That had been the length of time the sheikh and I hadn’t spoken. The first few days I had told myself I could wait it out until his temper cooled. But then a week had passed, and the withdrawal pangs had just gotten worse.
Eventually, the truth of my feelings had become undeniable.
I missed him.
I missed him so badly that sleep eluded me every night while memories of our time together haunted my mind. Everywhere I looked, he was there, the sheikh’s image in my mind taunting me of what I had and lost.
The sensible part of me told me that this distance between us should be a good thing. If I used this time wisely, I could wean myself off him and put an end to my forbidden feelings.
But the not-so-sensible part of me?
It just missed him.
Wringing my hands, I started pacing faster, ignoring the odd looks that the soldier occasionally sent my way—-
I whirled around and my heart jumped in my throat when I saw the sheikh, leaning against the doorway, one eyebrow arched in question. He looked like he had stepped right out of a fashion shoot, with his elegant hand-sewn Italian suit and shoes.
“Do you have something to say?”
I did…but not when he looked that perfect…and indifferent. The words stuck in my throat, I could only look at the sheikh. He gazed back at me, his handsome face unreadable.
Suddenly remembering that I had neglected to curtsy, I picked up my skirts, red faced. Just as I bent down, I heard the sheikh speak, “Follow me inside, Lady Ella.”
When I looked up, the sheikh was gone.
Straightening, I hurried into his study, anxiety threatening to rob me of my breath.
“Take a seat.”
As I moved forward, I heard the soldier close the door behind me, effectively leaving the sheikh and me alone.
As I lowered myself to the seat the sheikh had indicated, I heard the door leading to his bedroom open. Surprised, I turned towards it, and my surprise turned into numb shock.
An exotic-looking brunette had come out, naked but for the blanket wrapped around her tall, model-thin body. “Caro, I thought you were about to finish work.”
I watched her eyes narrow at my presence before dismissing me with a lift of her chin. She continued towards the sheikh and, upon reaching him, took hold of the edges of the blanket before wrapping her arms – and the blanket – around the sheikh from behind. The position had her breasts pressing against his back, and when she whispered ‘Caro’ into his ear, she also made sure to rub her breasts up and down his back.
The sheikh slowly looked at me.
I couldn’t even find the strength to mask my emotions, too hurt at the intimate display between them. I tried to think about it sensibly, but my mind had shut down and my heart was crumbling into pieces. One stupid unintentional mistake, I thought painfully, and he could replace me that quickly?
“You must have something to say to me.” The sheikh spoke in a lazy drawl, but his gaze was watchful, his posture more resembling a man in the brink of a fight rather than someone who was itching to go to bed with another woman.
My fingers dug into my palms as I wrestled with hurt incredulity while the sheikh didn’t seem to find anything awkward or uncomfortable about having a woman twisted around him like a snake.
I tried to beg the sheikh with my eyes. Don’t do this.
But his gorgeous face remained cold and aloof.
Unable to bear it, I started to stand up when I heard the sheikh ask, “Does it hurt?”
I couldn’t believe he was asking me that. “Yes. Was that the point?”
“Yes.” The door opened again, and I saw the other woman reappear, fully dressed this time.
“You understand now, don’t you?” The sheikh didn’t take his gaze away from me as he spoke, not even sparing the other woman a single glance even as she curtsied before leaving the room.
Seeing her go didn’t ease the pain inside me. For all I knew, he could have told her to come back when I was gone. “Aren’t you going after her?” I challenged crossly.
He shrugged. “I don’t give a damn where she goes.”
“Fuck ‘em and leave ‘em—-”
“No. Women like her, I leave alone. Women like you, I fuck.”
His words threw me a loop, and I felt like an emotional yo-yo with all his cryptic words. “Will you just tell it to me straight?” I demanded tightly. “If you’re going out with her then just—-”
The sheikh laughed.
I was going out of mind with hurt and jealousy, and the sheikh had laughed at me. “Bastard.” It was all I could say without breaking down.
But as I turned away, the sheikh said in a very casual voice, “I’m not going out with her.”