Home > The Sheik's Rediscovered Lover

The Sheik's Rediscovered Lover
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Elizabeth Lennox - The Sheik's Rediscovered Lover

The Sheik's Rediscovered Lover
Elizabeth Lennox

romance/billionaire

 

Chapter 1

There was that odd feeling again. Ella looked around the marble and glass lobby, wondering what could be causing such a sensation. She’d been working for six hours without a break already and her feet ached, her fingers were numb from typing in guest information and all she wanted was a sofa to kick her feet up on and a hot cup of tea.

Okay, and maybe a bowl of soup. And an ice cold glass of milk.

Mentally, she sighed but outwardly, she maintained the pasted on smile as she greeted the next guest. As one of several front desk receptionists at one of the best hotels in Washington, D.C., she knew what was expected of her. She’d worked hard to get into this position, even lying on her employment application. The minimum age was twenty-one for this position and Ella was only eighteen. But she’d had to do something. She’d moved to Washington, D.C. from New York City and her old neighborhood had become too dangerous and none of the jobs she could obtain at her age could pay her enough to escape the horror of that life.

Ella now took pride in being one of the best front desk receptionists, despite her age, and she worked hard to maintain this position. She sincerely prayed no one would discover her age. She focused on the guests in front of her, checking them in as quickly as possible, ignoring that niggling feeling that kept hitting the back of her neck. What was wrong with her today? She wasn’t usually this distracted!

Looking around, she noted that the end of the line for people trying to check in was finally getting shorter. Thankfully, she counted out the people in line and calculated that she had approximately one more hour before things would slow down.

With a sigh of relief, she handed her current guests their room keys, explained all the normal details about the hotel and politely directed them to the elevators. The next guest moved forward and she pasted her normal bright smile on her face. That strange sensation returned and she looked around, distracted once again. Why couldn’t she focus?

Pushing the niggling moment out of her mind, she took the new guest’s credit card, checking them in as efficiently as possible. At one moment, she actually reached up to brush the back of her neck, wondering why she kept feeling that awkward, strange feeling. It was almost as if….was someone watching her?

She looked around. No one was paying any significant amount of attention to her and she shook off the odd feeling. Too many mystery novels lately, she told herself silently.

The next guest moved to her station and she smiled, going through the whole process one more time. Again and again, she checked in the guests, smiling patiently while they asked the same questions, giving out the exact same directions over and over again to the elevators or bathrooms, her fingers flying across the keyboard. She forced her mind to focus only on the next guest, ignoring that silly sensation that wouldn’t go away as well as the heat and humidity that was seeping into the marble lobby as so many people walked in and out of the revolving doors. The glass doors were made to keep most of the generally miserable Washington, D.C. summer weather outside, but when the temperatures reached this level and with the height of the tourist season upon the city, the doors could only do so much.

This job might not be the most intellectually stimulating, but it paid the rent and helped her work her way through her first year of college. It also kept her out of the gangs from her old neighborhood. Joining one of the competing factions definitely hadn’t been an option even though they’d tried hard to coerce her into the life.

Ella had left all of that behind and, if that neighborhood had taught her anything, it was that she could ignore unsavory characters and overcome difficult challenges. If rude people or miserable weather was the issue today, she could rise above those problems and maintain her professionalism. It didn’t matter if they were selling drugs on the street corner or selling stocks on Wall Street, they all thought they could bully around someone smaller but she would not let them ruin this opportunity for her.

She was working her way through a check-in process when she once again felt something odd on the back of her shoulders. Looking around, she thought she was being silly.

And then she saw him! He was striding across the lobby floor in a crowd of other men but she could never mistake that incredibly tall, amazingly muscular man! It was him! It was Zayn! He’d disappeared ten years ago and everyone, including his best friends, Dominic and Angelo, had thought he’d either been killed or arrested. But no one had heard from him – he’d just disappeared without anyone having any information, not even the police. Ella remembered that his friends had gone a bit nuts after his disappearance so long ago, searching everywhere, interrogating everyone. And then they’d just as suddenly stopped, no explanation and they hadn’t seemed concerned any longer. Ella had worried for several years about Zayn’s disappearance but with no information, she hadn’t been able to figure out what had happened to him.

And now he was here, looking astonishingly vital and wonderfully healthy, more fabulous than he had all those years ago. Goodness he was tall! And so very handsome! Those dark eyes and his tanned skin made him seem like some sort of piratical, romantic hero.

He’d obviously done well for himself, she thought, peeking out from her lashes but looking quickly away when she realized that he was still staring at her. Her heartbeat increased frantically at that realization and she wanted to hide under the front desk counter but that was ridiculous. This was Zayn Sarkis! He had always been a complete gentleman. She had no right feeling shy and oddly strange towards a man who had always been very sweet and protective of her.

Dominic Carson and Angelo Donati had worked their way out of the neighborhood as well. Now, they were both wealthy men who made it into the business and gossip news occasionally which made Ella proud, even though she hadn’t ever been as close to them as she had been with Zayn.

Why was he here? And wow! He looked fabulous! Her hungry eyes followed him across the elegant lobby, wondering how she could say hello to him without her manager seeing. Personal conversations with the hotel guests were a major violation of hotel policy, she knew.

But she couldn’t take her eyes off of the man. He looked so wonderful and he’d been the sweetest, kindest, gentlest man from that horrible, old neighborhood. She thought fondly of how he used to meet her at school every day for an entire week when one of her third grade classmates was bullying her. He’d stood up for her, walked her through the streets, helped her carry the groceries home from the store when her mother had sent her with a larger than normal list. He’d been her hero back then even though she’d been only eight years old.

She’d never understood how Zayn had been able to just appear when he was needed. He had been like a ghost all those years ago. One moment she was facing her third grade nemesis alone, trembling with fear that Julia Miller would smack her down on her walk home from school and then the next moment, Zayn was beside her, teasing her and telling her jokes to make her laugh. It became known around the neighborhood that Zayn protected her. And by association, Angelo and Dominic would also watch out for her.

She wasn’t the only one they protected. There were several girls, including some of the smaller, scrawnier boys who had received help from those three at the time. Those three boys had been demons in the neighborhood and no one, absolutely no one, messed with any of them. They stole cars to make money, stole anything they could get their hands on actually. They had a network of spies all over the area and knew anything that was happening. Good grief, those three seemed to know what was going on even before it occurred!

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