From shy Cinderella…
To convenient princess!
For sensible Dr. Laurel Martin, heading up a new lab for royal doc Sheikh Tariq Al Marktum is the chance to conduct the study of a lifetime. But to protect Laurel from the scandal her presence in his palace will cause, Tariq has his own condition—a paper marriage! Swept into his desert kingdom, passion overtakes the convenient couple, but can Laurel find her place in Tariq’s world—and his heart?
Excerpt from: The Sheikh Doc’s Marriage Bargain
Tariq followed her toward the door. “There is just one more matter.”
She looked at him. “Yes?”
“You will need to marry me.”
“What? Are you crazy?” Laurel stood with her mouth gapping open. There was no way she was going to marry this stranger. It was taking all she had in her to even travel to Zentar. Marrying some man that she didn’t know was out of the question. “What do you mean I have to marry you?”
“My country still holds to the traditional values. They expect a single woman to be under the care of a man. No one is going to answer your personal health questions without you having a man’s name associated with yours. Our social rules have not changed that fast.”
“You have to be kidding.” Her bag hung at her side.
He gave her a direct look. “I assure you I am not.”
“You don’t want to marry me.” Laurel couldn’t believe the turn this conversation had taken.
“I had no plans to marry.” His words came out flat and to the point.
“Then why would you want to marry me?”
“Because I know your work is important and I know what must be done to get you to come to Zentar.”
“And you’re willing to put your personal life on hold?” This man was unbelievable.
“If that is what is necessary.”
“If I agree, this will be a marriage in name only. You understand?” The idea of getting tangled up with the prince made her shudder. She was so out of her league. Once before she’d been in this position and she vowed never to go there again. Who would have thought lightening would strike twice in the same place?
“I would expect nothing less.”
He made it sound like the thought had never crossed his mind to treat it as a real marriage. Laurel wasn’t sure she liked being dismissed so easily. The hot sizzle of attraction she felt apparently didn’t go both ways. That suited her just fine. “Couldn’t we just say we are married and not make a further deal of it?”
“No. If the media discovers that my people would feel deceived.”
“They want this way?”
“How I live in my home is my business. They need not know.”
She could do that to her parents. “Can I at least tell my family? You can trust them.”
“No. The media may ask them about it. I don’t want them to be forced to lie or to see something on their faces that may say something different from what our Minister of Communication has put out.”
“My parents are going to be so hurt.”
“In time you can explain it to them.”
There was no way they were ever going to understand. Maybe she could slip off and be back before they had to know much about what was going on. She could just tell them she was going away for a while. “What is your family going to think when you show up with some woman they have never heard of?”
“I will tell them that I chose you as my wife and that will be it.” He said that like a man that didn’t make a habit of answering to anyone.
“You say your country is so traditional but they will accept me with no questions.”
“I did not say there would not be questions. Many I am afraid. But in the end it will not change my decision.”
“Me coming with you is that important?”
“It is. I will make the arrangements. We marry as soon as we arrive in Zentar.”
About The Author:
In her past life Susan has been a full time mother to four children, a high school substitute teacher and now when she isn’t writing she is busy being a fun grandmother. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband of over thirty-five years. Susan loves castles, traveling, sewing and reads voraciously. Visit her at www.SusanCarlisle.com