Indulge your fantasies with these steamy, contemporary romances about sexy, billionaire alpha males, and the women who capture their hearts. Holly Winchester is desperate. With her brother facing theft charges and a potential prison sentence in a foreign country, she seeks help from the one man she knows can give it. But will the ruthless, billionaire sheikh who once broke her heart be able to forget and forgive their painful past? Two years ago, Sheikh Rafiq Al Hakimi allowed a beautiful foreigner not only into his country, but nearly his heart. Until he discovered her intentions were as shallow as the modeling world she thrived in.
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By Shelli Stevens. Indulge your fantasies with these steamy, contemporary romances about sexy, billionaire alpha males, and the women who capture their hearts. Holly Winchester is desperate. With her brother facing theft charges and a potential prison sentence in a foreign country, she seeks help from the one man she knows can give it.
But will the ruthless, billionaire sheikh who once broke her heart be able to forget and forgive their painful past? Two years ago, Sheikh Rafiq Al Hakimi allowed a beautiful foreigner not only into his country, but nearly his heart.
Until he discovered her intentions were as shallow as the modeling world she thrived in. This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. To obtain permission to excerpt portions of the text, please contact the author at shelli shellistevens.
Huge thanks to Rhonda Helms and my niece Megan for your fabulous editing skills. To my old agent Laura for all the time you invested in my projects. To Marie Force for your mad formatting skills. And finally to my family, friends and readers for being so wonderful and supportive. The lights of Raljahar twinkled with life.
Sheikh Rafiq al Hakimi stepped back from the palace window, pride sweeping through him as he turned his attention away from the vibrant nightlife below. It was a place of indulgence and pleasure, of wealth and elitism. It was his creation, and yet he wanted no part of it. He looked around the interior of his office, his fortress against a world that offered little mercy and even less compassion.
Rushed footsteps sounded outside in the hallway, followed by the urgent whispers of men who would give their lives for him. Men who served him faithfully and humbly. Rafiq strode across the room, his kandura swirling around his legs. He swung open the double doors and scanned the hallway until he saw the commotion near the end of the hall.
What is happening? His closest advisor approached and bowed. Your Majesty, he said hastily. Our apologies. It was not our intention to distract you. There is a situation, but it is being taken care of at this very moment. Irritation pricked and Rafiq gave a sigh of impatience. You know I do not care for vagueness, Amjad. I would be apprised of the situation immediately.
Of course, Your Majesty. Amjad paled and his gaze remained lowered as he continued. A woman was discovered outside the palace as she attempted to break inside to see you. Of course, her attempts were not successful and she was seized—. Did you have any intention of telling me? When did this happen? Do not tell me what there is need for! Where is she? The two words echoed down the hall, somewhere out of view but within range of hearing. Bring her to me.
It was not only because of his fierce temper. His fingers unconsciously rose to touch the jagged flesh of the left side of his face, tracing the line sweeping down across his neck. Footsteps sounded outside his office, and he turned in time to see a handful of his bodyguards swarm in, flanking the heavily garbed figure he assumed to be the woman.
Had he not heard the high-pitched plea in the hall, he might have his doubts the person before him was actually female. Nearly as tall as some of his guards, the figure struggled fiercely. The burka she wore hid any hint of curves and the veil shielded her face. An interesting choice in clothes.
Though the attire was not entirely unseen among the females of his city, nowadays most women wore modest forms of western clothing. The woman before him could have been a traditionalist to his country, or perhaps just trying very hard to disguise herself…. Rafiq stood and approached her. Though she was tall for a woman, he still had a half a foot in height on her.
Her hands were visible at the end of her sleeves—long, graceful-looking fingers. Her skin, smooth and pale ivory, flashed against the black robes she wore. Any fading doubts of her being a woman evaporated completely as long waves of chestnut hair spilled down past her shoulders. With a soft cry of frustration she ducked her head and stared at the floor, her face shielded by the curtain of brown.
A sliver of familiarity raced through him. Had it been his imagination, or had her voice also sounded familiar? Rafiq took a step toward her, ignoring the way his blood quickened. You are quite fortunate that I speak English. He stopped just inches from her, watching as her fingers knotted together.
She was nervous. Now, tell me your name. The woman hesitated long enough to increase the unease growing in him. He reached out and caught her chin between his fingers, then gently lifted her head. The curtain of brown hair slid away from her face, until his gaze clashed with crystal blue eyes. Recognition slammed into him like a punch to the chest, sending the air rushing from his lungs. He blinked, certain she would disappear, but still she remained. His earlier irritation faded as adrenaline now soared through his veins.
Her kohl-eyed stare, initially fearful, flickered with a mix of confusion and hope. Memories surfaced, of her sparkling eyes and a soft infectious laugh that could make anyone near her smile.
And then the more intimate memories of how those lush lips had felt beneath his. His hands instinctively itched to pull her into an embrace, to feel the warmth of her body flush against him. She had a flawless face with high cheekbones, full lips, and striking blue eyes a weaker man could lose himself in.
Reality seeped in like a heavy sand cloud that blocked the warmth and sunshine. His momentary euphoria at seeing her ebbed away, leaving wariness in its place. What was he thinking, wanting to pull her into his arms? So why had Holly returned to Raljahar? Irritation slid through him. It was too late for regrets, he reminded himself, too late to make nice.
Why have you come here, Holly? I… Her gaze slid over him, lingering on his face, and she flinched, her teeth clamping down on her lower lip. The realization sent a flush of anger up his neck. How foolish. The fearful gazes failed to surprise him anymore, especially when some women would cross the street to avoid crossing paths with him. Why should he expect anything different from her? Amazing how your priorities could flip on a dime. When her veil had been removed, the recognition had flared immediately in his eyes.
Sheikh Rafiq bin Hakimi al-Raljahar was far too shrewd to forget a face, especially with hers plastered in magazines and on the television up until two years ago. He was still as tall, dark, and imposing as she remembered him to be and, heaven help her, as impossibly handsome.
She hated that her body immediately responded to his presence, that her blood heated and quickened and her knees turned ridiculously weak.
No matter that he carried the title of Sheikh—Rafiq was still just a flesh and blood man. She was insane. How quickly he dropped the casualness of calling her Holly. Even still, her name on his lips sounded so foreign, almost exotic with his accent. Her stomach fluttered again and she bit her lip trying to quell it.
Beauty and the Sheikh
By Shelli Stevens. Indulge your fantasies with these steamy, contemporary romances about sexy, billionaire alpha males, and the women who capture their hearts. Holly Winchester is desperate. With her brother facing theft charges and a potential prison sentence in a foreign country, she seeks help from the one man she knows can give it. But will the ruthless, billionaire sheikh who once broke her heart be able to forget and forgive their painful past?
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