The Sheikh's Pregnant Prisoner(8)

By: Tara Pammi


As the door opened behind him, he lifted her in his arms and laid her on the stretcher brought in by his personal medical staff. He shook his head as Arif opened his mouth. They waited in silence as the two paramedics checked her vitals.

He couldn’t let her go, not until he found the video footage. But he refused to lock her up.

“Put her in the extra suite in my wing. Plant someone from my personal guard outside her suite and ask Dr. Farrah to give her a thorough checkup.”

All three men froze around him. His command went against one of the traditional customs of Behraat. No unmarried woman strayed near the edges, even by mistake, of a man’s quarters.

Arif said, “We can send her to the women’s clinic in the city and still have a guard there.”

“No.”

Letting Lauren wake up in some unknown clinic amid strangers when this was all his fault, that was inexcusable, even for him.

He wanted her close, somewhere she could be watched without causing a fuss and curiosity, which she undoubtedly would anywhere else.

And he was no normal man like he had told her. He was not the favored orphan anymore either. He was the sheikh, and he was damned well going to use, or abuse—he didn’t care which—his power in this.

“Do as I command, Arif.”

Stealing one last look at her, he turned and headed toward the elevator, Lauren’s words echoing in his ears.

“The man I mourned doesn’t exist. Or if he did, he’s truly dead.”

How close she’d come to the truth. That carefree, reckless, indulgent man he’d been in New York, he truly didn’t exist.





CHAPTER THREE

LAUREN OPENED HER eyes slowly, feeling a sharp tug at her wrist. Her mouth felt woolly as if she had fallen asleep with cotton stuffed into it. It took her a moment to focus around the strange room. Feeling a little frayed, she propped herself on her elbows and scooted into a sitting position.

She was lying on a huge bed on the softest scented cotton sheets. The subtle scent of roses tickled her nostrils. A dark red tapestry hung on the opposite wall while sheer silk curtains fluttered at the breeze. Her whole apartment in Queens could fit into the suite, she thought, awed by the magnificence of the surroundings.

“It is nice to see some color in your cheeks,” said a voice near the foot of the bed in heavily accented English.

The IV tube tugged at her wrist as Lauren moved.

A woman laid a cool hand against Lauren’s forehead and nodded. She wore a bright red tunic with a collar and long sleeves, and black trousers underneath it. Her hair was tied into a ponytail at the back. Her skin, a shade lighter than Zafir’s rich copper tone, shone with a vibrancy that made Lauren feel like a pale ghost.

“The fever is gone. Would you like something to drink?”

When Lauren nodded, instead of handing the glass to her, the woman tucked one hand at Lauren’s neck and held it to her mouth with the other. The cool liquid slid against her throat, bringing back feeling into her mouth. Feeling infinitely better, Lauren looked at her. “Where am I?”

A little line appeared in the woman’s smooth forehead. “The royal palace.”

Holding her growing anxiety at bay, Lauren studied the suite again. Rich, vibrant furnishings with hints of gold greeted her eyes. A high archway lighted with bronze torches led into the balcony on her right, from which she could see the turrets and domes of the palace.

First, he had her locked up accusing her of conspiracy, and now he had staff waiting on her?

She ran a finger over her dry, cracked lips. Her blouse was creased and her cream trousers looked dirty. “I’ve never fainted in my life before. If you remove the IV, I’d like to wash up. And then leave.”

The woman shook her head. “That’s not possible.”

After the day she’d had, Lauren was in no mood to be ordered around. “Excuse me, but who are you?”

“I’m one of the palace physicians, the only female one. His Highness ordered that I attend to you personally,” she said, her words ringing with pride.

It took Lauren a moment to realize who she meant. She was still a prisoner then, upgraded from that stark...cell to the sumptuous palace. “Well... His Highness can screw himself for all I care,” she muttered, emotions batting at her from all directions.

The woman’s mouth fell open, and she looked at Lauren as though she had grown two heads. Lauren felt like an ass. It wasn’t really the woman’s fault.

“I’m sorry....”

“Dr. Farrah Hasan.”

“Dr. Hasan, I have to leave. In fact, if you can just hand me my phone.” She pointed to her gray metallic handbag—the funky bag looked as out of place on the red velvet settee as she felt in the grandiose palace. “I’ll call the airport and reschedule my flight.”

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