The sheikhs secret love.., p.23
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       The Sheikh's Secret Love Child, p.23

         Part #2 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner
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Nicole sighed. She wanted to be a lawyer. It was all she had ever wanted. Even as a little girl she had mediated conflict between her peers, finding ways to bring justice to the playground. This wasn’t where she was meant to be, and if Bahir couldn’t see that, he would soon be in for a rude awakening… That was, if they actually hired her. Sneaking off for the interview was hard enough. She didn’t know how she’d be able to do it again, but if she had to, she would find a way.

  The car pulled up to a sleek silver building, and the driver hopped out to open her door and grab her bag.

  Nicole stepped out into the hot sun, grasping the handle of her small suitcase before bidding farewell to the driver and heading into her Dubai apartment building.

  The doorman greeted her warmly as he held open the heavy glass door, and Nicole nodded to him as she strolled to the elevator and headed up the twenty floors to her chic little apartment. When Bahir had insisted she get a place in the city to help him with his dealings there, she had in turn insisted that he pay for it, which he had, without a second thought.

  The apartment was nicer than anywhere Nicole had ever lived, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the expansive city. She took a breath as she looked out, gazing upon a metropolis she would barely get to enjoy, because of work.

  Glancing longingly at her perfectly-made bed, Nicole stretched and left her suitcase at the door as her cellphone rang, predictably.

  “This is Nicole,” she said, her voice weary.

  Bahir didn’t seem to notice.

  “Nicole! I told you to call me when you landed. Have you arrived?”

  “I’ve just set foot into my apartment, Bahir. I’ve been on the ground all of thirty minutes.”

  “Well, I forgive you. Now when can we expect you in the office?”

  Nicole stole a glance at her watch. If she were in Seattle she would be settling into bed right about now. Instead, she had to gear up for a full day of work.

  She thought about that email, and the answer awaiting her. In that moment of pure exhaustion, she wished more than ever for the phone call that would set her free of this madness, but she set her shoulders and took a breath, determined to do a good job for as long as she was PA to the CEO of Futurescapes International.

  “Let me just clean myself up and I’ll be over. An hour, tops?”

  “Great! See you then,” Bahir said, his voice eternally chipper as he ended the call without a further farewell. Bahir didn’t seem to understand that he was the only person who actually enjoyed working every minute of his life.

  Nicole set her phone down and kicked her heels off, relishing in the soft feel of the carpet beneath her toes as she walked to the bathroom and rinsed her face with cold water. Reapplying some light make up, she slid her aching feet back into her heels and grabbed her briefcase, leaving her suitcase by the door.

  It was a short walk from her apartment to the office—Bahir had probably done that on purpose when he picked the place out. Nicole was readily accessible at all times, and couldn’t ever use traffic as an excuse.

  She strolled into the large, modern building and headed straight to the 30th floor, where Bahir had his international offices. He glanced up briefly when she walked in, before looking down at a set of papers he was reading.

  “‘Bout time you showed up. We’ve got a crisis on our hands here,” he said.

  Nicole sat in the chair across from his desk, slouching ever so slightly to ease her sore back. Her eyes still burned with exhaustion, and she repressed a yawn.

  “Tell that to the airline company. They were the ones who caused a three-hour delay.”

  “No one moves at the speed of business anymore,” he huffed, writing a note on the paper and reading on, even as he spoke to Nicole. It was a talent she was somewhat envious of: Bahir could do many things at once, and actually give each his full attention. It was amazing to watch sometimes.

  “No one but you,” Nicole agreed.

  Bahir stopped reading, then, and set down his document, gazing at her.

  Nicole stared back, waiting for him to make whatever observation he had. His eyes were like pools of gold, and it had taken her some time not to blush when he looked at her this way. She had realized a long time ago that any stares from Bahir weren’t romantic, but rather assessing. He was taking in information and translating it into profit.

  “You’re tired,” he observed, and Nicole nodded.

  “I’ve been up for nearly thirty-six hours now.”

  “You couldn’t sleep on the plane?”

  “Not all of us are blessed with that ability, unfortunately. Besides, I had work to get done before my arrival,” she said, trying not to sound bitter. Bahir didn’t leave much room for sleep. Sometimes Nicole wished he hadn’t offered her so much money to work as his assistant. It would have been easy to quit, if he hadn’t.

  “Well, don’t forget to take care of yourself, Nicole. You’re too good to lose.”

  “On that note, how’s the search for a new PA going?” she asked, not bothering to mask the hope in her voice.

  Bahir stared at her for a moment longer before he chuckled and reached into a desk drawer. “We’re getting there. You know you’re the best PA I’ve ever had, Nicole? Your legal background makes you so helpful with everything I’ve got going on, and I don’t ever want you to feel unappreciated. Here,” he said, pulling out a small box and handing it to her.

  Nicole stared at it. She knew what it was. Bahir had resorted to using bribes when she was first at her wits’ end. It annoyed her that they worked.

  With a sigh, she opened the box. It was season tickets to the Seattle Seahawks football games—box seats, in fact, with all the perks. It would be enough to make her father love her for life, and hate her forever if he ever found out she turned them down.

  Bahir stared at her expectantly. “Well? You’re a Hawks fan, right? Take your father out to some games this fall. It’ll be good for you.”

  “When will I ever find the time?” Nicole asked, and Bahir waved a hand.

  “I’m sure you’ll be able to enjoy them at your leisure. Don’t worry about it. Now, I’m just finishing up this document but I have some things I need you to take care of…” With that, Bahir gestured absently at another in a never-ending series of unkempt piles of tasks for Nicole to accomplish.

  She closed the box on the season tickets and placed it in her bag before taking the pile and rising to leave.

  “Nicole?” Bahir said, and she turned to see him smiling at her.

  “Yes?” she asked, trying not to think about how handsome he was and focus on her indignation. How could anyone expect their assistant to do this much work, seriously?

  “I just want you to know how much I appreciate everything that you do. You’re an amazing asset to this company, and a great person to have at my side. I hope you know that,” he said.

  Against her better instincts, Nicole’s insides went all warm and fuzzy. It was because of moments like these that she had stayed on working with Bahir for as long as she had, despite his irrational requests. At heart, Nicole believed he was a good person with an intense passion for business and an unending supply of energy; the fact that he expected everyone else to feel the same way wasn’t entirely his fault.

  “Thanks, Bahir. It’s nice to hear that from time to time.”

  “You got it. Now let me see those reports in a few hours, OK?” he said before turning back to his document and swiping at it with a pen.

  Nicole knew she would be the one fixing whatever carnage he was wreaking on that poor paper soon enough. She just wasn’t sure if she felt sorrier for herself or the document.

  As she sat down in her office chair and flicked on her computer, Nicole opened a side drawer and reached for a caffeine pill before getting to work.

  It was going to be a long day.

  TWO

 
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