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His Stolen Desert Bride

Written by Carol Marinelli

Chapter Eight

He will never agree, and he is not going to let you simply take me,’ Yasmin said, even as she rose from the bed to leave.

Her emotions were all over the place yet her heart was certain.

‘And that’s why we have to leave now.’ Alasdair looked at the time, which had run away from them. He had thought he would spend the time he had convincing her; instead it had been spent in bed and so it was all a mad rush.

They left in a hurry and, so as not to alert the driver, they sat in silence in the car.

Only once seated in the first-class lounge could they properly speak.

‘How did you get my passport?’ Yasmin asked.

‘Alim.’

‘Alim?’ She frowned and thought back over the past weeks and days. Alim had always looked out for her, and to know that Alasdair had won his trust meant so much to Yasmin. ‘So when he insisted I attend my lecture…’

‘He knew I was waiting for you. I first spoke to James,’ Alasdair told her. ‘I couldn’t leave things as they were. I missed you so much, and after a lot of convincing James came to realize that you might well be feeling the same. I then met with Kaleb and finally Alim. I wondered if Fleur might be able to speak with your father...’

Her shoulders stiffened. ‘I don’t need her help.’

‘You have it though,’ Alasdair said. ‘This is what you want?’ he checked.

‘You know it is.’ Her eyes were shining with tears. ‘What will your daughter say?’

‘She’ll take some winning round, but once she gets to know you…’ Alasdair smiled and then for the first time it wavered.

He wasn’t worried about Ainslie and her reaction; he knew that in time all would be well there. It was his love for his daughter that had sideswiped him.

And Yasmin’s father loved her too.

Alasdair thought of his and Ainslie’s pact to be more honest and tried to put himself in the place of the Sultan of Sultans and the hurt and deception he would feel with his daughter being spirited away.

‘I need to speak with your father.’

‘No!’ Yasmin’s response was absolute. ‘Once we are safely married, then I shall contact him but not now.’

‘Would he halt you from leaving?’ Alasdair asked.

‘I don’t know,’ she admitted and closed her eyes. ‘Once my mother threatened to leave him. It would have caused such scandal to the monarchy…’

‘Did he forbid her?’

‘No,’ Yasmin admitted. ‘He asked her to reconsider but said he would accept her final choice.’

Rina had stayed.

‘He deserves a chance to give his approval.’ Alasdair was resolute. Yes, he had taken her brothers’ advice on board but at the end of the day he heeded his own.

Her father would hear his truth too.

‘Yasmin, I’m going to speak with him now. If I’m not back in time then I need for you to be prepared to get on that plane without me.’

She took a deep breath and then nodded but was terrified too.

To have love so close one minute and gone the next felt like the cruellest of blows.

She watched as he walked with purpose from the lounge and she sat, watching the monitor for flight updates while keeping a constant eye on the door.

He did not return.

All too soon she was called for boarding and Yasmin took her seat on the plane and tears were threatening for the empty seat beside her.

The lights dimmed and the words “Arm cabin doors and cross check,” were the scariest Yasmin had ever heard for she was flying blind and into the unknown without him anywhere but in her heart.

That was love though, Yasmin thought.

For though apart she felt him near.

And then, like a beautiful award for bravery, there was a flurry of activity and the instruction came to disarm the doors, and Alasdair was there filling the empty seat beside her.

‘You’re here!’ She forgot protocol and kissed him to prove that he really was. ‘They stopped the plane?’

‘By royal command.’ Alasdair smiled.

And as they flew through the night he told her how for a moment he’d thought they were lost, that her father had threatened to have her removed from the plane.

‘I thought I was about to be locked up,’ he admitted.

‘What changed his mind?’

‘Your mother.’

He had listened to others and taken advice from all who had cared to give it, but there was a love on their side that had not been factored in. A love that could move mountains when it so chose.

‘Your mother walked into his office without warning and she leaned on that desk and got right up to his face…’

And Yasmin laughed because she had thought that she was the only one who could get away with such things with her father. ‘What did she say?’

‘“How dare you deny our daughter a chance at true love.”’

True love.

Honest, open and kind.

‘They’ll be boarding the royal jet shortly,’ Alasdair told her and then he smiled. ‘You weren’t joking when you said that if your father found out I’d have to marry you by sundown.’

