The prince's forbidden lover (the samara royal family #3)

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The Samara Royal Family Series #3

The Prince’s Forbidden Lover

By Elizabeth Lennox

 

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Copyright 2016

ISBN13: 9781944078096

All rights reserved

 

This is a work of fiction.  Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner.  Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual evennts is purely coincidental.  Any duplication of this material, either electtronic or any other format, either currently in use or a future invvention, is strictly prohibited unless you have the direct consent of the author. 

 

If you download this material in any format, either electronic or other, on a non-sanctioned dpg site, please be warned that you and the website are in violation of copyrightt infringement.  Financial and punitive damages may be pursued in whichever legal venue is appropriate. 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Epilogue

Excerpt from The Sheik’s Captured Princess (Preorder available now)

List of Elizabeth Lennox Books

Chapter 1

 

“Oh thank goodness you’re all here!” Shantra exclaimed after bursting into the salon where the family normally gathered for drinks before dinner.  Previously, this period of the evening had been a special time when the five siblings would gather and talk about their day.  But now that Ramzi and Turk had found the loves of their lives, their quiet time as a small family had been sporadic, almost non-existent some weeks.  Her two older brothers tended to prefer dining alone with their spouses rather than as a family.

“What’s going on, little one?” Ramzi asked. 

“Don’t call her that,” Ramzi’s wife, Mia, commanded as she waddled into the room. Her pregnancy seemed to be more pronounced every day, as was her grouchiness because of the pregnancy. She loved children, but she wasn’t in love with being pregnant.

Ramzi immediately walked over to his wife and put a hand around her very large, very pregnant waistline.  He suspected that she was tired since her French accent was a bit more pronounced than normal.  But she’d insisted on joining the family for dinner tonight although he wasn’t sure why.  “Why not?  I’ve always called her that.  She’s the smallest one in the family.  The name fits.”

Mia accepted his help in sitting down, then sighed with relief when she was ensconced in the comfortable chair with her feet on a low ottoman.  At that point, she turned to glare up at her husband.  “Because she hates it.”

Ramzi’s dark eyes moved back to his youngest sister in time to see her lashes lower, indicating that his beautiful wife was correct but his baby sister was too kind to ask him to stop.  “Got it,” he finally said and kissed the top of Mia’s dark head. 

“What’s going on, brat?” Rais, the middle of all of them but the youngest of the brothers, walked into the room and over to the bar to pour himself a drink.  Of the five, there were three older brothers. Ramzi, the oldest, was the current Sheik of Kilar. Then there was Turk, who had taken on the role of Minister of Defense.  The youngest brother, Rais, was the Minister of Finance and a genius at making money and forcing the business world to bend to his will.  The brothers were significantly older than the sisters and, therefore, more protective.  After several years of dealing with the insanity of three brilliant, creative and mischievous sons, their mother had demanded daughters and so Ciala, the fourth in the Sumara clan, arrived.  And very soon after that, Shantra, the youngest, came into the world.   

Shantra’s eyes snapped and she glared at her brother.  Unfortunately, he was too big to care about her anger and too arrogant to change.  Remembering this quickly, her glare turned to a smile.  She wasn’t going to change her brothers, so she might as well accept them and focus on the positive aspects of their personalities, even though some days it was extremely hard to remember those facets. 

“You’re in trouble,” Turk mumbled. He shook his head as he escorted his wife, Raven, into the room.  Raven was a brilliant doctor who was also pregnant with their first child.

“Who is in trouble?” Raven asked, walking next to her husband as he helped her into the chair next to Mia.  She looked up at her husband, her eyes questioning if he was the man in trouble. 

“Don’t look at me,” he replied, shaking his head.  Holding his drink, he waved towards the youngest brother.  “Rais is the one causing problems.”

“Tonight,” Raven mumbled under her breath, knowing her husband too well.  In response, she felt his hand slide under her hair, his strong fingers stroking along the edge of her neck, exactly where he knew she was extra sensitive.  She yelped slightly and started to move away from him with a laugh, but his hand wouldn’t relinquish the gentle hold. 

