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The Sheikh's Secret Babies

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«The Sheikh's Secret Babies» - Линн Грэхем

Twin royal heirs!Prince Jaul of Marwan’s royal duty is to marry a suitable bride. But first he must divorce the woman who betrayed him. Locating his estranged wife… ? Easy. The intense passion still burning between them… ? Manageable. Discovering he has two royal heirs… ? Impossible!Chrissie Whitaker was devastated when her handsome prince deserted her, and her beautiful twin babies were the only balm to her broken heart. Now Jaul will stop at nothing to claim his legitimate heirs – but can Chrissie forget their painful past and recognise him as her husband in every sense of the word?Discover more at
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Chrissie extended the certificates. ‘I’m sure you’re wondering why I came here.’ Not to kiss you and dream about ripping off your clothes again, she completed inwardly, while her face burned with mortification. ‘I had to see you because I thought you should see these …’

With another frown drawing together his fine ebony brows, Jaul grasped the documents with an unhidden air of incomprehension. She hadn’t mentioned the kiss and he was grateful for that. Time had shot them both back briefly into the past and that was all. Nothing more needed to be said, he thought, while he grasped the fact that for some peculiar reason his estranged wife had given him a pair of birth certificates.

Jaul scanned the name of the mother and went cold. ‘You have children?’

‘And so do you.’

Jaul stilled and stopped breathing. He had children—a boy and a girl. The concept was so shattering that he literally could not think for several tense seconds. The woman he was planning to divorce was the mother of his children. Inwardly he reeled from that revelation, instantly grasping how that devastating truth would change everything. Everything!

Captivated by passion

Lizzie and Chrissie Whitaker: two ordinary girls until they meet two extraordinary men!

But these men are renowned for getting what they want … whatever the cost!

Explosive passion and powerful men astound in Lynne Graham’s fabulous new duet!

Read Lizzie’s story in:

The Billionaire’s Bridal Bargain

April 2015

Lizzie refuses to marry Cesare Sabatino so he can get his hands on her Mediterranean island inheritance. But no one says ‘no’ to the formidable tycoon and soon Lizzie is going from ‘I don’t’ to ‘I do!’

Read Chrissie’s story in:

The Sheikh’s Secret Babies

May 2015

Chrissie has never told her sister who the father of her twin babies is. But when the Prince of Marwan storms back into her life, determined to claim his heirs, Chrissie is forced to recognise him … as her husband!

The Sheikh’s Secret Babies

Lynne Graham

LYNNE GRAHAM was born in Northern Ireland and has been a keen romance reader since her teens. She is very happily married, with an understanding husband who has learned to cook since she started to write! Her five children keep her on her toes. She has a very large dog, which knocks everything over, a very small terrier, which barks a lot, and two cats. When time allows, Lynne is a keen gardener.




Title Page

About the Author











KING JAUL, WHO HAD recently acceded to the throne of Marwan on the death of his father, Lut, glanced across the date-palm-filled courtyard beyond his office. A beautiful brunette was playing ball there with her niece and nephew. Her name was Zaliha. Educated, elegant and as sweet-natured as she was well-born, she would make a wonderful queen, he knew. So why hadn’t he broached the subject yet? he asked himself grimly.

Marwan was a Gulf state, small but oil-rich and deeply conservative.

A single king was not expected to remain single for long. Government officials had made no secret of their eagerness for him to take a bride. A royal dynasty was not seen as secure until there was another heir in the offing and Jaul was an only child, the son of a man who had been an only child.

The newspapers were full of constant speculation. He could not be seen even talking to a young woman without rousing suspicions. His wide, sensual mouth compressed, uneasy memories surfacing of the wilder and more hot-headed young male he had once been. If he was honest with himself, he knew exactly why he was being indecisive about getting married. Moreover he was well aware that beautiful though Zaliha was, there was not the smallest spark of chemistry between them. But shouldn’t that be what he wanted now? A marriage shorn of the wild attraction and excitement that had once led to his downfall?

A measured knock sounded on the door heralding the arrival of Bandar, who served as the royal family’s senior legal adviser.

‘My apologies if I’m a little early,’ the little man with the balding head said earnestly, bowing with solemn dignity.

Jaul invited him to sit down and lounged back against his desk, restless at the prospect of an in-depth discussion of some obscure piece of constitutional law, which fascinated Bandar much more than it fascinated anyone else.

‘This is a very delicate matter,’ Bandar informed him uneasily. ‘But it is my duty as your adviser to broach it with you.’

