The sheikhs secret princ.., p.21
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       The Sheikh's Secret Princess, p.21

         Part #2 of The Sheikh's Every Wish series by Holly Rayner
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  She pressed the button that unlocked the door to her building, cracking her front door open so that they could come in. A few moments later, she heard voices in the hall and stepped outside to see Sadiq walking towards her, alongside a smaller, older gentleman dressed in a driver’s uniform.

  Sadiq’s smiling face made Hannah’s heart flip in her chest and she smiled back, forgetting for a moment that he was her new employer.

  “Good morning,” she said to the men as they walked toward her.

  “Hannah,” Sadiq said as they approached. “I’d like you to meet my friend Naasir.”

  Naasir took off his hat and bowed slightly to Hannah. “The pleasure is all mine,” he said politely. “I’m Sadiq’s chauffeur, aide and personal assistant.”

  “But the most important of all of those is friend,” said Sadiq, jabbing Naasir with his elbow. The two men smiled in a way that showed they had a deep bond with each other, despite their age difference.

  “So, are you ready?” Sadiq said, looking at Hannah with childlike enthusiasm.

  She wondered if he got this excited about everything he did, and smiled to herself at how infectious his mood was.

  “Yeah, I think I am,” she said, feeling somehow at ease with this man who had been a stranger just 48 hours before.

  “Are these your bags, ma’am?” Naasir asked, referencing the pile of luggage by the door.

  “Yes,” Hannah said softly. “I hope it’s not too much.”

  Naasir and Sadiq looked at each other and laughed.

  “It is too much. I knew it.” Hannah said, starting to feel flustered as a wave of embarrassment crept over her.

  “No, no,” Sadiq said, reaching out and touching her arm lightly as she started to grab for the bags. “It’s not that at all.”

  “Well,” Hannah said, looking from Sadiq to Naasir and back again. “What is it?”

  “We’ve just never seen a woman pack so lightly before!” Sadiq said, and both men erupted into laughter.

  Hannah watched, mock-irritated, as they tried to compose themselves, but after a few moments she found herself joining in on their infectious laughter. She really was entering a whole new world; a place where people had drivers, money was counted in half millions, and women who packed lightly were as rare as unicorns. She couldn’t wait to see what else was in store for her.

  The two men waited in the hallway with her bags as Hannah quickly walked around her tiny apartment and checked that all of her lights were off and that the windows were locked. When she was satisfied, she grabbed her purse and walked out the door, closing and locking it behind her.

  Sadiq and Naasir began making their way down the hall with Hannah in the rear. As she walked behind them, she laughed at the sight of a famous sheikh carrying a nightclub singer’s bags down two flights of stairs in a Brooklyn walk-up. If only the tabloids could see him now, she thought gleefully.

  The waiting limousine was much like all the others Hannah had seen on the streets of New York City—the difference with this one was that she was going to be riding in it.

  Naasir set the luggage on the curb and walked over to the door, opening it for Hannah. Once she was inside, Sadiq slid in after her and closed the door behind him.

  The quiet of the limousine took Hannah by surprise. The normally loud streets were muted instantly, and the stillness of the cabin brought with it the reality of what was happening.

  Hannah looked over at Sadiq and smiled nervously.

  “Are you all right?” he asked, his body inches away from hers.

  “Um, yeah, sure. I’m fine.”

  Keep cool, she told herself. Hannah had a bad habit of running at the mouth when she was nervous or mad. It had gotten her in trouble many times in her youth, not to mention the scene at the Blue Moon just last night. Hannah had again let her anger rule her mouth, even though she knew better than to talk to Harvey that way. Even though he had been way out of line, he was still her boss and she needed the job at his club.

  Now, sitting in the back of a limo with a very rich, handsome man, Hannah tried her best to make sure her nervousness didn’t get control of her mouth.

  Sadiq smiled suspiciously. “You don’t look fine.” He paused as he realized what he’d said. “I mean, you do look fine. You look more than fine. Actually, you look,” he looked down briefly as if he were embarrassed, then their eyes met. “You look beautiful.”

  Hannah swallowed hard. Nope, don’t go there, she thought. You already screwed up by getting involved with your last boss—sure, that was just a lousy nightclub gig, but this is an opportunity that could alter your future forever. Don’t go there, Hannah.

  She smiled weakly, unable to quite ignore the intent of his comment. Then her better sense returned and she sat up straight. “Thank you,” she said curtly. “You look nice, too.”

  Ugh, she thought. I am the world’s biggest idiot. Okay, Hannah. Just calm down. Think of something casual to say.

  “It’s just,” she began as Sadiq turned toward her. “Well,” Hannah turned to face him. “You know how when you go on a long trip, there’s so much you have to take care of before you go? You have to remember to do the laundry, lock everything up, empty the fridge, water the plants, pay the bills.” Hannah’s eye’s flew open wide at that. “Oh no! I forgot to pay my credit card bill!”

  Sadiq laughed. “Oh, yes, I understand. That happens to me all the time.”

