The sheikhs secret love.., p.27
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       The Sheikh's Secret Love Child, p.27

         Part #2 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner
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Nicole felt her stomach sink after she finished reading. Her brother had been born blind, but that hadn’t stopped him from succeeding at everything he’d wanted to do in life. When he’d gotten into Stanford, the family had been beyond proud. They’d assumed that his success would continue, but months after graduating he had had to move back in with their parents because he couldn’t find a job.

  Moving home had been hard on Ryan, and Nicole took some blame for that. Wasn’t her original intention to get him a job with Bahir’s company? Two birds, one stone, she had said to herself. Yet every time she was in Bahir’s presence he found a way to take over all her thoughts with unending lists of things to do and his maddeningly disarming gazes. She made a mental note to ask him about Ryan the next time they were together, no matter what.

  Hitting the Reply key, she was about to answer her brother’s email when Bahir stormed into the office, his gaze colliding with hers as he turned towards her.

  “Bahir? What are you—?”

  She wasn’t able to finish her question as he stormed about the room, pacing like a mad man.

  “You have no idea what I’ve just been through! I’ve been at the airport for hours fighting with airport security because apparently my work visa was canceled! I cannot comprehend the level of idiocy of these people who work in international governance. Don’t they see that I have a company to run? If I can’t do my job, how am I going to continue to employ hundreds of people?”

  Nicole watched in bewilderment as he continued to rant.

  “I have a contract signing with another startup in just a few hours that now I have to miss, because of their incompetence. It’s maddening! And there’s nothing I can do!”

  Bahir was breathing hard as he continued his frenzied pacing across Nicole’s office. She realized, then, that Bahir was very much not accustomed to not getting his own way. The son of a sheikh got whatever he wanted, and a billionaire businessman got the same. Bahir was used to living above the rules so that he could continue to do what he did best: conduct business. Nicole had never seen him in such a state, like a penned up bull ready to charge.

  Silently, she stood and moved to his side, placing a gentle hand on his arm to stop him. He froze, staring at her hand, then looking up into her eyes. She hoped her expression was comforting.

  “It’s all right, Bahir. Sometimes these things happen. They’re just hiccups, and we find ways around them by making calls and putting in some extra leg work.”

  “I don’t have time to go around fixing their mistakes!” Bahir said, not moving his arm from beneath her hand.

  But I certainly will, Nicole thought with a sigh, realizing that she would be the one doing the leg work to get things sorted out.

  “Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem like there is a choice in the matter,” she said, removing her hand when he seemed to calm down a little.

  Was she imagining it, or did he just look a little disappointed when she removed her touch? He was probably just upset about the situation. Yes, that was all.

  Nicole glanced at her computer, thinking of her brother. Why was there never a good time to ask Bahir if he had a job for him?

  Bahir plopped into one of the chairs, defeated. He stared off into space for a moment, a glare etched into his handsome features.

  Nicole found that she wanted to eliminate that glare somehow, but she didn’t know how to do it. Surely the US Embassy was closed at this time of night, and the mountains of paperwork between Bahir and the American border was enough to keep him away indefinitely. Visa issues were no small annoyance.

  Bahir’s face cleared as he glanced at her desk, then up at Nicole. “What are you doing here, anyway? I thought I told you to go get some rest.”

  Nicole shrugged, moving towards her seat and turning to face him. “I did. Then I woke up and couldn’t take the silence, so I came here.”

  Bahir’s grin was rueful. “I’ve rubbed off on you,” he said, and she grinned back at him.

  “Not true. I was a worker bee long before I spilled coffee on you that day. A good lawyer knows how to put in the time.”

  “But not the amount I make you do. Every person who came before you sat in that chair across from me and cursed my name to the high heavens, but you’re still here. Don’t you think there’s a part of you that thrives on the thrill of business, just like I do?”

  “There’s a part of me that likes the way my bank account has gone up,” she replied, but Bahir didn’t back down.

  “It’s more than that. No one is crazy enough to put up with me, but you do. And here you are working into the night, even when I’m not here to ask for anything. You’re doing it on your own.”

  Nicole didn’t have the heart to tell him that in that moment she was really just emailing her brother. After all, she had come to the office with the intention of working, hadn’t she?

  “What are you doing tomorrow?” Bahir asked, his eyes suddenly bright.

  “Whatever you tell me I’m doing, as usual,” Nicole replied, and Bahir laughed.

  “Well, what if I invited you to come with me to a little fishing village, outside of the city?”

  Nicole continued to look at him, unsure what he was asking.

  “Is there some kind of deal you want to make out there?” she asked hesitantly, certain that this excursion must have to do with business.

  Bahir laughed. “In a way, yes. You see, I have a deal with myself to give you a well-deserved break so that you can enjoy this country for a little while. What do you think?”

  “You’re asking me if I want my first break in six months? But what about your visa?”

  Bahir only shrugged. “They told me I have to wait at least two days to hear back, if not more. There is nothing to be done, and I’ve already rescheduled the contract signing.”

  “You rescheduled it?” she asked, incredulous.

  Bahir raised one haughty eyebrow. He could be so imperial when he wanted to be.

  “What, you think I’m incapable of managing my own schedule? You’re forgetting that there were several gaps between my assistants before you came along. I had to fend for myself many times.”

  “You poor thing, however did you survive?” she asked, her voice laced with sarcasm.

  Bahir smirked. “Just say you’ll come with me, please?”

  “Is that an order?” she asked, challenging him.

  He leaned in ever so slightly, and Nicole fought the urge to lean back. He was too enticing sometimes, and the last thing she needed was to ruin this opportunity for herself and, possibly, her brother.

  “Consider it a request,” he said, his gaze an open invitation.

  Not sure what he was playing at, Nicole decided to jump in. After all, when was the last time she had taken a break, besides sleeping?

  “I’d be delighted,” she said.

  Bahir grinned from ear to ear. “Great. Let’s take this terrible turn of circumstances and make it into something wonderful. I’ll come grab you in the car tomorrow morning. Be ready by eight sharp.”

  “I will,” she said, her stomach fluttering at the chance to do something fun. What an unexpected surprise!

  Rising, she leaned down and clicked out of her email, telling herself she would write to her brother another time, before turning off the computer.

  Bahir escorted her back out of the building, and, to her surprise, walked her to her apartment. They strolled in amiable silence, which was strange, because they both hated silence.

  When they reached the door, the doorman bowed to them both and held the heavy glass open, waiting for Nicole to step inside. She shivered again. Bahir reached out for a moment, then seemed to think better of it, and placed his hands back at his sides.

  “You should go inside. It’s chilly, and you’ll need rest for our adventure tomorrow,” he said.

  “You should, too. That is, if you even sleep?” she asked, her tone playful.

  Bahir’s grin was sheepish. “Sometimes, though not terrib
ly often. As they say, I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

  Nicole thought about that for a moment. She wondered if Bahir would regret a life spent inside an office, rather than out experiencing the world and all its beauty. Maybe that was enough for him, but was it for her?

  “Goodnight, Bahir,” she said, giving him one last wave before turning towards the door and stepping inside.

  “Goodnight,” he replied, watching her as she disappeared from sight at the elevator before walking back to his own apartment, not five blocks away.

 
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