Wondering what on earth the older man could be referring to, Jaul studied him with unsullied assurance. ‘There is nothing we cannot discuss—’

‘Yet this is a matter which I first raised eighteen months ago with my predecessor, Yusuf, and he instructed me never to mention it again lest I caused offence,’ Bandar told him awkwardly. ‘If that is the case, please accept my apologies in advance.’

Yusuf had been his father’s adviser and had retired after King Lut’s passing, allowing Bandar to step into his place. Jaul’s fine black brows were now drawing together while a mixture of curiosity and dismay assailed him as he wondered what murky, dark secret of his father’s was about to be unleashed on him. What else could this very delicate matter concern?

‘I am not easily offended and your role is to protect me from legal issues,’ Jaul responded. ‘Naturally I respect that responsibility.’

‘Then I will begin,’ Bandar murmured ruefully. ‘Two years ago, you married a young Englishwoman and, although that fact is known to very few people, it is surely past time that that situation is dealt with in the appropriate manner.’

It took a lot to silence Jaul, whose stubborn, passionate and outspoken nature was well known within palace circles, but that little speech seriously shook him. ‘But there was no actual marriage,’ Jaul countered tautly. ‘I was informed that the ceremony was illegal because I did not obtain my father’s permission beforehand.’

‘I’m afraid that was a case of wishful thinking on your father’s part. He wished the marriage to be illegal and Yusuf did not have the courage to tell him that it was legal...’

Jaul had lost colour beneath his healthy olive-tinted complexion, his very dark, long-lashed eyes telegraphing his astonishment at that revelation. ‘It was a legal marriage?’ he repeated in disbelief.

‘There is nothing in our constitutional law which prohibits a Marwani Crown Prince from marrying his own choice of bride. You were twenty-six years old, scarcely a teenager and that marriage still stands because you have done nothing since to sever that tie.’

Wide, strong shoulders now rigid beneath the long cream linen thobe he wore, Jaul frowned, trying to calculate the sheer immensity of the wrecking ball that had suddenly crashed into his marital plans. He was already a married man. Indeed he was still a married man. As he had only lived with his bride for a few weeks before parting from her, what Bandar was now telling him naturally came as a severe shock. ‘I did nothing to sever the tie because I was informed that the marriage itself was illegal and, therefore, void. Like a bad contract,’ he admitted.

‘Unhappily that is not the case.’ Bandar sighed. ‘To be free of the marriage you require a divorce under UK law and Marwani law.’

Jaul stalked over to the window beyond which Zaliha could still be seen entertaining her niece and nephew, but he was no longer remotely conscious of that view. ‘I had no suspicion of this. I should have been informed of this situation months ago—’

‘As I mentioned, Yusuf was my superior and he refused to allow me to raise the subject—’

‘It is three months since my father passed away,’ Jaul reminded him stiffly.

‘I had to ensure my facts were correct before I could raise this matter with you. I have now discovered that in spite of your separation your wife has not sought a divorce either—’

Jaul froze, his lean, darkly handsome features clenching hard. ‘Please do not refer to her as my wife,’ he murmured flatly.

‘Should I refer to the lady concerned as your queen?’ Bandar pressed with even less tact. ‘Because that is what Chrissie Whitaker is, whether she knows it or not.

The wife of the King of Marwan is always granted the status of Queen.’

Jaul snatched in a ragged breath of restraint, lean brown hands closing slowly into fists of innate aggression. He had made one serious mistake in his life and it had come back to haunt him in the worst possible way at the worst possible time. He had married a gold-digger who had deserted him the first chance she got in return for cold, hard cash.

‘Naturally I respect the fact that your father did not approve of the young woman but perhaps now—’

‘No, my father was correct in his assessment of her character. She was unsuitable to be either my wife or my queen,’ Jaul acknowledged grittily, a faint flare of colour accentuating the line of his spectacular high cheekbones as he forced out the lowering admission that stung his pride. ‘I was a rebellious son, Bandar...but I learnt my lesson.’

‘The lessons of youth are often hard,’ Bandar commented quietly, relieved that the current king was unlike his late parent, who had raged and taken umbrage at anyone who told him anything he did not want to hear.

Jaul was barely listening. In fact he was being bombarded by unwelcome memories that had escaped from the burial ground at the back of his mind where he kept such unsettling reminders firmly repressed. In his mind’s eye he was seeing Chrissie walk away from him, her glorious silver-blonde hair blowing back in the breeze, her long, shapely legs fluid and graceful as a gazelle’s.