‘No, I wasn’t joking.’ Yasmin beamed, thrilled that her family would be at her wedding.

‘James and Mona will be there?’ she checked.

Alasdair nodded.

The long flight flew by in what felt like minutes as they caught up on each other’s lives. He told her about Catherine and how Ainslie had her imagination. And she told him about her dreams.

There was no sleeping, they were still talking even as the car drove them through the hillside, but then Yasmin fell quiet. Through the mist she could just make out the castle.

‘I’m nervous,’ Yasmin admitted.

So was someone else.

A little girl with dark curls who looked down from her bedroom window and frowned.

The car crunched as it drew to a halt and the air was cold and damp as Yasmin stepped out.

Walking up the steps to her new home, she could not be more removed from the world she had known.

Alasdair took her hand and led her through the imposing entrance, but they were soon in a drawing room where a huge fire burned and a little girl walked down the stairs and came and stood next to her aunt.

‘Ainslie…’ Her father walked over and gave his daughter a hug. ‘Remember Yasmin.’

‘Of course I do.’

Yasmin watched as the little girl assessed her through narrowed eyes.

‘Why is she here?’ Ainslie asked.

Uncertain how things might work out, Alasdair had decided not to forewarn his daughter, who had thought he was away on business.

‘Because I’ve asked Yasmin if she will marry me,’ Alasdair said.

‘When?’

‘Tonight,’ Alasdair told her. ‘You see…’ He struggled a little and Yasmin could see that. She knew too that the Sultan of Sultan’s approval wasn’t the only consent required and that a seemingly rushed wedding might simply be too much for this little girl.

‘We would have waited but my father insists upon it,’ Yasmin said. ‘I am expecting him to be a little cross with me when I see him. You see, I have been keeping your father a secret and…’

‘Did you lie to him?’ Ainslie asked, suddenly perking up.

‘I didn’t lie,’ Yasmin said, flustered. ‘I just…’

‘Oh, she lied.’ Alasdair smiled. ‘And so did I—I didn’t tell Yasmin just how very important our time in Rome was and how happy she makes me, but I’ve told her the truth now.’

‘Can I be bridesmaid?’ Ainslie asked.

‘Of course,’ Alasdair said. ‘In fact, when we were stopped in Dubai Yasmin saw the perfect dress for you…’

*

It really was the perfect dress, in the softest of lilac. It went well with Ainslie’s dark curls.

And Yasmin’s dress was stunning too, for her own mother brought it with her—a robe of pale gold that fell to the floor and a sheer veil that her mother lovingly arranged. Then she handed Yasmin a beautiful display of desert blooms from home to carry.

‘You look wonderful.’ Rina smiled at her daughter. ‘But, more importantly, you look so very happy.’

‘And I am,’ Yasmin said, though her eyes filled with tears as she embraced her mother, who had fought so hard for this moment too. ‘I am going to miss you so.’

‘You won’t get a chance to,’ Rina told her. ‘I think I am already a little in love with Scotland, as well as this little girl…’ She smiled over to Ainslie, who made a very proud bridesmaid. ‘I brought these for you.’

It was a small posy made up of the same precious blooms that the bride would carry. ‘One day I will show you where these flowers grow,’ Rina told the little girl.

‘They’re never going to believe me at school on Monday,’ Ainslie said. ‘I’ll be told off for lying again.’

‘Not if I take you to school…’ Yasmin said and Ainslie’s gappy smile grew wide.

And then it was time to marry, and it was the most blissful walk of her life. Down the curved stairwell and through the grand entrance, then into the banqueting hall, where all the people she loved were gathered.

It was a marriage of traditions too, for her father did not give her away; instead he declared that he had chosen.

And there before her stood Alasdair, dressed in a kilt and looking magnificent. Yasmin loved that he smiled for both her and his daughter, but then he took her by the hands and looked right into her eyes, and then it was just the two of them on the stage.

‘I love you,’ he told her with such conviction that her eyes shone with tears. ‘And I always shall.’

‘I love you too,’ Yasmin said. ‘You live within my heart.’

They said their vows, Yasmin in a voice that shook and Alasdair’s steady and without waver, for he knew, better than most, just how precious love was.

It was an honour indeed to be married by sundown.

Yasmin had found her family.

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About the author

I was born in England to Scottish parents, and then emigrated to Austr...

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Carol Marinelli

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