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Diana's Books

At the Sheikh's Bidding (ebook)

At the Sheikh's Bidding (ebook)

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If you enjoy Harlequin's sheikh romances, you'll love this page-turning contemporary sheikh romance, full of emotion with characters who feel real!

A controlling sheikh, a woman determined to be free, and a second-chance romance…

Sheikh Amare has never forgotten the Australian surfer with whom he had a passionate one-night stand two years earlier. He’d immediately known she was the one for him but he’d made a mistake. He’d told her they would marry, and she’d disappeared from his life without trace. But now their paths have crossed once more and he won’t make the same mistake again. This time when he asks her, she’ll say yes. There can be no other outcome.

Janey Montgomerie wants nothing to do with controlling men. Her self-esteem has suffered at the hands of one—her father—and she is determined never to allow anyone to control her ever again. She has her sights firmly set on succeeding in her career but is devastated to discover that her success is dependent on working with the man she’d run from two years earlier—Amare. The man who makes her heart and body sing, but who scares her like no other.

Janey is determined to let nothing get in her way of finding the elusive Bahr Al Noor diamond. But maybe someone can… a controlling man… a sheikh… an equally determined lover.


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Dr. Janey Montgomerie gathered the satin skirts of her long evening dress and ran along the cloistered pathway toward the brightly lit pavilion from which the sound of music and laughter spilled. She was late. She hated being late. And, if it hadn’t been for bad weather at London’s Heathrow Airport, she wouldn’t be arriving at her friend’s wedding when the reception was all but over. She paused at the entrance to the room, and looked around the sea of faces, none of whom she recognized.
Janey turned around to see a smiling Leonora stand up and wave.
She waved back and wove her way through the crowds. When Leonora had told her and Rosana that she’d failed to find the diamond, both of them had been sympathetic. But there was a part of Janey that was pleased. She couldn’t help it. It cleared the way for her to make an attempt, as well as adding to her research on harems. Now that she saw Leonora in the flesh, her guilt at her pleasure disappeared. Leonora looked the happiest she’d ever seen her, because she’d succeeded at something else instead—something neither Janey nor Rosana had known she’d wanted. Janey was glad for her friend even while she thought she was mad to surrender her independence for a man.
She watched as Leonora ducked her head and spoke into the ear of the man at her side. The ex-King Darrius, Janey presumed. The man who’d stolen Leonora’s heart and who’d, inadvertently, given Janey the opportunity to come to a country she’d only read about.
“Leonora,” Janey said, as she approached her and gave her friend a big hug. “I’m so sorry I’m late.”
“Not your fault,” said Leonora, with a sympathetic smile. “Nothing you could do about the weather.” She pointed to a seat beside her. “But you’re here now, which is all that counts.”
Darrius finished his conversation with his neighbor and turned to Janey with a welcoming smile.
“Welcome to Sifra,” he said, rising to his feet and shaking her hand. Janey couldn’t help thinking Leonora was a little less mad now she’d met the man. He was certainly impressive in every way.
“Thank you. I’ve read so much about it I can’t wait to look around.”
His smile widened. “You are so like my wife.” Janey noticed Leonora’s eyes flash at the word wife, as if her new status thrilled her. Janey didn’t get it. “She experiences life through books, as well.”
Leonora laughed at his teasing. “I used to, maybe. But Janey? No, you’re wrong there. Janey likes life outside the books, too, don’t you?”
“Sure do,” said Janey. “I love to swim, hike and shop. Especially shop.”
Darrius raised an eyebrow. “Then I’m afraid you may find what my country offers is too limited for your taste.”
“I’m only here for a short while, and I can indulge myself in my other interests after I leave.”
“After you’ve found the diamond,” added Leonora. “You have to succeed where I failed.”
“You consider you failed?” asked Darrius, raising an imperious eyebrow.
“Only in that one thing,” Leonora conceded. “And I have to say my interest has waned. I have other things on my mind now.”
“I’m very glad to hear it,” said Darrius, with a hint of possession which rubbed Janey up the wrong way. She hated any suggestion of possession or control and couldn’t believe how Leonora’s smile subtly changed into something more knowing, and more sensual, before she dragged her gaze from Darrius back to Janey. Leonora sighed and her old smile returned.
“I reckon I know what you’re thinking, Janey.”
Janey hoped not. Because she could hardly recognize this woman in front of her. It wasn’t exactly that she was less strong, or less vibrant, just very different somehow. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Luckily, Leonora didn’t allow the pause to lengthen.
“I’ve changed. I’m not the woman I was. And thank God for that.”
“If change makes you look that happy, then it can only be good,” Janey conceded.
“And it is, sooo good,” Leonora said, with her eyes fixed fondly on Darrius, who was talking to one of their guests.
Janey licked her lips. She had to ask. “And… you don’t miss work? You really do plan to live here?”
“Absolutely,” Leonora said, tearing her gaze away from Darrius once more. She appeared to glow. If love made you radioactive, Janey was glad she wasn’t in the market for it. “I’ve always loved Sifra. I know it sounds a bit woo-woo, but it feels like it’s my spiritual home,” Leonora continued.
And there was no denying how genuine those feelings were. Janey could see it in her friend’s eyes. Janey gripped Leonora’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “I’m so happy for you.” And it was true. She was. And she’d be even happier if she never suffered the same fate.
“Thank you.”
“But…” Janey couldn’t help asking. “You really won’t miss everything you’ve been working toward at Oxford?” She shrugged, unable to hide her puzzlement. “I mean, it’s been so important to you.”
