Home > The Sheik's Dangerous Lover(4)

The Sheik's Dangerous Lover(4)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Malik took in her smile and his body reacted even more urgently. He wanted that smile to be for him, he thought. He pulled her closer as they spun around the dance area one more time. She was obviously unaware that they’d danced together for the last three songs but he wasn’t going to relent his hold on her.

“So what were your dreams before you were pulled into your current role?” she asked, her feet feeling like they were floating on air. This man was an incredible dancer. Not once did he step on her toes or hesitate in his confident lead. He was all muscle and towered over her, but he wasn’t clumsy as tall, bulky men usually were. And should be, she thought with a sudden stab of mild resentment.

He lifted his dark eyebrow at her question. “Why do you think I should have done something else with my life other than serve Kanaan?” he asked curiously. From birth, he had known that he might eventually rule Kanaan and he’d never thought about doing anything else. His country had grown in education, economics, technology, innovation and tourism under his rule and he intended to expand that growth even further in the future. If his older brother had indicated a desire and aptitude for sound leadership, he would have done something to help Kanaan expand and prosper. It was in his blood, an ever-present duty to his country.

She shrugged one delicate shoulder as she tilted her head. “I remember that you were the third or fourth oldest. You weren’t in line for the throne originally, were you?”

Malik nodded his head. “I was second.”

“So didn’t you have something you wanted to do other than be in charge of all this chaos?”

He didn’t want to go into that, so he answered her question with a question. “Why do you think ruling Kanaan is chaotic?” he asked.

She laughed up at him. “Are you kidding me? All the political movements, the power struggles, the Parliament that keeps passing laws that you then dismiss with a flick of your pen?” She shook her head. “Sometimes I wish you’d just disband that irritating crowd and make everyone vote all over again.”

He chuckled as well because that thought occurred to him almost daily. “It’s an enticing idea,” he replied honestly.

“So what would you be doing if your father had permitted your older brother to rule Kanaan?”

He raised an eyebrow. “Possibly doing exactly what my brothers are currently doing.”

Shanelle laughed and shook her head. “No. I doubt it.” She looked at him with serious eyes. “I can’t imagine you laying about the various resort areas of the world drinking and doing drugs, cavorting frivolously.” She bit her lip a moment before she said, “Is that why your father took them out of the line of ascension?” she asked carefully. “Were they already showing signs of debauchery at an earlier age?”

Malik didn’t want to get into the details so he just said, “I don’t know what my father was thinking during that period in his life,” he lied. Malik had been happily developing his own career in the military although he still had to live in the palace. But when his father had called a family meeting of all the men and divulged that his oldest and youngest sons would be denied the right to rule because of their proclivities, it had fallen to Malik to take the reins. He hadn’t wanted that, had been ready to work his way up the military path but fate and his father had other plans. Now, his brothers were watched constantly to see if they are the ones behind the assassination attempts.

It suddenly occurred to Shanelle that they had been dancing for quite a while. Looking around, she noticed several glares from the other women around the room. “I think we should stop,” she said, hoping he would release her and dance with other women.

That was not going to happen, unfortunately. He walked her off of the dance floor, but he wouldn’t release her hand. As he moved about the ballroom, he introduced her to everyone he spoke with, included her in the conversations, asked her opinions about the various subjects and basically kept her by his side. When they reached her parents, her father was beaming with pride. Why he would care so much about his youngest daughter catching the eye of a man, she’d never understand. He hadn’t even been this proud when she’d graduated from law school!

“Mr. Basara, Ms. Basara,” he said cooling, bowing slightly when she introduced them, “I would like to invite you and your daughter to join me here at the palace. I would sincerely like to get to know your delightful daughter better and I’m sure she would be more comfortable with you here in residence as well.”

Shanelle’s mouth dropped open with horror, not sure what to say or do to discourage this terrifying turn of events. But when her mother and father both eagerly agreed, she knew that she was trapped.

Chapter 2

Shanelle paced through the breakfast room, her heels clicking on the marble floor, but nothing seemed to be able to stop her frantic thoughts. She had to get out of this. This entire situation was going in the wrong direction. How had she messed up her plans so completely? How had she gotten into such a predicament?

If only she’d stayed with her parents last night. She couldn’t believe that her idea of being inconspicuous had so completely backfired. Why hadn’t the man simply been where he was expected to be? Why had she even tried to circumvent the social niceties? If she’d just gone with the flow, she’d probably be home in her own room right now, reviewing her books so she could take the law exam next month. She’d completely screwed everything up!

But that didn’t mean she was going to ruin her whole life.

Shanelle was not going to fall under that man’s spell. He was too powerful and held all the control. She wasn’t a woman who liked to be told what to do, and rebelled at even the thought of someone trying to command her mind and spirit. Malik wasn’t likely to approve of her stubbornness and independence, and in the end, they would hate each other. She wasn’t going to be tied to a man she despised, and there was absolutely no way she was going to get pregnant. No, Shanelle simply couldn’t do it. She had to get out of this fix somehow.

“You look tormented,” the deep voice said and Shanelle spun around as Malik entered the breakfast room. He looked amazingly good and Shanelle swallowed painfully. “What’s on your mind?” he asked as he stopped less than an inch from her, looking down into her worried eyes.

“I don’t like the implication of my presence here this weekend.” There, she’d said it and he could take it however he wanted. She didn’t care. After a sleepless night worrying about what to do and say to Malik, she just wanted to get that out into the open.

Malik chuckled, not offended by her adamant statement in the least. In fact, he’d expected it and was impressed that she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. “I think I’ve already gotten that sense. The question is why don’t you want to be here?”

She squared her shoulders, refusing to give in to the trembling his nearness caused. “I don’t like what this means. People will start to think that….” She couldn’t finish. The idea of what they might think was too crazy. “Why am I here?” she asked.

He took pity on her, noting the dark circles under her eyes and the fatigue that seemed to emanate from her whole body. “For exactly the reason you think,” he said with complete honesty.

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