Exclusive excerpt: The Sheikh’s Pregnant Bride
Idris Delacour never expected to be king of Dalmaya, but his cousin’s sudden death changes all that. And that’s not all—there’s a royal baby on the way, too!
Being a surrogate mom should’ve given Saskia Harper and her little brother Jack a new start. Only, for her unborn child to inherit the throne she must now marry the new king—the man whose kisses she’s never forgotten. Saskia wants to trust Idris—but can she ever find a way into her sheikh’s guarded heart?
A great weariness descended on Idris. His destiny was as clear as it was unwanted. He’d never appreciated his life properly before, the old chateau lovingly restored piece by piece, the vineyards, finally back in profit and making wines he was proud to put his name to, the family coffers filling again despite his parents’ best efforts. It was hard work involving long hours but it was satisfying and he was in control. Best of all it was quiet. No drama, no press, no obligations beyond those of the people who worked for him. How could he swap that for life in the spotlight, an entire country reliant on his success? For a child who wasn’t his?
How could he not? His parents showed him all too well the consequences of living for nothing but self. Thanks to them he had grown up always worrying how the next bill would be paid, where they would be living next, even what they would be eating that night. Thankfully he had been able to escape to his grandfathers, to the two men who had never met but would have liked and respected each other, if their paths had ever crossed. The men who had taught him that duty and honour and responsibility weren’t burdens but the measure of a man.
Sometimes he envied his mother, her carefree waltz through life, her refusal to be bound by convention. But such a path was selfish, had consequences for all those around.
A King’s life wasn’t his, he knew that all too well. His own needs, his own desires, his own likes always second to duty. And Idris saw his duty all too clearly. All of it.
His mind raced as he ruthlessly ousted all emotions from his mind, concentrating on the cold, hard facts, looking for the path ahead. First, it was clearly in the baby’s best interests to have a mother’s care right from birth. Secondly, he, Idris, was the legal heir, whether he liked it or not. But, thirdly, at the same time the unborn baby was the rightful heir. Fourthly, he was said baby’s guardian. The pieces began to fall into place one by one.
What had the lawyer said? That if a man was married to the mother when a child was born then he was automatically that child’s legal father regardless of actual paternity? He looked over at the other man. ‘Let me get this straight. If I marry Sayeda Saskia then the baby will be my child, my heir, in both law and in the eyes of the world.’
The lawyer’s words were drowned out by Saskia’s indignant, ‘There is no way I am marrying you, Idris Delacour, not if you were the last man alive!’ But Idris saw the nod and he knew what he had to do. For Fayaz, for the country, for the baby. He had to marry the only woman he had ever come close to loving.
The woman he had walked away from.
He had to marry Saskia Harper.