Home > The Sheik's Furious Bride (Love by Accident Triology #2)

The Sheik's Furious Bride (Love by Accident Triology #2)
Author: Elizabeth Lennox

Chapter 1

Isla stormed out of the dining room, furious with her brother for threatening her in that way! How dare he!

Her younger sister Zarah tried to keep up but Isla had righteous anger propelling her forward. “Are you okay?” Zarah asked, her pretty face suffused with concern for her older sister. “He didn’t mean it, Isla. You know he’s all torn up about Sidra and finding out he’s going to be a father so soon.” Rashid, their older brother, had been frantically searching for the woman he’d met in England three weeks ago. She’d disappeared and they’d only this morning found out that she was also pregnant from their brief weekend. Needless to say, Rashid wasn’t thinking too carefully right at the moment.

Isla stopped, covering her face with both of her hands right there in the middle of the hallway. “I know. I just….” She sniffed and tried to pull herself together. “Of all the things he could threaten, that was pretty mean.”

Zarah put her arms around her older sister. At seventeen, Zarah didn’t need to worry too much about her future husband but she knew that Isla was anxious about the issue. Isla was eight years older and should have been wed several years ago. Both of them knew the time was coming when she would need to marry, and it might not be to someone she cared for. They both knew that their marriages would be political.

“Give him time, Isla. He’s just now found Sidra. He’s not thinking clearly.”

Isla took a deep breath and tried to regain her perspective on the whole marriage issue. Zarah was right. Their brother would never marry her off to a monster. He cared for both of his sisters and would put their welfare above a political alliance. The idea of Rashid marrying her off to someone like Sheik Hussan El-Hamin was ridiculous. Pulling herself together, she looked around and was embarrassed to have lost control right here in the middle of the main palace hallway where servants and guards were witnessing her outburst.

She shook her hair out, then smoothed it down to make sure that she looked presentable. Her long, black hair fell naturally back into place around her heart shaped face and shoulders. “You’re right. He’d never do anything so vile or cruel,” she said to Zarah. “Come on, let’s go start getting things ready for the wedding. Sidra won’t know what hit her when all of this wedding and political stuff starts to fly around her so we need to help her as best we can.”

Isla only appeared calm on the outside. Inside, she was still reeling from the threat her brother had issued. Marry her off to that bastard El-Hamin! That’s the most disgusting, most horrifying, awful thing Rashid could have said. El-Hamin was a monster! He might have subdued the civil war in his country, but that didn’t mean he was worthy of any civilized female company. He was a gross, disgusting man with a dark beard that covered more than half his face and angry, evil eyes. At least that’s the way the recent pictures depicted him.

Hussan El-Hamin was an enormous man who ruled the neighboring country of Silaria. It had once been a beautiful, lush country, very prosperous with oil revenues that equaled and sometimes surpassed those of Tasain. But the previous ruler, El-Hamin’s uncle, had oppressed the people, destroyed a great deal of the infrastructure and sucked most of the money out of the country with his profligate ways. El-Hamin had left for school and hadn’t been allowed back in after his graduation from Stanford University. It had taken more than a decade, but El-Hamin had wrested control from his uncle, then several more years to get rid of the remaining men loyal to him. El-Hamin ruled Silaria with an iron fist and Isla suspected that the nephew wasn’t much better than the uncle. No one knew what was happening though, because visitors were no longer allowed inside the borders of the country. Not even reporters so the information was sketchy on the plight of the people.

Isla knew though. She knew firsthand what was happening and she hated the man who ruled so cruelly. At least in the border areas. The people in those villages were struggling, living in abject poverty, their roads still not fixed and many didn’t even have running water so they were using whatever streams they could find, some of which were contaminated by now which meant disease could rage through a village, killing off many before medicine could reach them.

Zarah patted Isla’s shoulder gently, trying to offer support. “Don’t worry about it,” she said comfortingly. “He didn’t mean it. He’ll be better once he’s married and all this political and wedding craziness is over with.”

Isla wasn’t to be reassured. She was still angry, even though she knew that Rashid wouldn’t marry her off to a man who was basically no better than a thug. “Just because he found out he’s going to be a father and has finally found a woman he’s in love with, that doesn’t mean he needs to say something so vile, Zarah.” Her younger sister was smart and beautiful, but still too young to know the terrifying prospect of being married off to someone. In Isla’s world, the threat of marriage was always close, always present. At seventeen, Zarah had several more years before she had to worry about who her brother would choose for her husband. Isla had been terrified of that imminent threat for the past three years. She’d been comforted by the fact that Rashid hadn’t chosen a wife yet but even that cushion was now gone. Or would be in a couple of days.

“I know,” her sister said soothingly. “He’s just mixed up right now. It isn’t like him to make threats like that. He was just trying to get us out of the room quickly. You know he wanted to talk with his new fiancée alone.”

Isla perked up at that reminder. “Do you think he’s really in love with her?” she asked, almost forgetting the thought of her older brother’s threat with the reminder that her brother had finally found the woman he’d been searching for. It was an amazingly romantic story, she thought with a tinge of jealousy.

Zarah laughed as she nodded her head. “I think he’s crazy in love with her.”

The two sisters walked silently down the hallway towards their rooms, oblivious to the guards who were following after them at a respectful distance. They were both used to guards within the palace, but the increased security was necessary as massive preparations for Rashid’s wedding were progressing at a fast pace because of the urgency. Sidra, his fiancée, was pregnant but even if she weren’t, the sisters knew that their brother would have pushed for a fast wedding, wanting Sidra all to himself as quickly as possible.

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