Sold to the sheikh his i.., p.17
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       His Indecent Proposal, p.17

         Part #1 of Sold To The Sheikh series by Holly Rayner
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  Mia's first scheduled check-up was the six-week ultrasound, and by the time it rolled around she still had not told her mother that she was pregnant. Dr. Farber had advised the two of them to wait until at least the twelve week milestone before making an announcement, as miscarriages were more frequent up until that point, but Mia's gut feeling was that if everything looked okay at the appointment, they would announce it sooner; maybe even right afterward.

  Just as they had so many times before, Mia and Rami waited patiently for their appointment-although now they were sitting in a different waiting room.

  "You know, if I'd known I was going to be spending so much time hanging out in waiting rooms when you asked me to have your baby, I would have told you to take you hundred thousand a month and walk away," Mia told Rami.

  "You could have negotiated for more!" Rami pointed out. "And anyway, now you've got any money you want at your disposal."

  Mia rolled her eyes. "Not in payments; it's still your money." Rami grinned at her as if he was enjoying a private joke, but Mia couldn't get him to tell her what was so funny.

  When they were finally called through, Mia went directly to the exam table, while Rami took one of the two chairs adjacent to it. They had barely waited a minute before the tech came in, launching into all of the expected questions as she made her way over to the cart containing the ultrasound equipment. "Is this your first baby? Are you hoping for a boy or a girl?"

  "It's our first," Rami said, giving Mia's hand a squeeze. "And we don't care whether it's a boy or a girl, as long as it's healthy."

  "And how did you two get together?" the tech inquired.

  Mia looked at Rami and suddenly the laughter burst out of her so forcefully she thought she might void her bladder and thereby ruin any chance of getting her ultrasound done that day. She fortunately managed to hold back, shifting uncomfortably on the table, as Rami told the tech a carefully edited version of the events that had led them to the office that day.

  "Imagine that!" The older woman laughed. "Well, you're getting your baby after all; let's just see how it's coming along, shall we?"

  Mia focused on the woman's reactions, ignoring the wet, cold feeling of the gel on her belly. She could feel her heart beating faster, a low kind of dread working through her that for whatever reason the baby might not be okay. But the older woman's face quickly broke into a smile. "Do you want to see what he or she looks like? Way too early to know if it's a boy and a girl-at this stage it looks like a little sea creature." Mia giggled at that and the tech turned the monitor for her and Rami to see. The baby was little more than a blob, a blur in a pool of darkness on the screen, but Mia felt the tears coming nonetheless.

  "Oh-oh Rami, isn't it beautiful?" Mia turned to look at the man she loved, only to receive a second shock: he wasn't watching the screen but was holding a tiny jewelry box open to show a ring, with a bright, glittering diamond in the center of the band.

  "Will you marry me, Mia Campbell?" Rami said, smiling. Mia's mouth fell open and she stared at him, unable to speak for a long time. She thought she might faint as an overwhelming wave of emotions washed through her: joy that she was actually pregnant, relief that the baby was healthy, and finally incredulity that Rami was choosing this moment to propose.

  "Yes! Of course! Of course I'll marry you," Mia said, tears flooding down her cheeks as Rami slipped the ring onto her finger, where it fitted perfectly. "Oh my God this is? I think I need to pee because?. Oh God I don't know if I can breathe." The tech leaped into action, helping Mia off of the table and escorting her to the tiny bathroom in the exam room. Mia cleaned herself up and came back to find Rami waiting with a bottle of cold water for her. "I think this is probably the best day of my life," Mia said, shaking her head in disbelief. A moment later, when some of the shock had passed, she turned to Rami. "We have to tell Mom."

  "About being engaged?" he asked.

  "About all of it-the engagement, the baby-the whole thing. We have to tell her right now."

  "Let me just get some blood from you first, dear, and then you can run off to wherever you have the energy to go." The technician called a medical assistant to take care of obtaining the blood samples needed to make sure the pregnancy was indeed progressing normally. Mia was barely able to sit still through the stick and blood draw.

  "Oh my God," Mia said over and over, looking at her ring. "You jerk! You totally had this planned all along, and that's why you were grinning like a fool when you told me I had access to all your money now." Rami laughed.

  "Do you like the ring?"

  Mia smiled, looking at it. "It is way too expensive," she said, glancing at him, "but I love it."

  They drove straight to Amie Campbell's house, Mia almost exploding in her urgency to tell her mother the news. She barely gave Rami time to park the car before she unbuckled her seat belt and darted out of the car, straight through the front door. "Mom! Mom, you will never guess what's happened."

