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Accidentally the Sheikh's Wife

Accidentally the Sheikh's Wife

3.2 12
by Barbara McMahon

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For Bethanne Saunders, flying Sheikh Rashid al Harum's private plane has its perks. When her feet touch the ground it's on the plush carpet of his sumptuous palace. And just being near gorgeous Rashid makes her feel on cloud nine!

Bethanne has all the luxury she can handle—until suddenly she's promoted to princess! But the dazzling rock on her


For Bethanne Saunders, flying Sheikh Rashid al Harum's private plane has its perks. When her feet touch the ground it's on the plush carpet of his sumptuous palace. And just being near gorgeous Rashid makes her feel on cloud nine!

Bethanne has all the luxury she can handle—until suddenly she's promoted to princess! But the dazzling rock on her finger is a stark reminder that it's a convenient engagement. Everyone knows sheikhs don't fall for ordinary girls from Texas….

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Jewels of the Desert , #4154
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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 hand-picked? 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'mnot 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 from the main terminal. The immaculate hangar was already swarming with ground crew; everyone had eyes on the jet as she pulled it into the designated slot. She and Jess ran through the checklist as they shut down. She wanted to dash out and breathe the Quishari air. But duty first. She had scheduled several days here to see if she could find her dad. And to see the towns and desert that made Quishari famous.

"I'm glad we get to sleep on the way home," Jess mumbled, waiting for her to get up first. He followed her from the cockpit to the outside door of the jet. With minimum effort, Bethanne opened it, watching as stairs unfolded. She glanced back and saw the chaperone. Where was Haile? In the restroom? Probably primping to look her best when seeing the sheikh for the first time. Bethanne hoped she hadn't been there when they landed. Jess had announced their approach and told the passengers to fasten seat belts.

The chaperone looked worried, her eyes darting around the cabin, refusing to meet Bethanne's gaze. Had she been afraid of flying? Bethanne couldn't image anyone not loving it. She'd wanted to be a pilot since she turned five and first been taken up in the cockpit of a small plane. Of course, wanting to follow in her father's footsteps had also played a big part.

Two men waited at the foot of the stairs. When the steps unfolded and locked in place, the taller began to ascend. Bethanne watched him approach. He was maybe six-three or four. Which Bethanne found refreshing. Her own five-ten height usually had her eye to eye with men. His dark hair shone in the sunlight, his skin was tanned to teak. The closer he came, the more she could see—from dark eyes that watched her steadily, to a strong jaw that suggested arrogance and power, to the wide shoulders encased in a pristine white shirt and dark charcoal suit.

Her heart began to beat heavily. She was fascinated by the man. Awareness flooded through her, as did a sudden need to brush her hair—she hoped it was still neat in its French plait. Studying him as he drew closer every step, she noticed the hint of wave in his hair. She wondered what he'd look like if he ran his fingers through his hair. Or if she did.

She swallowed and tried to look away. Fantasies like that would get her nowhere. This had to be Sheikh Rashid al Harum. Almost-fiancé to the woman in the back of the plane. Oh, lucky Haile al Benqura. She had undoubtedly fallen in love with the man from the pictures exchanged. Now she would be greeted and swept off her feet with one of the most gorgeous men Bethanne had ever seen.

"I am Rashid al Harum. Welcome to Quishari," he said in English as he stepped into the aircraft.

"Thank you." She cleared her throat. That husky tone wasn't like her. This man was rattling her senses. "I'm Bethanne Sanders. My copilot, Jess Bradshaw." She saw the surprise in his eyes. Despite all the headway women had made in aviation, it was still considered primarily a male profession. She was growing used to seeing that expression—especially in locales away from the U.S.

Rashid al Harum inclined his head slightly and then looked beyond them into the cabin.

The older woman rose and began to speak in a rapid strained tone.

Bethanne still didn't see Haile. Was she ill? As the chap-erone continued, she glanced at the sheikh, wishing she understood the language. His face grew harder by the second. In a moment he turned and glared at Bethanne. "What do you know of Haile's disappearance?" he asked in English.

