Sold To The Sheikh Bidder

By: Holly Rayner

When the DJ introduced the final prize of the night, several people in the room whooped loudly and everyone applauded with enthusiasm. The DJ held out a hand to someone just off the stage, and it was all Hakim could do to keep his jaw from dropping when the woman in purple took the DJ’s hand and walked out.

She waved to the crowd, and then wagged a playful finger at a group in front of the stage.

“You can make me file your expense reports, but you may not like the results,” she said, teasing the group. “Trust me, I’m much better at making coffee.”

They laughed and one young woman called, “We’ll take our chances, boss!”

Hakim couldn’t believe it. This was Lauren Sanders?

He took a closer look at her. From across the room, he’d felt a stir of attraction for her, but now that he had a chance to really see her, he was stunned. This woman wasn’t an ice queen at all. Her dazzling smile lit up the room and she looked at ease on the stage as she teased her employees and laughed along with them. She didn’t look hard enough to be a CEO. Right then, all soft curves and pretty hair, she looked like someone who knew how to have fun.

He was impressed by her attitude. It couldn’t be easy for her to willingly give up control of her life for a week, but up on that stage, she looked like she thought it was the best idea in the world.

Hakim definitely wasn’t going to mind having her at his command for a week. Maybe it would even be fun.

An opening bid was called out, a laughably small sum from the interns in the corner, and Lauren pointed at them.

“I think that’s a fantastic price. Sold, to the awesome interns of BingeWatch!” she called.

The DJ laughed and shook his head. “Nice try, Lauren. Do I hear another offer?”

More numbers were called out, along with more jokes and teasing from both the stage and the floor. The bidding whittled down to three different competitors, but they were all raising in such tiny amounts. At this rate, Hakim thought, they’d be there all night.

He raised his hand and called out over the din in the room. “A hundred thousand dollars.”

The whole room turned to look at him. He looked calmly back and smiled genially.

From the stage, the DJ said, “Now that’s what I’m talking about. This is for charity, folks, so open your wallets and dig deep.”

Hakim watched as Lauren struggled not to say something. She’d kept the expression on her face tranquil, but he could tell he’d shocked her. A frisson of electricity ran through him, and Hakim couldn’t tell if it was anticipation at winning or disappointment in himself for what he was doing.

“Any other bids?” the DJ called from the stage. “Going once, going twice… Sold! To the gentleman who obviously has money to burn. Congratulations, sir.”

Hakim watched as Lauren shook the DJ’s hand. He wondered if anyone else could see that her hands were trembling just slightly as she reached out.

One of the guys he’d been talking with clapped him on the back.

“I’m impressed, man. That was one hell of a bid.”

Hakim shrugged. “It’s for charity, right? All for a good cause.”

The man nodded. “Well, you certainly will be the talk of the office. Just be kind to the boss—she’s a good woman.”

Hakim gave him what he hoped was a reassuring smile. When he’d walked into the party, he hadn’t cared what anyone there thought of him. After spending some time talking with BingeWatch’s staff, he found he didn’t want them to think poorly of him.

So much for the cold, uncaring attitude.

“I promise,” Hakim said, shaking the man’s hand, “I won’t be too hard on her.”

The guy moved away and Hakim went to make his payment and sign the contract. As he moved throughout the crowd, he noticed a few people staring at him. More than one person came up to him and echoed the feeling that they hoped he wouldn’t be too hard on their CEO. It wasn’t that Lauren couldn’t take it, one fierce woman explained, but they’d hate to have to come after him if he mistreated her. The implication was clear, and Hakim promised her that Lauren would be fine.

After all, he thought to himself, it wasn’t really Lauren he was after.

Chapter 3


Lauren barely remembered to thank the DJ for running the auction. She wasn’t entirely sure how she made it off the stage, but she must have done so, since she was met by a flustered vice president.

Kayla Williams was a force of nature, and Lauren had never seen her this upset. Her face wore a worried expression, which matched the more than slightly panicked tone in her voice.

“I should never have encouraged you to do this stupid auction,” Kayla said as she pulled Lauren off to the side of the room.

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