The sheikhs triplet baby.., p.3
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       The Sheikh's Triplet Baby Surprise, p.3
Download  in MP3 audio

         Part #3 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner

  to Get Him Back.” Amity pretended not to see.

  The pilot’s voice crackled over the speakers. “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen,” he began. His voice was smooth, yet powerful—trustworthy and ready to carry them across the ocean. “Welcome to Flight 345, from Los Angeles to sunny Al-Mabbar City. The time there is 11 hours ahead, meaning they’re living in the future right now, if you can believe that.”

  A few of the passengers chuckled, throwing the pilot a bone. Beside Amity, Flora sighed heavily. For her part, Amity just wanted the plane to rev down that runway and disappear into the clouds. She was done with L.A.—at least for a while—and ready to escape.

  Moments later, the jet engines screamed into life. Suddenly, the plane was taking that mad race down the runway, and Amity’s hands were clinging to the armrests. Her heart made a final skip before the plane erupted into the air, and then cratered into the clouds.

  Amity sighed, her heart rate slowing slightly. She had to focus; in a few hours’ time, she would land in the Middle East for the first time in her life. And, despite deep knowledge of the PR world, she had next to no information about Al-Mabbar.

  “Have you ever been to a different country?” Amity asked Flora about twenty minutes after takeoff.

  Flora looked annoyed, turning her attention from her magazine. “Um. No. Why?”

  “I’ve only been to London,” Amity answered, choosing her words carefully. “Never the Middle East. Feeling a little bit nervous about it, I have to admit.”

  Flora scoffed lightly. “Sure. I knew you would be.”

  Amity didn’t answer. She watched as Flora flipped her hair and turned her attention back toward the magazine. Beside her, a stewardess was asking passengers if they wanted champagne, so she lifted her finger, requesting one. She sniffed the bubbles up her nose and felt the tickle in her throat. She drank enough to relax into a deep, over-the-ocean slumber.

  She awoke a while later to see sun blistering through the windows. They were still far above the clouds, and checking her watch she saw that they were still eight hours away from their destination. Amity looked toward Flora and found that she, too, had fallen asleep. A trickle of drool skidded from her mouth, but Amity resisted the urge to wake her and tell her, knowing that above all, Flora just needed her rest. Not that she would be any easier to deal with after that, she thought with a smirk.

  A meal was served, although no one was quite sure if it was lunch or dinnertime. Amity took delicate bites of her sandwich, always conscious of what she put in her body. Flora gobbled hers quickly, safe from the slowing metabolism waiting for her at the end of this twenty-something line. Amity remembered those years well—though hers had centered around late nights at the office; craving a professional future.

  When she was twenty-three, Amity had had a chance at love. She had been out at a bar with two girlfriends, both of whom were now married and tucked away with growing families and part-time careers. A man had approached her—a tall, broad man with dark hair and penetrating, mad eyes. He’d leaned against the bar beside her and lifted his chin, assessing her.

  “I don’t suppose you want a drink?” he’d asked.

  “I don’t suppose you want to buy me one?” she’d replied, surprised at how confident she sounded. She hadn’t flirted with anyone since she’d graduated from college.

  The man had introduced himself as Brian—a graduate from UCLA, like herself. They’d chatted together for hours. Amity had even gone so far as to send her friends home when they’d grown impatient—telling them she’d call them when she returned home. But she’d followed Brian back to his place, clinging to his hand as they marched to his car. She was tipsy, sure—but not drunk. And she’d allowed herself to go there, to feel things for this man.

  But she hadn’t allowed it to go on. No. She’d woken up the next morning feeling mortified, certain that she’d mussed her future. She hadn’t been able to concentrate properly for days afterwards. She’d sat at her desk at work, tickling her fingers over the keyboard. In a meeting with her then boss, Kristina, she hadn’t made a single proposition.

  In a word, she’d felt lost. Lost with the prospect of love, of marriage, of even casual dating. And so, she’d given it up.

  Needless to say, Brian hadn’t called her back.

  FOUR

  The plane landed on time, just over sixteen hours after taking off. As the wheels struck the ground, Amity’s heart began to race again. She laced her fingers through her seatbelt, blinking around her. An older gentleman across the aisle still slept on, his chin grazing his chest. He wore a turban. Would the men in Al-Mabbar wear turbans, she wondered. Would she stick out, with her pale skin and her long, brown hair? Would she be so distinctly Midwestern—with that edge of California culture?

  She couldn’t think about it now.

  She nudged Flora, who grumbled as she awoke. She scratched at her eyes, at her neck. “Are we almost there?” she said hazily.

  “Look,” Amity breathed, pointing out the window.

  Sure enough, there outside the window was the capital of Al-Mabbar; a gorgeous city surrounded by desert, with skyscrapers that rushed into the sky from the sand.

  “Is it a mirage?” Flora asked, her voice still sticky with sleep.

  “It’s our temporary home,” Amity laughed. She unbuckled her seatbelt and waited impatiently for the plane to taxi, her brain buzzing. Around her, the world was coming to life. She was back on land.

  “Hello, and good morning,” the captain began from the front. His voice held none of the exhaustion of Flora and Amity’s. “We’ve reached Al-Mabbar City. The local time is six-thirty, and as you can see, the sun has begun to rise over the desert. It’s not hot, right now—a local temperature of just 75 degrees Fahrenheit. But the high today will be 90 degrees, so prepare yourselves. I know I will be.”

  The captain continued speaking, but then the stewards opened the doors, and Amity erupted from her seat, reaching overhead for her luggage. She felt the jetlag ringing through her, despite having slept for a few hours earlier. Because she traveled so infrequently, she didn’t expect to handle the time change well. Mentally, she prepared to take a nap later, wherever she’d stay that evening. She’d asked Emery, Charlie’s secretary, about their accommodations—and she’d simply been told that “the client will take care of it.” Whatever that meant.

  The two women exited the airplane into a chaotic and brightly lit airport terminal. The floor-to-ceiling windows on either side gave a stunning view of the desert and of the distant sea, which was a glimmer of turquoise on the horizon. The sun was burning oranges and yellows into the city’s buildings.

  “It’s way more beautiful than L.A.,” Flora said then, incredulous. “I was expecting a few shacks in the desert.”

  Amity rolled her eyes but gave an appreciative laugh. “All right, monkey. Let’s get our luggage and head out of here.”

  “Do you know where we’re going?”

  Amity didn’t answer. She frowned and followed the signs toward the baggage claim, where she saw her bright red suitcases circling. She swept her arm through the straps and tugged them both to the ground, breathing heavily. She watched as Flora did the same, with expert finesse, drawing the small bag over her thin shoulders. She smiled brightly, clearly overcoming any sense of jet lag.

  Amity turned her head toward the exit, where a long line of taxi drivers were waving large signs—each with large letters spelling out American and Middle-Eastern last names. All at once, Amity’s eyes landed upon a shorter driver, wearing a dark suit and a chauffeur cap, holding a crooked sign with the word “WINTERS.”

  Relieved, she exhaled, and began to move forward. Scuttling on her heels, she led Flora toward the exit, waving at the man with her free hand. The man’s eyes met with hers, but his expression didn’t change. Slowly, Amity’s smile faltered—she wasn’t yet accustomed to the business culture of Al-Mabbar. Give it time, she thought.

  “Hello,” she said demurely. She gestu
red to the sign. “I’m Amity Winters. This is my colleague, Flora.”

  The man drew out his arms and took their suitcases. He balked, nearly falling backwards with the weight of them, before righting himself like nothing had happened. Black and graying hairs whizzed out from beneath his hat.

  “Shall we go?” he asked in a thick accent. Before allowing her to answer, he spun around and marched toward the door, leaving Flora and Amity to exchange panicked glances.

  “I’m sure it’s fine,” Amity murmured, shrugging.

  They walked behind the man, who bobbed left and right with the weight of the bags. The great glass doors opened for them, blasting their faces with desert heat. The morning sun was even brighter than in Los Angeles. It blasted against the dark limousine, waiting at the entrance.

  “This will be our ride,” the man called out. He tipped the trunk open and flung the bags inside, before rushing to the back door and opening it for them both. “Go—go—” he said, waving his hand toward the dark interior, which exhaled too-cold air conditioning.

  Amity followed his wave into the chilly limo and tapped the seat beside her, watching as Flora folded herself easily beside her. The driver slammed the door, making the vehicle quiver back and forth, before he entered the driver’s seat and revved the engine, quickly lurching from the airport terminal and speeding out onto a highway.

  The highway was an exposed nerve beneath a hot, wide-open sky. When Amity peered up ahead, she saw those classic mirages miles before her—the pools of water that appeared when too much sun and brightness buckled against the black tar. Around them, orange dunes swept up and down, demonstrating a classic image of Middle-Eastern desert.

  “This is really beautiful,” Amity said, addressing the limo driver. Surely, he knew where he was taking them? She needed answers. “I can’t wait to see where we’re staying.”

  But the driver only cleared his throat, not offering a single word.

  To Amity’s right, Flora let out a dramatic sigh, and Amity spun to face her, her PR brain attempting to take over. “Flora. You have the calendar and notebook on you, don’t you?” She figured they could begin to plan their strategy, or at least set up a schedule.

  But Flora just shrugged her shoulders. “I know you don’t even know who this client is. Can’t we wait until we get to the hotel—or whatever?” The words were blasé, bored. Amity couldn’t really blame her. So much was up in the air.

  All at once, the limo veered off the highway. The smooth, tar road suddenly petered out into a gravel track that wound through the desert, through the mighty dunes. Amity pressed close to the window, catching views of the city between the dunes. It seemed as if they were moving further and further away from civilization. Fear began to fizzle through her.

  The limo skirted right, then left, each time without slowing down properly. Flora nearly flew on top of Amity at one point, before Amity forced her to buckle herself in. “Be careful!” she hissed.

  “Whatever, Mom,” Flora said, rolling her eyes.

  Amity couldn’t care. She flipped her long hair, and reminded herself that once she got through this assignment, she could move to New York and find another intern.

  The limo skirted still further from the city, suddenly coming to an abrupt halt between two massive, gleaming sand dunes. Around them, the dust ruffled through the air. Amity blinked wildly, searching around her. “Are we there?” she inquired.

  The driver suddenly appeared before her, opening her door and gesturing outward, toward the desert. Amity frowned.

  “Go,” the man said, his voice stern. “Go up there.”

  In the distance, Amity could just make out a table that had been set down in the shade between two dunes. Around it she could make out the shapes of three large men, each of them cast in shadow.

  “Is this really it?” Amity whispered.

  “Go along,” the driver said again, his accent thick. “They’re waiting for you.”

  Amity turned toward Flora. “I’ll bring my intern with me.”

  But the limo driver raised a single finger into the air and shook it left, then right. “Just you, Miss Winters. She waits here.”

  Flora flung her head back against the leather cushion and closed her eyes, clearly relieved.

  Amity gave her intern another brief glance before stepping out onto the sand, feeling her shoes sink a full inch into the ground. She tugged at her blazer and swiped at her makeup. She’d expected to have time to prepare her appearance before this initial meeting. This was a little much.

  She gave the driver a brave smile before proceeding toward the table, taking discreet peeks around her. It was clear that they’d driven far from any kind of civilization—and that people didn’t often drive down this road. The temperature had elevated astronomically, taking them to near 90 already. She felt sweat forming in her armpits, trickling down her back; she felt her hands grow damp.

  As she neared the men, she realized, at once, that the three men at the table were not created equally. The men on either side were large, with broad, football player shoulders. They wore vests stocked with weapons, and dark sunglasses that hid their eyes.

 
Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll