Prince Nadir's Secret Heir(4)

By: Michelle Conder

She folded a paper napkin at her station at the bar and darted another quick glance outside the café window to see if her housemate Minh had turned up. Her shift had already ended but she’d stayed back to help tidy up until he arrived.

Jenny elbowed her. ‘I think he wants to ask you out.’

‘It’s the blonde hair. He probably thinks I’m easy.’ Fifteen months ago she’d had an equally imposing male think the same thing of her but he’d been wearing a three-thousand-dollar suit and had completely charmed her. He’d also been a billionaire playboy with the attention span of a single-celled amoeba. She wasn’t so gullible when it came to men now. And, anyway, this guy looked as if he belonged to the secret service or something. Which only made her feel more uneasy. The little retro café where she waitressed didn’t usually attract the kind of clientele who required personal security, and she knew that the playboy in the three-thousand-dollar suit used to have his own detail. Was that where she had seen this guy before? With Nadir? It seemed impossible but, before she could dart another quick glance his way, Jenny nudged her.

‘No need to worry now. I think I spot your boyfriend outside.’

Heat shot through Imogen’s face and her head came up as for a split second she thought Jenny was referring to the playboy she’d never be able to forget, no matter how much she tried.

When she caught sight of Minh waving to her through the café window a whoosh of air left her lungs in relief. Boy, but she was jittery all of a sudden.

‘I’ve never seen him before,’ Jenny continued. ‘And he looks so gorgeous carrying your little girl in that sling.’ She sighed. ‘I wish I could meet a man who was a looker and also a caring dad.’

Heart still pumping, Imogen waved to her friend and infant daughter. She guessed Minh was a looker with his exotic Eurasian tanned features and he was certainly one of the nicest men she had ever met in her life but she’d never seen him as anything other than a friend. And not just because he was gay but because Prince Nadir Zaman Al-Darkhan had not only left her with a baby to take care of but he’d also left her with a phobia about falling in love.

Well, maybe not a phobia, exactly. More a deep resolve to never let a man take advantage of her again. Her own father had taken advantage of her mother’s inherent goodness and it had devastated Imogen to watch her mother make excuse after excuse as to why her father hardly ever spent any time with them.

‘Your father works so hard, baby girl—he just needs time to relax, that’s all.’

Relaxing with another woman and eventually leaving his wife for her? Imogen would never let that happen to her. If she ever attempted another relationship in the future she’d do so with eyes wide open and it would be on her terms and her terms only. A picture of Nadir’s handsome face materialised in her mind and she pushed it away.

‘Unfortunately, he’s not my boyfriend.’ Or her baby’s father.

She threw Jenny a smile and wished her a fab Friday night out on the town before heading towards the back of the bar to grab her handbag and head out to meet her makeshift family.

Minh had been a godsend in more ways than one this past year. When she’d discovered she was pregnant her roommate, Minh’s sister, had told her that her big brother was heading to America for six months and was looking for someone to housesit. With the lease coming up on their flat in Paris anyway, it had seemed like an opportunity straight out of the heavens and she’d jumped at the opportunity to look after his swanky Knightsbridge pad. But then she probably would have gone to Siberia if it meant getting out of Paris at that time.

With no close family to fall back on in Australia, she’d anticipated having time in London to lie low and sort herself out before the baby arrived. Unfortunately she hadn’t reckoned on being so sick she could barely move from Minh’s sofa the whole time. When Minh had returned home he’d taken her under his wing and told her she could stay for as long as she needed. He’d even visited her in the hospital right after her precious daughter had come into the world, while no doubt her baby’s father had been wining and dining some supermodel on a tropical island or some such.

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