The sheikhs secret love.., p.20
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       The Sheikh's Secret Love Child, p.20
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         Part #2 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner
SEVENTEEN

  Rosie’s eyes opened as the sun started its descent in the bright, blue sky. She looked at her baby, who was sleeping soundly, and at Hakan, who sent little snores into the air as he slept on his back. She shuffled toward the back of the bed to lean her back against the cool wall. She cracked her neck, her knuckles.

  Without her warmth beside them, Hakan and Zak awoke, blinking around them. Hakan turned his head upwards, catching sight of her. “What are you doing up there, Monkey,” he asked her. “You know, we have to get ready for dinner soon.”

  “I hope you have mashed peas,” she murmured, gesturing to their son. “It’s all he’ll eat right now.”

  “I think we can work something out,” Hakan laughed, picking up the wiggling eighteen-month year old. He tossed him lightly into the air, and Rosie bit her lip, slightly nervous about the coming dinner.

  “Will there be many people at this thing tonight?” she asked him meekly. She knew he could tell she was on edge.

  “Nope,” Hakan said directly, flashing his kind, dark eyes toward her. “Actually, just us, and Clarice and my mother, if that’s all right with you.”

  Rosie nodded eagerly, her breathing steadying. “Yes. Absolutely.”

  “But that reminds me,” Hakan said, snapping his fingers. “We must draft this press release about your first appearance.”

  “My appearance?” she asked, her eyes wide. “Wasn’t that just out there? When I left the limousine?”

  Hakan shook his head, giving her that devilish smile again. “Actually, we’re planning a royal ball in the next few weeks—to introduce you properly to the public.” He held up his hands as Zak crawled around on the bed beside him. “I’m sorry. This is just kind of part of the game.”

  Rosie swept her legs over the side of the bed and inhaled, exhaled. “Are you sure that’s necessary? A press release and everything?”

  “Trust me, I’m a media guru,” he teased.

  She nodded, grinning. “I will.”

  Rosie lifted her arms toward her son, then. She hadn’t held him since the limo had arrived, and she missed his warmth, his easy breathing on her neck. She bounced him slightly in her arms. “I should probably feed him and put him to bed before dinner, actually. He’ll be grumpy by the time we sit down with our mothers.”

  “I suppose these are the types of things I’ll learn as I get better at being a dad,” Hakan reasoned, winking at her. “Do you need any help?”

  Rosie swept her eyes around the room, realizing, all at once, that while they’d been sleeping, her luggage had been brought up. “Wow. They’re really quite impressive,” she said, gesturing.

  “Invisible aides,” Hakan agreed. “I’m never not impressed.”

  She stepped lightly over to the luggage, still bouncing her baby. She’d packed several bottles of baby food on the inside, figuring it would be best to introduce Zak to his new Middle-Eastern diet slowly. First hummus, then lentils.

  Hakan walked to the grand desk as she fiddled with the baby food, drawing out a piece of paper and a pen from the first drawer. “Shall we work on this press release, then, before dinner?”

  Rosie nodded, wiping at her forehead before spooning the baby his first morsel. “I really can’t believe the reaction so far,” she murmured. “I was so worried about what they would think of me. And of Zak. I was so sure they wouldn’t approve of an American girl. And what about your allies—the ones from countries who really don’t trust America?”

  Hakan looked at her for a moment, watching her technique as she fed the baby the green, squishy food. “You have to understand something, Rosie. When the news got out about you, a few people panicked.”

  He sat heavily at the desk’s chair, bowing his head. “But these people who disapprove, they are a tiny group, all from another generation. Most people in my country love America. So much of our culture—movies, video games, fashions—comes from America. The vast majority of Zaymarians don’t harbor any resentments towards you; they are fascinated by you, even.”

  “And what of the other people?” Rosie asked meekly. She hated to be disliked. She knew this came from her youthful years of morals, of Sunday School, of trying to please everyone. She’d never quite been able to shake it.

  “Osman, my old chief of staff, who I’m sure you remember—”

  Rosie’s face burned. She hated talking about him. He had hurt her for too long, and she still steamed with the memory of his face. She wanted him to make up for all the torment he had caused her. But she’d held her tongue regarding him, ever since she’d told Hakan the truth at the Edgewater.

  “Osman wasn’t representative of the country,” Hakan continued. “He was representative of that very small group of people. And for that reason, I fired him.”

  Rosie tried not to show any signs of emotion, but her heart was beating fast. She swallowed hard, feeling her Adam’s apple bobbing. “What will happen to him?”

