Authors: Leslie North
1: The Sheikh’s Diamond
2: The Sheikh’s Crown
3: The Sheikh’s Amulet
4: The Sheikh’s Island
, love is stolen...
The eldest of three brothers, Sheikh Jaymin Khalidizack is mere months away from wining the wedding bet—after all, he’s far too serious to get swept up in romance. The stubborn, arrogant, and simmeringly sexy Sheikh has far more important issues on his mind. But he'll have to reconsider his position when a beautiful party guest’s priceless amulet is stolen on his watch.
Tamrin Lewis is everything Jaymin is not—fun-loving, carefree, and full of life. She’s also the daughter of a con artist on the run for his life. She thought Jaymin would be an easy mark for the two million dollars her father needs to get a ruthless, and familiar, creditor off his trail. When the sheikh takes her out dancing to apologize for her necklace being “stolen,” though, she has trouble sticking to the plan.
Jaymin knows this woman is not who she appears to be, but he doesn’t know the half of it. Can he put aside his suspicions for the sake of their growing love?
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you’re the last one standing.”
Jaymin turned to the giggling female voice next to him and stiffened. She’d linked her arm through his and was running a finger up his arm. “I’m not sure what you mean,” he said with a frown.
“All your brothers are married. So what are you waiting for?” she cooed.
The woman clearly had been drinking. Jaymin managed to unhook her arm and latched her on to some other unsuspecting man. He had far too much on his plate to deal with drunk women.
Sheikh Jaymin Khalidizack hated these kinds of parties. It was all gossip, greed, and envy. Three things he didn’t have time for. As the next crowned sheikh of his country, these parties would become more commonplace. His youngest brother, Adil, was much more suited to these types of events, but now that he was with Samine, he had far less interest in socializing.
“Sheikh Khalidizack? A word, if you have a moment.” An older man stepped in front of him and offered him his hand. Jaymin recognized Emirez and shook the man’s hand, giving him a rare genuine smile.
“Anything for you, Emirez. Enjoying yourself?”
The man’s eyes roamed over the party. “I’m having an excellent time. The food is good, the wine is better, and the company is quite lovely in all their fancy accoutrements. It also doesn’t hurt that you’re stealing my money for a worthwhile cause.” Emirez tipped his wine glass.
“You have more than enough money to donate,” Jaymin said dryly. “And as you know, improving the education of our young, regardless of gender or circumstance, helps all of us. Now, what can I do for you?”
“Your father is pushing to extend territory lines in the east.”
Jaymin raised an eyebrow. “Yes, the extension is three feet. We have to push the lines for some property development. Does that concern you? It’s public lands.”
“It is public lands, but it’s also home to the rare
The sheikh blinked. “The what?”
“It’s a bird, Jaymin. I’ve been pushing for their protection so that they can be studied. We need to protect their reproduction before they go extinct.”
Jaymin reached out to clap Emirez on the shoulder. “If this is important to you, I will make it important to me.”
The older man beamed. “Excellent. I knew that I could count on you. And really, tremendous job on the party.”
Seeing someone he wanted to talk to, Jaymin raised his hand to get his attention. Pushing forward and not looking where he was going, he slammed into another body.
Immediately, he reached down to grab whoever had run into him. “Excuse you,” he said darkly. Looking down, he stilled. The woman in his arms was absolutely stunning. Her dark hair was streaked with subtle blond highlights and curled softly at her shoulders. She blinked her chocolate eyes at him before frowning.
“It is a party,” she pointed out sassily. “People run into each other.”
“People don’t run into me,” he said arrogantly. Surely, she knew who he was.
Instead of apologizing or recognizing him, she crossed her arms and stared at him. “Just because you are an important person doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to run into you at a crowded party. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to run into other people.”
Interest sparked inside him, and he couldn’t help but smile a little. Few people talked to him like that, and none of them were this beautiful. “So, you’re saying this is my fault.”
“Did you see me?”
“So then, you are at fault,” she argued.
Intrigued, Jaymin crossed his arms. “Who are you, exactly?”
“Tamrin Lewis,” she said with a cocky smile.
. Tamrin Lewis?” he asked softly.
“First, you want to blame me for something that wasn’t entirely my fault, and now you want to flirt with me?” Tamrin asked in disbelief.
Jaymin didn’t usually flirt with women, but he felt compelled to find out as much information as possible in what little time he had with her. He took very little time to truly enjoy himself, and she seemed like she’d be well worth the time and effort. “I just want to make sure I address you correctly when I apologize,” he explained softly.
“Oh, so you’re going to apologize?” she asked coyly. “Tamrin Lewis is just fine.”
“Very well, then. Tamrin Lewis, you really should pay better attention to where you’re going,” he teased.
Her smile lit up her whole face, and he was captivated. “You think you have the upper hand here, don’t you, Sheikh Jaymin Khalidizack.”
“See how the proper title works so well?” His eyes dropped down to her chest where she wore a stunning amber pendant. A single green gem in the center shone brilliantly. “I always have the upper hand. That’s a beautiful necklace, Ms. Lewis.”
“Ms. Lewis? You sound so certain that I’m not married.”
Jaymin blinked. “Excuse me?”
She reached up and touched the pendant around her neck. “It’s called the Menalik amulet. Legend has it that it belonged to the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.”