But she had always been walking away from him, he recalled with cool cynicism. Right from the start, Chrissie had played a cool, clever, long-term game of seduction. Hot-blooded as he was and never before refused by a woman as he had been, she had challenged his ego with her much-vaunted indifference. It had taken a two-year-plus campaign for him to win her and she had only truly become his when he had surrendered and given her a wedding ring. Unsurprisingly during that long period of celibacy and frustration, Chrissie Whitaker had become a sexual obsession whose allure Jaul had not been able to withstand.

The payback for his weakness had not been long in coming. They had had a flaming row when he’d left Oxford to fly back to Marwan without her and, extraordinarily, he had never seen her again after that day. At that point and perhaps most fortunately for him, fate had intervened to cut him free of his fixation with her. Following a serious accident, Jaul had surfaced in a hospital bed to find his father seated like a sentry beside him, his aged features heavy with grief and apprehension.

Before he had broken the bad news, King Lut had reached for his son’s hand in a clumsy gesture of comfort for the first time in his life. Chrissie, Lut had then confided heavily, would not be coming to visit Jaul during his recovery. His marriage, Lut had declared, was illegal and Chrissie had accepted a financial pay-off as the price of forgetting that Jaul had ever figured in her life. King Lut had purchased her silence and discretion with a large sum of money that had evidently compensated her for her supposed loss of a husband while providing her with support for the future.

For a split second, Jaul recalled one of the most insane fantasies that had gripped him while he lay helpless in that hospital bed. Aware of his diplomatic immunity within the UK, he had actually dreamt about kidnapping Chrissie. Now in the present he shook his proud dark head slowly, utterly astonished at the tricks his mind had played on him while he had struggled to come to terms with the daunting fact that, not only was his wife not his wife, but also that given generous enough financial compensation she had no longer wanted to be his wife. Chrissie had been quite happy to ditch her Arab prince once she’d had the means to be rich without him. Only angry, bitter and vengeful thoughts had driven Jaul while he’d fought his injuries to get back on his feet.

‘I need to know how you want this matter to be handled,’ Bandar told him, shooting Jaul back to the present. ‘With the assistance of our ambassador in London I have engaged the services of a highly placed legal firm to have divorce papers drawn up. After so long a separation they assure me that the divorce will be a mere formality. May I instruct the firm to make immediate contact with Chrissie Whitaker?’

‘No...’ Without warning, Jaul swung round, his lean bronzed features taut and forbidding. ‘If she is not yet aware that we remain man and wife a third party should not be dealing with it. Informing her of that fact should be my responsibility.’

Bandar frowned, taken aback by that assurance. ‘But, sir—’

‘I owe her that much. After all, it was my father who misled her as to the legality of our marriage. Chrissie has a hot temper. I think a personal approach is more likely to lead to a speedy and successful conclusion. I will present her with the divorce papers.’

‘I understand.’ Bandar was nodding now, having followed his royal employer’s reasoning. ‘A diplomatic and discreet approach.’

‘As you say,’ Jaul conceded, marvelling at the tingle of the illicit thrill assailing him at the very thought of seeing Chrissie again. It felt neither diplomatic nor discreet. But then no woman had ever excited Jaul to that extent, either before or since. Of course now that he knew how mercenary and hard-hearted she was, that attraction would be absent, he reflected confidently. He was an intelligent man and no longer at the mercy of his hormones.

He had cracked down hard on that side of his nature as soon as he’d understood just how badly his libido could betray him. There had been a lesson writ large in that experience with Chrissie, a lesson Jaul had been quick to learn and put into practice. Never again would he place himself in a vulnerable position with a woman. This was the main reason he had decided to stop avoiding matrimony and take a wife as soon as possible.

His mood sobered by that acknowledgement and the impossibility of currently following through on that ambition, his lean dark features stiffened and his wide, sensual mouth curled with sudden distaste at the prospect of being forced to deal with Chrissie in a civilised manner. There was nothing remotely civilised about the way Chrissie made him feel... There never had been...

* * *

Her arms full of gifts and cards, Chrissie shouldered her way out of the front doors of the primary school where she taught the nursery class and walked to her car.

‘Here, let me give you a hand...’ A tall, well-built young man with brown hair and a ready smile moved to intercept her, lifting some of the presents from her arms to enable her to unlock her car. ‘My word, you’re popular with your class!’

‘Didn’t you get a load of stuff too?’ Chrissie asked Danny, who taught Year Six and was in charge of games.

