Princess's Secret Baby(14)

By: Carol Marinelli



Zayn was wrong. James had had integrity around Leila—he simply could not discard her. After he had left her that morning he’d barely made it till nine before he’d caved and sent flowers, asking her to call him.

He’d sent more flowers the next day and the next and yet Leila still hadn’t responded to him. He’d caved again and called The Harrington, but that they were so discreet combined with the fact he didn’t even know her surname had meant that they would neither confirm nor deny that she was staying there.

He found himself at her door once but had attempted to let go of the madness and turned around.

In the end James had taken himself off to France for a spot of skiing, determined to screw his way out of it, but all roads led to Leila in the erection stakes. He’d danced, he’d kissed, he’d been his flirtatious, outrageous best, but nothing with another produced even a stirring. Rather than destroy his formidable reputation with a no-show in that department he’d returned each night to his luxurious cabin alone.

And thought of Leila. How they had sat and talked for hours, how easily it had been to open up to the other.

How, for a while there, as they had drank shots and celebrated being the two black sheep, they had felt the same.

He looked at her brother and James was angry for her.

‘At least I don’t treat women like they are my property.’

‘Perhaps not, Chatsfield, but the fact remains that you have badly handled what belongs to me. My family, anyone beneath my protection, belongs to me. You are fortunate we are not in my country, for there, I would not hesitate to remove the member that committed the offence.’

Offence?

There had been nothing remotely offensive about that night. It had stayed with James for weeks now. An offence might have occurred if the seduction hadn’t been so mutual. James could very well have pointed out that Leila had been a very willing participant in the supposed downfall of her country, but he chose not to make this salacious comment.

Instead he shrugged Zayn off in one easy motion and told him a few other home truths—that Zayn was positively biblical. When Zayn warned him never to repeat what had happened, nor to let it out in the press, James merely laughed in his face and told him that he didn’t need the publicity. That here in New York the Chatsfields were royalty.

Fighting down some back alley was an experience James did not need and so he walked away from it.

Winded from the fight, he would not let Zayn see that and only when he got onto the street did he take a moment to get his breath.

His hands went to his pocket, checking for his wallet and keys, but instead they closed around a tube of lip balm and his mind went straight back to Leila.

A princess!

Despite his nonchalant responses to the threats, James was starting to realise the enormity of what he had done.

James headed for home, to his luxurious penthouse that overlooked Central Park, and he eyed the damage in the mirror.

There were finger marks around his neck, a bruise to his eye and the size of the lump on the back of his head probably meant that he should get checked out by a doctor.

Instead James poured himself a whisky and lay on the bed, pondering his next move.

He picked up his phone to check, and no, she hadn’t called him.

Leila was the one woman who didn’t.

He’d thought her a journalist, or that it might be a set-up by Isabelle. Instead she was a princess and her family was clearly incensed by what had taken place. He just hoped she was okay and that he’d been the sole receiver of Zayn’s fury.

Why would she have told her brother? He hoped to God she wasn’t pregnant, but she had been on the pill—James had seen them for himself. James was quite certain from Zayn’s fury that, had he got the precious princess pregnant, then he’d have been told about it, just before he took his dying breath! He lay there brooding, wondering why Leila would have told her brother what had gone on between them. The more he thought about that night, the clearer it became to him that Leila had walked into that bar with one thing on her mind. She’d used him, perhaps, to get out of marriage. No doubt the Al-Ahmars wanted her kept a virgin.

James lay there, angry at her, used by her, hard for her.

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