Sheikh’s Baby Bombshell
Series: Royal Baby Collection
Crown Prince Talib Muhtadi was only supposed to spend one night in the arms of delectable English rose Abby Wright. Yet the sizzling night they shared is proving inconveniently unforgettable! So when he sees Abby’s delicate face in the crowds outside his palace, he initially thinks it’s his fevered imagination playing tricks on him…
But Abby is very real—and so is her baby bump! To avoid a national scandal, Talib whisks Abby away to the desert, but under the darkness of the desert skies, their passion burns hotter than ever before…
An Excerpt from Sheikh’s Baby Bombshell
ABBY GOT THROUGH the wedding and the reception without once losing it. Not even a tiny wobble of her chin. Not even a single tear. She smiled in all the right places, said all the right things, even stood next to the bride, her best friend, and the groom—the man who for the past nine years was supposed to be her groom—and had photos taken.
She had been polite and gracious on the outside, but inside she was…gutted.
She knew it was time to move on. It had been time to move on for the past ten and a half months, but she hadn’t quite managed to do it.
But tonight was the night.
Yes, indeedy. Abigail Lucinda Wright was going to break out of her pathetically introverted shell and find herself a man and have a one-night stand with him.
Not vanilla sex. No, sirree.
The piano bar was tucked in an alley off one of London’s high streets. It had a classy reputation; no riffraff would dare to come here. There was live music and dancing and the drinks were exotic and hideously expensive. Way too expensive for a cake decorator from south London, but what the heck—it wasn’t every day your best friend married your childhood sweetheart while you stood and smiled like a Cheshire cat for the cameras.
Abby steeled herself as she walked into the bar. You can do this.
The music was romantic and slow and deeply stirring. Emotions she had bolted down tested their restraints. She felt them nudge around the circumference of her heart like tiny fists punching against damp paper.
‘Can I buy you a drink?’
Abby looked at the fresh-faced, slightly chubby mousey-haired man who was an inch shorter than she was—which meant he was very short, because she was no bean pole and she was wearing ridiculously high heels—and smiled. ‘Sure, why not?’
‘What would you like?’
I’d like to go home! I don’t belong here. What was I thinking? Abby forced another smile to her lips. ‘Champagne. If they have it.’
That’s so not me, Abby thought as she nervously fiddled with the clasp of her purse while her would-be suitor went to fetch her drink. Maybe she shouldn’t have been so hasty in accepting the first drink offered to her, but she wanted this over with.
It was a rite of passage.
Mind you, she would have liked someone she could feel a little more attracted to. Mousey Man, as pleasant as he seemed to be, didn’t quite fit her fantasy of tall and dark and toe-curlingly handsome.
Abby did a sweeping survey of the bar. Was no one single these days? There were couples everywhere, holding hands, sharing drinks, dancing cheek to cheek to the slow waltz that was being played by the concert standard pianist.
Everyone seemed to belong to someone—hang on a minute—apart from one tall eye-poppingly gorgeous man who was sitting at the end of the long bar, currently looking at her with a slightly hooded watchful gaze.
Abby felt a slow blush steal over her face as those dark eyes held hers. A strange, totally unfamiliar sensation passed through her body. She felt a shifting of her organs, a stirring of something that had long been lying dormant.
‘Here you go.’ Mousey Man handed her a glass of fizzing champagne.
Before Abby could take it off him Tall Dark-Eyed Guy stood up and came over. ‘I wouldn’t drink that if I were you,’ he said.
Abby opened her eyes wide at his arrogant impertinence. ‘I beg your pardon?’
‘It’s not real champagne.’
‘Hey, wait a minute! ‘ Mousy Man spluttered.
Tall Dark-Eyed Guy nailed Mousey Man with a look. ‘Do you want to tell her what you put in her glass or would you prefer to make a statement to the police?’
‘The police?’ Abby swung back to frown at Tall Dark-Eyed Guy. ‘Since when has it been a crime to buy sparkling wine instead of champagne?’
He gave her the sort of look an adult does to a very naive child. ‘Hasn’t anyone told you not to accept unsealed drinks from strangers? He could’ve slipped anything in that glass while you weren’t watching and you’d be none the wiser until you woke up next morning with a bad headache and no memory of what had been done to you the night before.’
Abby’s stomach dropped like an elevator with snapped cables.
‘I didn’t put anything in her drink!’ Mousey Man said.
‘Prove it,’ Tall Dark-Eyed Guy said. ‘Drink it yourself.’
Mousey Man glared at him before finally tipping back the glass and draining it. He put the glass back on the bar with a thwack. ‘Who are you? Her bodyguard or something?’ He threw Abby a dismissive glance as he brushed past them. ‘I’m outta here. This place is too darned expensive anyway.’
Abby swallowed as she looked up at Tall Dark-Eyed Guy. ‘Did you see him put something in my drink?’
‘No? Then what was all the fuss about?’
His eyes were a rich dark brown, so rich they were almost black, fringed with thick sooty lashes and prominent eyebrows that met in the middle when he frowned. ‘You asked for champagne. If he lies to you about the quality of the drink he buys you, then what else will he lie about?’
Abby chewed at her lower lip. ‘I guess you can see I’m pretty hopeless at this hooking-up thing….’
He slanted one brow in a questioning arc. ‘Hooking up?’
She gave him a self-deprecating grimace. ‘I came out tonight specifically to hook up with someone. You know…to have a one-night stand. Today is my wedding day…well, it would’ve been if my fiancé hadn’t married my best friend instead. Ever since we were sixteen we said we’d get married on the first of May when we were both twenty-five.’ She let out a despondent sigh. ‘Some promise that turned out to be….’
Something flickered behind his eyes. A touch of empathy perhaps? ‘It’s a long time to keep a promise. Circumstances change. People change. Feelings change.’
Abby looked at him. Really looked at him. He had a sensual mouth that looked as if it was comfortable with smiling even though it was set rather grimly now. He was olive skinned and deeply tanned, with at least twelve hours of stubble on his lean, somewhat uncompromising take-no-prisoners jaw. He was dressed casually but stylishly. The fabric of his shirt lovingly framed his broad shoulders, the open collar giving a tantalising glimpse of a muscled chest with a sprinkling of dark hair. He was spectacularly good-looking in an intensely male way. And so tall!
She suddenly realised she was staring at his mouth. ‘Um…can I buy you a drink?’ Did I just say that?
His mouth tilted upwards at the corners. ‘Do you know no one has ever asked me that before?’
‘No.’ His gaze slipped to her mouth. ‘Which kind of makes me wonder if I should say yes, just for the novelty of it.’
Abby’s breath moved against her throat like butterfly’s wings as that dark gaze reengaged with hers. ‘I have to tell you I can’t afford champagne. It’s not quite in my budget range. I’ve never even tasted it. Not the real stuff, I mean.’
His eyes glinted with something that looked suspiciously like amusement. ‘Are you usually this honest with people you’ve only just met?’
Abby bit her lip again. ‘I know… It’s totally pathetic. It’s because deep down I’m really rather shy. I overcompensate when I’m feeling nervous and out of my depth. I talk too much. It just comes tumbling out, and once I start I can’t stop because I hate those really awkward silences when no one says anything and you don’t know if people like you or—’ she gave a little gulp as his index finger came towards her lips like someone reaching for the mute button ‘—nofftt.’
His slow smile was dangerously attractive. ‘I like you, Miss Naive, so you can stop fretting and relax.’
‘It’s Wright.’ She offered him her hand with a bashful smile. ‘Abigail—Abby for short—Wright.’
His fingers closed like a warm firm cage around hers. ‘I’m very pleased to meet you, Miss Wright.’