Home > The Man's Outrageous Demands (Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #2)(9)

The Man's Outrageous Demands (Royal Cordova Family Trilogy #2)(9)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

“I look forward to your assistance on Saturday,” Sam said softly behind her.

Marabeth moved down the hallway to her suite, her knees barely taking her to her rooms, she was so nervous. What was it about the man that made her heart beat so wildly and her legs become like Jell-O? He was just a man, albeit an incredibly attractive one with a great smile and a great body. But she’d been around lots of men that were handsome. They didn’t affect her like Sam did.

Chapter 4

“You look lovely,” Sam said and the admiration in his eyes emphasized his words.

Marabeth smiled shyly but tried to pretend she wasn’t affected by his compliment. “Shall we go?” she said and started walking towards the ballroom where her mother and father were already in attendance with the five hundred guests here to welcome Sam in as the new Minister of Defense.

They walked in and the butler announced Sam’s arrival. Marabeth’s hand shook as she placed it in the crook of his arm. Her fingers were warmed by his large hand that settled over hers. It was a casual gesture, but she liked it nonetheless.

They descended the stairs together and were blinded momentarily by the lights flashing in front of them by the press. It seemed to Marabeth that there were more flashes tonight than usual, but it didn’t surprise her. Ever since her father had announced Sam’s appointment, the press had been drooling over him. There were numerous stories of his heroism during his military service as well as stories speculating on his personal wealth because of his private security company and, overriding all of them in numbers was the speculation on his girlfriends.

Marabeth had tried not to read the stories, but she found herself opening the paper each morning and immediately skimming the headlines for more news about his previous life. She read anything she could get her hands on, telling herself it was only to learn what was happening within the government. But late at night, when she remembered his gentle touch and laughing blue eyes, she admitted that she was jealous of all the women who had dated him and were now telling their stories to the press.

Thinking to put some mental distance between them since physical distance was not possible at the moment, she brought up all the women he’d dated in the past and was rumored to be dating currently. “You’ve been a popular boy lately,” she mentioned while still smiling for the cameras.

“What do you mean?” he asked, nodding politely to a photographer, waiving to what seemed to be an acquaintance as he led her down the red carpeted stairs slowly, allowing the press to get their fill before stopping at the bottom. It was more to let their eyes focus than anything else but it provided the press a chance to yell out questions before Marabeth and Sam slipped into the masses of people where the press were not permitted to go.

Sam smiled broadly as they stopped, ignoring the questions being shouted towards the two of them. “Were you reading all the articles?” he asked, bending his head at an intimate angle, as if she’d just asked him a question.

Marabeth smiled as well, looking up at him and wishing it didn’t look like she was telling him a secret. “Of course” she replied. “I try to keep up with current events. Occasionally people ask me an intelligent question. I prefer to be prepared rather than the latest gossip on the useless princess.”

“I’m flattered that you consider me a current event. The way you’ve been avoiding me lately, I was thinking you’d forgotten about me. Besides, I don’t think anyone has ever accused you of being a useless princess. I’ve read many articles about how the people of Cordova adore you. So why have you been avoiding me? Trying to forget me?”

“I wish,” she said under her breath.

“What was that?” he asked, bending down so he could hear her better.

“Nothing,” she said and smiled to one of her father’s other cabinet members. She ignored the deep chuckle that emanated from him. She gritted her teeth and plastered a smile on her face for the press as well as the other members of the party.

From that moment on, the night was difficult on so many levels. The press were more relentless than usual in their efforts to get a picture of Sam and Marabeth became irritated with their prying eyes for the first time in her life. Being a royal, she’d been born with the press hounding her. It was part of her life and she accepted it. What she didn’t like was how much they wanted a picture of Sam. She felt jealous each time they asked. It was odd though because they wouldn’t let her step out of the picture when they snapped their cameras. It was as if they wanted both of them together. But that didn’t make sense to Marabeth since most of the press were in a fury to find out who his current girlfriend or mistress was. He was a hot commodity and she thought it would be better for the sale of their papers if they got him alone rather than with her by his side.

As the evening progressed, she was eventually able to dismiss the press form her mind and focus on the party. Sam impressed Marabeth with his political and social skills. He handled each person that came over to him with dignity and finesse regardless of whether they agreed with his policy changes or hated them. If they disagreed, Sam seemed to have an uncanny knowledge of how to persuade them to his side of the argument. If they were for his changes, he treated them as if they were friends of an inner circle, making sure that the person knew Sam would return the support in the future.

Meanwhile, Marabeth worked the crowds, determining when a private conversation was needed versus when a group setting was better for the topic. She quickly moved people so they were able to speak to him individually when the need for one on one conversations arose. While he was talking, she would carefully shield him from the others and engage them in another conversation while she surreptitiously listened to when Sam was finished and the others could engage in the conversation as a group.

She also kept the women away who only wanted to entice Sam. This was more of a political evening for Sam she told herself as she herded yet another romantic hopeful in another direction. Marabeth didn’t feel catty in her efforts to keep Sam away from the ladies with a hopeful eye. women if he needed to. following her mother’s instructions. She decided that he could socialize another night with these

She told herself she wasn’t being jealous, just practical and

Several long hours later, Sam stopped the conversation and turned to smile down at Marabeth. “Come with me,” Sam’s voice said close to her ear.

Marabeth turned and looked curiously up at him. There were several other people who wanted to talk with Sam and she didn’t understand what he wanted.

She found out soon enough when he spun her expertly onto the dance floor. “Don’t you want to talk with Lord Winters? I know he’s one of your primary supporters. It would be beneficial for your plans if you could increase his support.”

He pulled her closer and spun her, forcing her to hold onto his muscular shoulders and lean into him. “I know. But I wanted to dance with you,” he said.

“Why? This isn’t a night for dancing,” she said, looking around worriedly, keeping her fingers carefully away from his hair and neck. “You should be rounding up your supporters and convincing your opponents. This is the ideal scenario and you were doing so well.”

“And I wanted to dance with you. I was tired of talking with boring old men who think it is their right to tell everyone what to do. And you look beautiful.”

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