The Sheikh's Pregnant Bride (The Jawhara Sheikhs Series Book 1)

BOOK: The Sheikh's Pregnant Bride (The Jawhara Sheikhs Series Book 1)
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The Sheikh’s Pregnant Bride

The Jawhara Sheikhs Series Book 1

By Leslie North

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Dedications

 

I dedicate this book to you, my loyal readers. Thank you for all the lovely e-mails, reviews and support. Without you, this wouldn't be possible.

 

Chapter 1

 

“Come on, Erin. Help me out here just this once. It’s not like you have anything else going tonight.”

Erin Malone watched her cousin, trying not to let the accuracy of her words cut like a knife.
No. She didn’t have anything else going on tonight – or any other night in recent memory.
Swallowing back the sarcastic retort that sprang to her lips, she stared at Shira, her wayward cousin whose social calendar didn’t know the meaning of a ‘night off.’

When Shira continued to smile at her, bat her eyelashes, and gave her a knowing grin, Erin couldn’t help the smile that reluctantly pulled at her mouth.
What the hell! She probably owed herself a night of decadence and indulgence anyway.

Shira’s grin grew as Erin began to nod her head, “I knew you’d agree!”

“Hold on a minute,” Erin commanded, “I haven’t agreed to anything yet. Tell me what this party is for again?”

Shira just resisted rubbing her hands together in glee. She was the assistant marketing director for a large advertising firm and tonight they were celebrating having landed the most sought after commercial contract in their history – Jewel Oil. Her firm had been after the contract for almost a year, and just this afternoon, the final contracts had been signed and now it was time to celebrate.

“I already told you, we’re celebrating winning the Jewel Oil contract.”

Erin nodded, “I heard that part. Tell me again why you need my help.” Looking at her cousin, she was proud of the fine young woman she had become. After having lost both of her parents in a house fire when she was only ten, Erin’s parents had welcomed her into their home. Shira had been like a younger sister before, and as she grew into a teenager, had also become Erin’s best friend.

Erin was only four years older than Shira, and had gone off to college only a few years after her parents had taken Shira in. That hadn’t tempered the girls’ bond one bit. When Shira had graduated and started college, Erin had been in her second year of law school, and living on her own. She had insisted that Shira share the small condo with her and the two women had kept the arrangement for the last five years.

“I need you to be my wingman tonight.”

Erin watched her cousin for a moment, wondering at the uncertainty she could see lingering in her eyes. Shira was the most confident woman Erin knew, and though she wouldn’t admit it, she was often jealous of the ease with which she interacted with men. Seeing the apparent crack in her confidence was totally foreign in Erin’s experience.

“What’s happened?” she demanded, willing and eager to come to her cousin’s rescue.

Shira shook her head, “Nothing.  That’s the problem. The execs from Jewel have been over here so many times in the last few months, and even though I’ve made it known I would gladly accept Kale’s advances, he’s keeping me at arm’s length.  With the contracts signed, I don’t know how many more opportunities I may get to see him.”

“Who’s Kale?”

“Kale is one of the execs from Jawhara. I’m not sure exactly what his connection is to their leadership, but he’s always got at least two bodyguards with him. Although, several of the men traveling with their group this time around have personal bodyguards. Maybe that’s the custom over there, I don’t know.”

“So what, you expect me to help you get this guy alone – away from his henchmen?”

Shira shook her head, “No. Nothing like that. I just need you to be there. Maybe you could figure out why he’s playing this cat and mouse game with me. I’m missing something; I just can’t figure it out.”

She sounded so miserable; Erin knew she would end up going with her this evening.  “Is he married?”

“No!” she exclaimed, and then added, “I did check that out. He’s not married and according to the rumors, he doesn’t even have a steady girlfriend.”

“Well, don’t worry about it. Doll yourself up and stay focused tonight. I’ll come and help out however you need me to.”

Shira smiled and then jumped up from the couch where she had been sitting, “Great. I’ve got to get ready. Hey, we’re at the Whittemore.”

Erin raised an eyebrow at that, “Really? Damon and Rick must really want to celebrate to have dished out that kind of money.”

Shira giggled, “Well, I think Jewel Oil is picking up the tab, at least for part of it anyway.  I overheard Kale talking with Rick earlier, and they’ve rented out the entire facility.”

