Desert King, Pregnant Mistress

By: Susan Stephens

CHAPTER ONE


SHE was hiding in a rock pool, watching a naked man stride out of the surf. Beth Tracey Torrance, good girl, quiet girl, shop girl, Liverpool girl, pressed up against warm rocks in a foreign land beneath a blazing sun. And not just any country, but the desert kingdom of Q’Adar, where men rode camels and carried guns! Her stay-at-home self would say she was mad to be sitting here, frozen to the spot like one of the mannequins in the store—her friends would put it somewhat stronger—but she was drawn to this man. Just call it essential research. Well, she had to give a full report of her trip when she got back home, didn’t she?

Beth leaned forward cautiously to take another look. If she’d thought the lash of sea on rock was elemental, the man leaving the ocean was even more stunning. Under different circumstances she would have turned away, because he was nude, but nothing seemed real to her here in Q’Adar—not the fabulous riches, the glamour, or the beautiful people.

Where was the camera when you needed it? With his lean, muscular frame and regal bearing, she was sure this man must be a member of the proud Q’Adaran race. And it wasn’t every day you got the chance to stare at a man so beautiful he took your breath away.

Her colleagues at the luxury department store, Khalifa, would never believe this! She had amazed them once already with the news that her prize for being voted Shop Assistant of the Year for the Khalifa luxury group included not just a trip to the desert kingdom of Q’Adar, but a fairy-tale gown to wear to the Platinum and Diamond Ball—being held to celebrate the thirtieth birthday of the country’s ruler, as well as his coronation, or whatever it was called when a man was voted Sheikh of Sheikhs. And this was the same man whose extensive business-portfolio included the Khalifa brand.

She had never met her boss, Mr Khalifa Kadir, the legendary founder of the international chain of luxury stores, but was stunned to think he would now be known as His Majesty. His full title was His Majesty Khalifa Kadir al Hassan, Sheikh of Sheikhs, Bringer of Light to His People. It sounded like something out of a fairy story, Beth thought as the man walked up the beach and disappeared behind some rocks.

And now she, Beth Tracey Torrance, was going to meet the Sheikh of Sheikhs when he handed her the trophy she’d won. So, should she bow or should she curtsey? Beth wondered, distractedly chewing her lip. There wasn’t much room for manoeuvre in her tight-fitting dress, so maybe she should just make a small bow when she met him…When she met him! When she, an ordinary girl, met the Sheikh of Sheikhs! It was all she had dreamed about for weeks now. And yet that dream had just been eclipsed by some man on a beach.

Pressed back against the rocks, Beth closed her eyes and inwardly melted. Forget the sheikh. This man would be branded on her mind for ever!



He felt rather than saw the intruder. His training in the special forces had served him well. The sixth sense he had developed during army service had saved his life on several occasions, and had also proved a handy tool when it came to developing his business instinct. His profits now rivalled those of oil, and Q’Adar was rich in oil. Most sheikhs didn’t work, but where was the challenge in spending oil wealth when that precious resource seeped out of the ground? And where was the satisfaction in paying experts to earn money for him? Where was the sense of achievement in sitting back while others did the work for him? He was always restless, always seeking the next challenge, and now he had accepted the greatest challenge of his life: to rescue his country, Q’Adar, from the brink of disaster.

Throwing back his head to embrace the warmth of the molten sun, the Sheikh of Sheikhs, His Majesty Khalifa Kadir al Hassan, rejoiced that he was more than strong enough for the task as he luxuriated in the seductive heat of his native land.



He was gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. And if he’d just turn a little to the right…

No.

No!

What was she thinking?

Beth’s thoughts flew into a frenzy as the man’s naked body was fully revealed. She exhaled with relief as he turned his back. She didn’t want him to turn around again or she’d be damaged for life. She’d never find his equal. Never! He’d been close enough for her to see everything! And there was an awful lot of everything to see. He wasn’t even covered by a towel, though she could see one neatly folded on a rock. Thankfully the rock was some way away, which meant he wouldn’t have to pass her hiding place when he went to get it. Which meant she was safe to go on staring at him. Well, she had to remember every bit of this in detail to tell her friends, didn’t she?

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