Read an Excerpt
Expecting The Sheikh's Baby
By Kristi Gold
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
Copyright © 2003
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
The man could be her father, but that was impossible.
Her father was dead.
Karen Rawlins touched her trembling fingertips to the photograph of Paul Barone included in the Boston newspaper along
with a story covering the Barone family's latest reunion. The article also reported the tale of the unsolved mystery
from years ago surrounding the abduction of Paul's twin brother, Luke, serving as confirmation of what Karen had
recently learned from the yellowed pages of her grandmother's diary - her loving grandparents had lived a lie for over
half a century.
Karen sat in the only home she had known, deep in the heart of Montana, while too many unanswered questions haunted her
as keenly as her memories. Had her father known about the journal Karen had found among her grandmother's belongings?
Had he learned of the deception before his untimely death? Had he known that he had been born to a wealthy
Massachusetts family only to be kidnapped by the woman he had always considered his mother, and that his name was not
Timothy Rawlins but Luke Barone?
Karen tossed the newspaper aside knowing she would never have all the answers she craved. Everyone who could fill in
the blanks was gone. Her grandparents had died only months apart two years before in peaceful slumber, and her parents
had been killed in a devastating car crash a year ago.
Dealing with the overwhelming loss and this new insight into her family tree might have been easier if Karen hadn't
ended her engagement to Carl. But that had been a blessing. She preferred to live her life alone as long as she could
live her life as she wanted. That had not been Carl's intent. Carl's intent had involved control. He'd wanted a wife
who would hang her life on his whims, not a woman with dreams and opinions and career goals. She refused to mourn that
Karen wrapped her hands around a mug of coffee, trying to absorb some warmth, though the July weather outside was warm
and wonderful. Still she felt chilled to the marrow, even in the comfortable kitchen that smelled of cinnamon and
radiated kindness, an ideal depiction of home and hearth. She also felt utterly alone.
Needless to say, it had not been a banner year for Karen Rawlins. It then occurred to her that she had no reason to
stay in Silver Valley. The single-stoplight town had nothing to offer but bittersweet recollections and the realization
that much of what she'd believed about her family, her legacy, was false - except for the fact that her parents and
grandparents had loved her without reservation.
Perhaps Boston held more opportunities. Exciting opportunities. A place to regroup and grow. Karen decided then and
there to seek out the Barones, to tell Paul what details she knew about his missing brother with the hope that the
family would welcome her with open arms and open minds. She would find a good job and maybe one day establish her own
interior design business. She would make a good life for herself. A new life. And in order to fill the empty
space in her soul, Karen would attempt to have a child, someone to love her without conditions.
No, it had not been a banner year for Karen Rawlins, but it could be - would be - from this point forward. She would
simply have to make it happen, and she would achieve all of her goals without the interference of a man.
Oh, heck, not him again.
From behind the marble counter of the Barone family's famed Baronessa Gelateria, Karen Rawlins knocked her elbow on the
edge of the cash register and stifled a yelp that would surely drown out the rendition of "Santa Lucia" filtering from
the overhead speakers. She also bit back a litany of mild curses directed at the lone man seated in the corner booth
next to the windows. A man who stood out like a searchlight among the Barone family Italian ice-cream shop's simple,
Karen prided herself on having a designer's eye and this particular male was designed to perfection. His exotic good
looks presented the perfect portrait of the consummate dark, mysterious stranger.
But Sheikh Ashraf Saalem was no stranger to Karen. She'd met him last month during the welcoming party given in her
honor by the Barones. Yes, he had been somewhat charming, maybe even slightly charismatic - okay, more than slightly
- but much too confident for Karen's comfort. As far as she was concerned, overt confidence denoted control. She
didn't care for controlling men, even if they could give a woman the shakes with only a sultry look, and he'd given her
plenty of those the last time she'd been in his company. She also hadn't been able to forget what else he had given her
An earth-tilting, knock-me-over, make-me-tremble kiss. A kiss she hadn't been able to ignore.
But she had to ignore it, ignore him, especially now. Ignore his occasional glances, his eyes as dark as Baronessa's
popular espresso. Not an easy task even though he had exchanged his traditional Arabian clothing for professional
corporate attire - a beige silk suit and a turtleneck pullover as black as his silky thick hair. He looked like any
businessman taking a break from the fast-paced corporate world of finance, yet he still exuded an authoritative aura.
But he wasn't just any man, a fact that had become all too apparent from the moment Karen had met him - and kissed
Excerpted from Expecting The Sheikh's Baby
by Kristi Gold
Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd..
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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