“Wow.” Erin had to admit she was impressed. Whittemore House was an old historic mansion; located only a block from the White House. The rooms had been restored and were now rented out as meeting rooms, banquet rooms, or for private parties. It had been years since Erin had been inside the building, but she remembered well the décor had been immaculate and high-end.

Shira nodded as she backed towards her room, “Yeah. Wait until you see the entourage from Jawhara. Kale may be gorgeous, but his countrymen aren’t that hard on the eyes either. Who knows, maybe someone will catch your eye tonight. You’re due for some fun.”

Shooing her away, Erin headed for her own room, deciding she might as well make the best of the evening. 
How long had it been since she had done anything for fun? Just for herself? Six months? A year? Had she allowed herself to have fun since the incident with Steven?

Shaking her head at where her thoughts had been headed, she mentally closed that door and headed for the shower. Maybe she would take Shira’s advice and see if she couldn’t catch the eye of a nice looking foreigner tonight. A little flirtation; exchange a few kisses and hugs.  She gave her reflection in the bathroom mirror a self-deprecating smile as her libido jumped to attention.

Erin had locked it away over a year ago – after the incident that had brought her dreams crashing to the ground, and it was anxious to come out and play again.  Well, maybe she would loosen up and play this evening.  It wasn’t like she was going to find Prince Charming running around D.C. anytime soon. He
was
out there somewhere; and just like she knew he existed, she also knew that her chances of finding him in a city full of visiting dignitaries and tourists was slim.

Tonight would be about fun. Nothing more. Nothing less. She would spend the evening flirting with men she would never see again, and tomorrow she would pick her boring little life back up again. Erin Malone knew how to have a good time, and that’s exactly what she intended to do.

Chapter 2

 

“Good evening, Your Majesty. Please, make yourself at home,” Rick Tompkins said, shaking the hand of the leader of Jawhara as he was escorted into the grand foyer of the Whittemore.  “It’s a pleasure to have you join us this evening.”

Kamal Mehalel El-Jawhara, Sheik of Jawhara, and CEO of Jewel Oil, shook the hand of the man who was going to bring his country’s reputation a much needed boost. He nodded his head and spoke to the two men standing behind him briefly in Arabic.

As they moved off to do his bidding, he spoke to Rick, one of the Addams Group owners, “Your company put together an impressive presentation today. It was a pleasure to see their enthusiasm for this project. I have spoken with my brother, and we both agree that sometime in the near future, your team should visit Jawhara. That way they can see for themselves what is needed going forward.”

Rick nodded, “I think that would definitely be of benefit. I’ll speak with Damon about setting something up.”

“Fine.” Kamal looked around at the numerous people gathered to celebrate. There were a number of people in attendance that he recognized from the photos his secretary had shown him earlier this evening. Being prepared was something Kamal insisted upon. He prided himself on knowing both his friends and his adversaries before entering into any type of social gathering. With his connections, he often knew more about people he had never met, than long term friends knew about each other after years of interaction.

Kamal didn’t feel that he was prying into people’s private lives; quite the opposite, he was educating himself as to their strengths and weaknesses. This kept him from being taken advantage of and had often provided information, which helped his security team, perform their duties in keeping him safe.

Seeing his brother across the room speaking with a beautiful young woman, he headed in that direction. He watched the woman giggle just a little too much, obviously trying very hard to keep his brother’s attention solely focused on her. Looking at the expression on his brother’s face, he could have told her she could stop trying so hard. Khalil was already hooked and seemed content to stay that way.

As he stepped around a small group standing between his brother and himself, he caught site of the dark red hair of a woman standing in his brother’s group. Kamal stopped shortly, stunned by how alluring her hair color was. It was definitely natural, but the way the light shone on the varying colors of red made her hair almost seem alive.

Taking another step forward, he was stunned speechless when she turned slightly, giving him his first glimpse of her profile. Alabaster skin, a slightly turned up nose and a mouth made for kissing greeted him. Continuing to turn, he watched as her lids lifted and her eyes captured his attention. They were the most startlingly shade of green he had ever seen.  Deep, dark, mysterious, and warm. Those words describe the feelings he had as he watched her eyes land on him, skitter away, and then return.

He continued his forward progress, greeting his brother briefly in Arabic before returning his attention to the beautiful woman standing directly in front of him. Offering his hand, he spoke to her, “Good evening.”

