The sheikhs secret princ.., p.19
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       The Sheikh's Secret Princess, p.19

         Part #2 of The Sheikh's Every Wish series by Holly Rayner
 
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  Hannah already knew what her answer would be, but it couldn’t hurt to flirt with this handsome guy a little more.

  Sadiq’s eyes twinkled when he spoke. “Miss Green, I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow night. Until then,” he reached out and grabbed her hand and held it up to his mouth.

  Hannah had to hold back the gasp of air that tried to escape as he pressed his warm lips against her skin and kissed her hand gently.

  He released her hand, smiled and walked down the hallway, disappearing into the dark. Hannah just stood there, unsure of what had just happened. She brought her hand up to her face and smelled the deep, rich scent of the cologne he had been wearing. It was unlike anything she had smelled and filled her up with a sensation that was hard to describe, and like nothing she had ever known before.

  THREE

  “Oh my God! Were you just talking to that guy?” Chloe’s excited voice snapped Hannah out of her pensive spell.

  “What? What guy?” Hannah looked down the dark hallway where Chloe had just come from. “Oh, him? Yeah, he—”

  Before she could say another word, Chloe interrupted her. “Do you know who that was?”

  Hannah raised her eyebrows and shook her head, shrugging.

  “That was only one of the richest bachelors in New York! Sheikh Sadiq bin-something or other! What did he want to talk to you about? What did you say to him?” Chloe was beside herself and pumped Hannah for details.

  “Um, he, well, he just told me that he liked my singing.”

  “Oh my God, girl! I can’t believe that he came up to you by himself! He usually has his whole entourage with him. Haven’t you seen him in the society pages or the tabloids? He’s all over the place!”

  “Uh-uh,” Hannah said slowly. A rich bachelor? A sheikh? That certainly explains the home country thing.

  “You two, keep it down back there!” Harvey’s gruff voice came down the hallway. “How many times have I told you?”

  Chloe grabbed Hannah and pushed her into the dressing room. Hannah flopped onto the sofa, her eyes wide. Now she understood. The offer he had made her was for real. He was legitimately rich. Holy cow!

  “So what did you talk about? What did he say to you, exactly? I want all the details.” Chloe sat in the chair across from Hannah, fidgeting like an excited child.

  “Well, first he told me he liked my singing.”

  “Uh-huh. And then what?”

  Hannah smiled. “Then, he told me my voice was, sensual.”

  Chloe threw her hands up to her face. “Oh my God! That’s incredible, Han!”

  “Yeah, I know,” Hannah said, beaming.

  “Okay, what else? There’s something else, I know it.”

  Hannah’s face turned serious and she looked straight at her friend. “He asked me to fly to his home country for a six-week tour.”

  Chloe’s mouth dropped open. “Are you kidding me? Are you being serious? You’re serious, aren’t you?”

  Hannah nodded. She hadn’t even told Chloe the good part yet.

  “And you said yes, right? Please tell me you said yes, Hannah.”

  “Well…”

  Chloe threw her hands up to her head. “Oh, come on! You didn’t refuse, did you? God help me, please tell me you didn’t turn the guy down.”

  Hannah couldn’t help but giggle as her friend’s hoop earrings bounced around in her excitement. “Well, let me finish.”

  Chloe ran a finger across her lips, pretending to zip her mouth up and throw away the key. Then she sat back with her arms crossed over her ample chest.

  “In exchange for the performances, he offered me 500,000 dollars…”

  Chloe opened her mouth to speak as her eyes went wide, but Hannah held her hand out to stop her.

  “And I told him I’d sleep on it.”

  “Oh my God!” Chloe jumped up from her chair. “You told him you’d think about it? Five hundred thousand dollars? Oh my God, girl. That’s half a million dollars!”

  Chloe stretched her words out for effect. She paced the room with her hands on her head, talking more to herself than to Hannah. “I can’t believe you. Most people don’t make that much in their entire lifetimes—I know I won’t. You might, because you’re good. You’re—” She stopped and turned to Hannah. “Sensual!”

  “Chloe?” Hannah tried to reel her friend in.

  “What?!” Chloe snapped.

  “I didn’t know.”

  “You didn’t know what?” Chloe asked.

  “I didn’t know he was for real. I thought he was just a fan, or a stalker. A really good-looking, nice-smelling stalker. I had no idea when he made me the offer that he could actually back it up.”

  “Okay,” Chloe said, sitting back down across from Hannah. “So you can make it right. Just call him and tell him you’ll take it.”

  Hannah smiled slightly and looked away. “Yeah, about that…”

  “Please tell me you got his number. Hannah,” Chloe got off her chair and knelt down in front of her best friend, mock-begging her. “Please tell me that you took the phone number of one of the richest bachelors in the city who just walked up to you and offered you half a million bucks for six weeks’ work. Please, please, tell me that you had the sense to take his phone number.”

  Hannah pressed her lips together and shook her head.

  Chloe got up and started pacing again. “No number. Nope. It’s just ten little digits, maybe seven if it’s a local number, but no, that would be too much. She can remember the lyrics to a thousand songs, but ask one guy for his number? Nope. Not a chance.”

