The sheikhs secret princ.., p.20
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       The Sheikh's Secret Princess, p.20

         Part #2 of The Sheikh's Every Wish series by Holly Rayner
 
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  that was her view. She knew she would have to turn the sheikh down eventually—it was the sensible thing to do—but for one night at least, she could imagine what it would be like to tell him yes. Hannah closed her tired eyes and fell asleep to the sound of distant Friday-night traffic, the smell of Sadiq’s cologne still lingering in her mind.

  FIVE

  The following night, Hannah arrived at the club and headed straight towards the dressing room. She closed the door behind her and began rummaging through the dresses hanging in the closet. She wasn’t sure if Sadiq would show up or not, and she certainly hadn’t made her mind up about his offer yet, but she figured she might as well make an effort with her appearance; if nothing else, maybe she’d get a date out of it.

  She finally settled on a slinky black cocktail dress. The fabric clung lightly to her frame and the one thin strap sat delicately on her bare shoulder. She pulled her dark red hair up in a loose bun, pulling a few strands out to hang messily around her pale face. She added a touch of red lipstick and put on black and silver dangling earrings, then stood up and checked herself out in the mirror.

  “Good. Not too boring, not too trampy. Just right.”

  She slipped on a pair of black high-heeled pumps and checked the clock; she was on stage in ten minutes. She cleared her mind of all thoughts of Sadiq and his offer and focused on the songs she would be singing. She had selected some of her favorites and was looking forward to losing herself in the music.

  Hannah opened the door to the dressing room and was greeted by Harvey’s scowling face.

  “Hello to you, too, Harvey,” she said sarcastically as she stared him down.

  Harvey just eyed her without saying a word.

  “Okay then,” she said, trying to slip past him. “If that’s how it’s gonna be. Got a show to put on here…”

  “Who was he?” Harvey said, blocking Hannah’s exit.

  “Who was who?” she asked, not in the mood for his games.

  “Who was that guy you were talking to last night?” Harvey hissed the question at her.

  Hannah thought. That guy, you idiot, was a sheikh. He was a thousand times more handsome than you’ll ever be, and a million times richer. That’s what she wanted to say, but she bit her tongue.

  “First of all,” she said, jabbing her tiny finger in his thick chest. “You and I are no longer together.” She paused for effect. “As a direct result of this type of ludicrous behavior, I might add.”

  Harvey flinched, as if the words stung him just a little.

  Hannah went on. “Second of all, who I talk to is none of your business. I work for you Harvey, that’s it. I can talk to whoever I want!”

  Harvey’s face grew redder as she spoke.

  “And you can’t do a darned thing about it!” she added.

  “Watch me!” Harvey spat the words at her. “I’m cancelling your show tonight. Now you can spend the rest of the night talking with whoever you want!”

  He turned and headed toward the stage as Hannah followed him in shock.

  “You can’t do that!” she yelled from behind him.

  Harvey walked on the stage, just behind the velvet curtain, as the band looked on in surprise. Hannah arrived right behind him and stood there, dumbfounded. She and Harvey had gotten into many fights in the past, but he had never cancelled one of her performances before.

  “You’re not really going to do this, are you? You’ve got a house full of people here, Harvey.” She pulled the curtain back a fraction to show him all the people that had come to hear her sing.

  He ripped the curtain out of her hand and turned to face her. “Yes, Hannah, I really am going to do this. And if you want to keep your job here, you’ll think more carefully about speaking to me like that in the future. I know I have a house full of people; this is my club, and these are my guests, not yours. I can call any number of singers and have them come and fill in for you. You’re not that special. Don’t you ever forget that.”

  Harvey turned his back to Hannah and walked out onto the stage, quietly instructing the band to start playing a soft instrumental.

  Hannah watched in disbelief, still reeling from the words Harvey had spoken. With tears in her eyes and anger raging in her heart, she turned and stormed out onto the stage.

  “You know what, Harvey, I am special, and nothing you say or do will change that. I don’t need to take this from you anymore. I quit!”

  The band stopped playing. The crowd, still streaming in through the doors, went quiet with the commotion on the stage.

  Harvey threw his hand in the air and commanded the band to begin playing again as Hannah stormed off the stage and made her way through the club to the exit. She was so focused on getting to the door that she didn’t even see Sadiq when she ran right into him.

  “Miss Green! What a lovely surprise!” he said cheerfully.

  Hannah looked up and saw his expression change to one of concern when he saw her face.

  “Is everything all right?” he asked.

  “Sadiq!” Hannah said, her tone belying how she was really feeling. “Yes, everything is just fine.” She had planned on telling him she was going to refuse his offer, but now, with everything that had just happened, she suddenly changed her mind.

  “I’ve decided to take you up on your generous offer,” she said, not quite believing the words were coming out of her own mouth.

  Sadiq reached out and touched her shoulders lightly. “Really?” he asked.

  Hannah nodded, smiling nervously as his touch sent a shiver down her spine.

  “That’s wonderful! I don’t know what changed your mind, but I’m glad you did. Pack a suitcase, or a few. We leave tomorrow.”