‘Yes. Bottles of wine, designer cologne,’ he proffered with amusement, flipping open her car boot so that she could pile the gifts in. ‘Here in this privileged corner of middle-class London, the last day of term is like winning in a game show.’

Involuntarily, Chrissie smiled, her lovely face full of animation, turquoise-blue eyes alight with answering laughter. ‘The gift-giving has got out of hand,’ she agreed ruefully. ‘The parents spend far too much money.’

Danny slammed shut the boot lid and leant back against it. ‘So, what are your plans for the rest of the summer?’

‘I’ll be staying with my sister...doing a bit of travelling,’ she confided a shade awkwardly.

‘That’s the sister who’s married to the rich Italian?’ Danny checked.

‘I only have the one sibling,’ Chrissie admitted, shaking her car keys in the hope he would take the hint and move out of her way.

Danny frowned. ‘You know, you’re only young once. Don’t you ever want to take a break from your family and do something more daring on your own?’

With difficulty, Chrissie kept her smile in place. Two years earlier, she had gone down the daring route and what a disaster that had turned out to be! Now she played safe, stayed sensible and worked to eradicate the damage she had done to her relationship with her sister. She adored Lizzie, the sister five years her senior, and when Chrissie’s life had gone wrong, Lizzie’s disappointment, Lizzie’s conviction that somehow she was responsible for the poor decisions Chrissie had made, had filled Chrissie with a guilt she had never quite managed to shake off.

‘Lizzie loves you...she only wants to see you happy,’ her brother-in-law, Cesare, had said to her once. ‘If you would just trust her enough to tell her the whole story it would make her feel better.’

But Chrissie had never told anyone the whole story of her downfall. It had been a stupid short-sighted decision she had made and which she was still paying for. It was bad enough living with her mistakes but it would be even worse if she had to share the truth of them with others and see their opinion of her intelligence dive-bomb.

‘Obviously, I’ll be in Cornwall,’ Danny reminded her as if she didn’t already know. Everyone in the staffroom had been listening to Danny talk about his summer surfing plans for months.

‘I hope you have a great time.’ Chrissie eased past him to open her car door.

Danny closed his hand round her slender wrist to hold her back and looked down at her ruefully. ‘I would have a better time if you agreed to come with me,’ he admitted. ‘Just mates, no need to lay anything else on the line. Last chance, Chrissie. Why not live a little and give it a go?’

Blue eyes flaring with pained annoyance, Chrissie jerked her wrist free. ‘As I said, I’ve other plans—’

‘Some guy did a right number on you, didn’t he?’ Danny remarked, his face red with discomfiture as he moved away a step and thrust his hands into his pockets. ‘But all cats are not grey in the dark, Chrissie. If you still want a life, you have to reach out and take it.’

Breathing fast, Chrissie slid into the driver’s seat of her car and closed the door. She had wanted a life, an entirely different life from the one she now had. She had dreamt of climbing the academic ranks by pursuing a doctorate and of the freedom that would be hers once she was fully qualified. But life, Chrissie had discovered, had a habit of stabbing you in the back when you least expected it, of forcing a sudden rethink just when you were on the apparent brink of success. Now she was in no position to reach out and take anything because she had responsibilities that restricted her independence and her liberty. To her way of thinking the most shameful aspect was that she couldn’t get by without taking advantage of her sister’s generosity. Yet it could all have been so very different, had she only made the right decisions...

* * *

Long before Chrissie had met Jaul, Lizzie and Chrissie had inherited a tiny Greek island from their late mother. Lizzie’s husband, Cesare, had bought Lionos from the sisters for a small fortune. The sale of the island had taken place before Chrissie’s twins were even conceived and so Chrissie had opted to put the majority of her share of the money into a trust that she could not access until her twenty-fifth birthday. At the time she had thought that that was a sensible idea—the amount of money involved had made her head spin and Chrissie had a secret fear that she might have inherited her mother’s spendthrift ways. Francesca Whitaker had been extravagant and irresponsible with cash and Chrissie had wanted to carefully conserve her windfall for what she had assumed would be a more settled time in her life.

Now here she was, twenty-four years of age, and for the past year she had had to acknowledge that had she had the ability to use that money she had put away, she could, at least, have been financially independent. Instead, to enable her to follow a teaching career she’d had to share her sister’s nanny, Sally, to look after her own children—affording Sally’s services solely on her earnings as a teacher would have been impossible.

