Exotic Affairs

By: Michelle Reid

The Mistress Bride,The Spanish Husband,The Bellini Bride


The Mistress Bride



Michelle Reid





CHAPTER ONE


IT WAS getting late. Almost too late to bother going anywhere now.

Yet Evie stood staring out at London’s twinkling night skyline without any outward signs of irritation. After all, there was nothing particularly unusual in her lover keeping her waiting like this; he did it all the time—duty being the altar at which he worshipped, usually at the expense of everything else in his life.

And that included his woman. Beautiful though she might be, special though he might insist she was to him, Evie knew she would always have to take second place to what was really important in his life.

So, like some priceless piece of life-size porcelain draped in sensual blood-red silk, she stood there in front of the drawing-room window in his very luxurious penthouse apartment—and waited. She waited for her man as she had been waiting for the last forty-five minutes now, calmly, patiently.

Or so it might seem, for it wasn’t in her nature to show what she was really feeling—a habit drummed into her by a very strict upbringing.

But only fools took that calmness at its serene-faced value.

Sheikh Raschid Al Kadah was nobody’s fool, but he wasn’t here to note the tell-tale signs to Evie’s real mood. And the one person who was attempting to keep her company rarely lifted his eyes high enough to read those signs.

He stood by the white marble fireplace with his hands quietly folded across his robed front and his tongue wisely silent, all attempts at polite conversation abandoned long ago, when apologetically late had become unforgivably late.

He caught her taking a quick glance at her slender gold wristwatch, though. ‘I am certain he cannot be many more minutes, Miss Delahaye,’ Asim assured her with that quietly soothing diplomatic voice of his. ‘Some things are, I am afraid, unavoidable, and a telephone call from his revered father is most definitely one of those things.’

Or a call from New York, Paris or Rome, Evie silently tagged on. The Al Kadah business interests were far-flung and varied. The fact that Raschid, as his father’s only son, now shouldered the burden for most of those interests since the old man’s minor heart attack last year meant that Evie was seeing less and less of Raschid—her position in the pecking order being as low as it was.

A sigh whispered from her. The kind of sigh she would normally only allow herself when she was sure she was alone. But tonight was different. Tonight she was fretting over a very worrying problem of her own, and she could have done without the added aggravation of a long wait like this when she had, in truth, had to force herself into coming here at all tonight.

Because she knew that Raschid was not going to like what she had to tell him. In fact, she could positively say that he was going to hate it.

Oh, hell, Evie thought heavily, and was just in the process of lifting a decidedly shaky hand to cover the throbbing ache that was taking place behind her eyes when a door at the far end of the room suddenly opened.

The raised hand paused then snapped downwards to form a small fist at her side, her body tensing fractionally as she felt the full stinging impact of Raschid’s sharp golden gaze lancing into her slender spine.

A taut silence prevailed as Sheikh Raschid Al Kadah paused in the doorway to his own sumptuous cream and gold living room while sharp shrewd eyes quickly assessed the mood of the room’s two occupants. The arrow-straight set of Evie’s spine was, to him, eloquent, his servant’s clear relief at his arrival profound.

Grimacing slightly in acknowledgement of both, Raschid dismissed the other man with a silent gesture of his head. But the look in Asim’s dark eyes spoke volumes as he walked towards him. ‘You are in deep trouble, Sheikh,’ those wise old eyes told him. ‘The lady is not happy.’ Asim left them alone with a rather sardonic bow of respect.

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