  Hannah looked at him and scowled. “Are you mocking me?”

  Sadiq sat back in the seat and smiled. “As a matter of fact, I am.”

  To Hannah’s relief, the exchange broke the tension, and she was finally able to sit back and relax as they made their way to JFK.


  Around half an hour later, the limousine pulled in to a private part of the airport that Hannah had never been to before. When the car stopped, Naasir opened up the door, smiling warmly as Sadiq got out and extended his hand for Hannah.

  Hannah emerged from the limousine and found Sadiq instantly swept away by several Middle-Eastern men in black suits. Her bewildered expression left nothing to the imagination and Naasir quickly came up beside her.

  “Not to worry, ma’am. Those are His Highness’ bodyguards. They are with him at all times. Except when he manages to, how do you say…ditch them?”

  Hannah looked at Naasir and saw that he was smiling. She had a feeling they were going to get along just fine.

  “Now, we need to get you through security so we can board the jet.”

  “The jet?” Hannah said.

  Sadiq returned, accompanied a few feet away by the group of bodyguards. “You didn’t think you would be flying commercial, did you?”

  Hannah waved her hand as if she’d done all of this before. “No, of course not…”

  “Good, then let’s get going.”

  Hannah followed the Sheikh into a small terminal and up to a counter where two glamorous female attendants were waiting. After she answered all the usual security questions, showed them her passport and let them rifle through her purse, she was given the go-ahead to board the jet.

  Sadiq led her outside to the tarmac where a gleaming white jet waited with the stairs folded down. Beckoning them over was a long, red carpet trimmed with gold thread. Alongside the carpet stood each bodyguard, holding their arms in a salute as Sadiq and Hannah approached.

  Hannah wanted to pinch herself; she couldn’t believe this was happening. She knew, of course, that some people lived like this, surrounded by luxury, pomp and ceremonial fanfare, but she had never witnessed it outside of a trashy magazine or television show. And now, here she was, about to board a private jet with the heir to a royal empire—and a darned good-looking heir at that.

  What the heck, she thought as she reached her hand under her sleeve and pinched herself. Yep, I really am awake.

  “Come, let me show you around,” said Sadiq as he guided a mesmerized Hannah through the cabin door and inside the plane.

  The cabin held a
large white leather sofa and reclining chairs, all surrounding a gleaming marble table. They faced each other, but could also swivel to face an enormous plasma television mounted on the wall separating the cabin from the cockpit. Along one side of the cabin was a long mahogany desk complete with two laptops, two chairs and a table lamp.

  Beyond the central cabin space was the entrance to the rear of the jet, which held a galley kitchen, a bathroom and two separate bunk rooms. One of the bunkrooms had a queen bed that folded out of the wall while the other held two twin beds.

  “You can sleep in here if you need to,” Sadiq said of the compartment with the queen bed. “It’s a twelve-hour flight to El-Shakanish, so you might want to get some rest.

  “Oh, thanks,” she said. Hannah looked at the room and wondered how many other women had slept in that bunk, with and without the Sheikh.

  They returned to the main cabin and Hannah sat down on the leather sofa while Sadiq walked over to the bar and began to pour himself a drink.

  “What would you like to drink, Hannah?” he asked from the bar.

  “Um, nothing, I’m fine.”

  “Nothing at all?”

  Hannah always felt a little awkward when she told people she didn’t drink. It wasn’t that she couldn’t drink, she just never liked the taste of alcohol, nor how it made her feel. As a singer in a jazz club, that often put her in awkward situations.

  “Well, it’s just that I don’t really drink,” she said—if she was going to be with this guy for six weeks, she may as well just get it out of the way now.

  “Nothing? Like not even juice or water?” Sadiq asked as he turned toward her with a bottle of water in each hand.

  Hannah rolled her eyes and grinned at him. “Yes, I drink juice and water.”

  “Okay. I mean the whole not drinking thing wouldn’t be terribly bad, considering my country is in the middle of the desert, but it is a little odd. I’ve never a met a girl that didn’t drink at all.”

  “You know what I mean,” Hannah said, grinning as she took the water from him. “I don’t drink alcohol. It’s just that I don’t like the way it makes me feel, all out of control and all.”

  Sadiq sat back down, cracked his bottle open and took a long sip. “I know how you feel. I don’t really drink either. In fact, when I have to attend social events where there’s a champagne toast, I usually get Naasir to switch it out for ginger ale.”


  “True story. I do it all the time.”

  Hannah looked at Sadiq and wondered what other secrets would be revealed in their time together.

  “So, I thought we might take advantage of the twelve-hour flight to discuss some of the agenda for the next six weeks.”

  Hannah nodded excitedly and Sadiq began going over the details of what he had arranged for her upcoming performances. When they were done, her head was spinning; she would be traveling to dozens of different venues and clubs throughout the country, playing at establishments of all kinds. Jazz was not a popular genre in Sadiq’s homeland, but demand was growing.

  “What kind of set list did you have planned?” Sadiq asked Hannah as the sky outside grew dim.

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