The sheikhs secret love.., p.5
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       The Sheikh's Secret Love Child, p.5

         Part #2 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner
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  Rosie blinked awake the following morning, finding her eyelashes brushing against Hakan’s shoulder. She reared her head back, gazing at him, realizing that, for the first time in years, every muscle in her body was completely relaxed, completely free. She hadn’t felt so comfortable, so content, since she was a girl, in her childhood bed. She snuggled deeper into him, and he wrapped his arm around her, uniting them as one unit. She grinned to herself, wondering how she could have become so lucky.

  Hakan brought his finger over her cheek, then, drawing a tingling line to her neck. “How did you sleep?” he asked.

  “Like a child,” she murmured. “This is the most comfortable bed in the world.”

  “You should see the one I have in New York,” he said, raising himself up on his arm. “It’s even bigger than this one, and from it, you have a view of all of Manhattan.”

  Rosie closed her eyes, trying to imagine it. How was her body still humming from last night?

  “I thought you said you liked to live a normal kind of life? You and your burger and fries?” she teased.

  Hakan laughed. “Touché,” he chortled. “Now that you mention it, I want to ask you a question—but it might involve a bit of finery. Will you accept it?”

  After a brief, fake hesitation, Rosie said she would.

  “All right. Tell me, are you at all interested in room service? Somehow, after a bit of activity in the middle of the night, I am absolutely starving.”

  “Room service?” Rosie brought her face over his and kissed him, her heart light. “Just another day in the life of luxury, eh?”

  At that moment, Rosie’s stomach let out a massive growl between them, and they fell into a fit of giggles.

  Hakan shook his head and reached for the nightstand, where he lifted the phone and ordered room service. “Just everything. Everything you have right now. We don’t care what it is,” he said, so blasé. As he spoke, his eyes met with Rosie’s. Every second, they were linked.

  After he hung up, he rolled back toward her. “I had a great time last night. I’m still having a great time.” His word bled with affirmation, with truth. “I don’t want you to ever leave this bed, Rosie Lund. I want to keep you here, so I can find you when I get home from work, and we can repeat everything we did last night.”

  Rosie combed her fingers through his near-black hair. “You think you can rule your country from this bed in Seattle?”

  “I really don’t see why not. As you already said, I am the constitutional monarch. I should be able to do whatever I please.”

  They spoke for a few minutes, finding easy banter with each other, before the doorbell of the presidential suite rang.

  Hakan leapt up, donning a pair of pants, before coming back with plates, platters, mimosas, fruits. “Everything they had in the kitchen,” he said proudly, laying everything out on the bed. “What do you think of that?”

  Rosie shook her head, in view of more food than she’d ever seen in her life. She wrapped her blanket around her, afraid to be seen eating naked by this man she hardly knew. Wasn’t that far too intimate?

  But Hakan had removed his pants once more and leaped into bed with her, grabbing the pitcher of mimosa and filling two crystal glasses.

  “To a beautiful morning,” he said, tapping his glass gently against Rosie’s.

  They began to eat, Rosie chewing slowly and gazing out the window. Seattle was bright and alive, without many of the clouds that normally permeated the sky.

  “What are you doing today?” she asked after a pause, knowing that whatever the answer was, she needed to be okay with it.

  “Well, let’s see,” Hakan said, stretching. “Today, I want to be right here, in this bed. I want to cuddle with you. And then I want to eat an even better dinner and do it all over again. Is that all right with you?”

  Rosie glowed. She didn’t have to go back to work that day, and she wanted to gobble up as much of this glorious existence as possible. It was almost too good to be true. “That sounds wonderful,” she purred.

  Almost as if fate had the final word, however, in that instant, the phone rang. Hakan slid his mimosa onto the table and rushed to his pants, where his cellphone was, and frowned. “Sorry, I have to take this,” he said, his voice stern.

  But Rosie wasn’t worried. She reached for a piece of pineapple and chewed at it languidly, allowing the sweet flavor to roll down her tongue. She brought her knees close to her chest beneath the blankets, even letting a bit of her skin to come to view. She wanted him to see. She wanted to keep him in this world: the world of her body, the world of their passion.

  But it quickly became clear that he would not stay in this world. Hakan’s expression had changed completely. He was no longer the man who had sat across from her, joking over dinner. He was no longer the man who had kissed her and fallen to the floor with her, ready to find solace in her body.

  No. Right at that moment, he was the Sheikh.

  His words were harsh, spoken in his native language, Arabic. It came rapidly, angrily, and the conversation turned tense. Rosie placed the pineapple on the plate, feeling her hunger flee.

  Hakan kept going, never looking up at Rosie, who was more distressed than he, she was sure. She yearned to go back in time, to live the previous evening over and over again. Her heart was falling into her stomach. It was like a veil was being lifted.

  When Hakan hung up the phone, he placed his hands on his waist, blinking out toward the Seattle skyline. He spoke gruffly. “Well, Rosie, it seems it’s time. It’s time for me to stop playing games in America and take the throne. I really thought I had a few more days…” he trailed off, his voice full of regret.

  Rosie didn’t say anything. She felt her disappointment, like a wave, drown them both in the presidential suite. Before her, the food was going sour.

  Hakan dressed quickly, into a smart suit he had stored in the closet. He scrubbed his armpits with deodorant and packed a small bag with just his essentials. Rosie was amazed at how quick his movements were. The morning had fallen apart without pomp or circumstance, and now, it was like they were strangers.

  He walked toward the bed, then, looking at Rosie like she was a wounded animal.

  Still naked beneath the sheets, the food splayed before her, she reared up on her knees and hugged him—trying not to hold him too tightly. He wasn’t hers to keep, she reminded herself. He belonged to an entire country. Her heart felt like it was being broken in two.

  “Keep doing your wonderful work,” the Sheikh told her softly, kissing her on the mouth. “You are a beautiful, true woman. Please remember that, Rosie.”

  With that, Hakan strode from the room and into the elevator. The doors closed, creating a void in which Rosie remained, lost in a world that no longer existed.

  Rosie stared at her palms, then. She couldn’t believe it had all happened so quickly. She’d met the man of her dreams; they’d fallen for each other, almost instantly; and with that, he had had to leave. She felt abandoned, but she knew it wasn’t his fault. She couldn’t ask him to change his entire life, just for a one-night stand.

  A one-night stand. That was all. That’s what she had to remember.

  Rosie strolled naked toward the bay window and peered down, noticing that the Seattle sky was once again covered in clouds. The blue sky was gone for good, preparing for autumn. Far below, she saw the Sheikh dive into his limousine, which carried him from the parking lot, down the road, and out of sight.

  She felt a single tear roll down her cheek, but wiped it in a hurry. She was impatient with people who cried. She knew that a million other terrible things were going on in the world; women died in labor, babies didn’t always make it. The world was a cruel place.

  And the only thing that had happened to her was that she’d lost her one true hope at love. What was the big deal?

  Rosie called the front desk and asked that the food they’d ordered be donated. The front desk personnel agreed, curious at the unusual reque
st, but Rosie hung up the phone before the clerk had a chance to ask another question, hearing the click deep in her ears.

  She dressed quickly and took the elevator to the ground floor, where she heaved herself to the road. She would go to the bus station, she thought. She would wait for her bus. And, as she walked, she would feel the fresh rain glide down her shoulders: a reminder that all things beautiful had to come to an end.

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