The sheikhs accidental b.., p.13
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       The Sheikh's Accidental Bride, p.13
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         Part #2 of The Sheikh Wants A Wife series by Holly Rayner
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ELEVEN

  Nadya’s eyes opened slowly. Painfully. The whole world hurt, and she felt groggy and exhausted and sore.

  The sheets were soft on her skin, and the bed still felt like a cloud, but it wasn’t her cloud. She looked around her, expecting to be in her own room, but found herself mistaken. In an instant, the events of the night before came rushing back. The subway ride, the walk in the park, the pulsing beat of the basement at Rudy’s. The moment in the alley when the intensity of being near him had taken over from the memory of her first kiss. The smooth ride over the bridge and empty city streets. The dizzying ride to the top of Salman’s skyscraper. Sunrise over the city. The kiss, and all that came after.

  He was sleeping next to her, his breathing slow and peaceful. The light coming through the skylight made it seem like afternoon to her, though she didn’t dare turn on her phone to check.

  The light of the afternoon spilling into the dark room felt harsh on her tired eyes. But the reality of what she had done – how far she had allowed herself to deceive a man who had done nothing but show her kindness, and more – that was harsher still.

  She was finding it hard to breathe. There was an aching hollowness in the center of her chest, and it hurt with each labored, slightly panicked attempt.

  He deserved to hear the truth from her. He deserved that, and so much more. He deserved to hear her try and make her explanations to him, however thin they may be.

  But even as she lay there, thinking about how much he deserved from her, she knew that she couldn’t give it to him. She’d tried already, several times, but each and every time the pull that he had for her had been too strong.

  And now, especially now, she had no chance. Not if he was awake.

  She would need to leave him; now, while he was still asleep. The next day would be his wedding, and if she left him now, maybe he would still have an opportunity to put all of this behind him.

  She didn’t dare let herself think that he might not want to put it all behind him. He couldn’t be hers. Even if he decided that he didn’t want to go through with the plans that his family had for him, or if his fiancée wouldn’t forgive him for falling for Nadya’s deceit, he couldn’t be hers. How could he ever trust her, knowing what she’d done?

  She hoped he was a heavy sleeper, and that he wouldn’t wake as she slipped out of bed. She moved as smoothly as she could; the mattress was some kind of memory foam hybrid, so it didn’t jostle much, luckily. When she stood on the floor, having freed herself from the warmth of his bed, she held still for a minute, observing him carefully. She thought she saw some semblance of movement, but it was just a trick of the light. She’d done it.

  She set about searching the room quietly for something to write on. The drawers opened and closed soundlessly, and she quickly found a little notepad with the hotel’s name embossed on it, stashed in the drawer of the little writing desk. Next to it was a pen, with the hotel’s logo on it. By the weight of it, Nadya guessed it was worth quite a bit. The pen was a hateful thing, to her. It was how she was going to say her goodbye.

  She revised the note in her head several times before putting the pen to the paper. Each second she stayed in the room was another second for Salman to wake up, and for her to have to face him. She couldn’t do that, but neither could she tolerate the idea of leaving him without at least a farewell note.

  In the end, she opted to keep it simple. There was no real explanation for what she’d done to him, so she offered him none.

 
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