The Sheikh's Accidental Heir(5)

By: Leslie North



Zaid frowned, but it was obvious Khalid wanted to leave—no doubt to have a long talk with his wife who waited for him. Ahmed put on the innocent smile he had perfected over the years—as if he had no plans at all. But he was very much planning on an evening he would not soon forget—one with the lovely Melanie.





2





“You waited!” Melanie couldn’t hide the surprise or excitement in her voice when she found her gorgeous sheik waiting just outside the hotel. One look at him and she’d figured him as a flirt—he had that look in his eyes, part mischief and part trouble and way too attractive. She also knew her own weakness—she loved bad boys.

He gave her an easy grin, one that had her heart speeding up and left her palms damp. “Did you think I wouldn’t show?”

“Admittedly, yes. You seem the type who’d have a steady supply of women eager to spend time with you.” His dark eyebrows pulled tight and a touch of hurt lightened his eyes. She stared back at him, daring him to try a line on her.

Slowly, the spark came back into his eyes. He’d changed from his suit into jeans and a black polo that he wore open at the neck. She could see a touch of curling, dark chest hair peeking out and golden-brown skin. His dark hair had a touch of wave in it and reached almost to his shoulders, framing his strong face. A neatly trimmed beard followed a firm jaw line, emphasizing solid features. Earlier, he’d looked bored—and she’d pegged him as the son who hated business. The playboy son. Now she wasn’t so sure. There seemed to be hidden depths to Ahmed.

He spread his hands wide. “While I will admit that yes, most women seem to throw themselves at me.” He paused to look her up and down. “I do enjoy a bit of a chase.”

“So, what, I’m a rabbit now?” She mimicked his gaze, looking him over. “To your wolf?”

Taking her arm, he led her to a black sedan that seemed to be waiting for them at the curb. “Well, you know what they say about rabbits.”

Melanie blushed, but she met his stare. “What—they taste like chicken?”

He laughed. The driver held the door for them. She glanced at it. Was she ready for this? How long had it been since she’d last been on a date? She brushed at her black trousers—she hadn’t even had a chance to change. She glanced back at Ahmed. She was pretty sure she could guess where this was heading, but dammit, she was tired of being too responsible, too hard working and being the girl who never had any fun.

Going out with Ahmed—a real prince, the son of the Sultan of Sharjah—was at least going to make for a great story someday. Weren’t her friends always telling her she was always following the rules—and not really getting anywhere because of that?

Throwing caution to the wind, she stepped into the car and slid across the backseat. The leather smelled new, gave like a dream and there was enough room to almost call this a New York apartment.

Ahmed slipped in beside her, saying, “Just so you know, I don’t care for salad.”

She gave a laugh. “So, what did you have in mind?” She couldn’t believe she was in the car with an Arabian sheik and suddenly realized her words sounded more like a come on. “I mean, were you thinking pizza? We’ve got great Greek, but maybe that’s too close to home.”

He smiled and the leather creaked as he shifted a little closer. “I trust you haven’t had dinner.”

Melanie glanced at the driver. Traffic was thick this time of night, and they’d be lucky to get into a good restaurant. “My dinner is usually leftovers from the trays we were serving.”

He shook his head. “That is not a meal. What if we have dinner prepared for us back at my personal suite by Michelin Star chef, Michael Stubon?”

“I thought you wanted a real New York experience?”

“Is that not an experience? I am sure it will be delightful.”

“Sounds like it, and dinner prepared by Stubon is tempting, but I’ve got another idea.” Leaning forward, she gave the driver the address to Katz’s. The car pulled out into traffic, and the driver wove through the cars like a pro.

Melanie glanced over to find Ahmed watching her. She was pretty sure he didn’t know she wasn’t just a worker at MM Catering. She owned the business, but he’d spoken to her as if she was just one of the staff members. She liked the idea of being…well, being Cinderella for an evening. With a real prince and everything. Depending on how things went, she’d decide later just what more he needed to know.

So she asked him about his brothers, about his life back home, about his business interests in New York. He waved off the last question, talked with a touch of admiration about his two older brothers—as if he didn’t want to admit he cared for them, even though he did. She thought she saw something more in him than just a playboy prince.

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