The Sheikh's Purchased Bride

By: Holly Rayner

She stared into the mirror and noted the bags under her eyes; she’d hardly slept. After her meeting with Malik she’d managed to catch the last hour of the wrap party for the play. It had been an endless night of compliments and laughter, not to mention congratulations for securing her high-paying new gig.

And drinks. Lots of drinks.

She was lucky enough not to be too hungover, but nervous anticipation for her early morning meeting had kept her up most of the night, wreaking havoc on her appearance. She sighed at her reflection and dabbed on another dollop of cover-up before turning, unsatisfied, from the mirror and throwing her thick hair into a high ponytail.

Amie was well-versed on what to wear to casting calls, but she wasn’t exactly sure what this meeting would entail, so of course she tore her closet apart. Clothes lay scattered about on the bed as though an atomic-blouse-bomb had gone off in the center of the room. She finally settled on fitted jeans and a black blazer. Casual, yet professional.

She could hear her cab honking from outside her window and quickly made her way down the stairs, grabbing her purse and the napkin on which Malik had written the location of their meeting. She sat behind the cab driver and read the address out from the napkin.

Then came the wait. Early morning Chicago traffic agreed with them, yet it still felt like the drive was taking forever. She looked over her resume and list of theater references before tucking them away in her purse. Even though Malik had already said she had the job, she figured it couldn’t hurt to bring along some references, just in case.

She tested her breath against her hand and then let out an unwilling sigh; after more than a half hour of driving, she couldn’t help but notice how far out of the city they’d already driven.

“Do you think we’re coming to a stop anytime soon?” she asked curiously as they slowly came upon an area of town she’d never seen before.

“Yeah,” the driver said plainly, pulling to an almost comical stop. “This is it.”

“This…” she began sarcastically, “is an airfield.”

“What can I say, this is where your address took me,” the cabbie said in a thick Mexican accent. He gave a subtle frown and looked back down at his GPS before offering Amie a grin. “Yep. Seems to me like that may just be your ride.”

The driver pointed out the window and Amie’s eyes went wide with disbelief as a she caught sight of a small white jet in the distance. Standing beside it were a small group of three or four people, along with Malik.

She blinked hard before fumbling through her purse to pay the cabbie; fighting the urge to tell him what an absolute rip off his price was. This was why she normally guided cabbies personally; otherwise, they’d take the longest routes, preferably lanes with traffic or street work. Oh, they loved going through street work. Too bad she couldn’t navigate her own way to a… private airfield?

She opened the door and was quickly met by Malik, who greeted her with another formal handshake before starting to guide her over to the jet.

“Welcome,” Malik smiled. “These are some of my associates,” he said quietly, leaning into her ear as he gestured to the small group of people boarding the jet. “I’ll introduce you all once we get in the air.”

“We’re… flying?”

“That’s generally what jets do.”

“I guess if it didn’t you’d be in for a massive refund,” she said, laughing nervously as her eyes looked over the glossy white aircraft.

Suddenly, she stopped in her tracks, almost digging her heels into the tarmac. “Wait, so, what are we doing here? Going on a Chicago-style air tour of the city?”

“Oh,” he gave a half-hearted frown. “Didn’t I mention that we’d be whisking you away?”

“Okay, yes…” She turned to face him with a giant smile that bordered somewhere between flirtatious and horrified. “But I didn’t think you meant like, right now. I didn’t even pack!”

“You have your purse with you?”

She paused. “Yes…”

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