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

This wasn’t her scene, she thought again. And these women, they weren’t her friends. Not anymore. The only reason she’d called them during this visit was…because…well, Talia wasn’t exactly sure why she’d called her college friends. Other than that niggling sense that she was missing out, that life was passing her by. That she needed an adventure in her life, which she couldn’t seem to get out of her mind.

Which was ridiculous! Talia traveled all over the world! She’d seen and done things that most people in the world could only dream about!

So, why was she here? Why was she trying to be someone she wasn’t? Talia wasn’t a party girl. She didn’t flit from one bed to another. She’d had a lover back in college, but the event had been so miserable, she hadn’t bothered to try it again.

“I’m heading out,” she told her friends. A glance over her shoulder revealed that the pink-clad temptress had vanished, and been replaced by a woman in a diaphanous, red dress. The man looked up at her and, if Talia had been a more adventurous woman, she might have taken the man’s look as a dare. It almost felt as if he were challenging her to come down the stairs, to try and tempt him.

But she wasn’t a temptress and her dress wasn’t nearly as revealing as that man obviously preferred.

“Don’t go!” Cary whined again. “We’ll find another other club. There are hundreds!”

Talia lifted a hand, stopping the others from chiming in. “No, you ladies stay and have fun. I have an early meeting tomorrow and need to get some sleep.”

Jessica giggled. “See, that’s the problem. Never schedule meetings before noon,” she told Talia with an earnestness that seemed…odd. Perhaps the light in Jessica’s eyes was caused by something more than alcohol and excitement?

Drugs repulsed Talia and she stepped away, tucking her clutch purse under her arm. “I’ll talk to you ladies soon,” she lied, air kissing each of them before turning away. Moving towards the circular stairs, she carefully made her way towards the exit. She was halfway down the staircase when she stupidly looked up, wanting just one more glimpse of the man.

He was watching her, his eyes telling her…to stay? Daring her to come to him?

Talia hesitated. That daring spark flared to life again. Should she do it? Should she walk over there, introduce herself and then…what? Take him to bed?

She shivered, just thinking about that possibility. His broad shoulders and flat stomach told her that the man was ripped. But falling into bed with a man the same night she met him? That was just stupid. Dangerously stupid.

Before she could do anything, another woman moved towards him and Talia knew that she needed to leave. That man wanted something she couldn’t give him. Oh, she wished she could be more like Orella, more daring and rash. Talia wished she could ignore the potential dangers, such as diseases and unanticipated pregnancies. Or the physical dangers of meeting a man and going to his place.

Unfortunately, Talia watched too many crime dramas. She’d seen too many episodes where the woman didn’t come out of those interactions with a smile.

Instead, she headed towards the exit, expecting her guards to follow. They’d been there all evening, inconspicuous and courteous, keeping their distance so that she could have “fun”.

As soon as they stepped out into the cool night air, she breathed a sigh of relief. The quiet was almost startling and she smiled when one of her guards hurried forward to open the door to the black SUV. Ducking inside, she settled into the seat, then leaned back against the soft leather, closing her eyes.

“Anywhere else tonight, Your Highness?” one of the guards asked.

Talia thought about Rachel, back in the hotel reading a book. That sounded…really nice. Glancing once more out the window, she shuddered as she noticed the long line of people waiting outside of the nightclub, shivering in their skimpy clothes as they waited for the burly bouncers to allow them entry.

She shook her head, grateful that she was heading away from that scene. “No. Just back to the hotel.” Talia needed to accept that she would most likely become the lonely spinster aunt to her brothers’ kids. She’d never have children of her own and she’d end up with ten cats as her family.

Santos watched the stunning woman descend the stairs, her gait remarkably elegant and refined. It was sexy as hell! Damn, he even liked her dress. As opposed to most of the women in the nightclub, who had clearly searched for the smallest, tightest dresses they could find, revealing all as if they were a candy shop offering up their temptations, the woman coming down the stairs was like a luxurious chocolate truffle, elegantly wrapped, but he knew what was inside would be far more fulfilling than the sugar coated candies.