  “He’s banished. He’ll have enough money to keep him alive and well,” Hakan affirmed. “But I had to look at the facts. And the fact was that he had dismissed you and my son from my life. And I couldn’t forgive him for that.”

  Rosie stayed silent, bobbing the green food into her son’s mouth.

  “It’s for the best,” Hakan affirmed.

  Silence fell between them as Zak ate. Rosie cleared her throat after a moment, trying to find a way to cover the sour taste in her mouth. “You know, I think working on that press release is a great idea.”

  Hakan clapped his hands together and stood up, grabbing his pen and paper. “How shall we begin?” he asked, his voice confident again. Strong. Regal.

  “People of Zaymari!” Rosie began, laughing at herself. She placed the empty jar of food down on the ground and bounced her baby, wiping his mouth clean.

  “People of Earth,” Hakan corrected. “We’d like to announce the arrival—”

  “Of a nurse and baby, both from Seattle, who for some reason, lucked into the royal quarters,” Rosie said, her eyes flashing.

  She carried the baby to the window and gazed out, pushing the balcony door open for a better view of the tropical landscape. In the slight breeze off the water, the palm trees wavered left and right. Later, she thought, she would go on a long walk out there, hand in hand with the man who still made her mind unravel with nerves.

  “Ah, but you’re wrong, Rosie,” Hakan said, laughing from behind her. “It is I, and all of Zaymari, who have lucked into you. Can you imagine who I would have had to marry, if you hadn’t come along in your cute-as-heck maid’s outfit and proven me wrong?”

  Rosie giggled, gazing at her baby. He yanked at her red hair and she yanked it back, feeling the sting of it. “You were betrothed, is that what you’re telling me? Did I break something up?”

  “Naw,” Hakan said. “But you should have seen the line of suitors. All of them beautiful. And all of them with exactly one eyebrow traced across their face.”

  “Just the unibrow. It’s kind of like a shield from the sun,” Rosie said, laughing.

  “Like sunglasses?”

  “Exactly,” she said.

  She tapped her finger between her own eyebrows, grateful that she’d plucked that final hair the previous day, before she’d boarded the plane. She remembered how stark that hair had looked in the sink on her last day in that apartment, the place in which she’d planned to raise her son alone.

  “Now. I think I want to start the press release in a kind of specific way,” Hakan said.

  “Well, you’re the media guru,” Rosie said, using his words. Outside, she could see a group of children near the water, splashing and creating castles in the sand.

  “I am, which is why I present the following as the introduction,” Hakan said, clearing his throat. “Are you ready?”

  Rosie rolled her eyes, giggling. “Sure. I’m ready when you are.”

  “I think it should start, ’Citizens of Zaymari. Sheikh Hakan and his new fiancée would like to announce…’”
He paused, allowing the air to fill with tension. “You know. Something like that.”

  Rosie laughed. Fiancée? Her heart rallied in her chest, but she told herself to calm down. Of course, Hakan was joking.

  She shook her head and cooed to her baby: “Did you hear what your daddy accidentally called me? Isn’t he acting silly?”

  But then, all at once, she felt a presence behind her. “Hakan?” she whispered. Suddenly, she felt that she couldn’t get enough air. She blinked wildly and spun around, gazing down at the floor.

  Hakan was kneeling before her on one knee, those dark eyes flashing with devilish charm. In his hands, he held a tiny box. And on the inside of that box, a stunning, antique ring shone brightly in the setting sunlight.

  “Hakan…” Rosie whispered. She shook her head, biting her lip. She hadn’t expected this. She’d barely dared to dream about it.

  But Hakan began speaking, then. “Rosie. Two years ago, something wonderful happened to us both. I nearly hit you with my car.”

  Rosie rolled her eyes, suppressing laughter. She felt tears brimming in her eyes.

  “And after that, we began a great journey to find one another again. And now I can’t imagine my life without you. You, me, and Zak—we couldn’t be more handsome together, could we? Will you marry me, Rosie?”

  His smile was almost too much for her to bear. Through tears, she began nodding, wiping at her eyes. “Of course I want to marry you,” she cried. “I want to marry you more than I’ve ever wanted anything.”

  Hakan rose and wrapped his strong arms around the both of them, kissing her firmly on the mouth.

  Rosie’s tears swept onto her cheeks, and then Hakan, too, was crying, opening his mouth and tracing his tongue over hers. Her passion for him riled high in her chest, and she clung to him and their baby, wondering how, in this great world, she could have gotten so lucky.

  The End

  And now, here’s my sweet Sheikh romance The Sheikh’s Green Card Bride.

  ONE

 
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