Sheikh's Obsession

By: Sophia Lynn

(Kamir Ruling Family #1)

By: Sophia Lynn and Ella Brooke

Chapter One

“Laura, you know that your tag is showing, don’t you?”

Laura froze, halfway into the limousine, and looked down at her thigh to see that, indeed, there was a tag still hanging on her emerald green evening gown. “Nice to see you too, Karen,” she said with a sigh, ripping off the tag and then climbing the rest of the way into the limo to join her sister inside.

Karen, who was seated across from her, raised a pale blond eyebrow. “I’m only trying to look out for you,” she said archly. Laura’s sister was the picture of elegance in a white sheath dress and sparkling diamonds, her strawberry blond hair pulled back from her face into a sleek chignon. The only thing that marred her look was the large, unwieldy-looking cast on her right leg – the very reason that Laura had been roped into getting inside the limo in the first place.

“I don’t see why you need to bother,” Laura said, wrinkling her nose. The limo started forward, and she gazed out the window, watching the brick face of her apartment building fade into the distance as they headed into the heart of Washington, D.C. She could be up there right now, lounging in her pajamas and watching Weeds with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s, or she could be getting ready for a night on the town with some of her pals. Instead, she was sitting in this stuffy limo with her sister, on her way to an even stuffier embassy party. “It isn’t like I’ve got anyone there to impress.”

Her sister sighed. “And that’s exactly why you’re still mucking around being an assistant’s secretary instead of rising up in the ranks.” She shook her head. “I just don’t understand it, Laura. You have so much more potential than that.”

“Maybe I just don’t want to be a lobbyist for an oil company,” Laura said, hiding her hands in the folds of the seat beneath her so Karen wouldn’t see them clenching into fists. “Maybe I like having a job that allows me enough hours in the day to actually enjoy my life.”

Karen snorted. “What little there is of it,” she said dryly, then turned her own head to look out the window. “I don’t know why I even talk to you. It’s not like I’m ever going to change your mind.”

Laura’s cheeks flushed as a familiar fury bubbled up in her chest. “You know,” she said between clenched teeth. “You could actually say something nice for a change. Like, ‘Hey Laura, thanks for agreeing to hang around me at the embassy and catch my ass if I trip over something with my broken foot.’ Or, ‘Hey, how are things with Ben?’ We broke up two weeks ago, by the way, so you don’t have to ask. But it would be nice if you pretended you cared.”

Karen’s own cheeks turned pink, and for a moment she actually had the grace to look abashed. “I do care,” she insisted, tucking a stray wisp of hair behind her ear. “That’s why I’m taking you along with me to the embassy tonight. I want you to push yourself, to make connections, to put yourself out there among the game changers in this town.”

“Please, don’t flatter yourself as a philanthropist. The only reason you asked me to come is because your husband’s out of town and you didn’t have anyone else available last minute. And it doesn’t hurt that you get to rub your superiority in my face tonight, just like you always do.”

A pained look marred Karen’s elegant features. “Please, Laura. You don’t have to be so nasty.”

Laura sneered. “I learned from the best.”

Both sisters turned away from each other again, and Laura stared at herself in the reflection of the window glass, holding back another sigh. She didn’t possess the same type of refined elegance that Karen had – her cheeks were rounder, her chin pointier, her hair a wild, curly red that took hours to tame and was nearly impossible to get into the chignon that Karen wore her hair in with such effortlessness. She’d left it to tumble down her shoulders, weighted down with enough conditioner for an army and spritzed liberally with No-Frizz, and she’d put a bit more effort into her makeup, coating her eyelids with a shimmering bronze and her lips with a deep red. But she knew none of it really mattered – she was going to stick out like a sore thumb at the embassy regardless of how much grooming she did. That’s how it always was when she was forced to rub elbows with D.C.’s elite – something she tried to do as little as possible.

The limo glided to a stop outside the embassy, where a red carpet had been rolled out from the sidewalk curb all the way to the double doors that had been thrown wide open to allow entrance to the glass and concrete building. The D.C. paparazzi and journalists were in position, armed with cameras and recorders and microphones and notepads, buzzing like a swarm of hornets just waiting to overwhelm their latest victim. A shudder ran down her spine just thinking about it, even though she should have been used to it by now – as someone who worked for a high-ranking congressman, even in a lower capacity as she did, the paparazzi were just part of the scenery.

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