The sheikhs secret love.., p.36
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       The Sheikh's Secret Love Child, p.36

         Part #2 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner

  Morning broke slowly, and Juliette woke slowly to match it. There was no real moment of realization of where she was and who she was with. It just kind of came to her, bit by bit, as the sky grew lighter.

  She wasn’t sure whose bed they had slept in. She wasn’t sure what the consequences would be if she were found here. The only thing she was really sure of was his arms, and how good they felt wrapped around her as they had been all night. Everything else was secondary, and was definitely nothing to be worried about so long as she was with him.

  When she was fully conscious, she saw that he wasn’t yet awake. She could tell by the steady rhythm of his breathing, by the solid, steady thumping of his heart, and by the indecipherable words that occasionally fell from his lips. She wasn’t sure why the fact that he talked in his sleep made her so happy; maybe it was something to do with the fact that it made him seem more like a human, and less like a dream.

  She didn’t want to wake him before he woke naturally, so instead, she just lay in his arms and stared out the window. She could see the little crests of the waves on the water. She could hear the birds chirping, but the sea was too far, so the waves all felt like some distant silent movie. They only felt real when the breeze carried the faint scent of salt in through the window.

  Nothing could have been as perfect as that moment.

  And then she heard the sound of footsteps on the stairs.

  She scrambled to sit up, scanning the room for her clothes. The steps on the stairs weren’t fast or heavy, but they were growing closer too quickly for her to have any hope of getting fully dressed.

  Her only hope of covering herself was the bedsheet, which she threw around herself in haste. She spared a glance at Nico, just to make sure that she wasn’t robbing him of his own cover, but he barely seemed to have noticed that she had moved. He was just mumbling to himself and turning over, trying to block out the sun in the room.

  Like a sailor bracing for impact, Juliette grabbed onto a rail of the headboard. She would have called out and warned the intruder not to come up, but she had a feeling that that would only draw more eyes. This was a construction site, full of builders, and she was a naked woman lying in a bed that was not her own. Her only hope was that whatever surly builder was coming up the stairs was merciful, and would let them go without too much noise or trouble.

  But the head that emerged as the intruder entered the room was no surly builder.

  It was a woman, who looked to be in her mid-60s, wearing what appeared to be a domestic staff uniform. She was carrying a tray with what looked like breakfast on it.

  As soon as she saw Juliette, she nearly dropped the tray. She recovered, but only just, launching into a flurry of Italian words that even Juliette, for all her years of study, had a hard time following.

  “I’m sorry, ma’am,” Juliette replied in Italian. “Can you please slow down? I don’t understand what you are saying.”

  She hadn’t had to say that since her first-year Italian courses.

  “I’m sorry,” the woman said, swapping over to broken, tortured English. “I did not know that Prince Giancarlo had a friend here today. I thought he was at palace alone. I bring food.”

  The shocked expression on Juliette’s face seemed to calm the old woman, and even amuse her a bit.

  “What did you say? Who?” Juliette asked in Italian, but the woman clearly had no intention of switching from English, or answering her question.

  “I leave food. Yes?”

  The woman slid the tray on the floor, and then was gone, disappearing down the stairs in much the same way she had appeared up from them. All she left behind was the tray on the floor and the lingering sound of a hummed tune in the air.

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