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The Sheikh’s Christmas Proposal

Written by Abby Green

Chapter Thirteen

Cassidy looked down again and her heart turned over in her chest to see the little girl’s hand in Riad’s. She was dressed in a slightly fussy dress. A ribbon in her hair. Instinctively Cassidy sensed Elise was more of a tomboy at heart. Like she’d been.

She squatted down and held out her hand, hoping it wouldn’t shake. ‘Hi, Elise, it’s nice to meet you.’ She hated that her voice was so husky.

The little girl looked at her very intently as if searching for something and then a small hand slipped into hers and Cassidy knew she was in deep trouble. Already she could feel protective instincts snapping to life. This little girl’s eyes were Riad’s, except without the dark intensity or ever-present cynicism. It was beyond poignant to imagine that he must have been this innocent once.

Elise spoke with a lisp. ‘I’m seven. I’ll be eight next week, so I’m quite grown up.’

Cassidy’s mouth twitched. ‘You are indeed. What are you getting for your birthday?’

The little girl shook her head and whisperd loudly, ‘It’s a secret.’

Riad said drily from far above them, ‘Elise, I’m not a mind reader, you do know that, right?’

Elise giggled then and she started to tug Cassidy back into the main part of the plane. ‘I want to show you the pictures I took of my new pony at Gramma and Grandpa’s house.’

Before Cassidy could get her head around the fact that they’d landed and taken off again and that Riad appeared totally sanguine that she was meeting his daughter, she was back in her seat with Elise on her lap, showing her photos on a small palm tablet of a veritable castle and a cute pony.

The little girl was adorable. Cassidy would have to have been made of stone to resist her effervescent charm. But the fact that she was Riad’s and looked so like him… She was sinking fast.

One of the staff appeared after a while and offered to take Elise up to the cockpit. The little girl jumped off Cassidy’s lap and ran up the plane.

When she’d disappeared, Cassidy looked at Riad, who was watching her. ‘Riad…what’s going on?’

‘When we arrived in Geneva, you were still out cold and Elise was already there. She was on the plane before I could stop her. She was about to go into the bedroom, so I had to tell her someone was with me.’

An insidious suspicion took root in Cassidy’s mind. ‘Riad, I meant what I said, I fully intended leaving in Geneva. You should have woken me.’

His mouth thinned. ‘You would have met Elise anyway, so there seemed to be little point.’

Riad didn’t like to analyse why he’d been so reluctant to wake Cassidy, even though he’d known that she was probably right about avoiding meeting Elise. Whatever she’d meant by her statement that they were over, patently, after the most extraordinary sex he’d ever experienced, they most certainly weren’t.

Riad was surprised to find that he was handling the fact that his mistress and daughter had met with more equanimity than he might have expected…

Elise reappeared then, full of what she’d seen in the cockpit. His heart expanded to see her so happy and he observed how she was so effortlessly tactile with Cassidy, and how tactile Cassidy was in return. But then she had younger siblings, didn’t she? Riad found it slightly irritating now that he didn’t know more about her family.

The air steward came then to tell them to prepare for landing.

Cassidy was aware of Riad looking at her. What was he thinking? He didn’t seem as perturbed by her meeting Elise as she’d thought he would be. The little girl had insisted on being buckled into the seat beside Cassidy for landing, and when they’d landed she jumped out of the seat, fizzing with energy.

She grabbed Cassidy’s hand again, ‘You have to come home with us, Cassidy.’

Cassidy looked down into dark brown eyes and felt herself falling into an even deeper abyss… How had she let this happen?

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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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