On the other hand, by following Cesare’s advice, she had made one good decision when she had used some of the money to purchase a two-bedroom apartment before she put the rest of it away where it couldn’t be touched. Furthermore she had bought the apartment outright, which meant she could afford to run a small car and at least contribute a healthy amount towards Sally’s salary. Of course to hear Lizzie tell it, Chrissie was doing Cesare and Lizzie a favour by keeping Sally gainfully employed while they were abroad. In the same way, when her sister and her brother-in-law and their children flew into London for one of their frequent visits, Chrissie moved into their town house with them and stayed until they departed again because it was more convenient for everyone that way.

Now, laden with her carrier bags of gifts and cards, Chrissie unlocked the door of her ground-floor apartment.

Sally appeared in the kitchen doorway. ‘Cup of tea?’ she asked, a curvy brunette with a wide smile.

‘I’d love one. No night out this evening?’ Chrissie teased, for Sally had a very healthy social life and was usually rushing back to Lizzie’s town house to dress up.

‘Not tonight...not unless I want to go into an overdraft!’ she joked, pulling a face.

Chrissie set her bags down and walked into the lounge. Two babies were playing with plastic bricks in the centre of the carpet. Both had a shock of blue-black curls and eyes so dark they were almost black. Tarif dropped his brick, crowed with delight and started to crawl eagerly towards her. Soraya laughed and, rarely as energetic as her brother, she lifted her arms high to be lifted.

‘Hello, my darlings,’ Chrissie said warmly, her face softening as she dropped to her knees to gather up Tarif before freeing up an arm to pull his sister close.

‘Mum-mum,’ Soraya said solemnly, a plump little hand touching her mother’s cheek gently.

Tarif tugged her hair and planted a big, sloppy kiss on her cheek, nestling as close as he could get. And all the worries and little annoyances of the day fell from Chrissie in the same moment. Her twins had owned her heart from the day of their birth. She had been so worried that she wouldn’t be able to cope with two babies but Lizzie had taken her home to the town house and showed her all the basics.

‘You’ll muddle through...we all do,’ Lizzie had assured her.

But nobody had warned Chrissie that when she looked at her children she would be overwhelmed by her love for them. While she was pregnant she had tried to think of them as Jaul’s children and she had deeply resented the position he had put her in. She hadn’t felt ready to be a mother and had shrunk from the challenge of becoming a single parent. But once the twins were born, she had only cared that her babies thrived and were happy.

‘I took them to the park this afternoon. Tarif threw a real tantrum when I took him off the swings,’ Sally confided. ‘He was throwing himself about so much I had to lay him down until he got it out of his system. I was really surprised.’

‘In the wrong mood, he’s challenging,’ Chrissie acknowledged ruefully. ‘But Soraya’s the exact same if you cross her. They like to test you out. They’re quite volatile.’

Very much like their father, Chrissie reflected helplessly. An image of Jaul flashed into her head, long blue-black hair loose on his broad shoulders, brilliant dark eyes shimmering with anger. Hotter than hot, she thought numbly. Hot-tempered, hot-blooded, hot in bed, hot in every way there was. A snaking quiver of forbidden heat washed through her taut length. But Jaul had also been incredibly stubborn, impulsive and unpredictable.

‘Are you feeling all right?’ Sally asked, plucking the twins worriedly from their mother’s loosened grasp. ‘Sorry, you looked a bit pale and spaced out there for a moment.’

‘I’m fine.’ Chrissie flushed to the roots of her pale hair, scrambled up and hurried into the tiny kitchen to make the tea in Sally’s place.

Sometimes the past just leapt up and smacked her in the face without warning. A memory would dart through her and time would freeze, catapulting her backwards. A stray word or a familiar smell or piece of music could rip her apart in the space of seconds, leaving her no hiding place from the backwash of old pain. If she hadn’t loved Jaul, she would have got over him much more easily. But then she told herself that for the sake of her children she was glad that she had loved Jaul even if it hadn’t lasted, even though he had used her and lied to her and probably cheated on her as well.

The money his father had offered her had been the bottom line, telling her everything she needed to know about the rogue male, who had told her they were married and would be together for ever. Jaul thought that money was the perfect solution to every problem, magically soothing hurt feelings and disappointed hopes. His immense wealth had provided him with a smooth escape route from all such tiresome complications. ‘Together for ever’ had come with a hidden qualification; ‘together for ever’ had only lasted until Jaul had become bored. Unhappily, it had never occurred to Chrissie when she was with him that one day she would be a tiresome complication in his life too.

‘People expect me to be generous,’ he had told her once.

‘Just because you have it doesn’t mean you have to splash it around,’ Chrissie had countered. ‘That’s extravagant and wasteful and it looks like you’re showing off.’

