The sheikhs secret love.., p.37
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       The Sheikh's Secret Love Child, p.37
 

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

  Juliette sprang out of bed, letting the sheet fall as she did. She wouldn’t be uncovered for long—she was gathering her clothes with the speed and ferocity of a mad woman.

  “Juliette?”

  She heard him say her name, but she ignored him. He didn’t deserve her attention until she was ready to give it to him.

  She went through the room in a frenzied rush, grabbing up her clothes as quickly as possible. When she got to her shirt, she made sure to put it on right side out—a little detail that reminded her of the previous afternoon and all the feelings that accompanied the first words he had ever spoken to her. She hated him, in that moment. Hated him for the way he’d made her feel and then the way he’d turned it all around on her so suddenly, without even meaning to.

  When she was covered, she turned to him, fire in her eyes.

  “Giancarlo, is it?”

  She kept running her fingers through her hair to smooth it as she prepared to leave and face the outside world, even as she saw him open his mouth, close it, and open it again.

  “No,” she said, when he was about to speak. “No, I don’t want to hear it. You said you were a construction worker!”

  He sat up straighter in bed, still naked except for the blanket bunched around his midsection. “I have to lie when I go out like that. If I don’t, I get mobbed. I can’t just be myself. I’m the son of the King of Campania—heir to the throne.”

  “Oh, I know who you are. I watch the news. I read the newspapers,” she sneered.

  He held up a hand, as though it would soothe her anger. “Then you know that going out in public as myself wouldn’t work. If I play a role, and dress down, sometimes people don’t recognize me. I can get by without all the attention. And that’s all I want—”

  “And when we came back here,” she said, “were we still in public? Did you need to keep up the lie when we were alone?”

  She thought she had him at that, but there was a flash of something in his eyes. And, when he spoke next, there was anger in his voice.

  “Did you?”

  Juliette’s cheeks burned as she remembered the lie she’d told about her company managing the renovation. He must have known it was a lie from the beginning. Liars are always the best at knowing when others are lying.

  She looked around for something to throw at him and found his pants. She hurled them at him in frustration.

  “You knew!” she said. “You knew the whole time! And you just let me keep going with it all!”

  He rose up to his knees in the bed, the covers dropping lower and revealing more of the body she’d so enjoyed that night before, even as his fists balled up, gripping the pants she’d thrown at him.

  She had to look away. She didn’t want to see him this way. She didn’t want to be attracted, again, to a liar. And anyway, she had shoes to get on her feet. But she couldn’t tune out his words as he continued talking.

  “So it’s my fault that you lied? It’s on me that you decided to tell me a fairy tale about who you are and what you do…”

  She glared back at him. It was almost hard to see through the haze of embarrassment and anger.

  “OK, so I met a stranger at a bar and I made up a little story. I’m a student! I’m boring! I just wanted— I just wanted to forget about things for a while. But it wasn’t anything big. I didn’t make myself out to be some kind of savior of the working man in order to get you into bed.”

  He stood and began to put on his pants, causing Juliette to turn away so that she didn’t have to see his attractive body in all its glory. If she let him get his hooks in her again, she’d never leave. And she needed to get as far away from this man as she could.

  “So what are you mad at me for, then?” she heard him say, even as her legs started moving towards the stairs. “You’re angry because I lied, which you did, too? Or because I came up with a story I thought you’d like? Do you think I tricked you into coming here with me?”

  She was halfway down the stairs when she heard his last volley.

  “You mean you wouldn’t have come home with me if you knew I was just a prince?”

  She didn’t answer. She didn’t have a good response. She couldn’t say why it was, exactly, that she was so upset. She’d lied, too, and though that might have made her more understanding, the embarrassment of knowing he just went along with her lie, even when he knew about it, only made it worse.

  She didn’t remember the palace that well from the night before. All the time they had spent walking through it, looking at the way it all shone in the moonlight through the windows, felt like a dream to her, now. And, just like a dream, it was hard to remember the details. All she knew was that if she just kept going down, she would eventually get to the ground floor.

  She saw construction workers, arriving and getting ready for the day. She hated how they looked at her. Some of them seemed surprised to see her, while others seemed to put together who was in the house and shot her knowing glances.

  Juliette liked to consider herself a liberated, modern woman. But still, something about the looks on their faces, knowing that she’d been brought back here by the Prince, made her feel angry and ashamed. It all came flooding back to her, now: the Prince’s reputation.

  Maybe that was what bothered her the most—the idea that she was the kind of girl who would be lured back to the palace by the allure of the idea of sleeping with a playboy prince. It hadn’t been like that! She wanted to tell them. She hadn’t fallen for the wealth, or the power, or the reputation! She’d fallen for the man.

  Or, rather, she’d fallen for who she’d thought the man was.

  She made it to the main room, and to the grand entrance that now stood open. She heard a few choice phrases, muttered in Italian, and decided it was best if she pretended she couldn’t understand. Setting the speaker straight would only slow her down.

  When she was finally out of the house, she almost felt like she could breathe again. There were still workmen around, working on the exterior, but they barely seemed to notice her.

  Out here, she could begin to get her thoughts together. She remembered what had been the whole purpose of her last night—she was going to have one fun night, not being herself, and then she was going to leave.

  Well, she’d done that. She’d had her last hurrah. And now she had a flight to catch. That very evening, she would leave this awful palace and its awful, lying prince behind. By this time tomorrow, she’d be thousands of miles away, and all this would just be a bad dream.

  All she really needed to do now was to clear her head. And she had a long, long walk back to the city—or at least to wherever the nearest bus stop was—to do it.

 
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