Bethanne looked back into the cabin. "Disappearance? Isn't she in the restroom?" she asked, suddenly worried something was wrong. What had the chaperone said? Where was Haile al Benqura?

"Apparently she never left Morocco," the sheikh said in a tight voice.

"What? That's impossible. I showed her around the plane myself. She was on board when we were ready to leave." She turned to Jess. "You saw her, right? When you boarded?"

Jess shook his head slightly. "I don't remember seeing her when I closed the door. A maintenance man ran down the stairs just as I was rounding the back to board. No one else got off the plane."

"There shouldn't have been a maintenance man aboard—there's nothing wrong with the plane," Bethanne said. What was going on? Where was Haile? "What did she say?" Bethanne gestured to the chaperone, still standing in front of the sofa.

The sheikh glared at her for a moment, then in a soft, controlled voice that did not soothe at all, said, "I suggest that you and I speak alone."

She stared at him, suddenly worried things had gone terribly wrong. He seemed to tower above her, anger evident.

"I'll check on things on the ground," Jess said with obvious relief. He eased by the two of them and hurried down the stairs. Once he was out of earshot, the sheikh turned to the older woman and spoke briefly.

She dropped her gaze and nodded. Gathering her few things, she walked to the back and sat on the edge of the sofa, gazing out one of the small windows.

"According to her, Haile took off before the plane departed Morocco, running to meet a lover."

"What? How is that possible? I thought she was coming here to meet you—your fiancée, or almost," Bethanne blurted out before thinking. How could the woman choose someone else over this man? was Bethanne's first thought.

"So she is, was, to be. Her family and mine have been in negotiations for months over an oil deal that would prove advantageous to both countries. Included in that was the merger of our two families through marriage. Now my entire family—not to mention others in this country—expects the arrival of a woman who is to be my wife—and she is not on board."

Bethanne swallowed hard at the anger in his eyes. Surreptitiously wiping her palms against the fabric of her uniform, she raised her chin and said, "I'm not responsible for her leaving the plane. I thought she was on board. She was when I last saw her."

"You're the captain of the aircraft. What goes on is your responsibility. I hold you accountable. How could you let her leave?" His dark eyes pinned her in place. His entire demeanor shimmered with anger—controlled, which made it seem even stronger.

"How was I suppose to know she didn't want to come here? I thought everything was arranged." She would not tell him how romantic she found the scenario. Maybe she hadn't thought it through if the woman had fled rather than come to Quishari. "Though if I had known the circumstances, maybe I would have questioned whether anyone wanted to be negotiated into a marriage. I thought it was an old-fashioned mailorder-bride situation. But if the bride wasn't willing, I'm glad I did not have a part in bringing her here." She looked at the older woman. "She's the one you should hold responsible. Bringing them from Morocco to Quishari was a favor to you by our company."

"But the favor was not fulfilled. She is not here."

"I can see that. What do you want me to do about it now?" Bethanne said.

"The marriage would be an arrangement that benefits both countries," he said with a dismissing gesture. "That is not any concern of yours. The decision has been made. What is of your concern, is the fact Haile went missing on your watch."

Bethanne met his gaze bravely. It was not her fault the woman had deplaned. Why hadn't the chaperone stopped her? Or told someone before they took off from Morocco? What else could she say?

This was certainly not the happy arrival at Quishari she'd anticipated.

"The immediate need, now, is for damage control," he said after a moment. The sheikh looked back at the woman sitting so still in the back of the jet. For a moment Bethanne imagined she could see the wheels spinning in his head. How could she have known Haile wasn't as interested in the marriage as she had thought? She would never have suspected a young woman like Haile would disguise herself and slip away between the time Bethanne went into the cockpit and Jess joined her. It couldn't have been more than five minutes. Obviously it had not been a spur-of-the-moment decision. It had taken planning and daring. Bethanne's romantic mind imagined Haile deplaning surreptitiously and finding her lover and both fleeing, whilst her father and his minions followed on horseback. She blinked. Her overactive imagination could get her in trouble.

