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Written by Caitlin Crews

Chapter Seven

Name your price," I told Zain with more bravado than sense.

Because he was powerful in ways that had nothing to do with the fact he was, in fact, a prince of Sadat. And everything to do with the frantic fire that danced in me every time he looked my way. The burn of it.

And the terrible need that followed that I was afraid to name.

"Are you sure you can pay my price?" He kept his voice low and still I felt it shimmer in me, sending flares into places I hadn’t known were there.

He had ordered me to come to him that night and I had obeyed him. I wasn’t a woman who obeyed, and yet I had. I had given myself a thousand excuses. Money, revenge on anyone who had counted me out, a middle finger raised high at my father and my family and the lawyers who had sneered at me in Germany. Those were my excuses. They were what had brought me to him.

But now it was dark and I was here, and he looked at me as if he knew things about me I didn’t. The city fell away, trapping us here in this hushed, elegant house. In this strange breathlessness that stretched between us, where my lungs didn't quite work and the heat in his dark gaze filled me up and made me… Made me want.

“Of course I can pay," I assured him rashly, mostly because I wanted to break the spell between us. “Get me a job in the Desert Oasis and I'll do anything you want.”

I told myself I was focused on the terms of my father’s will and the fact I had to work my way up to manager of the hotel despite the fact I had no experience. That, surely, was what made me feel so shaky. I was certain it was temper, nothing more.

"Anything I want," Zain echoed, making me a liar when I shook even more. “Are you sure you know the things a man like me might want?”

I lied to myself again when I told myself I didn’t want to know.

“You already know exactly who I am and what I want," I replied. "My father thought it would be fun to make me work for my birthright."

“Perhaps he wanted to make sure you truly want it.”

I wasn’t entirely sure he was speaking of my late, unlamented birth father, but I chose to pretend he was.

“If Daniel St. George was remotely interested in what I wanted, my entire life would be different. But we’re not here to talk about ancient history. We’re here to talk about what you want in exchange for setting me up with an incognito position in the hotel that sits on land you own.”

“I'm not sure you can go incognito." He looked me up and down. I'd worn another one of my tiny little dresses that barely made it over my butt, showing off almost every tattoo I had. Usually this made me feel sexy and powerful. Tonight it made me wish his hands were on me—and I didn’t understand this thirst for him. I’d never felt anything like it before. “You don’t exactly blend into the scenery.”

I smirked. "The terms of the will say I need to stay anonymous until promoted to manager, so I will.”

“You’re not typically quite so dependable.” Zain didn’t ask. He knew. He had come around to the front of his desk, and lounged back against it while he regarded me sternly. "Angelique Masterson, twenty-eight years old. Your hobbies include getting fired, quitting other jobs on the spur of the moment, dating long lists of undesirables, and making it your goal in life, or so it would appear, to offend everyone who comes into contact with you. You understand that the hotel business—particularly a hotel as luxurious as the Desert Oasis—requires the exact opposite of everything I just said?”

I hated that everything he’d said was true.

And tonight felt like an accusation.

“It's supposed to be mine," I gritted out. "So I'll do what I have to do.”

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About the author

I discovered my first romance novel at the age of twelve. It involved...

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Caitlin Crews

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