  People kept walking around them as the band continued to play softly in the background. “Oh,” Sadiq said, realizing that Hannah was dressed to perform. “I can see you have a show to put on. No problem, we’ll talk after.”

  Hannah looked up at the stage and then back at Sadiq. “Oh, that. No, actually, I won’t be performing tonight. Slight change of plans,” she smiled meekly.

  Hannah grabbed Sadiq’s hand and pulled him over to a table in the corner. “Here, sit down,” she said as she sat down next to him. “I’ll give you my number and address and you just tell me what time I need to be ready.”

  “Sure,” Sadiq said, and punched in the information on his phone. “I’ll text you so you have my number, too.”

  “Great,” Hannah said, smiling as casually as possible, as if she was used to getting sheikhs’ numbers. This night was just getting stranger and stranger.

  Hannah got up to leave. “Well, thanks again for the offer. I’m really looking forward to it.”

  “No,” Sadiq said, reaching out for Hannah’s hand. “Thank you, Miss Green. It’s my pleasure.”

  Hannah blushed as Sadiq kissed her hand. She pulled it away, smiled and then turned to walk back to the dressing room. Before she left, she looked over her shoulder one more time.

  “And you can call me Hannah,” she said.

  Sadiq smiled and nodded at her. “Hannah it is. Goodnight, Hannah.”

  Hannah waved and then scurried back to her dressing room, closing and locking the door behind her; the last thing she wanted to deal with was Harvey bursting in.

  She reached into her purse and took out her phone. One message. She clicked it open and read it out quietly:

  Miss Green, it’s Sadiq. Thank you again for accepting my offer. I look forward getting to know you better. Sleep well.

  Hannah felt that same shiver run up her spine. ‘Sleep well.’ That sounds like something a prince would say to a princess, she thought. Okay, girl. Stop that right now. She was getting ahead of herself.

  Even though she was excited, Hannah couldn’t help feeling a little nervous, too. She had never done anything like this before. Sure, she had left her small town for Atlanta, and she had moved from there to New York. This, however, was unchartered territory. Flying off to a foreign country with a co
mplete stranger for six weeks? And a very rich, very handsome, very eligible stranger at that? Well, you only live once, she thought.

  Hannah grabbed all her belongings from the closet and took out her large garment bag, then went over to the dressing table and tossed every last piece of her makeup, jewelry and hair accessories into the bag; she had quit the Blue Moon now and had no intention of coming back.

  She took her bag out to the street and began walking toward the subway station. Then she stopped. She was about to make half a million dollars; she deserved to take a cab tonight. She dug around in her purse, made sure she had the fare, and then hailed a cab.

  A little under half an hour later, Hannah got back to her and Chloe’s apartment, tossing her stuff on the bedroom floor. She had a lot to do before she could go to bed. First, she had to get all of her dresses and outfits ready, then she would have to email the catering company to let them know she would be unavailable for shifts for the next few weeks. And lastly, she had to leave a note for Chloe.

  After taking care of all of those details, exhausted from the evening’s activity, Hannah slipped under the covers and closed her eyes. She felt a wave of fatigue wash over her and was glad to be in bed, but a tingling of nervous energy kept her awake. She was excited to be taking the chance she was taking. She was proud of herself for taking the risk. And above all, she was happy to be spending the next six weeks with Sadiq, her mysterious Middle-Eastern playboy.

  SIX

  By the time her phone went off the next morning, Hannah was already showered and ready to go. Sadiq texted her telling her that he was on his way, and should arrive at her building in about ten minutes.

  Hannah stood up and looked at herself in the mirror. She didn’t know what was appropriate to wear on a trip with a sheikh, but she was pretty sure jeans and a tee shirt would be frowned upon. She settled on a pair of tan slacks and a floral-print blouse that opened just low enough to show her neckline without being too revealing.

  She looked at the stack of luggage she had piled up at the door and hoped it wouldn’t be too much. As a performer, she needed several different ensembles, and since she would be performing for six weeks, that required a lot of luggage.

  She glanced at herself again and felt pleased with how she looked; smart, but still feminine. She opted to put her hair up in a tight ponytail that showed off her long, slender neck and delicate cheekbones. Hannah had never been a fan of heavy makeup when she wasn’t on stage, and normally she only ever wore a little concealer and lip gloss. Today was no exception, and she was satisfied with how she looked, whether Sadiq liked it or not. She wasn’t trying to impress him; this was strictly business. At least, that’s what she kept telling herself.

  The buzzer rang and Hannah ran over to it a little too eagerly. “Hello,” she said into the little square box by her door.

  “Good morning. I’m looking for Miss Hannah Green?” a voice that wasn’t Sadiq’s said through the speaker.

  “Speaking. Who is it?”

  “My name is Naasir, ma’am; I’m His Highness’ driver. I’m here to help you with your luggage.”

  His Highness? Before Hannah could say anything she heard the buzzer sound again.

  “Good morning, Hannah, it’s Sadiq. May we come up and help you with your bags?”

  Hannah smiled at the sound of Sadiq’s voice. What a gentleman, she thought. “Sure, I’ll buzz you in.”

 
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