Sheikh's Desert Duty(10)

By: Maisey Yates

“Don’t you want to sit down?” she asked.

“I have a drink to pour.”

She walked across the expanse of the plane, and took a seat in one of the chairs. They were, indeed, as soft as they looked. Just for her mental records. For when she was writing a piece on this experience. On what it had been like to be in the private plane of the sheikh of Surhaadi.

He poured her a very full glass of red, not even looking unsteady when the plane picked up momentum. Then he put a stopper back in the bottle, and put it back in the cabinet. Before walking nonchalantly across the cabin and handing her the glass. He took a seat across from her, his hands noticeably empty of a drink.

“I think you and I have a lot in common, really. We both want Chatsfield blood. I think you should help me get some.” She took a sip of the wine, and fought to keep her expression neutral. This was not cheap wine.

If she ever did buy herself wine for home, it usually came in mini-bottles or a box. Silk taste, polyester budget and all that.

“Later. Later you will have your scandal. For now we can talk wedding business.”

Irritation spiked through her, and she fought to keep from showing him, fought to keep from revealing her hand any more than she already had. “But you are getting married? That’s true, right?”

“Yes, I am.”

She noticed he didn’t sound overjoyed at the mention of the upcoming union          . She would file that away, as well. She would also continue down this line of questioning, because he was being a bit more forthcoming on this topic than on the topic of the Chatsfields.

She shifted in her seat, crossing her legs, and holding the wine out over the cream-colored carpet as the plane started to ascend. She didn’t have very many nice dresses, and she would be darned if she was going to get a red wine stain on one of the few she did own. His carpet would pay the price before this sequined masterpiece did.

“When is the wedding?”

A strange-looking smile curved the corners of his lips. It was not a happy expression, neither did it hold very much humor. “Three weeks.”

That would likely put her right at the center of the action. In spite of herself, she did find that exciting. “I imagine a lot of the preparation is under way already.”

“While my staff is executing much of it, my fiancée is dictating the activity from her home country.”

“She isn’t from Surhaadi?”

“No. My fiancée is the princess of a small European country. The fourth-born child in the family, and the only girl. She is still living in the palace there.”

“Long-distance relationship, understandable. Though not ideal.”

He shrugged. “I find nothing terribly un-ideal about it. There is no reason for Christine to uproot her life prior to our union           becoming official.”

“Some people might not consider it very inconvenient to uproot things for the person they love.”

“Who said anything about love?” His dark eyes connected with hers and sent a shock wave down to her stomach. She took a deep breath, trying to ignore it.

She supposed she of all people shouldn’t have inferred love into a conversation about marriage. She hardly thought her own father loved the woman he was married to. Now, she didn’t suppose that the man loved her mother, either, but he certainly didn’t love his wife. If he did, why would he conduct so many affairs? Why would he conduct affairs with anyone at all?

“I don’t suppose anyone did. Except for me.”

“It is not a secret that my union           with Christine has more to do with politics than feelings.”

“Oh, but the world loves a love match.” She leaned back in her seat, lifting her wineglass to her lips. “I should very much doubt if the public is content to imagine that you are simply allies for politics and not for pleasure.”

A political union           would not make for a very strong hook in her piece. A piece she would have to give some consideration to, regardless of her primary aim of interviewing Zayn. Because Colin was expecting a story about a royal wedding now, and she had to deliver.

That wasn’t a problem, though, she was used to multitasking. Unlike most of her peers she’d had to hold on to a part-time job while going to school. And again, unlike most of her classmates, there had been no job waiting for her when she graduated. So there had been internships, combined with late shifts waitressing at bars.

No, multitasking wasn’t a problem for her.

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