  Hannah got up and put her arm around her friend, laughing as she spoke. “Okay, relax. I told him I was singing again tomorrow night and that I’d have my answer for him then.”

  Chloe turned and hugged her friend. “Thank you, sweet Jesus!” They pulled apart and Chloe looked at Hannah. “I’m sorry for overreacting. It’s just that, well, I want the best for you. You’re my best friend in the whole world. And you’re so darned talented. All I want is for you to succeed and be happy.”

  “I know,” Hannah said. “And when I make it big, you’re gonna be my agent!”

  “I thought I already was?” Chloe said with a grin.

  Just then, Harvey’s voice came over the intercom. “Chloe, get your butt out here. You’re on in five.”

  The two friends looked at the intercom and then at each other and rolled their eyes.

  “Yeah, you better take that offer,” Chloe said. “We can’t both spend the rest of our lives here working for Harvey from Hell!”

  Chloe blew Hannah a kiss and then disappeared through the door to go perform her set.

  Hannah quickly changed out of her dress and gathered up her belongings, then walked down the dim hall to the sound of Chloe’s voice flowing over the speakers. She got outside and took the subway back to Brooklyn, her mind buzzing with possibilities after the unexpected turn her night had taken.

  FOUR

  Back at her and Chloe’s apartment, Hannah tried to put Sadiq out of her mind, but he kept resurfacing. She took a shower, made herself some dinner and finally decided to do a little research on the stranger that had suddenly appeared in her life.

  She opened her laptop and typed ‘Sheikh Sadiq, New York’ into her browser. She didn’t have his last name, but was surprised to find that with just those words, pictures of the handsome stranger flooded her computer screen.

  Hannah clicked on one of the links and saw the face she had seen earlier smiling up at her from her computer. The pictures on the search were taken in better lighting and after seeing just a few of them, Hannah realized that the chiseled good looks she’d glimpsed in the gloom of the Blue Moon were nothing compared to how he looked in daylight.

  Sheikh Sadiq bin-Haled al-Halam, her search informed her, was the 28-year-old heir to the monarchy of El-Shakanish, a principality in the Middle East. He had received a very expensive private education in the United States, and after graduating from Yale, had deci
ded to stay in the States and handle his family’s business affairs from there.

  It appeared to Hannah that Sadiq was more of a playboy than a businessman. Nearly every shot had him tuxedo-clad at a charity gala, society gathering or celebrity fete, smiling broadly with a new beautiful woman on his arm at every event.

  She scoured the internet for information on his ties to the music world but found very little. She was certain that he wasn’t an established producer, talent scout or agent, so why was he so interested in her?

  Hannah sat back and rubbed her eyes, tired from looking at the computer screen for so long. She was glad to see that he clearly had the means to make good on his offer, but she was unsure if he was really offering her that kind of money just for singing. He was, after all, quite the playboy—maybe he was just looking for some woman to keep him company for six weeks in more of an escort capacity. Hannah didn’t want to think that was the case, but she had to be realistic.

  She thought back again to her father and his experience of having to turn down an offer that was too good to be true. She knew that even if Sadiq was on the up and up, there might be some things he wasn’t telling her. Perhaps he wanted her to sing at really shady places. Perhaps she would have to go to dangerous parts of the region and risk her life in the process. Maybe he would want her to wear some really revealing costumes while she performed. That last one wouldn’t be too terrible, she thought, especially if she could wear them again for the Sheikh in private…

  “Stop it, Hannah!” she yelled out loud, standing up from the computer. “You have no idea what this guy wants from you. All you know is that he’s offering you a crazy amount of money to do something that sounds too good to be true.”

  She closed the laptop and walked out onto the fire escape. She wanted to believe that the offer was everything Sadiq said it was, and nothing more. She wanted to believe that she could fly off to another part of the world, do what she loved to do, and come back with enough money to finally get her head above water and feel financially secure. She had always dreamed about getting a recording contract and it helping her become financially stable, but if it happened the other way around, she would be totally okay with that, too.

  Yet the old fears, that had motivated her for so long, also held her back. She knew that if she took off for six weeks, Harvey wouldn’t hold her job at the Blue Moon. She would be forced to find other gigs, and this one, as average as it was, had been difficult enough to secure. She could go back to the catering company—they were always taking on new staff—but it was hardly a job she was passionate about, nor did it leave her with anything left over once all of her bills were paid.

  Hannah wasn’t even considering that with half a million dollars in her pocket, she would have enough money to take her time looking for work. That part didn’t even enter her mind. She had been stuck in survival mode since childhood and it was a place she had difficulty getting out of. No matter how much money she had, or would have, she didn’t think she could ever get past the idea that she had to always work, no matter what.

  She looked out across the tiny park and down the few streets she could see from her apartment fire escape. Lights twinkled in the distance and horns beeped. Hannah breathed in the city air, letting it fill her lungs. She smiled. She loved the city. She had loved Atlanta, too, but there was just something magical about New York City, and she didn’t know if she could ever leave it, even for six weeks. But the thought of going and coming back with enough money to have a real terrace, and not just a fire escape, appealed to her greatly.

  Hannah crawled back in through the window and closed it behind her. She walked into her room and crawled into bed. She pulled the covers up over her and turned over, gazing through the window at the brick wall
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