Accidentally the Sheikh's Wife - By Barbara McMahon
BETHANNE SANDERS lined up the aircraft with the designated runway and began the final descent. The new jet handled like a dream—all the way from Texas to the coast of the Persian Gulf. It was the first time she’d flown halfway around the world and she wished she could continue on until she circled the globe. When she left Quishari, it would be by commercial flight back through Europe.
Maybe she’d get another dream assignment like this one in the not-too-distant future. For now, she continued to scan the landscape as far as she could see as the plane began descending. Excitement built. The Persian Gulf was magnificently blue, from deep, dark navy to shades of azure and turquoise. The strip of sandy beach now visible was almost blinding beneath the sun. She had read so much about Quishari and heard so much from her father, she almost felt like she recognized the landmarks as she came in for the landing. Her heart raced at the thought of actually being here. It was like a dream come true.
Had this assignment not materialized, she still would have come—but it might have taken longer as the cost was exorbitant and savings accumulated slowly.
But fate had stepped in—almost like the answer to a prayer. She was delivering a brand-new Starcraft jet to Sheikh Rashid al Harum—and bringing in a priceless cargo. His soon-to-be fiancée.
Except for the shakedown trips around Texas, the only hours on this jet were the ones taken to fly it here. If the sheikh liked it and accepted delivery, he’d be the proud owner of the latest and greatest of the Starcraft line.
She hoped the sheikh’s fiancée enjoyed the detailing of the luxury appointments and had enjoyed the flight. Bethanne had taken extra care to make the journey as smooth as possible. She found it vastly romantic that they were planning to marry—and neither had yet met the other.
A bit odd in the twenty-first century. Still, to have been chosen to be the bride of one of the fabulously wealthy sheikhs of Quishari had to be thrilling. Pictures had been exchanged, the parents had made the arrangements. How did a thirty-four-year-old man feel about having his bride handpicked? Not too different from some of the online dating services—match likes and dislikes, find someone compatible, and there they were.
Would they kiss when meeting? Seal the deal, so to speak? Or would the woman be too shy to be bold enough for physical affection at the instant of meeting?
She had daydreamed on the long portions of the flight when autopilot had taken care of flying that she was being met by someone who would sweep her off her feet, make her feel cherished and special.
Or, alternatively, she’d also imagined her father striding along the tarmac, gathering her into his arms for one of his big bear hugs.
Blinking, Bethanne brought her attention back to the task of landing this multimillion-dollar jet.
The snowy-white exterior had already been detailed with stripes using the colors of Quishari—blue and gold and green. The interior resembled a high-end hotel lobby. The lush Persian carpet in golds and reds supported cushy sofas and armchairs, all with the requisite seat belts. The small dining area was elegant with rich walnut furnishings. The galley was fully stocked, and included a stove, oven and microwave in addition to the lavish below-counter refrigerator, wider than long, capable of carrying any supplies necessary for the sheikh’s pleasure. Even the sole restroom was spacious.
Bethanne had shown Haile al Benqura all the features of the cabin before going to the cockpit for her preflight routine. The chaperone accompanying the young woman had not spoken English, but Haile had. She’d taken in everything with a solemn demeanor. Wasn’t she the slightest bit excited? Apparently when the sheikh had mentioned something to the president of Starcraft, her boss had immediately offered to fly Haile from her home in Morocco to Quishari as a favor to the prospective buyer of their top-of-the-line private jet.
Bethanne glanced at her copilot, Jess Bradshaw. It was his first long-distance delivery as well and they had taken turns flying the aircraft to minimize delivery time.
“Want to bring it in?” she asked.
“No. We want this to go perfectly. I’m not as good at it as you.”
She shrugged and then brought the plane down with a kiss against the asphalt.
“Nice job,” Jess said.
“Thanks. This is a sweetheart of a plane. The sheikh is one lucky man.”
She followed directions from the tower and taxied to an area away