"I'm sorry I can't help you," she said, hoping to ease the tension that was as thick as butter. Her primary goal was to deliver the plane, which she'd done. Now all the sheikh had to do was accept the delivery, sign the paperwork and Bethanne could begin her vacation in Quishari while Jess would be flying back to Texas on the next available flight.

"Ah, but you can help. In fact, I insist." He turned back to her. The serious expression in his eyes held her in thrall. What did he mean?

"How can I help? Fly back to Morocco and find her? I wouldn't begin to know where to look."

"Despite my family's efforts to keep the entire matter solely within the family, rumors have been flying around the country. I've ignored them, but I know they speculate a special visitor will arrive soon. My coming to meet this plane would have fueled speculation even more. So, you're it."

"I'm what it?" she asked, wondering what would happen if there was no special visitor. Some gossip, more speculation about when his fiancée would arrive.

"The woman I came to meet. It's as if it was meant to be. What are the odds of having a female pilot bringing the plane—and one who is young and pretty enough to pass muster?"

"Muster for what?" Bethanne wondered if she'd fallen down the rabbit hole. Nothing was making sense.

"To pass as my special guest, of course."

Meet the Author

Barbara McMahon grew up in northern Virginia, moving to California to attend the University of California at Berkeley. Upon graduation, she remained in California, making the San Francisco Bay Area her home base while she worked as a flight attendant for an international airline. What fun that job proved--flying to different cities all over the world. On most trips, McMahon had layovers lasting a day or two--enough time to see some of the local sights--and shops--and then it was on to the next country! She kept a journal while flying and today delights in being able to use some of the descriptions she jotted down to add authenticity to settings for some of her books.

When McMahon's flying days ended, she began to work in the computer industry, rising to a vice presidency in a software development firm. In her "spare time," she decided to give in to a long cherished desire to try her hand at writing. One of the first things she discovered was that writing was one thing, but getting a book written is difficult to do when things like real-life interfere. But finally she finished a book, submitted it to a publisher, and Harlequin Mills & Boon bought it!

Come into the Sun (1983) was the first of over three dozen books sold to Harlequin Mills & Boon and Silhouette.

After that first sale, a new dream arose--to write for a living and leave the hectic pace of the San Francisco Bay Area behind. Once her younger daughter graduated from high school, she did just that--quitting her "day job" to move to the Sierra Nevada mountains of California.

To date, over five-and-a-half-million copies of her books have sold in thirty-five different countries in nineteen different languages. McMahon's books routinely appear on the Waldenbooks bestseller list, the Ingram's Top 50 Requested Romances, and Amazon.com's bestselling lists. Bride of a Thousand Days made the USA Today bestseller list.

With her recent nomination for a Romance Writers of America RITA Award, her books have either won or been a finalist in every major award in the romance industry.

What's special about McMahon's books, besides her ability to put the reader in another world full of the adventure she's sampled, can be summed up in one word: characters. They arrive on the page with fully developed pasts. Often her heroes have experienced betrayal that has hardened them. Lesser women would give up and move on, but, like the author herself, McMahon's heroines are empathetic and optimistic. They see the good in these honorable men and patiently nurture them to become equal partners in a relationship. Sometimes it's the heroine who has a past to overcome. But always, she's self-directed--a dynamic woman who knows what she wants and sets out to get it.

For books with international settings, McMahon refers to her flight attendant's journal, but the American West is her favorite locale. She's as much at home on the back of a horse as she is behind an autograph table. She has participated in week-long horse drives, similar to the cattle drives in City Slickers, attends local rodeos, the Grand National Rodeo in San Francisco, and county fairs.

Dedicated to a strict work regimen to meet deadlines, she still finds time to pursue her hobby of working on her family history, to serve on the board of directors of the local woman's networking group, and read voraciously. In memory of her mother who died from the disease, she actively supports breast cancer research.

McMahon is a member of Romance Writers of America, Novelists, Inc. and the NSDAR, which has nothing to do with writing, but does tie in with her love for genealogy!

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Accidentally the Sheikh's Wife 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
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Sweet story... but i got this book for free, i wouldnt pay $4 for it. Clean story and cute
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