But she chose to believe the former; therefore, she couldn’t dislike him.

Much.


Emily flipped open the notebook she’d tucked under one arm and steadfastly ignored the sheet as it slipped down and revealed a hard, muscled chest and that damn arrow of dark hair that marched down the center of his abdomen and disappeared beneath the fabric.

“You have a seven-thirty meeting with the chairman of RAC Steel, and a phone call after that with Andrakos Shipping. There is also the real estate agent to meet with on the specs for the property and a site inspection this afternoon.”

Kadir sipped the coffee and peered up at her from beneath those impossibly long lashes of his. His eyes were a clear, dark gray that snapped with intelligence.

Really, did a man so beautiful also have to be so smart?

“You are a model of efficiency as always, Miss Bryant. Shukran jazeelan.”

She glanced at her watch and tried to ignore the flush of pleasure rolling over her. “Breakfast is on the way up, Your Highness. And I have told the driver to be here at seven sharp.”

Kadir’s gaze slid over her. He was assessing her, the way he assessed everyone, but she always felt that strange little prickle that started at the back of her neck and continued down her spine like electricity dripping through a conduit.

She didn’t like it. She licked her suddenly dry lips and closed the notebook. Kadir’s eyes narrowed.

“If that is all, Your Highness?”

“It is.”

She turned to go when a racket sounded outside the doors to the bedroom. She wasn’t particularly alarmed, as Kadir traveled nowhere without armed guards, but it was unusual in the extreme. She started toward the door when Lenore Bradford burst in.

Emily drew up short. When she realized she clutched the notebook to her chest, she lowered it. Her heart thudded alarmingly. Behind Lenore, a man in a dark suit stood there like a mountain. An angry mountain, she realized.

He would have let Lenore into the suite, because she’d been here before, but he would have expected her to wait while he announced her.

Clearly, she had not done so.

“Lenore.” Kadir’s voice would have sounded lazy to anyone listening. But to someone who knew him, who’d worked beside him for four years, the note of danger was distinct.

Oh, Lenore. You’ve done it now.

Emily closed her eyes briefly and waited for the coming storm. Behind her, the blankets stirred and she knew that Kadir had risen and put on his robe. He must have flicked a hand in dismissal because the guard melted away.

“You walked out on me last night,” Lenore shrilled. “It was my party, and you walked out.”

“Perhaps I would not have done so had you not invited six reporters and a camera crew. I am not bait for your ambition, Lenore.”

Lenore’s pretty hands fluttered and her eyes widened. She was blonde, tall and thin, perfectly coiffed from head to foot, even at this early hour. A real looker, as Emily’s dad would have said. But she wasn’t very bright where Kadir was concerned. He was not the sort of man to be handled or manipulated.

Emily started for the door again, intent on getting out of the room before the fight blew into the stratosphere. Not that Kadir would tolerate much of that, but Emily didn’t need to be here for it. It was personal, and while she might like to snatch Lenore bald-headed for being such a bitch, it was none of her concern.

“Stay where you are, Miss Bryant.” Kadir’s voice was commanding, as always, and Emily froze. “Lenore was just leaving.”

The other woman’s skin flushed pink. “I won’t leave without discussing this, Kadir. If we are to have a relationship, we have to talk about these things. Perhaps I was wrong, but—”

“It is Prince Kadir or Your Highness,” he said coolly. “And there is no relationship. There will be no relationship. Now, get out.”

Every word was measured and mild, as if he could hardly be bothered to get angry. Emily almost felt a pinprick of sympathy for the other woman. Almost, but not quite.

Kadir moved past Emily until he was between her and the door. Facing Lenore. He was clad in a navy silk robe and his hair was still tousled, but he looked every inch a prince. It was hard not to admire him in these moments. Her heart swelled with a strange kind of pride that confused her.

Lenore had gone purple. “That’s it? You are not even going to talk about it with me?” Kadir didn’t answer as he stood there with his arms folded and gave her his best imperious stare. Emily couldn’t see his face, but she knew the look. And she could see its effect on Lenore’s expression.

Lenore suddenly pointed a manicured finger at Emily. “You think I don’t know what’s going on here? You think I don’t know about your assistant—” she somehow made the word sound dirty, as if she’d said whore instead “—about how she’s tried to come between us from the beginning? She wants you for herself!”

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