Sheikh's Unlikely Desire

By: Sophia Lynn

CHAPTER ONE


Even from the air-conditioned interior of her Mercedes, Leah could see the glimmer of heat rising off the pavement nearby. It was another scorcher of a day in Los Angeles, and anyone who was smart was spending it indoors and comfortable or by the side of a glimmering blue pool, wearing shades and dipping into the water whenever the heat got to be too much.

Leah sighed. At least, that was the image she’d had of Los Angeles when she first came out there. It was even true for some of her firm's clients. However, as an up-and-coming lawyer in the entertainment field, her hours were long, her work was often taxing, and many of her luxuries, like her beloved car, were acquired second hand from people who were far better off.

She exchanged glares with one of the security guards who was walking up and down the pavement. They had already had words about how long she was allowed to wait in the airport’s guest pickup area. She wasn't moving. This case could make her career, and the last thing she was interested in doing was blowing it by keeping Sheik Zayn al-Fasi waiting. She was just bracing herself to have another shouting match with the guard when there was a tumult at the doors.

There were a number of men dressed in formal dark suits. They may have been impeccably dressed for New York or Boston, but in the heat and casual atmosphere of LA, they looked hopelessly out of place. Despite the heat, none of them seemed to wilt as they moved from the air-conditioned airport lounge to the sunbaked pavement outside.

Leah was just beginning to wonder if they were the people she was looking for when the bodies parted and she saw the man standing at the center of it all.

He was enormous, easily half a head taller than most of the men around him, broad through the shoulders and with the lordly patience of a lion venturing among lesser animals. He was dressed all in white, his tunic and trousers cut to fit his large frame, and the shocking white set off his dark skin, his jaw-line beard and the absolute darkness of his short black hair.

For some reason, Leah felt a frisson of tension run through her body. Something about this man made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up.

Almost as if he could sense her gaze, he turned to face her. Now she could see that his eyes, which she would have guessed to be as dark as his hair, were actually a shocking light green. It made it look as if he could see right through her. Perhaps in that moment, he did.

His face in repose was calm, but the moment they locked gazes, something passed between them. He went from repose to a kind of hunter's avidity that made her heart beat faster. Was this how gazelles on the savannah felt right before they made a desperate sprint for survival?

The approach of the security guard woke Leah from her reverie. Suddenly she realized two things. The man in white was likely exactly who she was waiting for, and the security guard was not going to stop her.

With a muttered curse, she swung out of the car, snapping to her feet and facing the guard. She was not a tall woman; her sharp black heels put her at just under five feet, five inches. Her deep auburn hair was pinned in an intricate bun, and she wore a smart cream blouse and dark trousers that she hoped helped her look a little taller.

“Hey, I told you that you only get ten minutes before you have to move on,” the guard said.

“Fifteen,” she snapped. “I read that sign, and I have fifteen. I am picking up my passenger right now, so just back off.”

The guard's face darkened, and he started for her. “You got a lot of lip on you,” he growled.

At another point, perhaps Leah would have been intimidated or given the situation up for a bad job. Right now, however, she was on a mission, and she couldn't be distracted by people who thought they could simply throw their weight around.

“All right,” she snapped, pulling out her smartphone. With a push of a button, she turned it into a high-tech, sharp-imaged recording device, and she focused it on the man approaching her.

“You want to say anything for the camera?” she growled. “Is there anything you want to say to your bosses, who will be receiving this if you come one step closer to me?”

The man looked like he was going to argue, video evidence be damned, but then he shook his head, obviously thinking better of it.

“Just move along quickly,” he snapped, and went to harass people parked behind her.

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