Princess Luna el Fariq watched with horror as the lovely woman ignored decorum and, with a delighted squeal, raced across the palace lobby, throwing herself into Elon’s arms. Luna understood how her brother, Sheik Elon el Fariq, ruler of Mosar, would be attracted to such an enthusiastic woman. But love? Did Elon really understand the implications of his actions? Her brother had fallen madly in love with the sister of one of their country’s most hated enemies!
Luna turned away from the lovers’ reunion, her stomach twisting with anxiety as they embraced. Their passion and love for each other was desperately obvious to anyone standing nearby. Actually, it was quite lovely to see and…okay, Luna was truly happy for her older brother.
Still, did they have to be so…enthusiastic about their feelings?
Luna sighed as she accepted that this wedding was going to take place. Elon had even become good friends with the bastard brother of Princess Ella, also known as Sheik Tasim, so perhaps the powerful leader couldn’t be all bad. Luna suspected that she should get on board and stop arguing with her brother about his upcoming nuptials. Elon loved Princess Ella with his whole heart and, Ella clearly loved him just as fiercely.
Of course, that didn’t mean that Luna had to stick around and watch. She stepped away from the scene, tamping down her guilt at ignoring her royal duties and ran into…a wall?
Stepping back quickly, she felt strong fingers grasp her upper arms, gently steadying her. Before she could recover her balance, Luna felt the sting of embarrassment. She pasted on a bright, albeit polite smile on her features as she turned to thank her “rescuer”. If he hadn’t steadied her, she would have fallen to an undignified, graceless heap on the floor. Granted, if he hadn’t been standing so close to her, she wouldn’t have run into him. But she was a member of the royal family and, as such, it was her job to be diplomatic.
Unfortunately, her dark gaze clashed with a pair of eyes that were darker still. And angrier!
“You!” she hissed, immediately jerking her arms in an effort to get his vile hands off her.
“Yes, me,” the loathsome and hated Sheik Tasim El Silandar replied with a mockingly derisive tone. “And you are Princess Luna.” He leaned closer and it took everything in her not to cringe away. He was huge, with a vaguely threatening aura and an oddly fascinating scar along his sharp cheekbone. Instead of cowering, she lifted her chin higher, silently showing the brute that she wasn’t intimidated!
His dark eyes sharpened and she found she was holding her breath for some reason. “Smile, Princess,” the odious man murmured. “The press are watching us. We need to play nice for the audience.”
Inwardly, Luna seethed, but outwardly, she pasted a smile to her features and turned, gazing at her brother and his fiancée as if she were thinking sublime, wonderful thoughts.
“Your sister is beautiful,” Luna commented, scrambling for a safe topic.
There was a moment of silence. Luna could feel the big man searching for an appropriate reply. “She is a good person. And if your brother…”
Her smile brightened and she tilted her head towards him, her eyes flashing a warning up at him. “Careful, Your Highness!” she interrupted with saccharin sweetness. “The press are filming us and they can read lips.”
She watched as the man’s mouth quirked, but his eyes were flinty and unyielding. “Take care, my dear, not to take any action that might harm their relationship. I will do anything,” he paused and pinned her with his gaze, “anything, to ensure my sister’s happiness.”
His warning delivered, the loathsome man walked away, stepping forward to greet Luna’s brother. Today was the formal introduction, a sort of script enacted for the benefit of the reporters and photographers present, since the two countries had battled on and off for centuries. But his suave demeanor didn’t fool Luna. Watching the ridiculous scene play out for the reporters, Luna decided that she absolutely hated Sheik Tasim.
Tasim could feel the woman’s eyes boring holes into his back. If she’d had a weapon, he suspected that he’d be impaled by now.
In a different situation, Tasim might have gone after her. But this was an official meeting and reporters were watching their every move, their cameras snapping dozens of pictures while the leaders of their two countries pretended to meet in person for the first time.
“Good afternoon, Sheik Elon,” Tasim greeted the man with a decorous bow. Thankfully, Sheik Elon politely and warmly reciprocated the greeting, shaking Tasim’s hand and bowing as well. “It is a pleasure to finally meet you in person.” That was such a bald-faced lie, Tasim thought, keeping his expression blandly polite. The cameras flashed wildly, the rest of the world desperate to see the reactions of their leaders.
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