A powerful, sexy sheikh, a woman on a mission, and a second-chance romance...
Sheikh Darrius, King of Sirfa, has never gotten over his lover walking out on him eight years earlier. The evidence had been clear—she didn’t see her future with him. So he’d moved on, married, divorced, and was now looking for a new wife who could give him the children his country needed. There’s only one thing he wants when Leonora returns to his country—to rid himself of the hold she has over his wandering thoughts during the day, and his erotic dreams at night. He knows there was nothing like a dose of reality to destroy an illusion. And she’s just provided the perfect opportunity to do that.
Dr. Leonora Cooper is determined to do two things—find the mysterious Bahr al Noor diamond which will secure her promotion and get over Darrius, who’d broken her heart years earlier. So she travels to Sirfa where she can accomplish both goals. How hard can it be? Very hard, as it turns out. Because it’s not the country, or the mystery, but the man who rules it who turns out to be her greatest challenge…
Publisher : Bay Books (May 10, 2023)
Language : English
Paperback : 206 pages
Item Weight : 10.1 ounces
Dimensions : 5 x 0.47 x 8 inches
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“Your Highness,” said the Grand Vizier, frowning. “This visa, while technically in order, was in use under our old system. In addition, the border crossing is remote and its choice is, to say the least, suspicious. I suggest you refuse entry.”
The royal council watched with a mixture of confusion and growing concern as their king, Sheikh Darrius bin Hashim Al Sifra sat in silence, glaring at the paperwork which had landed on his desk. He hated council meetings. He hated the fact he was required to be in an air-conditioned room when he’d have preferred to be hunting out in the desert, and he hated that no one said what they meant. He hated council meetings even more when he was presented with a name which set his soul on fire.
Dr. Leonora Cooper of the University of Oxford was trying to enter his country. He’d known her as Nora—a bright and beautiful university student—who’d been granted permission by his grandfather to do some research in his country. Within days, he’d known her as his soul mate and lover. But they’d only spent a few months together before he’d had to return to the US to complete his education. He’d asked her to wait. She hadn’t, leaving him heartbroken and disillusioned. And now, it seemed, eight years later, she wished to return.
“You must refuse her,” repeated the Grand Vizier. “It’s usual for foreigners to contact the embassy before visiting our country, not simply turn up with an out-of-date visa!”
There were mutterings of disgust from others on the council.
“And, may I remind you,” his vizier continued, “if she had requested permission, she would have been declined it as she overstayed on her previous visit.”
Darrius gave his senior adviser a stony stare. The vizier and his father had been great friends, and he disliked both.
“No, you may not remind me, Ammar,” Darrius said. “And…” He extended his glare to everyone in the room, daring them to contradict him. They didn’t. At least he had the advantage of a reputation of fear and strength, which silenced most people. Most people, it seemed, except his Grand Vizier. “And,” he stressed once more, “she may enter.”
All eyes shot to the Grand Vizier who, after a tightening of the mouth, gave a slight bow of the head, which was contradicted by an arrogantly raised eyebrow. “If that is your decision, Your Highness.”
“It is.” Darrius focused on the papers before him. “That appears to conclude business.” He rose. “You may all leave now.”
As the Grand Vizier was about to walk out the door, Darrius called to him.
The Grand Vizier turned slowly to him. “Yes, Your Highness?”
“Have a car readied for me immediately.”
The Grand Vizier inclined his head, but his eyes were stony. “Of course. May I ask for what purpose?”
“You may ask, and I’ll even tell you. I intend to drive to the border and bring Dr. Leonora Cooper here, to the palace. Is that enough information for you?”
The elderly statesman’s face would have appeared impassive to anyone else. But Darrius knew it well. He knew what that tight gasp and narrowing of the eyes meant. It meant he disapproved. But he hadn’t needed to see the old man’s facial expressions to know he wouldn’t approve of Nora’s re-appearance. He hadn’t approved of her the first time around.
“Of course, Your Majesty.”
Darrius watched as Ammar left the room. He was alone again, which was how he preferred to be, but rarely was. No doubt the old man thought Darrius was intending to revive the passionate affair he’d once had with Nora. He’d be correct. No doubt the old man also imagined Darrius was going to pledge his undying love for Nora. He’d be entirely incorrect on that score.
All Darrius wanted was to take Nora to his bed one last time before he kicked her out of his country for good. Eight years earlier, he’d told her he loved her and wanted to marry her, but she hadn’t bothered to wait out the six months he’d asked of her, and she’d gone. He’d followed, but what he’d seen had made him turn around and go straight home. Now, she’d had the gall to return. It was a shock, it was infuriating, but it was also an opportunity.
He wished to rid himself of the hold she had over his wandering thoughts during the day, and his erotic dreams at night. He knew that there was nothing like a healthy dose of reality to destroy an illusion. And she’d provided the perfect opportunity to do that.
He heard the car draw up beneath his window and strode out of the boardroom. Good, he couldn’t wait to see her again and observe how badly the years of academia had messed up her looks. No doubt she squinted, had hunched shoulders and carried too much weight. He couldn’t wait to see, feel, and taste the reality of her. Only then would he be finally be free.