Honestly, even after the other little things Dahlia’s done over the years to make my life hell, a small part of me still wished she’d change, and that I could be free to love her – and even Portia, too – without feeling like an idiot.

But God…

They made it so hard.

And this latest attempt of my twin to sabotage my future?

This one really took the cake, and unlike all the other messes she had landed me in, this one…

“Ms. Teller?”

The sudden intrusion in my thoughts made me look up, and I was startled to see that the glossy-looking woman behind the concierge desk was now standing in front of me.

“The sheikh has just finished with his meeting.”

I blinked at her words. Sheikh? What the hell did a sheikh have to do with my – err, I mean Dahlia’s contract?

“He’s ready to see you now.” She gestured towards the carpeted hallway. “If you could please follow me?”

The hallway was lengthy, with rows of unlabeled offices behind frosted glass walls lining each side. Everything about this place screamed ‘anonymous’, and I wondered if that also meant…illegal? Maybe everyone here were big-time crooks?

“The sheikh’s office, Ms. Teller…” A slight tap on the steel handles had the heavy double doors automatically swinging open, and she made another one of those gestures of hers to indicate that I was to feed myself to the lion enter the room.

I forced my legs to work, but then I heard the doors closing as soon as I had taken a step inside, and my courage quickly took a nosedive.

Shit.

I knew I should raise my head by now, but I couldn’t. I needed just a bit more time to compose myself and gather my thoughts.

I had read the contract from page one to eight, read it so many times that I had needed medicated drops afterwards for eye strain. I had stupidly hoped to stumble across even the smallest loophole, but the contract was written in such a way that it was plain as day. No attempt to deceive or manipulate had been made. Everything from benefits to punitive conditions had been succinctly stated, each and every clause precisely structured, no ifs and buts about anything that there was no chance…

“Please come forward, Ms. Teller.”

Hearing the “sheikh” speak yanked me out of my thoughts, and I was disoriented for a moment. I had expected him to sound like some dirty old fuck, with a voice that was hoarse and disgustingly oily, but instead what I heard was a faintly accented voice that was almost like a purr in its smoothness. It was almost sinfully perfect really, a voice I could easily think of belonging to someone who was practiced in the art of seduction, and the thought had me temporarily forgetting my fears.

I looked up, curiosity getting the best of me, and as my gaze flew across the huge-as-hell office, the first thing I saw was his desk: a massive, granite work of art that was so imposing it gave off serious altar vibes and almost had me genuflecting. It was the kind of desk only the super-wealthy could afford, and the realization made me swallow hard.

Guess that confirms it, I thought numbly. My so-called employer was a sheikh, ergo he was loaded, and thus able to afford bringing all of his sick fantasies to life.

I wanted to make a run for it then and there, but I forced myself to stay still. Delaying the inevitable was pointless, and God knows how much I hated doing anything without a purpose. The only way out of this mess was for me to say that I had changed my mind, and since I always believed that there was never a better time than now…

I let my gaze move further…

A black silk tie.

A slim-fitting wool suit, but this time in dark blue.

And finally—-

My eyes widened.

What the hell?

While I’d rather go to my grave rather than say this out loud, the “sheikh” was actually, well…let’s just say he didn’t look dirty or sick. At all.

Instead, he was jaw-dropping, head-turning beautiful, with his raven black hair, flashing dark eyes, and cheekbones that would make even Maleficent green with envy.

Everything about this man begged to be drooled over, every inch of him just too breathtakingly sexy for words that I almost wished I really had signed up to become his baby mama.

But since I didn’t—-

“I’m sorry,” I said baldly.

“For what?”

“I know you have certain expectations, but I’m afraid I’ve, um, changed my mind.”

A smile unfolded over his lips. “Is that so?” Dark eyes swept over my form in leisurely fashion, and I couldn’t help sucking my breath in at being so blatantly scrutinized. The way his gaze lingered on my mouth had me unconsciously wetting my lips, and when his gaze moved farther down—-

Don’t let it get to you, Smarter Side of Me warned.


Tags: Marian Tee Romance
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