Sheikh's Hired Mistress(3)

By: Sophia Lynn & Ella Brooke

Laine turned suddenly as she sensed someone behind her. Her eyes lit immediately on a thick, luxuriant head of black hair. The man the hair belonged to rose to his full towering height, six-four if he was an inch, and he grinned. A quick, wide, and easy grin that spread across his sun-kissed bronze cheeks and sucked the air from Laine’s lungs and set her skin prickling.

“You are wearing me, I think,” the man said.

Chapter Two

“I, um, what?” Laine boggled at the impossibly handsome man standing before her.

“Your dress?” he added.

Laine looked down and smoothed her hands down her thighs. “Oh, it’s a Ni…Niya—”

“Nihayat Alhaya. I own the company. I know the artist who created this one. Though they shortened the hem a bit.” He lifted one brow pointedly.

“Well, I guess I have to thank you for making something nice for us tall girls.”

He gestured with one hand. “It fits you very well. It is like Niha made it for you.”

“I…Thank you.”

Now that she was looking more closely at him, he was a bit of a work of art himself. His jawline was wide and chiseled, and it was lined by a neatly-trimmed light beard. But his eyes were what drew her in. A warm, hazel-green, they seemed to laugh at her astonishment, and they were framed by two dark, winged brows.

“Forgive me. I have not introduced myself. I am Aziz bin Mohammad bin Ali al Amirmoez.” He gave a slight bow.

“Oh.” Laine nodded slowly. “I’m Laine McConnell.”

Aziz’s brows raised and his eyes widened. He took her hand and pressed a kiss to it. “It is my pleasure. When I spotted you here wearing Niha's dress, I could not help but come examine your beauty.”

Laine blinked. Was he serious?

“You were examining this sculpture, yes?” Aziz looked up at it and stepped beside her. “Do you like it?”

Laine tilted her head. “I don’t know, to tell you the truth. I could definitely sell it to a client for a sitting room piece, but I might not feel good about doing so.”

“It is evocative. The point very of art.” Aziz turned from the sculpture to look at her once again. “Like a beautiful woman. It provokes.”

Laine laughed. His voice was warm and lilting, with a pronounced but intelligible accent. It was comforting. But she couldn’t believe that he believed what he was saying. He had the ease of a man who could get dozens of women on his arm simply by holding it out.

“You are so lovely...” he said in a near-whisper and lifted his hand to the hair falling in her eyes. “You’re like a rose that has bloomed both red and white. The ones they call tigers?”

Laine pulled away. “I should get back to my sister.”

“You should spend the night with me.”

Laine gaped at his grin and sputtered.

“Ah, I misspoke. I mean that you should keep me company at this party. It’s a bit dull, isn’t it? I think you think so, or you wouldn’t be observing this sculpture.” He stepped closer, causing her to look up and swallow. “Let me make your night interesting. Let me provoke you, Laine.”

Laine hesitated. She could still sense his presence. It was as though the warmth of his golden skin projected from him like another self that further pressed into her personal space. Normally, she would want to step away from it, to keep her space her own, but in sensing him, she almost felt owned by him. He’d already claimed her. All she had to do was accept.

But that was silly, of course. He was just a man. A ruthlessly handsome man, and one clearly accustomed to getting his way with women. It would be just like her to stubbornly refuse such a request.

“I don’t know if the party is dull, or I’m too dull to appreciate all the celebrities here.” Laine turned and pointed to her sister. “That’s my little sister. She’s the star of the family. She had three movies come out this year.”

“Ah.” Aziz nodded. “My family is accomplished as well, or most of them are.”

Aziz then proceeded to regale her in great detail about the accomplishments of all of his family members, who were, by the way, obscenely rich and powerful. Meaning that he, too, was obscenely rich and powerful. A sheikh. Laine tried to keep herself from imagining a white drape over his head as he continued on about the properties both physical and corporate that were under his ownership.

“What in the world are you doing here?” Laine asked.

“I have been visiting the city. I was told by a friend that this party would keep us entertained for the evening.” Aziz leaned over to whisper in her ear. “He lied.”