The sheikhs secret love.., p.14
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       The Sheikh's Secret Love Child, p.14

         Part #2 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner
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  The following day, Rosie loaded Zak’s car seat into Amy’s recently-purchased van (which Rosie had teased her endlessly about), and the four of them—Amy, Rosie, Marco, and Zak—swept off to the Seattle Zoo. The perpetual October drizzle had paused for a few hours, and they cheerfully walked throughout the exhibits together, Amy and Rosie hanging back as Marco leapt up and down at the glass windows, pointing out the animals for little Zak. Zak cooed in his chair, his eyes bright with the chaos of the afternoon.

  Rosie knelt beside her son at the tiger cage, lifting him into the air and bobbing him slightly. They gazed at the mighty beast before them, one that Zak was familiar with from the animal DVDs she’d rented from the library. The cat’s yellow eyes looked at them sternly for a moment before she erupted into a mighty yawn, showing layers of teeth that extended deep into her mouth. Zak brought his tiny hands together and clapped erratically, thinking this display of animalistic terror was one of the greatest shows on earth.

  Amy and Rosie took the kids to the zoo’s ice cream parlor at the end of their tour, and they sat in the strips of last sunlight. Rosie spooned vanilla ice cream to her son, and Amy gobbled up hers. Drips of chocolate oozed down both her and Marco’s faces. Like mother, like son, Rosie thought, smiling to herself. Perhaps she and Zak would be like that someday.

  “So. I told one of Josh’s friends about you,” Amy said, her eyes flashing, much like the tiger’s.

  Rosie cocked her head, her heart sinking slightly. “I’m pretty sure I didn’t give my okay for that to happen,” she sassed.

  Amy rolled her eyes. “If you won’t get back out there, then I’ll just have to do the work for you,” she murmured. “Please. Just go out to dinner with him. Or just drinks, I don’t care.”

  “Are you going to tell me more about him?”

  Amy bit her lip. “Well, he’s obviously an engineer—but it’s not all bad,” she teased. “He graduated from the University of Iowa. He’s a Midwestern man and he’s a musician on the side. He plays piano and guitar, and he’s getting a band together. He’s only thirty-three, so it’s not like, a midlife crisis or anything,” Amy affirmed. She took another lick of her ice cream, and the chocolate zonked to her pants. She didn’t seem to notice.

  The music element did intrigue Rosie. She cocked her head. “What does he look like?”

  “He’s dark-haired. A dark complexion, with a nice beard, actually,” Amy told her. “I think if you saw him in a bar, you’d think he was attractive. Maybe he’s not my type—”

  “I only like sheikhs,” Rosie said callously.

  Amy paused. Marco started nagging her, then, yanking at her shirt, but she leaned forward, her eyes sad. “Rosie. I will not let you linger on this lost love for the rest of your life. It’s not fair to you, and it’s not fair to your son. You both live here, in Seattle. It’s not like you’re going to run off to Timbuktu or wherever to see him. I hate to say this, Rosie, but it’s over. It’s completely over.”

  Rosie turned her head toward her son, her friend’s words stinging. She felt tiny tears form, but shoved them back, knowing she had to be strong. Zak had begun to fall asleep, which would give her a bit of time to herself until later that evening. Time to herself was unheard of, almost alien.

  Amy shrugged, then, and they got to their feet, allowing the moment to pass. “I’ll send his number to you, and you can decide for yourself,” she said finally. “I don’t want to make up your mind for you, but I’m pleading with you to at least give it a try.”

  They sat silently as Amy drove Rosie back to her apartment. She clung to the tiny card on which Amy had written Jared, the musician-engineer’s number.

  “Call me!” She still remembered the way Hakan had written on his business card, so swiftly filling her heart with hope. Despite Osman telling her to get rid of it, she still had the card, hidden beneath her tax forms on the kitchen counter. Sometimes, late at night, she looked at it: the only relic, besides her son, that spoke of their time together.

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