  Her mother was standing in the kitchen with a cup of coffee in hand. "Mia, are you okay? What's wrong, sweetie?"

  "Nothing! I'm pregnant! And engaged!" Her mother stared at her in shock for a moment that seemed to last an hour, before Rami's polite knock at the door broke the silence.

  "Can I come in?" he asked, opening the door just a crack. He had met Mia's mother before, but it had only been a lunch date.

  "Can you come in? You can come in any time you want, Rami al-Hassan!" Mia's mother hugged him, giving him a quick but affectionate kiss on the cheek.

  "Then I take it you approve?" Rami grinned at Mia.

  "I absolutely approve," Amie said, hugging Rami and then hugging Mia. "I couldn't think of anything I would want more than to see my little girl happy-and I've never seen her happier in my life." Mia's mother kissed her and then hugged Rami once more.

  It was only a brief visit at Amie's house that morning. While her health was rapidly improving, Mia knew Amie still didn't have very much stamina for long visits. Once they'd taken their leave, exchanging more hugs and kisses with the frail older woman, Rami took Mia by the hand to lead her back to the car.

  "Okay. I want to tell my mom now," Rami said quietly.

  "You mean you haven't told her about any of this?"

  Rami grinned. "I think-I hope-she'll be happy to know about it now that it's a settled thing. I didn't want to get her hopes up until I knew I was going to have a baby and everything was the way it should be."

  "I think I've got enough energy for that," Mia said, taking a deep breath. "Do I look nice enough to meet her?" She frowned, looking down at her outfit doubtfully.

  "You look perfect," Rami said, leaning in to kiss her on the cheek. "Just perfect."

  FIFTEEN

  As Rami pulled into the long, winding driveway that led to his parents' home in town, Mia started to doubt his assertion that she would be just fine. She had known Rami was wealthy, but his penthouse apartment was nothing in comparison to the sprawling grounds and enormous house looming at the end of the drive. "Are you really sure about this, Rami? Do you want to tell her yourself, alone?"

  "No, I want you to meet her," Rami said, giving her hand a squeeze as he led her through the front door. Mia brushed imaginary lint from her blouse, worrying her bottom lip. "Where is my mother?" Rami directed the question to a waiting member of the domestic staff, who was dressed in livery nicer than anything Mia had owned before meeting Rami. The aide pointed up the stairs.

  Rami led Mia up the grand staircase and down a long hallway to what must be his mother's room. Mia took a deep breath as Rami knocked and then opened the door. "Mother? Mother, it's Rami. I need to tell you something."

  Mia stopped short as a woman appeared, stepping through a pair of French doors leading to another room. She was beautiful: ink-black hair, huge, dark eyes, and a body that appeared so lush and toned Mia assumed it must been under more than one surgeon's knife. The older woman wore a long, dark purple dress, sandals, and full makeup.

 
"Who is this?" The woman asked, pointing to Mia.

  "Mother," Rami said, smiling slightly-looking perhaps half as nervous as Mia felt. "This is Mia Campbell. She is my fianc?e, and she will be the mother of my child." The woman's eyes widened, and her exquisitely groomed eyebrows knit together.

  "That is impossible," she said, and Mia noticed the woman's voice becoming sharp. "Campbell? That is a common name. You are a prince."

  "Mother, I love her," Rami insisted. "She is the mother of my future child. I am going to marry her. I am never going to be in the line of succession anyway; what does it matter who I marry?"

  "You are correct that you will never be in the line of succession," Rami's mother said bitterly. "If you marry this girl, we will disown you."

  "Disown me! What do you mean? What are you saying, Mother?"

  "She's not a suitable wife for a prince, Rami. You will not marry her. Even if you are not your father's true son, neither of us will allow you to sully the family's name by marrying a commoner like this."

  "What do you mean, not my father's true son?"

  "We never wanted you to find out like this, but you were adopted. You only have our name by grace, and if you do not obey us in the matter of your marriage, you will forfeit any right to keep it."

  Mia looked from Rami's heartbroken face to his mother's, feeling as though someone had cut her legs off at the knees. Her head spun and her heart pounded in her chest; she felt the world become more and more distant, darkness swirling all around her. Mia wondered how she could possibly be party to such wonderful news and such terrible news all in the same day?

  Holly Rayner

  The sequel to this story is available now!

  Sold To The Sheikh: Fated Lovers

  With the revelations of Sheikh Rami's upbringing still fresh, Mia knows she has her work cut out to heal his wounds. However, with a sudden death in the family, and their soon-to-be born infant on the way, matters threaten to spiral out of the prospective mother's control! Can Mia pull together the pieces back together in time?

 
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