And yet the thought of Lenore in Kadir’s arms made Emily’s stomach twist in a way it had not only yesterday. She didn’t like Lenore, certainly. But she didn’t care who Kadir slept with. She never had.


Emily gritted her teeth together. She did not care. Everything was backward and confusing, that’s all. She did not want him, even though he seemed to have the ability to make her heart pump and her body ache in spite of her belief otherwise.

It was sensual deprivation, nothing more. She hadn’t had sex in so long she’d forgotten what it was like.

Emily stared out her window for the remainder of the trip. Soon they were boarding Kadir’s jet. It would take roughly six hours to reach Kyr, and Emily did not know what she was going to do with herself for the duration of the journey.

Always in the past, she had worked on something for Kadir. And then she ate and slept and worked some more, depending on the length of the flight. This time, she followed Kadir up the jet bridge and onto the plane with nothing more than a chic handbag and a magazine she’d picked up on their trip through the airport.

She felt...useless. Like a decoration instead of a professional career woman. She hated that feeling so much. It was contrary to everything she’d worked so hard for.

She also felt seriously out of place. Kadir’s flight attendants—two women on this particular trip—stared at her with jaws hanging open when she walked into the cabin. She’d spent time chatting with them on previous trips, and though they’d treated her with a strange deference from Paris to Milan, this time they openly stared.

Emily felt the heat of a blush as she took her seat beside Kadir. It had been so long since she’d been the center of anyone’s attention that it felt odd to be there now. She buckled herself in and closed her eyes. Beside her, she was acutely aware of Kadir as he settled in. The seats were big and roomy, with plenty of space, but she still felt as if she was too close to him. She could feel his heat, smell his scent—French-milled soap and man, no cologne for Kadir—and nothing she did could make it go away.

They were soon airborne, and one of the flight attendants came to serve drinks. Emily asked for mineral water, like always, and stared at the pages of the magazine without really seeing them.

“You haven’t turned a page in twenty minutes.”

She looked up, found Kadir watching her with those too-knowing eyes. “I’m thinking.”

“I can imagine.” He didn’t sound especially friendly, but he didn’t sound angry either. A good sign.

“I don’t know what to expect in Kyr. You haven’t told me anything.”

“I don’t know that anything I say can prepare you, Emily. I am a prince, and Kyr is my country. It’s not the same as when we travel and I meet with clients. Outside of Kyr, I am a wealthy man with a title. In Kyr, I am royalty, with all the pomp that entails. Does this make sense to you?”

“I think so. You’re telling me that the deference you receive outside Kyr is nothing like what you will experience once there.”

A ghost of a smile crossed his mouth. Sensual mouth, kissable mouth. Emily tightened her grip on the water. She was not going to think of Kadir’s mouth.

“I think you mean we, Emily. You are my princess.”

“I’m beginning to think you’ve dragged me into something I’m not prepared for.”

He inclined his head only slightly. “Perhaps I have. But I have no doubt you can handle it, my love.”

She started to protest, to tell him not to say such things to her, but one of the attendants drifted by and she knew he’d used the endearment for her benefit.

She waited until the woman was out of earshot. “I think I need a raise. After, I mean.”

“Maybe you do. But let us get through this first. There is still the chance we will fail, and then I will be the king of Kyr.”

And she would be out of a job.

He looked at her hard and her pulse thumped. “We have to sell this, Emily. I need you to exude sexiness, and I need you to be passionate for me.”

She wanted to fold her arms and glare at him. She settled for lifting her chin. “I’ll do the best I can with what I have.”

He sighed. “I did not mean to suggest you had to work at being sexy. You clearly do not—which interests me very much, by the way. Why did you hide this side of yourself from me?”

“I wasn’t hiding anything. You’re just blind unless a woman puts on a tight dress and makeup.”

His eyes glittered. “Perhaps I am,” he said without apology. “And now that you’ve got sexy down, I need you to be passionate. For me. Can you do that, Emily?”