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Hired : The Sheikh's Secretary Mistress
Claimed by the sheikh--for marriage! Sheikh Amir bin Faruq al Zorha lives in New York, but the desert is where his heart lies. Now it's time for him to marry.... Grace Brown, Amir's plain but indispensable assistant, isn't exactly queen material. No matter how tempted Amir is to take her innocence, she's off-limits. Until he returns to his homeland, where the barbarian prince replaces the businessman--and resolves that Grace will be his!
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July 31, 2008
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Excerpt from Hired by Lucy Monroe
"What did you say?" Grace felt like Amir had just punched her right in the solar plexus, but all he'd really done was ask her a question.
"I want you to find me a wife."
She closed her eyes and opened them again, but he was still there, her gorgeous, totally sexy, only-man-in-the-world-for-her boss. The expression of expectation on his too handsome face said he had actually made the request that she was desperately hoping had been a figment of her imagination.
Hadn't it been awful enough when he'd announced to her a mere six weeks ago that his father had decreed Amir was to marry some princess from a neighboring sheikhdom? Grace's heart had shriveled and come close to dying at how easily her usually independent and stubborn boss had so easily submitted to his father's demand.
Then a reprieve had come for Grace's bleeding emotions when Princess Lina had ended up eloping with an old flame and nullifying the contract the two powerful sheikhs had signed. That had happened almost two weeks ago and Grace was just overcoming the jagged edges of pain left by the king's edict and his youngest son's acceptance of it.
Now Amir wanted her to find him a wife? Just kill her now because life couldn't get much worse.
Okay, maybe it could, but even plain PAs had the right to their moments of drama.
"What? Why?" He was happy in his serial liaisons, or at least he'd always acted like he was.
Definitely, he'd never fallen in love with any of them. As far as she knew--and she knew him better than anyone else in his life, including his family--Amir had not been in love since he was eighteen years old. Not that he admitted now that it had been love then.
But she knew the signs of a true and abiding love. Didn't she live with them on a personal basis every day?
Amir had loved his Yasmine enough to ask her to marry him. They were only engaged for three months, the wedding less than a month away--which in Grace's mind showed just how much he had loved the other woman to press for such a speedy wedding--when Yasmine was killed in a freak accident. It was Grace's personal belief that the loss of his first love had impacted Amir more strongly than he ever wanted to admit to himself or his family.
But even so, this was unbelievable.
"My father wants me to settle down," Amir said with a shrug.
How could he be so blas� about this? Didn't he care that he was breaking her heart into tiny, bitty, never-to-be-put-together-again pieces? All right, so he didn't know, but did that excuse him? The jury was still out on that one, just like it was out on the issue of the pain he caused her regularly with his little liaisons.
"But he hasn't said anything about selecting another wife for you, has he?" she asked with desperate logic.
"I see no reason to wait on him to do so. If you find me a wife, at least I'll have control over the final choice and will get married on my own terms, not his."
Grace had to stifle a groan and the urge to smack her own forehead. She should have expected this. Amir was far too princely to let another man choose his wife. Now that he'd been given a reprieve, rather than wait for his father to exert control again, he would preempt the king by acting on his own. She understood the reasoning, respected it even, but no way in the world was she going to help him.
That was simply asking too much.
His dark chocolate eyes widened almost comically. "What do you mean no?" His shock at her refusal was so blatant, she could feel it like a physical presence between them.
"I mean that if you want to find a wife," she said very slowly and very firmly, "you'll have to do it on your own."
The shock melted under his obvious discontent. "Don't be ridiculous. I can't make this kind of choice without your input."
Her body jerked as if the words were knives directed at her heart rather than the backhanded compliment Amir intended them to be. "I'm not being anything of the sort. I'm your personal assistant, not a matchmaker. Finding wives is not even remotely in my job description."
"That's exactly right. Your title is personal assistant, not administrative assistant, because you help me with more than just business."
"The selection of a wife is way too personal."
"No, it isn't. You've picked out gifts for my companions, how is this any different?"
"How can you ask me that?" She loved this man more than her own life, but sometimes he was so dense she was tempted to question the obscenely high IQ level he was purported to have.
Amir leaned his hip against her desk and crossed his arms, a sure sign he was settling in for the siege. "We're just arguing in circles here, Grace. I need your help."
"No. I won't do it." She would never survive it.
It hurt enough to love him like she did and know there was no chance between the two of them, but to be forced to find a woman to hold the place she wanted more than anything? That was too much. Much, much too much.