“Really? Are you aware that we have a world-class archeologist currently working in our lands? My country used to belong to Bathsheba, the mother of Solomon. We’re discovering new things about that family line every day.”
“I did know that,” she said with a smile. “At an event like this, it’s hard to stand out. Everyone here is beautiful and rich. It helps to have a little something unique.”
The woman was unique all on her own. Wearing a simple black dress, she was adorned only by the pendant. Simple. Elegant. But she was easily the most beautiful woman in the room. “I don’t think I’ve seen you at one of our events before.”
“That’s because I usually avoid parties where the wealthy fleece the wealthy,” she said as she looked around. “It seems to be a contest of who has more and who can donate more. It’s usually not my thing.”
“This is for a good cause,” Jaymin said with a frown. “Or are you generally in the habit of making a donation before you attend a party?”
“Sensitive. Serious. You live up to your reputation. I also believe that it’s a good cause, which is why I’m here. I like a man who believes in education,” she said softly. He didn’t see any of the coyness that had been there before. She really was here for the cause.
“Mrs. Lewis,” he said as he exaggerated the married label. “I’m happy that you’re here to support my desire to improve the education of my country.” He took her hand and brought it to his lips as she smiled.
“Tamrin would be just fine,” she said as she took her hand back. “You’re charming. That’s not what I expected. I like to be surprised.”
A shadow fell over them, and Jaymin looked up. Rameez Molamid, an old friend of his father’s, stood over them with raised eyebrows. “Jaymin, is it possible that I could steal you away?”
“Actually,” Jaymin said, not wanting to be interrupted.
“It’s fine.” Tamrin backed away. “I’m sure there are quite a few people who would like to speak to you, and I would not want to monopolize your time. It was nice to meet you, Sheikh Jaymin Khalidizack.”
Before she could melt away completely, he reached out and snagged her hand. “Come find me later.”
“Only if you promise that you’re finally going to apologize.” Winking, she touched a hand to her necklace again, and Jaymin couldn’t help but follow the path of her fingers. Turning, she managed to blend into the crowd before his very eyes. Rameez watched him curiously. “She’s a beautiful woman. Were you actually taking time to enjoy your own party, Jaymin?”
Pushing his shoulders back, Jaymin looked up to Rameez. “You said you needed something?”
“Your father would like to speak to you. He and your brothers are up on the balcony level,” Rameez said as he pointed.
Looking up, Jaymin saw his family staring at him with smiles on their faces. They’d clearly saw him flirting with Tamrin. Feeling like a man condemned, Jaymin shook his head and went to meet his family. He knew without a doubt that they were going to comment on the woman, but when his father requested that he appear, he couldn’t deny him. No matter what.
“Father. You wanted to see me?” Jaymin said stiffly as he joined his family. They all leaned against the bannister and stared down at the crowd milling below them.
“Jaymin! Did I actually see you smiling at the party? Are you really my brother?” Adil questioned with a smile. His arm was wrapped around his wife, Samine. Adil had met Samine at one of their parties, as she was attempting to flirt her way in to steal a necklace known as Bathsheba’s Crown. Masoud had his arm wrapped around his wife’s waist. While Fleur wasn’t a thief, she’d trespassed on family property looking for Solomon’s Diamond. Both of his younger brothers had married women who had nearly ripped the family apart.
He was happy that they were happy, but he couldn’t support the decisions they’d made. They weren’t facing the same responsibilities he was, and they were flippant with their decisions. “I should be smiling. We’re raising a significant amount of money for my cause. This isn’t just my party, Adil. The money raised at this event will go toward building schools and seeing that thousands of children have the opportunity to receive an education.” Taking a deep breath, he turned to face Quadir. “Father, you requested to see me?”
“I just wanted to remind you of the bet.” His father smirked at Jaymin’s annoyed expression. “You may be the last brother standing, but you have to hold out until the end of the year to win. If you remain single for the next five months, Maharraq Island is yours. If you marry before that time, none of you get the island.”
Jaymin couldn’t help but smile. He found the whole wedding bet ridiculous. Maharraq Island was the family-owned undeveloped island that held plenty of potential. Quadir and Rameez had thrown the gauntlet down for the three brothers. As some of the last remaining sheikh bachelors in the neighboring countries, Jaymin and his brothers agreed that whichever brother was still unmarried by the end of the year would take possession of the prized island. Privately, Jaymin wanted to turn the island into a national park. A public space to help protect the wildlife of the area and would include teaching facilities and vacation spots to help bring money into the country.
“I understood the rules when I agreed to this,” Jaymin said stiffly. “I see no reason why I would marry within five months.” He’d always expected to marry for political reasons, and he hadn’t found an appropriate match. His father hadn’t suggested anyone, and Jaymin wasn’t like his brothers, falling in love and putting a woman before his family responsibilities.
That island was his.
“Father, there is something I need to discuss before I forget. I had a word with Emirez David, and he has issues with your property lines to the east. We may need to put more research into the area before we push the change.”
Quadir frowned. “Why?”
“Apparently, we need to help some rare birds reproduce,” Jaymin said dryly.
Suddenly, a scream rose up within the crowd. As the guests gasped and looked around, Jaymin tightened his grip on the bannister, as a female voice cried out.
“It’s gone! Someone stole it!”