Home > The Sheik's Jealous Princess (The Samara Royal Family #5)

The Sheik's Jealous Princess (The Samara Royal Family #5)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Chapter 1

The tingling sensation was her first clue that something was off.

Glancing around, Shantra tried to figure out what was causing the strange sensation. Walking towards her brother’s office was a normal occurrence. She did it every day. So why was it weird now…what felt so wrong today? Something must be going on, she thought and looked around, trying to determine what could be causing the sudden tension.

But as she passed by, the servants were walking about their business as usual, the administrative staff hurried from office to office or clicked away at their computers, always busy, always looking as if a crisis were about to erupt. As far as she could tell, everything seemed normal.

So why did she feel as if…as if…

Shantra shook her head, thinking she was being ridiculous. Nothing was wrong. She was simply imagining a tension because…well, perhaps because she was lonely. Her sister, Ciala, had left the palace after marrying a few months ago. Her sisters-in-law, Mia and Raven, were wonderful, but nothing could really take the place of a sister. She and Ciala had gone through so much together, but Ciala was in her own home now, even expecting her first child!

She forced her feet to move forward, dismissing the imagined tension. Nothing was wrong and she was just being silly, trying to find something to worry about since everything was going so well lately. She smiled as she thought of her spring line of dresses. She’d been working on the designs for months now, wanting to get them right, needing to top last season’s incredible success. This season would have to be better, more amazing than the last, she told herself. Maybe she should adjust the collar on the silver dress. And the green pants that matched that green silk, perhaps if she heightened the waist slightly, it would look more elegant. Thinking of the black cocktail dress, the way it draped over….

Oh my!

Shantra almost stumbled, catching the handle of the door only moments before she made a fool of herself and fell flat on her face.

He couldn’t be real, she told herself. Impossible! No man could look that…whew! The muscles and brawn. The man was packed with muscles!

Shantra couldn’t say that the enormous looking man was handsome. Nope, with a jaw that hard and eyes flashing like the razor edge of a blade in her direction, this man was definitely not handsome. Harsh. Rugged. Brutal even. All perfectly good adjectives to describe the man staring back at her.

The man standing in her brother’s office was possibly the most…appealing man she’d ever seen in her life. The scar on his cheek and the chiseled facial features could only be described as raw, powerful – terrifying! Compelling, she thought as her body froze. And melted. Heat! Those sharp eyes captured her and froze her in place but there was a heat that flared out from that look that she’d never experienced before.

Her trembling hand gripped the doorknob to balance herself and she had a short reprieve as the man’s eyes moved from hers down to her hand, which was holding on the knob as if her life depended on it. Her own eyes moved down to her hand, pulled by the force of his look, then back up and she was once more a prisoner of those dark, compelling eyes.

He was perhaps ten feet away from her but he had her under his power even from that distance. She wanted to step back, to retreat, but his eyes wouldn’t allow that.

She breathed a sigh of relief when his eyes moved, but that reprieve was short lived. His eyes only moved lower, shifting down her body. She couldn’t believe what was happening to her! Men did not affect her in this way! Men were the annoying gnats that buzzed through her life, trying to get her attention, only to be thwarted because they were pointless and annoying, getting in the way of her concentration.

But there was no denying the tightness in her breasts when his eyes stopped and stared. And she couldn’t slow her breathing down as his gaze continued to heat up her body.

When his eyes moved back to hers, there was a higher level of heat, intensity, in that look. A part of her wanted to shrink back from that look, her body feeling like he’d just caressed her even from ten feet away. Trembling, she told her feet to back away, to retreat. But nothing happened. She stood there, her eyes taking him in even as his own did the same.

She should feel violated after his perusal. She should be angry that his gaze had sharpened on her breasts. She knew that she should speak up and put him in his place, but the appropriate set-down wouldn’t form in her mind.

She could not handle this man! He was too intense, too fired up. But another part of her was drawn to him in a way that she didn’t understand. She wanted to run away while, at the same time, step closer. She was the moth that knew the flame was dangerous but wanted to be closer to the heat regardless.

“I apologize for the delay,” another voice called out.

Shantra jerked away, looking down at the floor as her oldest brother, Ramzi, came back into his office holding a thick file folder. He stopped when he saw her and Shantra immediately tried to step back out of his office.

“I’m sorry,” she gasped, feeling like the heat was increasing. Or maybe that was just the ridiculous, childish blush that bloomed over her cheeks. “I didn’t mean to interrupt you.”

Ramzi looked down at his baby sister with an odd look. “You’re fine. Did you need something?” he asked.

Shantra shook her head. “No. I’m…” she looked around but she couldn’t remember what she’d stopped by his office to discuss. “I’ll just be on my way.”

“Shantra,” his reproving voice stopped her desperate retreat.

Shantra stopped but the trembling increased. She knew what her brother was going to do and her eyes pleaded with him silently to not do it. “I really am in a hurry,” she almost whispered.

Of course her oldest brother ignored her almost silent plea. “Let me introduce you to my guest,” he said, putting a hand to her elbow as he urged her forward for the introductions. “This is my youngest sister, Princess Shantra Samara. Shantra, this is Sheik Laithir del Hassam of Piora.”

Shantra could feel the tremors in her body as the man’s name was revealed. Of course, she thought. This would be him. That man. Now that she had his name, she remembered pictures of him but he had been out of the press for the past five years. Not him, of course, because he was a powerful ruler, but there had not been any new pictures of Sheik del Hassam after, well, after the tragic event.

Realizing that she was still staring rudely at the man, she jerked out of her silly, frozen state and stepped forward, praying that he wouldn’t recognize her trembling for the intense awareness of him as a man. Hopefully, he would just think she was shy. Which she wasn’t! Normally, she was eager to meet guests, enjoying the company of even the most ornery diplomat or aide.

It was just this man, she thought as her brainwaves pinged around in her head, making her feel more flustered.

Remembering her manners, she blinked and focused on the man in front of her, not allowing herself to act the ditz. Her brothers already thought she was flighty and superfluous. For some reason, she didn’t want this man to walk away with that same perception of her as a person.

Squaring her shoulders and lifting her chin, she looked back at the man as calmly as her trembling body would allow. “It is an honor,” she said. She knew she should extend her arm, shake the man’s hand. But she couldn’t do it! Not with this man! Oh goodness, she wanted to run and hide!

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