The Sheikh's Purchased Bride

By: Holly Rayner

“So,” she chuckled, “Am I allowed to ask how long the flight is?”

“We’ll be on board until much, much later tonight, for sure; about 15 hours,” he said casually.

Amie tried not to make a face. Don’t be a spoiled actress. She looked her new agent up and down. He wore dress pants and a loose button-up that currently had the top two buttons undone; no tie. Her eyes widened as a fresh worry occurred to her, but before she could protest he said, “We have pajamas, undies, all that stuff at your disposal.”

“Did you just say ‘undies’ to me?”

He laughed. “Is that a problem?”

“You can’t say ‘undies’ to me—you’re my boss!”

“Speaking of which,” he said, taking two cups of coffee from one of his assistants and passing one of them to her. The assistant set a tray with cream and sugar on the table between them and promptly left.

Malik sipped his coffee for a long while before continuing. “I’d like to talk to you a little bit more about the role, if that’s okay with you.”

“Perfect,” she agreed.

“The role actually begins the moment we land. As I said earlier, you’ll be playing the role of a wealthy heiress; bride-to-be to a prince from a country with a rich history, unique culture, and beautiful countryside.”

She nearly burst out laughing. It was a good thing she was confident in her acting chops because this role couldn’t be further from the reality of her life. Wealthy heiress? Since moving to Chicago, she’d never had more than $200 excess in her bank account. Struggling for years to find acting roles, buying a tube of mascara felt like a splurge. Refocusing back on Malik’s directions, she began to feel giddy.

“What?” he said, a choke of laughter in his voice. “You’re making a face.”

“No! No face!”

“I hired you because I believe you’re a fantastic actress who’s up to the challenge.”

She laughed into her hands. “Thank you.”

“This is going to take a lot of skill and a considerable amount of improvisation on your part. Saying that, you just need to follow my lead and we’ll be fine.”

“Oh! I didn’t realize you’d be taking part, too.”

“What, you mean I don’t scream ‘actor’ to you?”

She shrugged. “You don’t really scream ‘casting director’ or ‘real estate guy’ either, so…”

“A man of mystery, I’ll take it.”

The two laughed and slowly the cabin went silent once more, aside from the constant hum of the engine.

As the hours passed, Amie found she had all manner of things to do to pass the time. The jet was outfitted with a television, an extensive collection of movies, old and new, as well as Wi-Fi and a small library. Malik gave her a brief tour of the jet and after several hours of polite, occasionally flirty chit-chat, Amie finally decided to get some shut-eye. She sprawled across the queen bed, unable to believe just how comfortable being on board a jet could be.

By the time she awoke it was almost time to land. Malik had walked in and gently woken her, and she freshened up in the washroom before meeting him back in the bedroom.

“I have something to show you that I’m told is something of a… thrill, to women.”

She tussled her hair with her fingers and raised a curious brow. “Am I going to have to put on a sexual harassment video?”

“Trust me, you’ll like it.” He grinned and pulled open the closet doors to reveal the most intensely decorated closet Amie had ever seen, bursting full of a range of gorgeous gowns and professional attire. “Since we’ll be landing shortly, and our performance is about to begin, it’s important that you look the part.”

“Oh my gosh…” she gaped; her eyes practically glistening with cartoonish sparkles as she ran her hands along the sequins, lace and feathers. “W-well,” she stammered with delight. “What kind of scene are we going into? What should I choose?”

“Think… meeting the parents. Nothing too sexy, but still suitable for a warm climate.”

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