Home > Tempted by the Prince (The Raminar Family #4)

Tempted by the Prince (The Raminar Family #4)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

 

Chapter 1

 


“You want…what?!” Rachel asked, trying to hide the panic that was filling her throat.

Princess Talia, Rachel’s boss, smiled as she patted her infant son’s bottom, the little guy was fast asleep in her arms and adorably cute. “My brother wants to build a university. He needs someone who understands the details, knows how to get things done, and is reliable and trustworthy. That’s you, Rachel. You’ve been an incredible assistant and are amazing at organizing everything and knowing what has to happen. You’re perfect for the job.”

Inwardly, Rachel cringed. “Trustworthy”. Yep, that was her. She was reliable and trustworthy. Loyal. Hardworking.

Her boss and good friend could have described a golden retriever with the same adjectives. Rachel fought not to show how much those words hurt.

Rachel looked down at her gathered, flowered skirt that she’d paired with a high-necked silk blouse and wished she looked less…frumpy. She compared herself to Talia who, even post-partum, looked gloriously beautiful in a blue cotton dress that hugged her breasts then draped lovingly over her still-plump belly. In contrast, Rachel was just…ordinary. Her only saving grace, her green eyes, were overwhelmed by her hair. She couldn’t seem to tame it. The wild spirals had a mind of their own and nothing she’d tried in the past could smooth them out. Oh, how she’d love to have silky, dark, smooth hair like Talia’s! Rachel couldn’t help but admire the way Talia’s hair cascaded over her shoulders, looking sleek and sophisticated.

As Rachel watched Talia sooth her newborn son back to sleep, that wistful stab of envy gnawed at her. Rachel was twenty-six years old and had been working with Princess Talia for a while now. But what about her hopes for a child? For a family? She worked long hours, ensuring that the princess’s schedule ran smoothly, running interception on anything that might clog up the day’s plans, and resolved crises before they happened. That left little time for dating and romance.

Not that she’d had a great deal of romance before taking this job! And in truth, she absolutely loved working for Talia. The hard work was a breeze compared to what she’d done before coming here.

No, the issue wasn’t the job or the long hours. It was…that niggling sense that life was passing her by. That she’d never find the time to have a life dictated by her own terms, a life centered around her family and her children. Often, Rachel felt as if she were sitting on the sidelines, watching everyone else be happy and find their dreams, falling in love and having precious babies.

The idea of Tarin being the father of her children popped into her mind. But that image wasn’t new. In fact, it had occurred to her so many times that she was used to pushing it away.

The idea of helping Talia’s brother with a project as massive as building a university was an amazing opportunity, Rachel told herself.

However, no matter how amazing the opportunity or exciting the challenge, Rachel couldn’t take on this project for one excellent reason.

She was in love with Prince Tarin.

Embarrassing and heart-wrenching to admit, not to mention trite and predictable. And yet, still true. There was no way Rachel could work side by side for the man again! She’d done it for a few months after Princess Talia’s marriage to Sheik Santos of Padar. But after the princess’ wedding, Talia had worked mostly here in Padar, and Rachel had worked very hard to stifle, or at least ignore, her feelings for the handsome prince. For a while now, she’d been successful at ignoring her painful, unrequited love for the tall, amazingly handsome, virile, gorgeous, and funny prince.

So no. Work directly for the man? She just couldn’t do it!

Shifting slightly in the comfortable chair, Rachel folded her hands over her lap, trying to appear calm. “Thank you so much for the compliment,” she said, pulling her shoulders back, “but I already have a job, Your Highness. I work for you.”

Talia grinned, her eyes lighting up. “That’s the best part! I’m taking some time off.” She looked down at her two week old son. “I know that I worked right after giving birth to Sinan,” she explained, referring to her first son, “but this time, I’m going to take off more time. No interviews, no light duty.” She sighed and leaned back slightly, staring lovingly at her infant son. “I really pushed too hard after Sinan’s birth two years ago. I told Santos that I wanted to slow down this time. He even agreed to slow down with me and has already delegated more than half of his responsibilities to his staff for the next several months. So both of us are taking time off in order to be with our kids.”

Rachel swallowed past the lump of envy that threatened to choke her. “That sounds wonderful,” she whispered, then cleared her throat to allay the worry in Talia’s eyes. “I’m so happy for both of you.”

Princess Talia’s smile brightened. “Then it’s settled. You’ll work with Tarin for the next several months and I’ll enjoy being a momma. Then we’ll meet back here in three months and start over. Sounds good, right?!”

Rachel thought hard, but she couldn’t come up with any alternatives besides quitting. But since she absolutely loved her job, loved working with Princess Talia, she pressed her lips together, suppressing the urge to beg Her Highness not to throw her to the wolf!

Rachel stood up and walked out of the room on numb legs, frantically trying to come up with a plan. Any plan! Anything that would keep her from being around Prince Tarin el Raminar, the most amazingly wonderful, sweetly kind man she’d ever met in her life!

Just being on the opposite side of the room from him had once sent her heart fluttering and she’d dropped her armload of papers. Thankfully, he’d been too far away to notice what was happening, but she’d learned her lesson that day.

 

Tarin closed his eyes as he dropped his phone on the desk. Looking outside at the small, sun-filled courtyard, he breathed slowly in, held the breath for a few seconds, then released the air in a controlled manner. He’d learned the technique after training with the US Navy SEALs and it had served him well over the years.

Unfortunately, the SEALs had never met Rachel Morris. The breathing technique didn’t help in any way and his body tightened just thinking about the woman’s delicate features and her soft curves, which she always kept hidden beneath the most hideous outfits. Unfortunately, those dresses were more like some sort of virginal fetish-wear, he thought, leaning his hands against his desk and bowing his head. She was so incredibly lovely in a soft, delicate way.

She was beautiful, but he couldn’t say that Rachel was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, but there was just something about her, something that called to him. She could be just walking down the hallway and when he’d see her, his body would tighten with desire as he watched those flowered, librarian/school-teacher dresses flutter around her legs. Every time she pushed those dark-rimmed glasses higher up onto her nose, it felt like she was touching his…!

“Damn it!” he snapped.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” his brother, Gaelen, asked. Gaelen was about eighteen months younger than their oldest brother, Amit, who was the leader of Izara, and every time a birthday came around, Tarin thanked God for their birth order! The thought of what Amit had to deal with every damn day would leave Tarin begging for mercy. Amit released the tension from his oppressive responsibilities by drawing and, lately, painting. He was pretty damn good too.

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