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The Sheikh’s Christmas Proposal

Written by Abby Green

Chapter Five

Riad didn’t like the immediate sense of panic that had gripped him when he’d heard that sound from Cassidy’s mouth and turned to see her wide blue eyes after she’d clearly overheard what he’d just said.

He also didn’t like the punch to his gut that told him something was wrong here. He didn’t like it because nothing should be wrong. If Cassidy was upset over what she’d heard then it was because in spite of his honesty, she’d come to expect more…like every other woman.

It’s been six months, jeered a voice. What did you expect? Of course she was going to read something into that.

Anger rose inside Riad as he looked for Cassidy through the heaving crowd. People clutched at him, women seeking his attention—Riad, darling… He felt like snarling and throwing them off, wanting only to see a familiar head of dark red hair. But she wasn’t there. And now a slightly sickening falling sensation entered his gut. The kind of feeling he’d only ever previously experienced when Elise evaded his sight for longer than a second in a crowd, or when she got ill and he felt helpless.

He spied an exit from the ballroom and left the party behind, cursing silently as he tried to find his way back through the labyrinthine halls. He almost collided with a woman—he figured she must be staff as she wasn’t dressed for the party and she looked far too serious, but she was quickly forgotten as soon as Riad realised he was close to their room.

When he stepped inside he saw Cassidy immediately. She was standing with her back to him on the terrace outside the bedroom, looking over the low wall at the city below.

Salim had apologised earlier for the basic state of the rooms, explaining that the palace needed an overhaul, but Cassidy had said to Riad that she loved it’s faded grandeur.

That irked him now, because he knew not one other woman who was at that party would feel the same. Most of them were staying in the country’s only five-star resort, which had apparently enjoyed its heyday some two decades ago.

Irritation at how she’d gotten under his skin so effortlessly made his voice curt when he stepped onto the terrace. ‘What was all that about?’

The line of her bare shoulders looked incredibly fragile. Her neck was long and pale, her hair upswept and very red against the dusky Tabat sky, where stars were already appearing. The black strapless dress was a byword in simple elegance and yet it showed off every sensual curve to perfection. Riad’s blood hummed in response. As it always did around this woman.

He noticed the tension in her form and it irritated him even further.

‘Cassidy?’ He wanted to physically turn her around to face him but something stopped him. A rare sense of trepidation.

But when she did turn around, something eased inside him. She looked…expressionless. But not upset. Pale. But then she was naturally pale. Her Irish heritage.

Her light blue eyes flicked away momentarily. ‘Sorry, I just… The heat in that room was making me feel a little ill.’

Relief was fleeting. She was lying. Riad knew it. She had been upset by what he’d said. Perversely he’d almost have welcomed the reaction he’d been expecting—that of a petulant lover wanting more—compared to this evasiveness.

He moved forward until she was bracketed between him and the wall and he could feel her lithe curves pressed against him, the delicate fabric of her dress no barrier at all.

She put her hands on his chest and he could see fire in her eyes. That intense blue that had ignited his lust from the first moment he’d seen her walking down a runway looking both ethereal and unbelievably sexy. An intoxicating mix.

‘Riad…I don’t feel like making love.’

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About the author

I spent my teens reading (devouring) Mills & Boon romances. After ...

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Abby Green

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