“What’s going on?” Ciala asked as she stepped into the room.  Of the five siblings, Ciala was the calmest, the one to bring peace to the group.  As the middle child, Rais should be the peacemaker.  But he was more likely to tease his two youngest sisters and, as the youngest of the brothers, he was always eager to step into the fray and enjoy a good battle, either verbal or physical.  “Shantra, you seem to have some news?”

Shantra took a deep breath, her face brightening as she remembered her fabulous announcement.  “Jo and Keith are finally coming for a visit!” she announced. She waited for everyone’s excited reactions.

Ramzi, Turk and Rais all stiffened at the news that their sister’s best “friends” from university were coming to the palace to visit their baby sister.  They didn’t like it.  Not one little bit.  Two men coming to visit?  All three of them thought their baby sister should find other friends that were…well, female.  They didn’t like her best friends being male even if she assured them that they were simply buddies. 

“Your friends?” Ramzi demanded, his hand tightening on his wife’s fingers.  “What are they to you?”  Since no one in the family had ever met them, he didn’t like them.  His little sister talked about them all the time but this was the first time they’d ventured into the lion’s den, so to speak.  Shantra had always been the one to visit them. 

Shantra laughed softly and waved her hand in the air, dismissing her brother’s obvious concerns.  “Nothing like what you’re thinking.”  She turned to face Rais.  “And if you promise to keep your hands off of Jo during this visit, I promise to keep Keith away from you.”

Startled at the idea of him trying to keep his hands off of some guy, Rais chuckled and lifted both of his hands into the air.  “I doubt that will be a problem,” he replied over the muffled amusement of his older two brothers.  “Why in the world would you think that would even be an issue?”

“Good!” Shantra walked over to the drink cart and poured herself a glass of scotch, shocking all three of her brothers when she didn’t choose wine.  “They are arriving early tomorrow morning and I want the three of you to be on your best behavior.”  Turning to Ramzi, she glared at him.  “No intimidating my friends!” she told him firmly. 

Ramzi rolled his eyes.  “When do I ever intimidate anyone?” he asked.

“All the time!” Shantra replied. 

Ramzi looked down at his wife who was nodding her head in agreement.  He sighed as if he was severely put out.  “Fine!  I’ll be nice!”

Shantra turned to look at Turk.  “And you?”

Turk shook his head, refusing to bow down to his little sister’s glare.  She was the youngest and most naive.  He was going to protect her even if that meant he had to protect her from herself.  “I’ll reserve judgement until I meet them.”

Shantra thought about that for a moment, then shook her head.  “That’s not good enough!” she told him and walked over to stand in front of him.  “You’re the Minister of Defense. Their names have already gone through your security team’s crazy background checks and they came out fine.  Don’t hurt my friends’ feelings, Turk!”

Rais chuckled as he watched his baby sister and his older brother face off.  Shantra rarely came out of these little head-to-head confrontations a winner, but she was getting a bit more feisty lately and he wasn’t sure why.  “You’re very protective of these two.  Why is that?”

Shantra bristled at his condescending tone of voice.  “I need your assurance that you’ll be kind as well.”  She relinquished her face off with Turk and walked over to stand in front of Rais, her eyes pleading for his cooperation.  “Jo is in charge of a very important business while Keith manages the social aspect of that business and runs the factories,” she explained carefully.  “Neither of them are in your league.  You have no idea how cruel you can be when you get into your ‘beat-every-competitor’ mode, Rais.  And I don’t want you pulling it on Keith and Jo.  They’re not experienced enough to take you on.”

He shrugged one massive shoulder, unconcerned with casualties when it came to business.  He was the Minister of Finance for Kilar, and he was also in charge of ensuring the family’s continued prosperity.  He took both roles very seriously and played to win.  “People shouldn’t be in business if they don’t have the skills to handle it,” he came back.

Her eyes begged him to hold back on his win-at-all-costs attitude.  “I’m asking you, as a personal favor to me, to be very nice to them.”  She turned to her other brothers.  “All of you.”

Ramzi and Turk lifted their hands.  “We’ve already agreed.”

Rais shook his head.  “I make no promises.  If I think they are a threat, I will destroy them.”

Shantra shivered.  “You’re a bad man,” she told him, turning away.  “But I’m not concerned.  Jo and Keith are both very sweet and they won’t be any threat.  Just you wait and see.” She plopped down in her chair.  The conversation changed at that point and the visitors were pushed out of each siblings’ mind as the dinner progressed. 

