A Secret Birthright - By Olivia Gates Page 0,1
He’d arrived to find him long dead.
Learning that Hesham had been in no way responsible for the accident had deepened his anguish. An eighteen-wheeler had lost control and decimated eleven cars, killing many and injuring more. Grief had compromised his sanity, yet he’d fought it to offer his services. As an internationally recognized surgeon and one of the leading experts in his field, he had been gratefully accepted, and he’d operated on the most serious neurological injuries, had saved other victims as he hadn’t been able to save Hesham.
It had been too late by the time he’d learned that a woman had been with Hesham in the car. She’d had no injuries, no identification, and had left the hospital as soon as Hesham had died. Descriptions had varied wildly in the wake of the mass casualties.
With a bleeding heart, he’d taken Hesham’s body back to Jizaan. After a heart-wrenching funeral, which the king hadn’t attended, Fareed had launched a search for Lyn and the child.
But Hesham had hidden too well. It seemed he’d been erasing each step as he’d taken it. Investigations into the new identity he’d assumed had revealed no wife or child. Even the car he’d died in had been a rental under yet another name.
After a month of dead ends, Fareed had taken the only option left. If he couldn’t find Hesham’s woman, he’d let her find him.
He’d returned to where Hesham had died, placed appeals in all the media for the woman to contact him. He’d kept his message cryptic so only the right person would approach him. Or so he’d intended…
Women had swamped him.
Emad had weeded out the most blatant liars, like those with teenaged children or with none, and still advised Fareed not to waste his time on the rest. He’d been certain they’d all turn out to be fortune hunters. Being a billionaire surgeon and desert prince, Fareed had always been a target for gold diggers. And he’d invited them by the drove.
Fareed couldn’t comply, couldn’t let anyone who remotely answered the criteria go without an audience.
He’d felt antipathy toward every candidate before she’d opened her mouth. But he’d forced himself to see each performance to its exasperating end. He believed Hesham, the lover and creator of beauty, would have fallen in love only with someone flawless inside and out, someone refined, worthy and trustworthy. But what if Hesham hadn’t been as discerning as he’d thought?
But after a month of agonizing letdowns, Fareed had gone home admitting his method’s failure. He’d known any new attempt would fail without new information to use. For two more months, he’d been driven to the brink on a daily basis thinking his brother’s flesh and blood was out there and might be in need.
He’d groped for a sanity-saving measure, answered a plea from a teaching hospital in the States to perform charity surgeries. A part of his schedule was always dedicated to charity work, but he’d never tackled so many within such a tight time frame. And his work at his own medical center was too organized to provide solace. For the last four weeks he’d lost himself in the grueling endeavor that had managed to anesthetize his pain.
Today was the last day. And after the distraction provided by the crushing schedule, he dreaded the impending release like an imminent jump off a cliff…
Emad’s prodding “Your Highness” brought him out of his lapse into memories and frustration.
Fareed heaved to his feet. “I’m not seeing any more women, Emad. You were right all along. Don’t go soft on me now.”
“I assure you I’m not. I’ve been sending the women who’ve come asking for an interview with you away.”
Fareed blinked. “There’s been more?”
“Dozens more. But I interviewed them in your stead without inflicting even a mention of them on you.”
Fareed shook his head. Seemed his desperate measure would haunt him for Ullah only knew how long. “So what’s new now? Don’t tell me you’re suddenly hoping that my ‘grief-blinded gamble’ might, ‘against all rationality and odds,’ bear fruit?”
Emad’s lips twitched at Fareed’s reminder of his reprimands. “Somow’wak has an impeccable memory.”
“Aih, it’s a curse.” A suspicion suddenly struck him. “Are you telling me you want me to start this…farce all over again?”
“I want you to see this one woman.”
Fareed winced at the look that entered his eyes. Emad wouldn’t look at a lion with more caution.
Jameel. Great. He was losing it. He huffed in disgust at his wavering stamina. “Why this one? Why is she special?”
Emad sighed, clearly not