bottom before. And it was actually a rather fine bottom. Firm and high and beautifully rounded. The kind of bottom a man liked to cup in the palms of his hands as he was …

‘What?’ Isobel turned round and frowned.

‘I didn’t …’ Tariq swallowed.

What the hell was going on? Did bumps to the head make men lose their senses, so that they started imagining all kinds of inappropriate things?

‘I didn’t say anything.’

‘But you made a funny sort of noise.’ Her eyes narrowed as she looked at him. ‘Are you all right? Your eyes have gone all glazed.’

‘Are you surprised?’ Shifting his position, Tariq glared at her, willing his arousal to subside. ‘I’ve just had to endure your driving.’

About the Author

SHARON KENDRICK
started story-telling at the age of eleven, and has never really stopped. She likes to write fast-paced, feel-good romances, with heroes who are so sexy they’ll make your toes curl!

Born in west London, she now lives in the beautiful city of Winchester—where she can see the cathedral from her window (but only if she stands on tiptoe). She has two children, Celia and Patrick, and her passions include music, books, cooking and eating—and drifting off into wonderful daydreams while she works out new plots!

Recent titles by the same author:

MONARCH OF THE SANDS
THE FORBIDDEN INNOCENT
TOO PROUD TO BE BOUGHT

Did you know these are also available as eBooks?
Visit www.millsandboon.co.uk

The Sheikh’s
Undoing

Sharon Kendrick

www.millsandboon.co.uk

CHAPTER ONE

T
HE
sound of the telephone woke her, but Isobel didn’t need to see the name flashing on the screen to know who was ringing. Who else would call her at this time of night but the man who thought he had the right to do pretty much whatever he wanted? And frequently did.

Tariq, the so-called ‘Playboy Prince’. Or Prince Tariq Kadar al Hakam, Sheikh of Khayarzah—to give him his full and rather impressive title. And the boss if not exactly from hell then certainly from some equally dark and complicated place.

She glanced at the clock. Four in the morning was early even by
his
standards. Yawning, she picked up the phone, wondering what the hell he had been up to this time.

Had some new story about him emerged, as it so often did, sparked by gossip about his latest audacious takeover bid? Or had he simply got himself tied up with a new blonde—they were always blonde—and wanted Isobel to juggle his early morning meetings for him? Would he walk into the office later on with yesterday’s growth darkening his strong jaw and a smug smile curving the edges of his sensual lips? And the scent of someone’s perfume still lingering on his skin …

It wouldn’t be the first time it had happened, that was for sure. With a frown, Isobel recalled some of his more famous sexual conquests, before reminding herself that she was employed as his personal assistant—not his moral guardian.

Friends sometimes asked whether she ever tired of having a boss who demanded so much of her. Or whether she was tempted to tell him exactly what she thought of his outrageously chauvinistic behaviour—and the answer was yes. Sometimes. But the generous amount of money he paid her soon put a stop to her disapproval. Because money like that provided security—the kind of security which you could never get from another person. Isobel knew that better than anyone. Hadn’t her mother taught her that the most important lesson a woman could learn was to be completely independent of men? Men could just walk away whenever they wanted … and because they could, they frequently did.

She answered the call. ‘Hello?’

‘I-Isobel?’

Her senses were instantly alerted when she heard the deep voice of her employer—because there was something very different about it. Either he was in some kind of post-coital daze or something was wrong. Because he sounded …
weird
.

She’d never heard Tariq hesitate before. Never heard him as anything other than the confident and charismatic Prince—the darling of London’s casinos and international gossip columns. The man most women couldn’t resist, even when—as seemed inevitable—he was destined to break their heart into tiny little pieces.

‘Tariq?’ Isobel’s voice took on a sudden note of urgency. ‘Is something wrong?’

From amid a painful throbbing, which felt as if a thousand hammers were beating against his skull, Tariq registered the familiar voice of his assistant. His first brush with reality after what seemed like hours of chaos and confusion. Almost imperceptibly he let out a low sigh of relief as his lashes parted by a fraction. Izzy was his anchor. Izzy would sort this out for him. A ceiling swam into view, and quickly he shut his eyes against its harsh brightness.

‘Accident,’ he mumbled.

‘Accident?’ Isobel sat up in bed, her heart thundering as she heard the unmistakable twist of pain in his voice. ‘What kind of accident? Tariq, where are you? What’s
happened?

‘I …’

‘Tariq?’ Isobel could hear someone indignantly telling him that he shouldn’t be using his phone, and then a rustling noise before a woman’s voice came on the line.

‘Hello?’ the strange voice said. ‘Who is this, please?’

Isobel felt fear begin to whisper over her as she recognised the sound of officialdom, and it took an almighty effort just to stop her voice from shaking. ‘M-my name is Isobel Mulholland and I work for Sheikh al Hakam—would you please tell me what’s going on?’

There was a pause before the woman spoke again. ‘This is one of the staff nurses at the Accident and Emergency department of St Mark’s hospital in Chislehurst. I’m afraid that the Sheikh has been involved in a car crash—’

‘Is he okay?’ Isobel interrupted.

‘I’m afraid I can’t give out any more information at the moment.’

