I always knew I would have to pay the price for my ambition.
And my day of reckoning came as sure as night followed day in the form of a six-foot-three, dark-eyed and disturbingly gorgeous man in the doorway of my lavish suite far out in the famous deserts of Sadat.
He didn't knock. He didn’t announce himself at all.
But when a man was as electric as Prince Zain of Sadat was, no announcements were necessary. Why knock on a door when you could change the air instead?
I had been lounging there in the unimaginable luxury of the brand-new suite that I’d earned as part of my package as the just-promoted manager of the Desert Oasis Hotel and Spa, toasting myself with a glass of champagne. I’d been gazing out at the acres of lush gardens that formed the center of the hotel that my birth father, the infamous Daniel St. George, collector of gorgeous hotels and beautiful women, had made out of what had once been the royal family’s summer palace. The Desert Oasis was known as a home away from home for Hollywood royalty, European blue bloods, and anyone else rich enough to afford the staggering price of a night’s stay in paradise. Meaning: not for the likes of me, a bartender from New York City. And not the glitzy part.
In his will, Daniel St. George left each of my three half brothers—whom I’d never met before and who had never met each other until that strained gathering at a law firm in Germany— a fine hotel from his collection and a fortune to help run it.
He'd left me nothing but a challenge.
I had to find my way to the fairy-tale desert kingdom of Sadat and get myself a job in the St. George hotel there, then work my way up through the ranks. My brothers were handed everything. I had to work for it.
Good thing I was used to hard work, tough breaks, and a distinct lack of justice in all things.
I had known that I would have to pay the piper, at some point. I’d agreed to those very terms.
It was no one’s fault but mine that I’d believed some point would be a little further off in the future.
But here he was.
Crowding me out of my own hotel room without moving an inch from the entrance, tall and dark and—it occurred to me in a flash of heat—dangerous beyond measure.
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