And yet, as she stared out the plane’s window, her heart ached at what was to come. Maybe if she hadn’t been so good at her job, Prince Tarin wouldn’t have agreed to use her for this next project. She wouldn’t be flying towards the man who made her heart race and she wouldn’t be about to make a fool of herself. Again.
She remembered the time she’d first seen the man. Prince Tarin had walked into her office and smiled at her and every muscle in her body had just…stopped functioning. She’d been stunned by his handsome features, terrified by his height and brawn, then awed by his sweet, devastating charm. As she’d gotten to know him over the past two years, Rachel had discovered that the enormous man with outrageous muscles was actually a horrible tease! He’d walk into her office and wink at her just to see her blush. He’d bring her cookies and other treats, knowing that Rachel had a terrible sweet tooth. He would tease her, tell her horrible jokes, then wink at her when she covered her mouth to stop herself from laughing.
He was also the most annoying brother to Talia and Rachel had watched with envy as Prince Tarin would tickle or hug his sister in variously affectionate ways. He loved lifting her off her feet and squeezing her until she laughed and begged for mercy.
Having come from a family that never touched, hugged, or even voiced affection, Rachel had craved those moments of familial warmth.
Plus, watching him with his twin nieces or his nephews was like watching a man in heaven. Prince Tarin might be a horrific playboy, loving the ladies and always flirting, but when it came to his duties as an uncle, he was sweet and kind, wildly protective, and could spend hours playing with them, holding them, taking them in the pool, and had infinite patience teaching them to ride horses, ride their bikes, play games or even reading to them. In fact, there had been many times she’d passed by the nursery and caught Prince Tarin with a baby in his arms, reading or feeding or just rocking them to sleep.
Her heart ached during those moments and she blinked back the tears at the memories. “This is going to be painful,” she muttered to herself. Not even the past two years of working in Padar had eased her love for the man. He visited Talia too often for her to completely get him out of her mind.
But she had a job to do, she reminded herself. So, instead of mulling over the inevitable heartache, Rachel opened her computer and got to work. There were several issues she needed to conclude for Talia so that the princess could enjoy her maternity leave. Then she read through the information on the plans for the new university that Prince Tarin had sent.
Several hours later, Rachel had pages of notes and her excitement over the project was overriding her dread. “I’ll just focus on work issues and not on…” She looked up just as the flight attendant stepped out of the small galley kitchen, carrying a cup of tea.
“Thank you!” Rachel gushed, grateful for the small gesture of kindness.
“My pleasure,” the flight attendant replied. “I’ll have dinner ready in about an hour.”
And then Rachel was alone again. Always alone, she thought, as she sipped her tea and looked out the window. She was the boring, dependable, almost invisible person who made things happen for others.
“Have you seen Rachel?” Gaelen asked.
Tarin stared up at his brother, the matt underneath him barely absorbing the brunt of his fall. “That was a good one!” Amit called, walking over and peering down at Tarin.
Tarin growled as he lunged upwards, furious that his brother had distracted him.
“Damn, Gaelen, you’ve woken the beast!” Amit laughed, smacking Gaelen on the back hard enough to send a normal man flying. But the Raminar brothers weren’t normal. Amit and Gaelen were about the same height at six feet, three inches, but as the youngest brother, Tarin must have gotten a bit of extra testosterone because he was six feet, four and a half inches. Plus he easily added muscle to his tall frame with his daily workouts. When they were younger, the brothers used to tease Tarin, calling him “The Hulk” because he was so big. Now they didn’t tease him because he would flatten them, although Tarin knew that his brothers still used the old nickname when he wasn’t around.
“Low blow,” Tarin grumbled. But along with his extra height and brawn, he’d also gotten a smooth temperament. Of the three, Tarin was the most laid-back, easiest to tease, and…the fastest to get retribution.
This time however, his brothers’ teasing remarks had hit a nerve. He looked around, his hands fisted on his hips. “She’s back?” he asked.
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