Home > The Man's Outrageous Demands (Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #2)(11)

The Man's Outrageous Demands (Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #2)(11)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

“Marabeth, come here,” he said but she only walked farther away.

He reached out and pulled her towards him, not painfully. In fact, his grip was very gentle. But it was firm and, although she resisted, he had her right where he wanted her within seconds. “Why are you so upset about this? Because you slapped me or because I kissed you?” His eyes took in her pale skin and round mouth swollen from his kiss and revised his opinion on her actions and what caused the unexpected slap. “Or is it because you kissed me back?” he asked, his voice deep and husky.

Marabeth was shaking her head before he even finished the last sentence. “Don’t say that,” she said, covering his mouth as if her hand could stop the words and the feelings his kiss had generated within her. “I didn’t kiss you back! This is ridiculous. We’re opposites on too many issues. We need to get back to the ballroom and you need to finish what you came here to do.” She stepped out of his arms quickly, grateful that he let her go without a struggle this time.

“Marabeth stop,” Sam said firmly and reached out to touch her arm, holding her from stepping off the veranda.

She struggled against his grip, terrified that he might pull her back into his arms and knowing she might not be able to pull away a second time. “No! Please, we can’t be out here alone. Too many people will talk and that will lead to rumors. Neither one of us want those rumors to start so we have to get out of here immediately.”

Sam looked at the fear on her face and decided to relent this once. They had been out here for too long for the rumors to not have already started. But he didn’t mind. In fact, for the first time in his life, he had actually encouraged the rumors to start. He imagined that the papers would be full of speculation tomorrow morning on their relationship. And they wouldn’t be very far off.

“Okay. Let’s go back and get something to eat,” he said and tucked her hand back into his arm.

“Do I look okay?” she asked, patting her hair to make sure it was smooth and still in place.

Sam couldn’t see very well in the dim light, but he could tell that her lips were swollen from his kiss and the color was high in her cheeks. She looked like she had been kissed. “You look lovely,” was all he said a moment before they stepped back into the light of the ballroom.

Sam led her over to the buffet table set up in another room and they continued to talk. He noticed that she worked very hard to keep several feet of space between the two of them but she still worked the guests around him with impressive social skills.

It was after two o’clock in the morning when the party finally fizzled down. Sam noticed that Marabeth was tired but she kept smiling at someone he hadn’t talked to yet.

“Excuse me,” he interrupted the person who was speaking at the first opening, “I need to talk to you, your highness,” Sam said, turning to Marabeth. “Will you excuse me for a moment?” he asked the man standing to the left of him.

The elderly man smiled and shook his head. “No problem. I’m on my way out,” he said and kissed Marabeth’s hand. “Thank you for a lovely conversation, your highness,” he said and turned to leave.

“Who was that?” Sam said as he guided Marabeth out of the ballroom and out into the hallway that would eventually lead them to the private area of the palace. He put a protective arm around her shoulders and was pleased when she didn’t pull away. In fact, she leaned into him letting his strength guide her down the hallway. She trusted him when she was completely wiped out. Now if he could only get her to trust him when she was fully awake.

“Um…:” she tried to concentrate on the person she had been speaking to less than thirty seconds ago but her mind drew a blank. “I’m not sure,” she said, unconsciously leaning against his strong body for support.

“You need to get to bed,” he said.

His words woke her up. “Yes. I’m very tired,” she clarified.

“Sam, can you wait a moment?” Max said from a few feet away.

Sam stopped and turned towards her brother. It was now or never, she thought. She had to slip away from him or fall more under his magic spell. “I’ll see you both later,” Marabeth said and quickly slipped her hand out from Sam’s arm. The two men started talking about a discussion Max had been involved in earlier in the evening and Marabeth walked away, leaving Sam with her brother and her escape complete.

Slipping between the covers that night, Marabeth yawned with fatigue. But her mind was still active regardless of how tired her body was. She replayed the kiss with Sam over and over, wondering what would have happened if she hadn’t heard those people talking so closely to the veranda.

Nothing, she told herself emphatically, punching the pillow in frustration. She would have come to her senses. Marabeth knew herself and she just wasn’t the type of woman who would let things like that get out of hand. She was conservative and careful. She had never acted rashly in her life.

So why was it that Sam seemed to spark things within her that made her lose her control? It had happened several times now and she didn’t like it.

Marabeth rolled over and pulled her pillow over her head. She wanted to fall asleep and forget about her lack of decorum earlier in the evening. It was just too embarrassing and she didn’t want to deal with it now.

Chapter 3

“Are you serious?” Marabeth asked her secretary several weeks after the formal ball for Sam. “Why would all of my appointments be canceled?”

Stacy, a very efficient personal assistant, typed up some information on the keyboard. “Apparently it was done by security,” she replied, looking up, hoping it wasn’t because of their new Minister of Defense. Over the past few weeks, each time the new minister’s name came up, Marabeth seemed to become agitated and started mumbling under her breath. Stacy thought it was rather odd, but didn’t say anything about her boss’s behavior.

Marabeth shook her head. “There has to be some mistake. I’ll call Manny and see what is going on. This will be fixed soon,” she said and went back into her office. Marabeth pushed her long red hair off of her shoulders impatiently as she sat down at her Queen Ann desk and dialed the number to the head of security. “Manny, I just found out that all my appointments have been canceled by your office. Can you fix this?” she asked sweetly, knowing that Manny was a very nice man in his late fifties.

She listened for a moment and the sweetness disappeared. “I understand,” she said and hung up the phone. “I can’t believe it!” she said, gritting her teeth. “What right does he have to cancel all my appointments?”

“Who?” Stacy asked, walking into her office and handing Marabeth several letters. They were requests for help or Marabeth’s appearance at some charity function. Having Princess Marabeth show up at any function was a guarantee of success for the event. Everyone in the kingdom loved to see her with her fiery red hair, beautiful smile and soft, blue eyes. She was the darling of the press and all the subjects of Cordova loved her, even wanting her autograph as if she were some sort of movie star.

“That obnoxious, horrible, irritating new Minister of Defense!” Marabeth snarled angrily. She couldn’t ever remembering being this angry in her life.

Stacy cringed for a moment, noting Marabeth’s fury, just as predicted. “I don’t understand why he makes you so angry,” Stacy said, getting a dreamy look on her face. She looked like she was melting as her body relaxed at he thought of the new minister. Stacy’s body leaned against Marabeth’s desk, her shoulders drooped and her head lolled to the side slightly as she looked at Marabeth curiously. “Have you really looked at the man? He’s amazingly gorgeous. And so charming! I can’t imagine him being obnoxious.”

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