Hearing inflexible resistance in the woman’s voice,
Isobel swung her legs over the side of the bed. ‘I’m on my way,’ she said grimly, and cut the connection.

Pulling on a pair of jeans, she grabbed the first warm sweater which came to hand and then, after shoving her still-bare feet into sheepskin boots, took the elevator down to the underground car park of her small London apartment.

Thank heavens for sat-nav, she thought as she tapped in the name of the hospital and waited for a map to appear on the screen. She peered at it. It seemed that Chislehurst was on the edge of the Kent countryside—less than an hour from here, especially at this time in the morning.

But, even though there was barely any traffic around, Isobel had to force herself to concentrate on the road ahead and not focus on the frightened thoughts which were crowding into her mind.

What the hell was Tariq doing driving around at this time in the morning? And what was he doing
crashing his car
—he who was normally as adept at driving as he was at riding one of his polo ponies?

Her fingers tightened around the steering wheel as she tried and failed to imagine her powerful boss lying injured. But it was an image which stubbornly failed to materialise, for he was a man who was larger than life in every sense of the word.

Tall and striking, with distinctive golden-dark colouring, Sheikh Tariq al Hakam commanded attention wherever he was. Complete strangers stopped to watch him walk by in the street. Women pressed their phone numbers into his hand in restaurants. She’d seen it happen time and time again. His proud and sometimes cruel features had often been compared to those of a fallen
angel. And he exuded such passion and energy that it was impossible to imagine anything inhibiting those qualities—even for a second.

What if … ? Isobel swallowed down the acrid taste of fear. What if her charismatic boss was in
danger?
What would she do if he was in a life-threatening condition? If he … he …

She’d never thought of Tariq as mortal before, and now she could think of nothing else. Her heart missed a beat as she registered the blaring horn of a passing car and she tightened her fingers on the steering wheel. There was no point in thinking negatively. Whatever it was, he would pull through—just like he always did. Because Tariq was as strong as a lion, and she couldn’t imagine anything dimming that magnificent strength of his.

A dull rain was spattering against the windscreen as she pulled into the hospital car park. It was still so early that the morning staff hadn’t yet arrived. The whole building seemed eerily quiet as she entered it, which only increased her growing sense of foreboding. Noiselessly, she sped down the bright corridors towards the A&E department until she reached the main desk.

A nurse glanced up at her. ‘Can I help you?’

Isobel wiped a raindrop from her cheek. ‘I’ve come … I’m here about one of your patients. His name is Tariq al Hakam and I understand he’s been involved in a car crash.’

‘And you are?’ enquired the nurse, her carefully plucked eyebrows disappearing beneath her fringe.

‘I work for him.’

‘I’m afraid I can’t tell you anything,’ said the nurse,
with a dismissive smile. ‘You aren’t his next of kin, are you?’

Isobel shook her head. ‘His next of kin lives in the Middle East,’ she said. Swallowing down her frustration, she realised that she’d crammed her thick curls into a ponytail and thrown on a pair of old jeans and a sweater. Did she look unbelievably scruffy? The last kind of person who would be associated with the powerful Sheikh? Was that the reason the nurse was being so … so …
officious?
‘I work closely with the Prince and have done for the past five years,’ she continued urgently. ‘Please let me see him. I’m … I’m …’

For one stupid moment she was about to say
I’m all he’s got
. Until she realised that the shock of hearing he was injured must have temporarily unhinged her mind. Why, Tariq had a whole
stable
of women he could call upon in an instant. Women who were far closer to him than Isobel had ever been or ever would be.

‘I’m the person he rang just over an hour ago,’ she said, her voice full of appeal. ‘It was … it was me he turned to.’

The nurse looked at her steadily, and then seemed to take pity on her.

‘He has a concussion,’ she said quietly, and then shook her head as if in answer to the silent question in Isobel’s eyes. ‘His CT scan shows no sign of haemorrhaging, but we’re putting him under observation just to be sure.’

No sign of haemorrhaging
. A breath of relief shuddered from Isobel’s lips, and for a moment she had to lean on the nurses’ station for support. ‘Thank you,’ she whispered. ‘Can I
see
him? Please? Would that be okay? Just for a moment.’

There was a moment’s assessment, and then the nurse nodded. ‘Well, as long as it
is
a moment. A familiar face is often reassuring. But you’re not to excite him—do you understand?’

Isobel gave a wry smile. ‘Oh, there’s no danger of that happening,’ she answered—because Tariq thought she was about as exciting as watching paint dry.

He’d often described her as the most practical and sensible woman he knew—citing those as the reasons he employed her. Once, she’d even overheard him saying that it was a relief to find a woman under thirty who wasn’t a
distraction
, and although it had hurt at the time, she could live with it. She’d always known her place in his life and that wasn’t about to change now. Her job was to soothe his ruffled feathers, not to excite him. There were plenty of other contenders for
that
category.

She followed the rhythmical squishing of the nurse’s rubber-soled shoes into a side-room at the far end of the unit, and the unbelievable sight that confronted her there made her heart skip a painful beat.

BOOK: The Sheikh's Undoing
8.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Love and Other Scandals by Caroline Linden - Love and Other Scandals
American Quartet by Warren Adler
The Teacher from Heck by R.L. Stine
The Siren Series 2 by Marata Eros
Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs