The sheikhs twin baby su.., p.30
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       The Sheikh's Twin Baby Surprise, p.30
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         Part #1 of The Sheikh's Baby Surprise series by Holly Rayner


  Back at her apartment, Morgan pulled out the envelope and carefully counted the money—a thick wad of twenty-dollar bills. It was more money than she had seen in a long, long time.

  A pang of guilt struck her belly as she finished counting it. Ahmed and Almera were so desperate for her help that they were willing to potentially throw away this much cash. They hadn’t even made her sign a contract or anything; a foolish mistake, but one that wasn’t uncommon among desperate people searching for answers about the ones they loved.

  She tossed the money and the photograph on her bed, changing out of her clothes and into a comfy pair of shorts and a tank top. She pulled her thick brown hair up into a messy bun before plopping down cross-legged on her comforter and picking the picture up.

  Morgan stared at the man in the picture, memorizing his features. He was so polished. So pristine. So miserable-looking.

  Morgan gazed into the unseeing eyes of Hassan; eyes that looked completely lost. His posture was good. His clothing was exceptional. But he was unhappy, at least to her eyes, and he wasn’t hiding it very well.

  She wondered, not for the first time, what would make this man give up a life of wealth and opulence. Sure, the responsibility of being a royal would be a lot to handle, but any adult brought up to hold that position would surely get over that eventually. Everyone had to grow up at some point.

  Morgan jumped as her phone rang on the bedside table. Setting the picture down, she tapped the answer key.

  “Hi, Mom.”

  “Morgan Elizabeth, why haven’t you called me?”

  Morgan rubbed her eyes with her index finger and thumb. She was never prepared for these conversations.

  “Mom, I’m really busy. I’m sorry I can’t call you as much as you’d like…”

  “As much as I’d like? Morgan, I haven’t heard from you in weeks! Maybe if you worked a regular job like everyone else it wouldn’t matter as much, but I know the kind of people you deal with. For all I know you could be dead! A simple text is not a lot to ask, honey…”

  Morgan pulled the phone slightly away from her ear as her mother went on with her diatribe. After a few minutes she seemed to have talked herself hoarse, and finally took a breath.

  “Are you done?” Morgan asked, propelling her mother into another wild rant about how inconsiderate she was and how she must have failed as a mother to raise a child who so clearly wanted nothing to do with her own family.

  “Mom, you moved to Florida four years ago. What do you want from me? I’ve got a job here, and this is my home!”

  “Well, maybe you should consider moving out to Tampa. If you’re going to put yourself in harm’s way, you could at least do it a little closer to me.”

  “The thing is, I’ve just been offered another job, Mom. I can’t come to Florida. I’m sorry,” Morgan said, her voice dull as she tried to soften the blow.

  “Remember that nice marketing job you had before this? The one in health insurance? Remember how good it felt to have a stable, reliable career, in a safe office building?”

  “Nowhere is totally safe, Mom.”

  “Some places are safer than others,” she countered.

  Morgan sighed. “Look, Mom, I know you’re just trying to look out for me, but I’ve got a job to do, and a life to live. My life. Can you let me live it as I see fit?”

  “I know you better than you know yourself, Morgan. I created you. Or did you forget that?”

  It was an argument Morgan could never win.

  “Look, Mom, I love you, okay? But my phone’s dying. I, uh, talk soon…”

  “Morgan don’t you dare hang up on me! I know that your phone isn’t dying. If you think for one second…”

  And Morgan ended the call.

  Looking back at the picture of Hassan, she picked it up one more time.

  “I think I get where you’re coming from, dude,” she said. Too tired to carry on working, she placed the photo and the money in a side table drawer before curling up under her ratty, comfortable old quilt and falling into a dreamless sleep. Tomorrow there would be plenty of time to think on the long drive to West Texas.

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