The Sheikh's Accidental Heir(10)

By: Leslie North

She laughed and pulled away from him. “Ready or not, we both have lives waiting for us. This Cinderella turns back into a pumpkin tonight. And you still haven’t told me what it is you really want.”

Turning, but keeping hold of one hand, he waved at the artists around them. “How many of these painters will make a living from what they do?”

She glanced around at them, figuring most worked other jobs. “Does it matter if they’re doing what they love?”

“Ah, but they must eat—and pay the rent. The lucky ones do more than that—and that is my gift.”

She laughed again and shook her head. “You’re lucky? That is not a skill.”

“But it is. It is why my brothers drag me here and why my father encourages me to do more even though I do not need to. I have a nose for the lucky deal. I can look at a building and a tingle in my gut tells me it will become popular enough that the rents will go up. I look at land and know it will have oil or water. I read up on a company and some sense tells me its stock will go up. I just know. My father does not approve of stock markets—he calls them gambling.”

“Which is close enough to true. My uncle dabbled in stocks and lost his retirement.”

“Ah, but he was not me. It is business if you buy smart and sell smarter.”

She tipped her head to one side and brushed back a strand of hair. “So… this is all your own money you’ve been using for our escape?” She wasn’t sure she believed that, but it had been pure joy not to worry about the cost of those theater tickets or the price of any meal.

Ahmed let go of her hand and spread his hands wide. He gave her a grin that made him suddenly seem boyish—and far too charming. “Of course. And someday I will have enough money that he can leave his businesses to my brothers, and I will go on doing what I do—investing with some luck and some skill.” He glanced around. “I may even invest in New York real estate—a gallery perhaps.” He glanced at her. “Or a restaurant.”

She put up a hand. “Oh, no—don’t look at me for that. I know just what a nightmare that can be. I really would like a life someday, and a restaurant won’t give me that.”

“You sound very certain.” He took her hand again.

She pressed her lips tight. She wasn’t going to ruin their last day by digging up a painful memory.

He tugged on her fingers. “Let’s skip the museum and go back to the hotel. Our two days are almost up.”

“No. You have to at least see some of the Met. You can’t come to New York without that.”

He frowned, and she liked that small pout he was giving her, but she wasn’t giving up on the Met.

The sedan that Ahmed kept at his beck and call waited for them at the edge of the park. It dropped them off at the Met, and Melanie dragged Ahmed inside. He scoffed at the antiquities.

“Old stone—we have such carvings and statues all over my part of the world.”

She took him instead to the modern art wing. He liked that more, wondered at the price of a Picasso, and said, “Art would be a good investment. I really must look into a gallery in New York—and yes, it will have a café next door, too.” He gave her a long look, but she wouldn’t be drawn back into talking about that idea. She’d had enough of trying to make a go of a restaurant in New York.

She was also too aware of him—his scent, his body, his touch.

Since meeting him, she’d had more fantasies come to life than she’d thought possible. He could just look at her with those hot, dark eyes and she’d start to get wet. Even though they’d had each other just about every way possible, she wanted to get back to the hotel room with him.

One more night.

That was all they had.

George had already texted her a dozen questions, and she could easily imagine he was having trouble juggling the clients they were trying to line up for two weddings in the fall and the holidays needed to be booked, and suppliers would be calling for orders and payment. But she wanted this last evening with Ahmed.

He turned now, saw her looking at him and a smile curved his lips. “The hotel? Are you hungry again?”

“Always,” she said.

The sedan took them back. They didn’t bother with dinner, but started to strip each other as soon as the door closed behind them. Ahmed walked her out onto the terrace, shedding clothes as they went.

“And just where are you taking me?” she asked. “Do you know where the bedroom is?”

“Who needs a bed?”

She shivered. “Hard to snuggle outside.”

He laughed, took her hand and led her up the stairs to the loft overlooking the rest of his suite.

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