The sheikh's quadruplet baby surprise

By: Holly Rayner

ONE



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Maddy stuck her hand out for a cab, waving it impatiently.



The truth was, she shouldn’t have been going out. She should have been back at the lab, her nose in her notes, making the final touches for her big presentation the next day.



But she’d been working for nearly twelve hours straight and her brain felt like mush, so she was hoping a fun date with the new guy she’d met on the dating app she’d recently installed would give her the second wind she needed.



Finally, a chic black town car pulled up, and Maddy got in, giving the driver quick directions to an upscale local bar. She pulled out a small mirror and checked her reflection one more time. Her hair was swept up in a classic style, the blond strands delicately framing her elfin facial features, and her blue eyes were striking—so much so, that she sent a mental thank you to the makeup company she had purchased her eyeliner from.



What seemed like seconds later, the cab pulled up to the bar, and the fare popped up on a screen behind the driver’s seat. Swiping her credit card, Maddy gave the driver a tip and a thank you before stepping out onto the street and entering the trendy establishment.



Loud music was playing. It was too early for any real partying to begin, and Maddy had convinced herself she would only be going for one drink, anyway. She had work to do.



Glancing around the room, she didn’t see any faces that looked familiar, and for a moment, she thought about turning tail and running. But when she turned back towards the door, she was met with the thick frame of a very masculine body.



“Oof!”



Maddy bounced back, catching her own fall. When she looked back up, the man before her looked very out of place—just like herself, actually.



He grinned. “You must be Madeline.”



Maddy tried not to think about the fact that he did nothing to help catch her fall. She had been told she was too picky, and that was why she was single. She was starting to believe there might just be something wrong with her. She gave herself a mental shake—she was a classic overthinker, and she needed to focus on the moment. He looked exactly like his profile picture, so that was something at least.



Maddy flashed him a shy smile. “Guilty,” she said.



“Shall we grab a table?” he asked.



“Sure,” she said, following him as he strode toward an open table and took a seat.



Just because he didn’t pull out your chair doesn’t mean chivalry is dead, Maddy thought. She’d already counted two strikes against him, and she knew that was unfair. She smiled at him as he pulled out a drinks menu propped up on the table.



“So, have you been here before?” she asked.



Her date nodded, scanning the menu. “The martinis are okay, but I’ve had better.”



Not knowing what to say to that, and not having a menu of her own, Maddy stared around the bar, desperately searching for some topic she could generate a conversation from. Fortunately, a server arrived, giving her someone to talk to.



“Can I take your order?” the woman asked. She was tall and dark-haired, like pretty much every other woman in Elbazzar. It was no wonder that Maddy stuck out like she did, being petite and blonde, but it wasn’t something she minded. She was used to being unique. It was something she took pride in, most of the time.



“Yes, we’ll both have the mango martini,” her date said, without even looking at Maddy.



The server nodded and walked off, and Maddy widened her eyes at the man, who finally bothered to look up at her.



“Sorry, is that okay? I think you’ll really like it. It’s really the only good drink here, anyway.”



Maddy counted to ten in her head. At this point he had managed to offend her three times, and she was getting impatient, feeling like leaving work for this disappointing date had been a mistake.



“You are Jonathan Bruckman, right? I’m not sitting across the table from some other random stranger ordering drinks for me?”

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