The Sheikh's Arranged Marriage: The only thing worse than falling in love with the man she'd married was knowing he would never feel the same...

The Sheikh's Arranged Marriage: The only thing worse than falling in love with the man she'd married was knowing he would never feel the same... by Clare Connelly Read Free Book Online

Book: The Sheikh's Arranged Marriage: The only thing worse than falling in love with the man she'd married was knowing he would never feel the same... by Clare Connelly Read Free Book Online
Authors: Clare Connelly
Particularly, she wanted to know what the Queen’s prerogatives and privileges were. How wide a scope did she have to get involved on pet projects? Monique had proved as helpful as a brick wall when it came to expanding her workload. “There is plenty of time for that, Rebecca. Right now, you only have to focus on being Queen, and perhaps creating an heir.”
    It had caused her to blush, the oblique allusion to her sex life. Which was, of course, pretty non-existent, anyway. Besides, Rebecca wanted to make herself useful. A purely ceremonial role would bore her socks off; she needed something with grit. And yet, the most anyone seemed to expect of Rebecca was that she relax and beautify herself.
    And so, she took herself back to the library to borrow some reference books. She had been a brilliant student at university. She’d undertaken two degrees at once, throwing herself into the academic l ife to avoid the misery of home. If no one was going to tell her what she wanted to know, then she’d just have to learn it for herself.
    The Assanian constitution and a book on the political history seemed as good a starting point as any. Rebecca carried the heavy books back to her bedroom and set up to study on the small parapet balcony that overlooked the private royal pool. It was a stinking hot day, but from the small protruding alcove she had the benefit of a slight breeze. Hours passed as her knowledge grew. She scratched notes against the stark white paper of her notepad.
    She had known that the Kingdom of Assan was progressive, but the truth filled her with pleasure. The legal system was based on a rule of law. While the King and Queen were seen to have ultimate authority, there was a separate judiciary that operated throughout the land, and even the monarchs were subject to a sort of judicial procedure.
    Rebecca snapped shut the first volume and lifted the second. As she peered through the table of contents, a splash beneath her caused her attention to waver. She scanned the pool. A dark shape was gliding far beneath the water’s surface.
    Tariq .
    She watched, fascinated, as his powerful body pulled through the water. His arms, thickly muscled yet long and lean at the same time, tore the water apart as though it were simply air. Watching him swim was how dancing made her feel. Free, ethereal, and alive.
    He reached the end of the pool and kicked his legs against the beautifully mosaiced wall, so that he spun beneath the water. With effortless grace, he returned to the opposite end. Study forgotten, she leaned back in her chair and stared, as again and again he carved through the water. How much time passed, she couldn’t say.
    He paused at one end of the pool, in the shade thrown from the building beyond, and swiped his towel across his face.
    His eyes found hers. Pierced them with their swift focus. “Are you waiting for a written invitation?” He mused, just loud enough that his voice carried to her on the breeze.
    She stood and leaned against the ornately carved railing. “I beg your pardon?”
    “Instead of sitting there and staring, why don’t you come and join me?” He grinned rakishly up at her. Rebecca felt mortification uncurl in her stomach. He had known she was watching him. She looked behind her, to the cocoon of her bedroom, where three of her attendants were sitting, sorting through even more dresses that had arrived as wedding presents.
    She held a finger to her lips to urge him to speak quietly and his laugh drifted over to her. “Don’t be shy. We are husband and wife, after all, and I am only suggesting you join me for an afternoon swim on a very hot day.”
    Put like that, she did seem childish for hesitating. “What if I don’t feel like swimming?”
    He narrowed his eyes. “Then come down here and watch me. Let me try to change your mind.”
    She bit down on her lower lip and then, with a small shake of her head, disappeared back inside.
    She told herself she was only going down there

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