Authors: Elizabeth Lennox
The Boarding School Series #4:
The Sheik’s Baby Surprise
By Elizabeth Lennox
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Table of Contents
Rule number one: Never buy cheap shoes! Jina cursed herself every step of the steep drive as the shoes she’d bought yesterday, specifically for this event, squished and squeaked in the rain.
Rule number two: Never believe the weather forecast! No rain until this evening, the guy had said. Sunny with a bit of clouds, he’d said! Have a good day, he’d said!
Jina was not having a good day. There was no sunshine with a bit of clouds and she was going to take a hammer to these shoes because simply tossing them into the garbage would never be satisfying enough for the torture her poor toes were enduring right now as she made her way up the steep hill.
Rule number three: Anticipate cobblestone sidewalks!
“Whoever built this sidewalk should be shot and tortured,” she mumbled as she pulled her trench coat closer. Her hands were shivering as she held her umbrella over her head, dodging lakes masquerading as puddles and cursing herself for taking this assignment.
Actually, that was a stupid thought because she was too new at her job to jeopardize her reputation by not accepting an assignment. As a translator, and a new one at that, she had to build up her client list before she could get picky about who she worked for.
Oh, that would be a nice fantasy! Some women dreamed about marrying a man and having kids, the white picket fence and a dog running around catching a Frisbee. Jina dreamed about becoming one of the best translators with a client list that would allow her to raise her hourly rate to the point where she could take a taxi to each assignment. With great shoes!
Jina was so wrapped up in her fantasy world that she didn’t hear the motors coming up behind her. To be fair, the rain was pouring down so hard that, even if she had been focusing, she probably wouldn’t have heard them coming up the curving driveway.
The only reason she realized they were there was because they zoomed past her. And in the process, the first vehicle hit one of those puddle-lakes full on, dousing her body in cold rainwater.
At the first contact, Jina froze, unable to believe, or even understand, what had just happened. Then the second vehicle passed by and she was once again doused. The vehicles were moving so quickly that the icy rainwater hadn’t had a chance to re-fill the puddle so only her feet were splashed this time.
Unfortunately, the second splash caused her to turn in horror and fury, facing the threat head on. Big mistake! The third, and largest, vehicle roared passed, a long, black limousine with tinted windows and really heavy tires. The rain had once again drifted into the depression of the driveway and…wham! The rainwater splashed the front of her, some even reaching up to her neck.
Jina closed her eyes and gritted her teeth as she endured the icy trickles of water seeping down her neck, under her black dress and between her breasts…stopping when the droplets soaked onto the material of her bra.
“Fabulous!” she hiss furiously.
By the time the fourth vehicle came through, she had the presence of mind to jump backwards, out of the way of the water. Thinking she’d finally avoided calamity, she breathed a sigh of relief.
Unfortunately, the fates were not finished laughing at her this morning. The cobblestone sidewalk was lined with holly bushes. Perhaps they were planted for security reasons. But as Jina stumbled backwards, her heel unable to find solid ground, she had the sneaking suspicion that the holly bushes had been planted there just to further her own humiliation. Down she fell, an ignominious heap of cold, angry woman battling a prickly bush. And losing the battle!
“You’re kidding me!” she yelled, then froze. Anytime she moved, another prickly leaf poked through the material of her coat and dress. There were prickles all over her head and neck and she couldn’t even grab onto something to pull herself up because…everything had prickles! She was stuck! She was furious and she wanted to kick some butt. Preferably the butt of the man or woman who had so rudely driven past her, splashed her with pre-winter rain and then created a situation where she’d fallen into this mess.
Carefully, ever so slowly, she wiggled her way closer to the dirt.
Jina was cursing silently when strong hands wrapped around her wrists, lifting her effortlessly out of the prickly, wet mess.
“Whoa!” she gasped, feeling like she was flying for a moment until her feet were once again on the ground, strong, firm hands moving to her waist to steady her and she blinked, trying to understand what had just happened.
“Are you okay?” a deep voice said.
Jina looked around, trying to identify the voice. But in the place where the face of her rescuer should be was only a chest. Looking higher…and higher still, she finally looked into the dark, almost black eyes of the man attached to the hands that were still attached to her waist.
“Whoa!” she said again, but this time her astonishment was caused by the instant impact of this man’s eyes on her. It wasn’t exactly like an electric shock. It was more along the lines of a hammer slamming into her chest. And pounding repeatedly. Faster and faster.
Oh, that was probably her heartbeat, she finally thought, still staring up at the man.
Malik looked down at the gloriously wet woman with the most astonishingly beautiful eyes. And stared. He probably looked like a fool, but he simply couldn’t tear his eyes away from hers. She was beautiful. When she uttered the surprised word, his focus was pulled away from those amazing, crystal blue eyes…her mouth was a work of art, he thought. Small, rosebud lips with a full, pouting lower lip that he instantly wanted to taste, to nibble on. His hands shifted slightly as he realized that he wanted to nibble and taste everywhere on this delectable woman’s body. Those eyes! Dark lashes only made the light blue color look almost mystical. And the slant of her eyes made one think of a witch. A seductive, magical witch that could spirit his soul away and he wouldn’t give a damn!
When he realized where his fanciful thoughts had taken him, he laughed softly. Scarlett would be proud of him with all of those ridiculous thoughts. But as he stared down at this woman, he didn’t feel ridiculous. He wanted her.
He would have her.
“Are you okay?” the deep voice asked.
Was she okay? Jina had no idea. She couldn’t feel her toes. She had water dripping down her neck once again because the water droplets from the horrible holly bush had dripped onto her face and neck, her hair probably looked a fright, her face was so wet that her mascara was most likely smeared over her cheeks and…was something sticking out of her head?
Jina pulled back and reached up, grimacing when she pulled a dead branch, filled with additional prickly leaves, out of her hair. “Ow!” she gasped. The green, pointy leaves attached to the branches were bad enough but when these suckers dried out, they were worse than needles!
Tossing the branch behind her, Jina took a deep breath, trying very hard not to burst into tears in front of this devastatingly handsome man.
“I’m fine,” she lied, then looked around for her umbrella and…why wasn’t she getting wet? She looked up and realized that there was an enormous, black umbrella hovering over both of their heads. When she looked to her left, she discovered a man, a very bulky, very scary looking man, holding an umbrella over both of their heads.
Right and left, she discovered that they were surrounded by those scary men with scarier bulges underneath their scary, dark suits.
“I don’t…” she wasn’t really sure what to say. She glanced down, looking for her tote bag and umbrella. Both were instantly handed to her. “Thank you,” she whispered, feeling a numbness take over where that heat had been when the tall man had been touching her. “I have to go,” she stated as firmly as she could. “I appreciate the rescue.”
“I will drive you to your destination,” the tall man announced.
Jina looked up at him and tried very hard to suppress her anger. She was trembling for some reason, and that hammer was still making her heart pound. She had to get away from this man. It was imperative that her heart stay inside of her chest, which meant that she could not be around this man. He was dangerous. And she didn’t think that the word “dangerous” fully defined this man’s effect on her.
“No. Thank you.”
She tried to step away from him, to be on her way. Crisis over, she was moving on and praying silently that her morning would get better.
“I insist. Our vehicles caused your mishap. I will make it up to you.”
Jina had just turned away when he uttered those words. But when she heard them, she was almost stunned by the anger that shot through her body. Perhaps if it hadn’t been raining, or if her feet weren’t aching on the cobblestone sidewalk. Or maybe if she didn’t feel like a wet rag in front of this incredibly handsome man’s pristine appearance as he stood under umbrellas held by his servants while she struggled to open her own umbrella once more, broken from the fall, she might have been a touch more cautious in her response. But as it was, she was furious and this man was making her feel like this so he was a legitimate target in her mind.
“You can insist all you like, but I’m not getting into the vehicle that created my current predicament. If your driver had any sort of courtesy, he wouldn’t have splashed me. Nor would the second or third have splashed this horrible rainwater all over me and I wouldn’t be walking uphill in shoes that could have been used as medieval torture devices, if they could stay put together long enough. And I’m really not happy with the fact that it WASN’T SUPPOSED TO RAIN TODAY!” She was screaming by the end of her rant and didn’t care what anyone thought by this point. It was either scream or cry and screaming was marginally more dignified so she took that option with gusto!
Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and nodded her chin for emphasis. She felt much better now. Turning around, she ignored the tall, devastatingly attractive man who was still staring at her, praying that no other catastrophe would happen since she suspected that the man was still watching her.
This day was not happening, she told herself as she entered the employee entrance of the embassy where her client was probably already waiting for her. She was ten minutes late, her hair was a dripping mess, her makeup was barely salvageable, her stockings were so badly damaged that there was nothing she could do but take them off and, she stared at her image in the mirror, there was another leaf sticking out of her hair!
She wanted to just hide with mortification. Why couldn’t the man have been bald and fat? Why couldn’t he have had bad teeth? Or just bad breath?!
No. Today was just not happening. She smoothed her hair back, applying extra pins to make herself look a bit more presentable, dabbed some powder on her nose to hide the redness as she fought to keep herself from bursting into tears, and hurried out into the ballroom where guests were milling about already.
She found her client easily enough and apologized. Thankfully, the woman was gracious and waved away the need for any apology. “I haven’t even gone inside, dear. So no harm at all. And you have a very good reputation so I’m thrilled to be working with you today.” She gestured towards the event which was already underway. “Shall we?”
Jina forced a smile and tried to relax. This was her job and she was extremely good at it. She had to remind herself that the man, whoever he was, had gone on with his day just as she was about to do with her own.
Stepping out into the ballroom, Jina was pretty sure that fate was laughing hysterically at her.
The man, that man, was standing in the center of the room and her client, the gracious woman who was a legend in the banking industry, was making a beeline for the man in question.
No, Jina thought as her feet were barely able to lift off of the carpeting. This simply wasn’t happening. Yes, it was similar to an ostrich sticking its head in the sand but she didn’t care. She didn’t care about anything, other than not being near this man any longer! No! She wanted to stomp her foot in frustration. She wanted to scream at him to get out. Or even better, she wanted to spin around on her pathetically shoed foot and run away, hide from this man’s dangerous, all-knowing look.
But she didn’t do any of those things. She was much slower in her approach than her client, but she walked over to the small group of chatting guests, her lashes lowered over her eyes so that she didn’t have to look at the man.
Maybe he wouldn’t recognize her, she thought to herself. She’d been wet and bedraggled, wearing a dripping trench coat. Oh, and let’s not forget those leaves and branches sticking out of her hair! Yes, maybe those had disguised her enough!
She almost laughed at the possibility. Shaking her head mentally, she stood behind her client, praying silently that her translation services would not be needed.
But noooo! That fate thing was still having a blast with her day!
“You seem to have recovered quite well from your trauma,” the man commented in Spanish. “And if you look out the windows, you will notice that I have stopped the rain so that your trip home will be significantly easier.”
Jina’s eyes snapped up to his and she held her breath. Goodness he was devastatingly handsome. But Spanish? He had a darker complexion but…she wouldn’t have guessed Spanish from his accent earlier. She would have guessed Middle Eastern.