The Sheik's Beautiful Intruder (Friendship #3) read online by Elizabeth Lennox
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The Sheik's Beautiful Intruder (Friendship #3)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Elizabeth Lennox - Friendship #3 - The Sheik's Beautiful Intruder

The Sheik's Beautiful Intruder (Friendship #3)
Elizabeth Lennox

romance/billionaire

 

Chapter 1

Nikki braced herself, prepared to have huge, beefy men grab her arms and carry her back out of the hotel’s ballroom. Were her actions illegal? She had no idea, but they probably were. After all, she was entering a secure environment with stolen press credentials.

The guard stopped in front of her, waving his hand to indicate she should open her bag. Nikki held back a bit, not sure what this next level of security might be for. “I’ve already gone through the x-ray,” Nikki said, trying to assume an air of assertiveness when, in reality, she was quaking inside.

The man’s eyes narrowed and Nikki realized that she might be kicked out before the “party” even started. With a grimace, she opened the bag she’d snagged from Brianna’s apartment that Nikki had “borrowed” for this venture. Brianna was one of Nikki’s best friends, and the only reason she’d shown up at a boring press conference was because she suspected this man had something to do with her friend’s disappearance. She knew almost nothing about him, except that he controlled an enormous portion of the oil produced in the world.

“Nothing but notebooks and pens,” Nikki said as the man peered inside the bag.

When he nodded, allowing Nikki to move inside the rapidly filling ballroom for the press conference, she breathed a sigh of relief. She took a seat off to the side, not sure what she might discover here today. But this was her only lead.

Brianna was missing, Nikki couldn’t reach Rachel, she and her new husband were still out of the country doing something wonderful, and the only link Nikki had to Brianna was an e-mail she’d received just recently. It was from Brianna and showed the Sheik of Yafar’s family crest in the corner and some questionable wording. Unfortunately, Nikki had no idea where Brianna was or even how the e-mail with this man’s family crest was connected to her friend’s disappearance.

The other reporters were walking around, talking with each other as they waited for the press conference to start. Nikki stood over on the sidelines, watching, trying to figure out the mystery of her friend’s disappearance. She was more worried than she wanted to admit; her mind kept going over the words of the e-mail. Brianna hadn’t gotten a good picture of it, so only some words were visible, but they didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Just a bunch of words that related to markets and oil prices.

Shoot! She wished Rachel were here! Rachel could figure this out, Nikki was sure of it. Of the three of them, Rachel was the one who understood math, markets and logic. Nikki was a high school English teacher. She felt like this whole situation was way out of her league, but the police wouldn’t do anything! They didn’t believe Brianna was missing since, apparently, Bri’s editor had given her a long weekend. But Nikki knew that Bri would have called, told Nikki what was going on, probably even asked Nikki to do something with her. Bri was the sweet, quiet one. She preferred cooking a meal at home and inviting people over versus going out to a restaurant. None of them liked the loud bar scene, but Bri was especially eager to avoid crowds.

Someone came to the podium at that moment and Nikki looked around, trying to find a seat. The chairs quickly filled up and Nikki just plopped down in the first one that was vacant. Unfortunately, it was in the front row. Nikki would prefer to be sitting in the back, observing the scene, trying to connect the dots.

She twisted slightly, trying to see if there were any seats behind her. Unfortunately, since this was such a highly anticipated press conference, the room was packed. She could either sit right here, or she could stand up and move to the back where the reporters and photographers were already standing five or six deep, shifting in an effort to find enough room for themselves and their equipment.

So instead, she chose to stay where she was and observe. She could be quiet, she told herself. She wouldn’t interfere no matter what the man said. She rolled that thought around in her mind and had to cringe inwardly. Perhaps being quiet and unobtrusive wasn’t exactly her forte, but she could do it. This was too important to mess up. She had to find out what happened to Bri!

The person at the podium cleared his throat and the room instantly quieted. “Good afternoon, everyone,” he said with a very strong accent that made some of his words difficult to decipher. The man went into the various issues that would be discussed between this sheik guy and the president. While he droned on, Nikki thought she might just fall asleep. The issues were so tedious and dry. Was the man trying to bore the room?

Suddenly, there was a wave of energy that hit her full force. She looked around, not sure what was going on. She watched the other reporters but none of them seemed to have noticed.

How was that possible? Couldn’t they feel the tension? The spark?

Apparently not. The woman beside Nikki was doodling and the man on the other side of her was texting a message to someone. No one felt the change in the atmosphere, but she couldn’t deny that something had changed.

She looked up, her eyes somehow drawn to the right side of the low stage. And that’s where she saw him! She almost felt like she was falling off of her chair, his eyes looking straight at her tipped her world sideways. The man wasn’t just handsome, he was gorgeous! But in a scary, dark and dangerous way that titillated the secret part of her that she was always trying to suppress. The part of her she was ashamed of.

His black hair and black eyes looked out at her, capturing her attention and the rest of the world faded away. She no longer felt the uncomfortable chair, heard the tedious words of the speaker, or the heat caused by so many bodies and bright lights in one room. There were only those dark, intense eyes capturing her gaze, not releasing her. She wanted to inhale, but there was a problem with that. It simply wasn’t possible!

Her tongue slipped out and she licked her dry lips. She tried swallowing, but that was apparently another bodily function that refused to happen while this man continued to control her. She wanted to turn away, to stand up and run out of the room, but something kept her still, in her chair. Was it those eyes? Was he able to control her simply with his eyes?

And then he moved! Nikki felt as if she had been released, but her body betrayed her by feeling…wrong! She wanted his eyes back, wanted that crazy, spiraling intensity back!

The rest of the reporters sat up straighter in their chairs. The man glanced around the ballroom filled with strangers, his eyes coming back to her twice before he was standing at the podium. Nikki took deep, gulping breaths of air and wiggled in the chair, trying to figure out how she could stand up and speed out of this room. She didn’t like the way he’d just controlled her and was shivering in reaction. The thought occurred to her that he was about to speak and she tensed, worried about what was to come. Something inside of her instinctively knew that his voice would have the same, or even more powerful impact on her senses that his eyes had.

She had to run, to get out of here before he spoke. She didn’t want to hear his voice, didn’t want to be controlled by this man again. She looked right and left, her eyes latching onto the exit door on the side wall, then back to him. And that was her mistake. The man stood there staring at her, daring her to leave. How had he known what she was thinking? How could he read her mind and her actions so clearly?

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