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Written by Caitlin Crews

Chapter Ten

Zain was as good as his word. The recommendation he gave was stellar. I was instantly installed on the hotel staff, and I threw myself into learning the place from the ground up.

I might not have had the fancy degrees that my new colleagues did. I hadn’t gone to hotel school. I couldn't stand around talking endlessly about hospitality in the way they did.

But I knew people.

I had bartended all over Manhattan, from dive bars that even hipsters dared not enter to swanky, upscale places that catered to far more glittering Manhattanites. I had heard a thousand sob stories. I had broken up fights, and stopped others before they’d started.

My education might have been unconventional, but I was perfectly well suited to run a hotel that catered to its guests in every possible way. It turned out I had that kind of service in my bones.

In a month, I had already been promoted. In two months, I had made it clear to everyone that I was aiming for the top spot.

And at the end of the third month, I got it.

My half brothers had been handed fancy hotels in Iceland, Italy, and a Pacific island I’d never heard of before, but I’d worked for mine.

And yet even after I called the lawyers to inform them of the good news, all I could think about was how I got in the door of the Desert Oasis in the first place.

I thought about Zain all the time.

I had become something of an expert on the man. I knew that he had been an athlete when he was younger, but had given up dreams of soccer to attend Cambridge University. He followed that up with Harvard Business School, and I spent long nights trying to imagine a man like Zain prowling around Boston, ruining the lives of every college girl foolish enough to drool over him. He had spent the years in between playing with nightclubs in his spare time, managing a hedge fund for his distant branch of the royal family, and allowing only beautiful women at his side.

I thought a lot about the night that I’d promised him me.

I lay in my bed far away in Sadat, the mighty desert whispering through the palm trees outside, and I imagined it was his hands all over me instead. I lay awake, my body hot and ready though I was alone, and I touched myself the way I imagined he might.

Over and over. Night after night.

I waited for the self-loathing. For a prickle of conscience, perhaps.

But all I felt in those three months was that same bright foreboding.

And now, at last, my time was up.

Zain was here.

This was finally happening.

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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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