The Sheik's Dangerous Lover
Elizabeth Lennox - The Sheik's Dangerous Lover
The Sheik's Dangerous Lover
Shanelle Basara tugged the formal gown higher, irritated that she even had to wear such an outfit. It was ridiculous that she was here, much less all dolled up for some arrogant, conceited jerk. She’d made it quite clear to the powers-that-be that she wanted nothing to do with this weekend, but here she was.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t like she could simply ignore the summons. He was the sheik!
But why was she here? As Shanelle looked around, there were so many eager, excited women, most of whom were much more beautiful and poised than she was. Of course, some of those differences she had fostered intentionally. She’d purposely played down her looks with almost no makeup and possibly the most unflattering dress she could find. The halter style dress was a silvery grey which she thought made her skin look pale and sallow. The cut of the dress made her hips look huge and her boobs were barely visible, unlike many of the other choices on the ladies present. The cut of the hemline probably showed a bit too much leg, but it was the best she could do on such short notice.
She wasn’t fat by anyone’s definition, but she refused to starve herself like so many other women. She had a tiny waist but who cared about a waistline? Her legs were fine, but not overly toned like the woman to Shanelle’s right. Nor were they long and slender like the woman to her left. She walked beside her mother and father feeling inadequate, self-conscious and resentful, wishing she were anyone and anywhere else.
She didn’t understand why so many women had been invited to a huge ball at the palace. If the rumors were true, then the sheik was trying to find a wife. But the man was thirty-six years old and had remained unmarried until this point. Why would he bow to tradition and marry now? It didn’t make any sense. Of course, it didn’t make much sense for her and her parents to be here either. Her father was well off and well liked in the government, but he wasn’t a high ranking officer or agency leader. Her mother didn’t work, but she helped her father through socializing, which Shanelle knew was a very powerful part of life in Kanaan. As in many government political careers, much of the work of government was done during social events, during quiet negotiations over a glass of wine or bourbon, ending in a handshake.
But that had nothing to do with Shanelle, so it was very strange for her to be invited when she’d never been a part of their social network before now. So the rumors must be true about the sheik needing to find a wife. Since that wasn’t a position to which Shanelle aspired, she wanted to turn around and head back home, curl up on her overstuffed chair and read a good book. Of course, she could also afford to put in a few more hours studying for the law exams which she’d signed up to take next month.
As she waited in line to be announced, she looked around, trying to figure out how to get out of this ridiculous charade. She didn’t want to be noticed, she wanted to blend in. To be in the background.
“Dad, I need to run to freshen up,” she said and slipped her hand from his arm before he could argue with her. She smiled at her mother to reassure her, but spun around on her heel and headed in the opposite direction. She stopped one of the servants who was carrying a tray of champagne glasses, asking where the ladies’ room was, and then made her way there as quickly as possible. If she were very lucky, she could stay in the luxurious area until all the announcements were finished. Shanelle had a plan. It wasn’t a very good plan, but it would allow her to remain invisible.
Slipping back out after ten minutes, she surveyed the hallway. There was still a line of people moving towards the ballroom, but at least her parents were already inside. That meant she didn’t have to go through the formal announcement of her arrival. That meant she could be anonymous!
She grinned as she picked up her skirts and slipped down the hallway where all the waiters were moving back and forth. It would be so much easier to be invisible if she could go in