Sheikh's Untouched Woman(4)

By: Kylie Knight


Now when he’d given up on ever finding her, she appears before him like a dream. The gods must be shining down on me, he thought with a confident smile.

The Serena he’d seen today was different. She was grown up, clearly, but she was also stronger and harder. She hadn’t smiled once, not a real smile that lit up her entire face. She only offered up variations of the same listless professional smile. For him she hadn’t even managed that, not that he could blame her. Still it stung.

But now that he had her location he wouldn’t give up so quickly. They would talk at the very least. In fact it was all becoming very clear to Raffir now. The reason he couldn’t settle on a bride had to be residual guilt from how things had ended with Serena. If he could make things right with her—and maybe get a few more nights in her bed—he could go back home and choose a wife. He smiled, happy with his new course of action and confident Serena would forgive him after he made her understand.

Now he just had to find a way to get her alone. They were scheduled to meet every day for the next two weeks so he would see her and he would get that coffee date he was desperate to have.

Unfortunately for Raffir, Serena was more stubborn than an angry mule when it came to him. On Tuesday she’d flat out told him no, again. Wednesday she’d claimed another job across town prevented her from coffee with him and he’d reluctantly watched her go. Thursday she’d had a ‘prior engagement’ she couldn’t cancel and Friday she needed to attend a party with Francois about some hotel he was buying. He was at Saturday and no closer to achieving his goals than he was before he’d found her again.

With no plans for the weekend Raffir took to one of the hottest nightclubs in Wellington in search of a companion to help him waste a few hours. He was getting too old for the nightclub scene but it was the perfect place to find a willing woman with no expectations. A lesson he should have learned before he’d met Serena, but he’d wanted her too bad to care that she wasn’t the fling or mistress type. He shook his head thinking about how wrong he’d been about her.

He’d known then he should have left her alone to find and fall in love with some nice university student who he would treat right but leave her with no expectations. Instead Raffir had romanced her and set up expectations he was in no position to fulfill.

Now she hated him and he couldn’t get her out of his mind.

He left his hotel and was soon in the heart of Wellington nightlife. He’d spotted a club owned by a British businessman and skipped the line, quickly entering the dark club. He scanned the room, his tall frame towering over most of the young scantily clad women and men drowning in cheap cologne. Groups of women danced together hoping to attract male attention while men picked out the easiest targets for bedmates.

He was sickened and prepared to leave until he’d spotted a familiar auburn head at a table near the back. Quickly weaving through the spastic dancers he was close to her when she turned and spotted him. Eyes wide she slid off the stool and slipped down the hall where the bathrooms were. Raffir smiled, You’re well and truly trapped now sweet Serena.

He waited at the end of the hallway that lead back to the dance floor and waited. He would have his talk and she would listen. Tonight.

Ten minutes later Raffir was furious. Somehow she’d gotten past him and he hadn’t seen her red hair or silky green top again. The night was a bust and he’d taken the same path through the dancers and out the front of the club to go back to his hotel.

Alone.

~



Monday afternoon Serena waited outside a nondescript building in the shopping district for Francois. He wanted to take another look at this property before making a final decision. She assumed Raffi would be there, and none too pleased with her after she gave him the slip on Saturday night. She shrugged with a small smile, pleased to have beaten him even if the victory was small and short lived. It was impossible to avoid him at work but he didn’t get to claim her personal time as well.

But she knew she would have to agree to coffee soon or risk him showing up at her house. That would be disastrous and ensure she’d never be rid of him. She let out a bitter laugh. There was a time when she wanted nothing more than to be with Raffi forever. The idea of being without him had made her sick. What a difference a year makes.

“You’re awful deep in thought for such a beautiful afternoon.”

She turned with a blank look on her face. “Mr. al-Jazzari.” She saw his jaw clench before a smile transformed his face from merely handsome to heart stopping.

“Serena you’re looking very well.” He stroked his chin. “I trust you won’t run out on me today?”