Leonora cast her a shrewd look. “Sometimes the things we focus on replace other, earlier hopes and needs which were disappointed.”
Janey frowned, wondering if Leonora was one of the few people who could see beyond Janey’s armor, and understand the insecurity which lay at her center.
Leonora smiled, as if understanding what prompted Janey’s frown. “When I say ‘we’, I mean ‘me’, of course. I’m sure you are as well-rounded as you seem—a woman who enjoys diving head-first into the surf as much as dusty tomes. Whereas me? I was on the wrong path, taken there by stuff that happened.” She shrugged and her smile turned momentarily sad. “But that’s all changed now.” She looked across at where Darrius had suddenly stopped talking and turned to her, as if drawn by a sixth sense. “My future is with Darrius. And I couldn’t be happier.”
Janey returned her smile while trying to figure out how Leonora could be happy, having forsaken all that was important to her in England to live in Sifra with such a dominant man. She forced herself to be pleased for Leonora, who obviously believed she’d hit the jackpot.
“You certainly look happy. The happiest, in fact, I’ve ever seen you.”
“Ah, there’s a reason for that. And that’s because I am.” She shifted closer to Janey. “I’ve found something far more precious than the diamond, Janey. And I hope you find what you’re looking for, too.”
“The diamond? Of course, I’ll do my best.” She accepted a drink and sat back. “I’ll begin with the harem, of course. I can’t wait. I’ll be able to add to my research and take it to the next level. The first academic to enter the Sifran harem. I’ve already had requests to present papers at conferences.”
“Ah, about the harem.”
“I’m planning on having a good look around there first thing tomorrow morning.”
Leonora pulled a face. “I’m afraid…” She winced again.
Janey frowned. “What? What are you afraid of?”
“I’m afraid it won’t be as easy as we first thought.”
“Why not? You’re here, you’re married to the ex-king. Surely there won’t be anything to prevent our research from going ahead now? There’s nothing to hold us back.”
“I’m afraid it won’t be that easy. Even with Darrius’s support, it won’t be simple to gain access, let alone spend time there alone. There are a lot of traditions and taboos which make gaining access difficult. But there’s someone who’ll help you with that.”
“Really? Who’s that?”
“Come with me and I’ll introduce you.”
Janey followed Leonora to a group of men. She overheard one man talking.
“I can think of a million things in Paris I’d rather be doing,” the man said.
Janey stopped suddenly. There was something in the timbre of his voice which navigated directly through her senses and set her heart racing. She took a deep breath and gave herself a stern telling off.
“Paris is wonderful,” she said, “but it doesn’t have the Bahr Al Noor diamond.”
“And nor does Sifra,” the man said, turning around.
Her gaze was level with the man’s chest. His hands were on his hips, pushing the suit jacket aside, revealing a beautifully cut white silk shirt. Her gaze rose to a tie which had been loosened to reveal curling hair on dark skin. Her gaze lifted again to a chin which was already beginning to show the signs of dark stubble. And again to a mouth—a mouth which made her heart stop. She didn’t need to lift her gaze any further to realize she knew this man. But she looked up anyway. Because she had no choice but to look into those eyes, as compelling as they had been two years ago. But far colder. It was him. It was Amare. She felt her mouth slacken and her brain freeze.
“Dr. Montgomerie, how nice to see you again.”
Amare extended his hand to hers, but she simply looked at it as if it were an apparition. If she touched him, he’d be real, and she didn’t want him to be real. She didn’t want her past to come back to haunt her—for good reason. He reached out and took her hand in his, holding it briefly before shaking and releasing it.
“What?” exclaimed Leonora, looking from one to the other. “You’ve met before? How come? Amare, you didn’t say anything when I told you about Janey!”
Neither Amare nor Janey looked at Leonora, or replied immediately. Janey was in shock at seeing the man she’d had a one-night stand with two years earlier, half a world away on an Australian beach. She couldn’t have spoken, even if she could think of what to say. Slowly, he turned to Leonora.
“We met in Australia at a conference.” Then he looked back at Janey and her heart leapt into a rapid tattoo. She wondered if he’d tell Leonora exactly what had happened that night that had changed her life. But he stopped there, his lips pressed together as if wanting to convey to her he could say more, that he might say more in the future, but, at this moment, he wasn’t about to make their secret public knowledge. “Didn’t we, Dr. Montgomerie?”
She gave a quick nod.
“And may I call you Janey?”
“Oh, yes,” said Leonora. “Everyone does, don’t they, Janey? No one stands on ceremony with our beach babe!” Leonora gave a laugh, which faded too quickly as she looked from one to the other.
“May I?” repeated Amare to Janey, as if he knew the answer had to come from her.
But Janey had lost any sense of the flow of conversation. She shook her head.
“May you what?”
Was it her imagination, or did he move toward her slightly? He must have done because she was suddenly aware of his scent. She drew in a deep breath, reacting instinctively to her knowledge of it.
“May I call you Janey?” he asked, his voice a shade lower, a shade gruffer.
Janey licked her lips, and his lips tweaked into a glimmer of a smile.
“Janey?” said Leonora, frowning in confusion.
Janey mentally shook herself free from the spell his proximity was casting on her and gave a brief nod of agreement. Although she’d have preferred to keep things formal, keep him at a distance. She’d have preferred it if he’d been anywhere else but here, with her. Preferably half a world away. But she had to face facts. The man with whom she’d spent a night of torrid love-making, and who’d then proclaimed they would marry straight away, sending her running for the hills, was here in front of her. And there was nowhere to run this time.

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