Read Her Sheriff Bodyguard Online

Authors: Lynna Banning

Her Sheriff Bodyguard (19 page)

BOOK: Her Sheriff Bodyguard
4.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Kingdom of Murimon, Arabia

She had been marooned here in this remote Arabian fishing village for about three weeks when the authorities finally came for her. Constance watched from the shore as the large dhow moored at the mouth of the inlet which served as a harbour, dwarfing the little fishing boats which had returned with the day's catch. The slim hull was glossily varnished and trimmed with gold, with an enclosed cabin built to the aft, the top deck of which formed another deck covered with a large awning. The lateen sail was scarlet.

The villagers crowded around her. They too knew that the arrival of this ship signalled her imminent departure. She didn't want to leave, though she knew she must. It was impossible for her to remain here, becalmed for ever. The sea had temporarily washed all her responsibilities away, but the future she dreaded still loomed somewhere on the horizon. This sleek ship would be the first step of the journey she must resume.

Bashir, the village elder in whose home she had been cared for, made a formal greeting to the official-looking man who stepped from the boat almost before it was tied up. A tall angular man with piercing nut-brown eyes set beneath luxuriantly bushy brows, his beard was trimmed to a sharp point. His bony fingers were impeccably manicured. His pinched face and pained expression were at odds with his expensive-looking robes. Screwing up his face, he produced a piece of parchment and unrolled it with a flourish. ‘Lady Constance Montgomery?'

Her name sounded odd when spoken with his accent, but it was definitely her name. With a sinking heart, Constance made an awkward curtsy. The wound on her head began to throb. One of the women had removed the tiny stitches only that morning. The skin felt tight, but the stabbing pain behind her eyes had long since faded, and the resultant headaches were all but gone.

‘Welcome to the kingdom of Murimon. You will come with me.'

It was a command, not a request. Constance had time only to make swift and rather tearful farewells while the official took Bashir aside. A few minutes later, she clasped the elder's hands, expressing her abject thanks as best she could, before being ushered aboard the dhow.

She spent the journey huddled in the cabin, unexpectedly overcome with fear as the ship set sail. It was ridiculous of her, for the sea was flat calm, the skies above perfectly clear, the wind a gentle zephyr, but as she placed her bare feet on the deck and felt the gentle sway of the boat, a cold, clammy sweat broke out on her skin. Her ears were filled once more with the roar of the waves, the crack of the masts, and the screams of the
passengers. Thankfully, the official who escorted her seemed content to leave her alone, though whether for reasons of propriety or simply because he was offended by her presence here, she had no idea.

* * *

The sun was going down when they arrived at the port. Constance staggered from the dhow and into a covered chair, caring nothing save that they were on dry land. The chairmen moved off swiftly. As she closed her eyes in an effort to compose herself, she was aware that they were climbing but of little else. Set down in a huge enclosed courtyard, she blinked in the glow of what seemed like a thousand candles, but the zealous official was already waving her on urgently, giving her no choice but to follow.

She padded in the wake of the man along the smooth, polished marble floors of endless corridors. She couldn't begin to imagine how she must look, with her skin burning from the day's sun, her wound like a brand on her forehead, her feet bare, and the rough brown tunic she wore big enough to encompass at least two of her.

As they came to a massive double door presided over by a hulking guard with a huge sabre, the reality of her situation dawned abruptly on her. She was in a foreign country, quite alone, and completely at the mercy of whoever was on the other side of this door. Captain Cobb? She presumed there must be other survivors of the shipwreck. It was too awful to contemplate that six hundred souls had perished and that miraculously she had not.
An official equerry? A prison guard? A harem eunuch? The colour drained from her cheeks.

Constance shook out the copious folds of her borrowed tunic over her bare toes, and pushed her hair back from her face. Her heart was racing. Her legs were shaking. The butterflies in her stomach fluttered wildly as the doors were flung open.

Copyright © 2016 by Marguerite Kaye

ISBN-13: 9781488004261

Her Sheriff Bodyguard

Copyright © 2016 by The Woolston Family Trust

All rights reserved. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical,
now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of publisher, Harlequin Enterprises Limited, 225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3B 3K9.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. This edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher. Trademarks indicated with ® are registered are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office and in other countries.

BOOK: Her Sheriff Bodyguard
4.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Blood Games by Hunter, Macaulay C.
Faery Worlds - Six Complete Novels by Tara Maya, Elle Casey, J L Bryan, Anthea Sharp, Jenna Elizabeth Johnson, Alexia Purdy
If You're Lucky by Yvonne Prinz
Jacked by Tina Reber
Timeless Love by Gerrard, Karyn
Donnybrook: A Novel by Bill, Frank