The following morning, Shantra was pacing back and forth at the palace entrance, wringing her hands together as she worriedly waited for her friends to arrive. 

She’d already had the servants make up the best guest rooms for her friends, warned her brothers to be kind and organized afternoon tea with Ciala as well as both of her sisters-in-law, Mia and Raven, to help ease her friends’ anxiety over staying at the palace. 

This was their first trip to Kilar and she didn’t want it to be the last.  She wanted everything to be perfect so they would feel comfortable here, so they would come back.  It was becoming more and more difficult to get away and meet them in various cities.  She worried that her brothers might get the stupid idea in their heads that she should be married off. And then what was she supposed to do? 

She couldn’t lose this friendship!  Jo and Keith were both too important in her life!  Well, and her business, but these two were special.  They both made her feel…normal.  She loved feeling normal.  Not to mention, without Jo and Keith, she never would have had the courage to…

“Are they really that unreliable?” Rais commented as he breezed past her patrol area on his way to Ramzi’s office.  He stopped and looked down into her worried, brown eyes, trying to understand why she was so nervous.  He wasn’t the type of man who ever cared about another person’s opinion.  He simply bulldozed over anyone that didn’t like him.  He just didn’t care. He was too involved in the next business transaction, or the next acquisition that would add to the already impossibly huge portfolio of companies that he owned and directed. Where other men might think of themselves as lions in the business world, Rais was the dragon that breathed fire and gobbled up anything in his path.   

“Go away!”  Shantra tried to wave him on, not wanting him to be around when her friends arrived.  It was bad enough that they had to enter through this area which was intimidating.  Unfortunately, Turk had required it for security reasons.  This area was the best equipped to speed her friends through the security checks.  Shantra scoffed at Turk’s worry that her friends could be a threat.  As if Jo and Keith would ever harm her or anyone she cared for!  How preposterous was that?! 

She tried to push Rais further down the hallway in her efforts to get him away from the entrance.  “Go away!” she repeated, this time with more urgency.  “It took me years to get my friends to visit me here at the palace.  I don’t want you to be the first person they meet.”

Rais had been intent on his mission but, with her words, he stopped and turned to face his sister.  “Oh really?  Why is that?  Am I so unworthy?”  He stuffed the documents under his arm and crossed them over his chest.  “And why is it that they haven’t visited before?”

Shantra shook her head, frustrated that he wouldn’t just go away.  Unfortunately, she knew that she’d done this to herself.  If she’d just kept her mouth shut, Rais would already have disappeared.  He wasn’t one to linger unless he wanted to annoy her.  Like now.  “They’ve just been extremely busy.  They get to work, hold down jobs,” she told him resentfully, her soft, brown eyes looking up to his as if challenging him.  Unfortunately, she couldn’t maintain the look, afraid he might see into her soul and discover all of her secrets, which were too many to name, and she definitely didn’t want Rais to know what was going on in her private apartment.  He absolutely wouldn’t approve! 

A part of her worried about her brothers’ reactions to her business enterprise while another part of her didn’t care.  This was her baby, she thought with pride as she glared up at her annoying older brother.  This was her private enterprise, her secret joy.  Yes, they had the power to stop her, but she had grown to enjoy the secret, the personal excitement of keeping something from them!

Just thinking about her secrets, a smile unknowingly formed on her lips and her shoulders swayed back and forth, almost as if she were daring her brother to discover what she did during her days.  

Rais saw the smile and almost reached out to tweak her nose, just as he’d done when she was smaller.  But he stopped himself, remembering that she wanted to impress her friends.  Pulling back, he drew in an impatient breath.  How many times were they going to have this argument?  “You don’t need to work,” he told her firmly and with exasperation.  “You have an allowance and, if you need more money, just ask me for it.”

Shantra had heard it all before.  “How would you feel if you didn’t have the challenge of your work?”

Rais shrugged.  “I don’t consider my job work.  I enjoy my challenges.”

Shantra’s eyes widened and she lifted her hands, palms up as if to offer his explanation right back to him.  “You work eighteen hours a day and I’ve read about how you crush any sort of business competition.  How can you tell me that it isn’t work?”

He shook his head.  “I enjoy business.  It stimulates my mind.”