Jaul had sent her an outraged glance. ‘I do not show off!’

Of course he had never had to show off to command attention. He was breathtakingly good-looking and guaranteed to turn female heads wherever he went and, if his looks didn’t do it for him, his flash sports cars, phalanx of bodyguards and luxury lifestyle had made their own very effective impression.

Chrissie passed a mug of tea to Sally, who had settled the twins back on the floor to play.

‘I’ve packed all their favourite toys and put them in my car. That’ll be one less thing for you to worry about when you’re packing up tomorrow,’ Sally told her.

Slamming a door shut on the memories attacking her, Chrissie smiled at the brunette. ‘Thanks but I’ve come to stay at the town house so often now that I reckon I could pack in my sleep. I can’t wait to see Lizzie and the kids,’ she confided.

‘Max and Giana will be fascinated by the twins now they’re more active,’ Sally confided.

‘Giana will be disgusted that they no longer stay where you put them.’ Chrissie laughed, picturing her bossy little toddler niece, who treated Tarif and Soraya like large dolls and held tea parties for them. ‘Or keep their hands off her toys.’

When Sally had gone, Chrissie fed the twins and put them in the bath before settling them into their cots for the night. While she read their nightly story to them, she was wondering where or indeed if she would have a job when the summer was over. She had only been teaching on a temporary contract, covering maternity leave, and permanent jobs were as scarce as hens’ teeth. That concern still in mind, she went to bed early and slept fitfully.

The next day Chrissie got up on automatic pilot to feed and dress the twins before putting them down for their nap so that they would be fresh when they arrived with her sister and her family. She was running round tidying up, still clad in her comfortable sleep shorts and a tee, when the doorbell buzzed.

Curiosity had taken Jaul straight from the airport to the address Bandar had given him. Chrissie lived in an apartment block in an expensive residential area. His beautifully shaped mouth took on a sardonic slant. He might not have paid alimony to his estranged wife but the cash his father had given her had evidently ensured that she did not starve. Not that he would’ve wanted her to starve, he told himself piously, unsettled by the vengeful thoughts and raw reactions suddenly skimming through him at lightning speed. Two years ago, lying helpless in his hospital bed, when he’d thought of her turning to other men for amusement, he had burned with merciless, bitter aggression. But that time was past, he assured himself circumspectly. Now all he sought was to draw a quiet final line below the entire messy business of a marriage that should never have taken place.

Chrissie glanced through the peephole in her door and frowned. A tall dark-haired man was on the doorstep, his back turned to the door so that she couldn’t see his face. She slipped on the security chain and opened the door. ‘Yes?’

‘Open the door,’ he urged. ‘It’s Jaul.’

Her eyes flew wide in disbelief and she flung her head back, turquoise eyes frantically peering through the crack. She caught a glimpse of his gypsy-gold skin, a hard male jawline and then her gaze moved up to impatient dark eyes surrounded by lashes thick and dark enough to resemble eye liner and long enough to inspire feminine resentment. Unforgettable, he was unforgettable and her heart started thumping in the region of her throat, making it impossible for her to breathe or vocalise. In a flash, gut reaction took over and she snapped the front door firmly closed again, spinning round in shock to rest back against it because her legs were wobbling.

Jaul swore and hit the bell again twice in an impatient buzz.

Chrissie slid down the back of the door until she was in a heap at the foot of it and hugged her knees. It was Jaul...two years too late, it was Jaul. Anguish flooded her, a sharp, sharp pain of loss and grief that she had buried long ago in the need to move on and survive his betrayal. She couldn’t believe that Jaul would just turn up like that, without any warning. But then he had disappeared without any warning, she reminded herself darkly.

The bell went again as though someone had a finger stuck to it and she flinched. Jaul was very impatient. She breathed in deep and slow, struggling to calm herself. What on earth was he doing here in London? How had he even found out her current address? And why would he come to see her after all this time? Had it anything to do with the fact that his father had died recently and he had inherited the throne? After his father’s visit Chrissie had refused to allow herself to succumb to the morbid interest of checking out Jaul on the Internet. She had closed the door very firmly on that kind of curiosity but she had, quite accidentally in early spring, read a few lines in a newspaper about his father’s sudden death.

‘Chrissie...’ he grated behind the door and his voice washed over her, accented and deep, unleashing a tide of memories she didn’t want to relive.

She squashed those memories so fast that her head literally hurt as she sprang upright. No way was she hiding behind a door from the male who had torn her life apart!


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