Desert Prince, Blackmailed Bride. Kim Lawrence

Desert Prince, Blackmailed Bride - Kim Lawrence

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      “It’s not my wish to marry your brother. Or be kissed by you,” she lied.

      “That will not happen again,” he said with a slight, formal inclination of his head. “As delightful as the diversion was.”

      In order to make true his promise Rafiq knew he would have to take care to keep her literally at arm’s length in future. For some reason his brain ceased to function around her.

      He was still shocked to the core that for the first time in his life he had permitted carnal need to overrule common sense and logic.

      “You want me to marry your brother, so what was that?” Her hand went to her lips—they still felt swollen and oversensitive. “A test run?” she suggested bitterly. “The Royal bedroom test? Did I pass?’

      Gabby took an involuntary step back as fury flashed in his eyes and the pewter flecks were swallowed up as they darkened.

      “That was a mistake,” he gritted through clenched teeth.

      Dear Reader,

      Harlequin Presents® is all about passion, power and seduction—along with oodles of wealth and abundant glamour. This is the series of the rich and the superrich. Private jets, luxury cars and international settings that range from the wildly exotic to the bright lights of the big city! We want to whisk you away to the far corners of the globe and allow you to escape to and indulge in a unique world of unforgettable men and passionate romances. There is only one Harlequin Presents. And we promise you the world….

      As if this weren’t enough, there’s more! More of what you love every month. Two weeks after the Presents titles hit the shelves, four Presents EXTRA titles go on sale! Presents EXTRA is selected especially for you—your favorite authors and much-loved themes have been handpicked to create exclusive collections for your reading pleasure. Now there are more excuses to indulge! Each month, there’s a new collection to treasure—you won’t want to miss out.

      Harlequin Presents—still the original and the best!

      Best wishes,

      The Editors

      Desert Prince, Blackmailed Bride

      Kim Lawrence


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      All about the author…

      Kim Lawrence

      Though lacking much authentic Welsh blood, KIM LAWRENCE—from English/Irish stock—she was born and brought up in north Wales. She returned there when she married, and her sons were both born on Anglesey, an island off the coast. Though not isolated, Anglesey is a little off the beaten track, but lively Dublin, which Kim loves, is only a short ferry ride away.

      Today they live on the farm her husband was brought up on. Welsh is the first language of many people in this area, and Kim’s husband and sons are all bilingual. She is having a lot of fun, not to mention a few headaches, trying to learn the language!

      With small children, she thought the unsocial hours of nursing weren’t too attractive, so, encouraged by a husband who thinks she can do anything she sets her mind to, Kim tried her hand at writing. Always a keen Harlequin reader, she felt it was natural for her to write a romance novel. Now she can’t imagine doing anything else.

      She is a keen gardener and cook, and enjoys running—often on the beach because, since she lives on an island, the sea is never very far away. She is usually accompanied by her Jack Russell, Sprout—don’t ask, it’s a long story!

      I’d like to dedicate this book to the memory of

       my mum, Ann Shirley—lovely lady, best friend,

       kindest critic and real-life feisty heroine.


















      RAFIQ slid his arms into his linen shirt and sat straddling the chair. The pale fabric gaped to reveal the perfectly delineated muscles of his deep gold upper torso—a lot more delineated since he’d dropped almost fifteen pounds.

      None of the turbulent seething in his chest was reflected in his expression as, his hands clenched into fists, he fought to control his totally irrational compulsion to drag the grey-haired Frenchman from his seat and throttle a retraction from him.

      He was lying—he had to be lying!

      He didn’t, and not just because the doctor was a good twenty years his senior, but because he recognised denial even when he was the one doing the denying. Rafiq knew the man wasn’t lying. It was the truth. Not a truth anyone wanted to hear, but the truth.

      He wasn’t going to see his fiftieth birthday—or, for that matter, his thirty-third!

      Once the drumming in his ears had softened to a dull roar a phrase separated itself from the disconnected jumble of thoughts swirling in his head: roll with the punches.

      It sounded so easy.

      Years of practice at rigidly disciplining himself helped, and slowly an icy calm settled over him.

      ‘How long?’

      Pierre Henri adjusted his suit jacket—no white coat; he was far too celebrated to need a uniform to establish his authority—and got up slowly. He walked across the room and pulled the X-rays down from the screen, sliding them back into their envelope while he struggled to select his words carefully.

      Breaking bad news was a part of the job that he did not enjoy, but it was an integral part of that job and he was considered good at it. He did not normally struggle for words in these circumstances.

      He knew the importance of positive body language—it wasn’t just what you said but the way you said it—and he knew how emphasising the positive even when there was precious little to be positive about could make a world of difference to the way the person listening felt.

      Everyone was different, but years of experience had given him an insight that enabled him to tailor his response to what an individual patient needed from him.

      Of course there were exceptions. And this man, he thought, retaking a seat opposite

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