The Sheik's Scandal (The Raminar Family Book 3) by Elizabeth Lennox

Rachel cracked up, her grin transforming her pretty features into true beauty. Those green eyes sparkled and the sunshine coming in through the hotel’s large windows made her auburn hair sparkle.

“No! Absolutely not, Your Highness. I’m terrified of heights, so I’ll keep my feet firmly on the ground.”

Talia laughed as well, agreeing with her assistant. So, why was Talia even thinking about sky diving?

Because she wanted an adventure. She was pretty sure that the need for adventure was a fairly recent need. One that had, potentially, been sparked by a handsome man with dark, penetrating eyes.

She knew that the stranger was long gone, but as they walked to her next meeting, Talia scanned the area, looking for him. Would he still be here? Was he in one of the smaller meeting rooms? Or had he left the hotel completely? Who was he? What was he doing here? He’d looked…powerful. Yes, that was a good word to describe the man, even though she’d only glimpsed him briefly through the open doorway. There’d been a sense of confidence about him that caught her attention. For some reason, she thought she recognized him, but for the life of her, Talia couldn’t place him.

Then she dismissed the idea. Surely she would have recognized a man that powerful. Maybe if she saw him again, closer than across a crowded room, she’d be able to place him.

Unfortunately, she didn’t see him again and she had another meeting on the other side of town. Stepping into the back of the black SUV, Talia sighed with disappointment, unaware of her wistful, longing glance back at the hotel. No one had ever seized her attention like that before. She was twenty-seven years old and, ideally, she’d love to find a man she could care for and marry, have a future with. But as a royal princess, meeting men was far more difficult than one would think. She met men all the time in her line of work, but none had ever generated even the smallest spark of romantic interest.

Until today, she corrected with a secretive smile, her eyes lighting with remembered fascination. She’d probably never see that man again, but Talia felt a glimmer of hope for her future. Until today, she’d thought that she was broken because she hadn’t felt anything beyond mild interest in the men that she’d met at the various royal functions. But seeing that dark, tempting stranger’s intense gaze, Talia had felt…something she’d never experienced before.

She’d felt his interest too, which was just as nice.

Santos stepped into the conference room, tensing as the hatred he carried for the man already in the room hit him like a thud to his chest. No words were spoken as they eyed each other from opposite corners of the elegantly appointed conference room. It was as if they were angry predators, circling each other, calculating the odds of an attack…or merely for the upper hand.

Crown Prince Gaelen el Raminar of Izara, the country north of Padar, stood about equal in height, but where Prince Gaelen was broad and bulky with muscles, Santos was lithe and fast! Still strong, but not as obscenely packed with muscles. Santos knew that he could easily take the bastard in a fight. Any kind of battle! Physical or mental, he added.

The image of the stunningly beautiful woman from the lobby popped into his mind. That same ferocity he’d felt when he’d seen her moments ago reared its head now, although for very different reasons. Five minutes ago, he’d wanted to abandon this meeting in order to go to that woman, to find her and possess her. Never before had he felt such a powerful need. Those eyes of hers had seemed startled at first, then they’d softened, her lips had opened ever so slightly, as if she were just as startled about the spark of electricity that traveled between them. He wanted to go back and grab her, fan that spark until it burst into a bright flame and then a roaring fire. He wanted to take her back to his country and…!

No, he couldn’t do that. His country was…dangerous. Santos would never subject a woman to the dangers he currently faced. Maybe in a few years, once he’d discovered the traitor in his government.

Pushing thoughts of the beautiful woman away, he focused on the man in front of him. Younger by about a year, Santos knew that Crown Prince Gaelen el Raminar would not be an easy adversary. Santos doubted the man would concede anything during these negotiations.

Good! Santos felt a violent need to protect his country and, after seeing the lovely, mysterious woman, his primal need to protect and defend was primed. After years of tensions, which sometimes bubbled up into violent, sporadic attacks along the border with Gaelen’s country of Izara, Santos was ready for battle, even if it happened at a conference table instead of on the battlefield.