The Sheikh's Purchased Bride

By: Holly Rayner





“And your passport?”



“Well, yeah, in my purse but—”



“Then that’s everything!” he finished cheerfully.



“Hey there, did we miss the part where I don’t even have luggage? I’m pretty sure wherever we’re going will require that I wear clothes—and if it isn’t then I’m not sure it’s a place I’m willing to go!”



Malik laughed and signaled one of the men on board to give them a minute. He turned back to her and smiled. “The jet features an onboard wardrobe. Anything else you need will be provided to you.”



“Yeah, but…” she looked down at her purse in vain and then back up at Malik. “I don’t even have any makeup with me.”



“Then it’s a good thing you’re a natural beauty,” he grinned. His sentiment didn’t receive the reaction he’d hoped for and he raised both his hands in front of him as if to reason with her. “Makeup, clothing, long-distance charges to your cell phone, expenses for your home here in Chicago… all will be taken care of.” He sighed blithely and continued, “I did tell you the project would be starting immediately.”



“Okay, but maybe next time you could be a teeny-tiny bit more specific? Like, ‘Oh hey, so that job I was telling you about? Prepare for anything! Sandy, rocky, mountain, valley – and be ready at 8am!”



Malik watched her carefully, before stifling a laugh. “My apologies. Can we stop fighting now?”



“Are we fighting?” She blinked and felt her cheeks burn with a blush. Was she mouthing off to her new agent? “I mean, am I even allowed to fight with you? You are my boss and all.”



“…And yet here we are.”



She crossed her arms loosely and suddenly felt overly attached to her purse. Was this seriously the only personal item she would be taking on a six-week vacation? She sighed inwardly; her mom was right—this was her personal karma for always over-packing.



She looked at the jet and then back at Malik, smiling once more and trying to remember that this was a job, after all. “All right, I’m game.” She continued walking towards the jet. “Where are we headed?”



“Let’s leave that a surprise for now.”



She laughed. “Seriously?”



Now she wouldn’t even have time to mentally prepare for what was possibly the strangest role she’d ever taken? Amie stopped once more on the staircase ascending to the jet. She felt a tingle of apprehension in her stomach and then quickly inhaled. She was doing this for half a million dollars. Half. A. Million. She pressed forward and stepped on board.



***





The jet's interior was the height of luxe; expensive-looking wood grain covered the cabin walls, along with smooth leathers and soft taupe fabrics. In the main area was a clutch of leather recliners with mounted tables in between. Across from the seats was a long sofa, covered with a scattering of taupe pillows. Amie thought absently that the carpeting alone was probably worth more than her entire apartment. Off the living area was a bedroom with a queen bed and silky-looking linens. She was almost in shock at the amount of furniture that was inside the small luxury jet.



“Wow,” she said plainly as Malik ushered her to one of the recliners. He sat her down and she blanched; staring down at the chair. “Sorry,” she winced, “I can’t sit sideways. It’s… a thing. I can’t do it on trains and I almost definitely can’t do it on a jet…”



Malik reached behind her and adjusted the seat so that it faced forward. “You sure are making this whole diva actress thing come to life.”



She blushed. “I’m… so sorry.”



“Just kidding,” he grinned and sat down on the seat beside her. “Sort of.”



With that, Malik introduced her to three of his associates; Jessica, Clint, and Samuel, as well as the pilot and co-pilot. She exchanged pleasant hellos and watched as they dispersed and went to their respective seats. Before long the jet took off and, once the aircraft stabilized, Malik undid his seatbelt and leaned into Amie.

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