Seeing her eyes light with interest, the husky quality of her voice as she replied, “Good evening,” had his body standing at attention and demanding he learn more about her.

Kale watched the interaction between his brother and Shira’s cousin.  Mentally smiling to himself, he had never been so happy to see his brother. Maybe now he would finally be able to get Shira alone and calm her nervousness. It was obvious that she was attracted to him, and while he had enjoyed their flirtations these lasts few months, he wanted more. He had held himself tightly in check during the contract negotiations, putting the country’s needs before his own, but that was done now. Tonight there was only his own needs to worry about; he hoped to add Shira’s needs to his list of duties tonight as well.

Making the introductions, he said, “Kam, may I introduce Shira and her cousin Erin. Shira, this is my brother Kam.”

Erin watched as the newcomer briefly shook her cousins’ hand before turning the full weight of his dark gaze in her direction once again. The magnetism she felt between herself and the stranger was as foreign as the words he spoke in reply to Kale’s introduction.  When Kale ushered her cousin off in another direction, she turned to follow them only to be stopped by a hand upon her arm. “Don’t go.”

Turning her head, she looked first at the hand holding her arm before letting her eyes make a leisurely travel up to the face that was attached to it. He was a very handsome man. Standing more than six inches above her 5’7” height, his trim body, and the way he held himself was very alluring. This man was used to being in charge. Erin briefly wandered what his occupation was. She still hadn’t figured out what connection Kale had to the leadership of Jawhara, but he appeared to have quite a bit of authority there.
Did his brother also have a position of authority in Jawhara?

“Would you care to join me for a walk? I understand there is a formal garden through those doors,” Kamal suggested, pointing towards the double French door leading to the yard beyond.

Erin took one last look at where her cousin had disappeared and then slowly nodded her head, “I would love to get some fresh air. So, yes. I would love a walk in the garden.”

Waiting for her to precede in front of him, he let his eyes drift down over her figure, stopping briefly as his eyes devoured the lush curves her form fitting dress revealed. The black fabric molded itself to her lush breasts, before dropping down to hug her hips – hips that were made to hold onto as….

Pulling his thoughts back, Kamal followed her outside, placing a hand low on her back, and feeling the shiver of reaction as it coursed through her body.
Good. She feels the attraction too.

Erin felt the touch of his hand all through her body. She questioned whether she should allow herself to be alone with this stranger, but the feelings he was creating in her body with just the touch of his hand were too tempting to ignore. She had seen several prospects this evening, but the man with her right now was the only one that had stirred her interest like this.

Leading her towards a darkened path, he gestured with his hand informing his security detail to keep their distance. The path was lit only by small strands of lights scattered here and there amongst the vegetation, giving Kamal a perfect excuse to keep his hand upon her back as they walked. “Are you warm enough?”

Erin nodded, “Yes. And you?”

Kamal answered with a smile, “Of course.  Your country is very different from my own during the day, but at night the temperatures are very similar.”

Erin smiled at him, “In what way?”

“Well. Bordering the sea, we enjoy a slight breeze off the water most of the time. This brings much needed humidity to our arid land. Once the sun goes down, the temperature drops dramatically, and one can almost taste the moisture in the air. It’s not so different than here.”

Erin laughed, “I take it you’ve never been in D.C. during the winter months?”

Kamal shook his head, “Sadly, no. I have been in Vermont during the winter months however. Is the weather here so different?”

Erin laughed again, “Yeah, you could say that. They get tons of snow up there. Here, we get a little bit here and there, but normally we don’t get feet of the stuff like they do. I can’t imagine trying to move several feet of snow each morning.”

Kamal was shocked, why would this beautiful young woman need to worry about moving snow? “You enjoy moving snow?”

Erin huffed, “Really?  Do you enjoy shoveling snow?”

“I’ve never done it. But in my country it would be someone else’s job to remove snow.”

Erin looked at him and when she realized he was being serious, she asked, “Spoiled much?”

“Never,” Kamal replied.  Having servants see to his every need was not a matter of being spoiled; it was his due as the Sheikh of his people. It was his country’s privilege to take care of their ruler. They were compensated well for their service, and Kamal had his every need met. Well, almost every need.

BOOK: The Sheikh's Pregnant Bride (The Jawhara Sheikhs Series Book 1)
2.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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