Captivated by the Sheikh:Amahd

By: Jennifer Lewis

CHAPTER ONE





“His bite is worse than his bark.”

“What? Isn’t it supposed to be the other way round?” Mackenzie Malone did not like the sound of her new boss.

“Thing is…” Bubba, the burly foreman who’d hired her, leaned in to whisper. “He’s a man of few words, so there ain’t much barkin’ to warn you. But he don’t suffer fools gladly, I’ll tell you that.”

“I’m no fool.” She squared her shoulders.

“Wouldn’t have hired you if you were. Wait here ’til I call you in.” He rapped twice on the door then stepped into the boss’s office, leaving Mackenzie alone in the marble-oilfloored hallway.

The whole building was new, along with the oil field they were here to develop. Everything was big and expensive looking. Built to last, too, unlike the portable structures from her last job in Midland, Texas.

“A female mechanic?” The deep male voice boomed loud enough to travel right through the tall wood door to the hallway outside. Where Mac braced herself. Another arrogant male who didn’t think a woman could turn a wrench. She should be used to it by now.

She heard Bubba protesting that she had oil field experience and had passed his tests with flying colors. It warmed her heart to hear him stand up for her. He was the kind of blustering good ole boy who usually called her darlin’. She hadn’t expected him to hire her and she still suspected he’d never have interviewed her if she didn’t call herself Mac on her résumé rather than the obviously feminine Mackenzie.

The Boss, as Bubba always referred to him, spoke English but with a foreign accent. He was one of the royal princes she’d caught a glimpse of at the big wedding she’d attended when she came to interview. In a way it surprised her that someone like that even bothered to show up at the office. They were apparently richer than God.

“Bring her in,” growled the faceless voice of the big boss again.

Mac felt her stomach shrivel. She hoped he wasn’t about to send her packing. She’d just finished telling her whole extended family about her new job. She sure as heck didn’t want to tell them she’d been laid off.

The door opened and she squared her shoulders and strode boldly in. Years of standing up to her brothers had taught her how to stick up for herself, if nothing else.

Then she saw him.

No way. No one’s luck is that bad. I must be mistaken.

She blinked. Maybe it was a trick of the light. She couldn’t really see his face with all that sunshine blazing from the big window behind him. She drew in a shaky breath and thrust out her hand.

She watched — everything seemed to be happening in slow motion — as he lifted his big arm. His shirtsleeves were rolled up to reveal a tanned, muscled forearm.

It has to be a different guy.

Has to be.

Then his fingers touched hers and a jolt of electricity rocked her.

Nope. Same guy.

Her heart started pounding and she attempted to shake his hand while adrenaline rushed through her body and her blood heated to one thousand degrees.

She’d kissed the boss.

Kissed the prince.

Kissed the man who held her future in his hands.

Kissed him!

Thoughts tangled in her brain and she wondered if she should make light of it — I believe we’ve met! — or something like that.

But the frown that clouded his brow, and the grim expression that flashed in his dark eyes, stilled her tongue. She swallowed, hard.

Finally he pulled his hand back and she jerked hers away and managed not to rub it hard on her pants to remove the burning wisps of heat that clung to her skin.

“Miss…” He glanced down at the dossier on his desk. “Mackenzie.”

She nodded. “That’s me!” It came out in a foolish chirp.

And this was a guy who didn’t suffer fools.

It was her fault, too. He was so handsome and serious, she couldn’t resist flirting with him. How was she supposed to know who he was?

Her mind raced — along with her pulse — as he stared hard at the paper for a long moment. Probably trying to conjure a reason to fire her.

“I’m excited to be working here,” she stammered. “I have a lot of oil field experience and I look forward to being a valuable part of your team.” She had to salvage the situation. This job was too good to lose. It paid almost three times as much as the equivalent in Texas and offered free Montessori day care for her daughter.

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