Woman in a Sheikh's World(3)

By: Sarah Morgan



Wedding.

The word sliced into Avery like a blade through soft flesh, the pain taking her by surprise. ‘I’m not arranging his wedding.’ The words almost choked her and she didn’t understand why. She’d ended their relationship. Her choice. Her decision, freely made. So why did she feel pain that he was marrying another woman? In every way, it was the best possible outcome. ‘I’m arranging the evening party and I sincerely doubt that he is calling about that. A Prince does not call to discuss minor details. He won’t even know what’s in the canapés until he puts them in his mouth. He has staff to deal with details. A Prince has staff to do everything. Someone to drive his car, cook his meals, run his shower—’

‘—someone to scrub his back while he’s in the shower—’ Jenny took over the conversation ‘—and the reason Avery can’t talk to him now is because I need to talk to her urgently about the Senator’s party.’

‘Oh. The Senator—’ Visibly impressed by all the famous names flying around the office, Chloe backed towards the door, her legs endless in skinny jeans, bangles jangling at her wrists. ‘Right. But I suspect His Royal Highness is not a man who is good at waiting or being told “no”.’

‘Then let’s give him more practise.’ Avery pushed aside memories of the other occasions he’d refused to wait. Like the time he’d stripped her naked with the tip of his ceremonial sword because he couldn’t be bothered to unbutton her dress. Or the time he’d …

No, she definitely wasn’t going to think about that one.

As the door closed behind the receptionist, Avery groped for her coffee. ‘She’s sweet. I like her. Once we’ve given her some confidence, she’ll be lovely. The clients will adore her.’

‘She was tactless. I’ll speak to her.’

‘Don’t.’

‘Why the hell are you doing this to yourself, Avery?’

‘Employing inexperienced graduates? Because everyone deserves a chance. Chloe has lots of raw potential and—’

‘I’m not talking about your employment policy, I’m talking about this whole thing with the Prince. What possessed you to agree to arrange your ex’s wedding? It is killing you.’

‘Not at all. It’s not as if I wanted to marry him and anyway I’m not arranging the actual wedding. Why does everyone keep saying I’m arranging his wedding?’ A picture of the desert at dawn appeared on her computer and she made a mental note to change her screen saver. Perhaps it was the cause of her recurring dreams. ‘I’m responsible for the evening party, that’s all.’

‘All? It has the most influential guest list of any party in the last decade.’

‘Which is why everything must be perfect. And I don’t find it remotely stressful to plan parties. How could I? Parties are happy events populated by happy people.’

‘So you really don’t care?’ Jenny flexed her toes. ‘You and the hot Prince were together for a year. And you haven’t been out with a man since.’

‘Because I’ve been busy building my business. And it wasn’t a year. None of my relationships have lasted a year.’

‘Avery, it was a year. Twelve whole months.’

‘Oh.’ Her heart lurched. A year? ‘OK, if you say so. Twelve whole months of lust.’ It helped her to diminish it. To label it neatly. ‘We’re both physical people and it was nothing more than sex. I wish people wouldn’t romanticize that. It’s why so many marriages end in divorce.’

‘If it was so incredibly amazing, why did you break up?’

Avery felt her chest tighten. She didn’t want to think about it. ‘He wants to get married. I don’t want to get married. I ended it because it had no future.’ And because he’d been arrogant and manipulative. ‘I’m not interested in marriage.’

‘So these dreams you’re having don’t have anything to do with you imagining him with his virgin princess?’

‘Of course not.’ Avery reached into her bag and pulled out a packet of indigestion tablets. There were just two left. She needed to buy more.

‘You wouldn’t need those if you drank less coffee.’

‘You’re starting to sound like my mother.’

‘No, I’m not. No offence intended, but your mother would be saying something like “I can’t believe you’ve got yourself in this state over a man, Avery. This is exactly the sort of thing I warned you about when I taught you at the age of five that you are responsible for every aspect of your life, including your own orgasm.”’

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