The Desert King's Housekeeper Bride(6)

By: Carol Marinelli

‘I should have called out—it was my fault for creeping up…’ She could hardly breathe, the desert heat nothing compared to her flaming face and she was drenched in sweat, just appalled. ‘I will go…’ she pleaded, her legs moving now. ‘You just carry on…’ She wanted to be calm, only she wasn’t, wanted to take away his embarrassment a touch… They would be here for days, after all.

‘Carry on?’ he demanded. ‘Carry on what?’

‘Pleasuring yourself.’ Effie cringed, then attempted a more sophisticated air; actually peeled off her hand from her eyes, relief drenching her as she saw he was at least now covered with one of the bed throws. ‘As you have every right to. I’ll go now!’

She turned, walked quickly, just desperate to get out of there, stunned when a hand grabbed her wrist, when Sheikh King Zakari Al’Farisi spun her around to face him—fury in his inky black eyes.

‘You think I was pleasuring myself?’ he shouted. ‘I am Sheikh King Zakari Al’Farisi— I do not have to pleasure myself.’

‘But…’ Effie frowned, stunned at his rage, as if only now was he embarrassed, only now was he aggrieved, her eyes widening in horror and realisation. When next he spoke that wide mouth she had once seen parted in pleasure was now twisted in contempt.

‘You,’ he roared, ‘were the one sent to pleasure me!”

            CHAPTER TWO

SHE could never go out there again.


Face-down on her bed, writhing with humiliation, sobbing in utter shame and fear, Effie considered her options.

Wander out now into the desert and disappear for ever?

Or put on a smile and make dinner?

The desert seemed the gentler option.

How could she possibly face him now? Yet how could she not?

Was that what Stavroula had meant by on call day and night?

Nothing was too much trouble for the King?

And he was furious with her too! Her rabid apologies had only made things worse!

Her job was over, except she couldn’t even leave… Effie wept at the hopelessness of it all—even her womb was weeping in sympathy, proving the impossibility of her plight. For even if she were of that sort, even if she did know how to pleasure not just a man, but the King, it was her monthly time and she couldn’t.

And she was stuck here for days!


For the second time in an hour she froze.

Face-down in the pillow, she froze at the deep sound of his voice, felt his imposing presence in the room. Only this time it was without anger, his voice utterly calm and even when next he spoke.

‘I have made you a drink… Take it…’

The King had made her a drink!

Stunned, she turned over and looked at the tiny jewelled cup he offered. She took it, lifting the cup to her lips and tasting the thick sweet syrupy coffee, taking comfort from its warmth. Though the sugary drink wasn’t exactly helping her to recover from her shock. If anything she was more stunned than ever that Sheikh King Zakari was not just in her room, but actually talking to her without anger, her confusion increasing when finally she dared to look and saw that there was almost a smile on his face.

‘Can I know your name?’

“Effie.’ She struggled to get up, to remember her place. ‘Your Highness, I cannot tell you how sorr—’

‘Enough!’ He halted her stammering repeat of an apology with one word and after a moment’s consideration he actually sat down on the bed beside her and just stared at her for the longest time.

For an hour Zakari had heard her weeping.

As he had dressed, his initial anger had faded into wry amusement. Zakari didn’t do embarrassment—a flash of anger perhaps, for what she had thought she had found, but embarrassment—no.

He had heard her embarrassment, though.

And, once his anger and disappointment that Christobel had failed to arrive had faded, he had realised what had happened—and had also realised her fear.

And, given they had several days still to spend isolated in the desert, he had chosen, as he often did, to address the latest problem to arrive in his life directly.

‘I thought you were Christobel—she was due to arrive this afternoon and naturally when I saw her case come out of the helicopter…’