Thursday

Spotlight, Excerpt & Newletter Giveaway: The Sheikh's Pregnant Lover by Leslie North




Book Blurb & Info

The sexy American, Hannah, gave Sheikh Kyril a week of passion and then disappeared from his life. In the three months since, he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her. Now, with an ancient law and his family’s expectations breathing down his neck, he has to find her. And convince her to marry him.

Hannah spent ten years raising her younger sister and dreaming about traveling the world. Now that her sister’s grown she’s not waiting any longer. Her first trip, to the Middle East, made her wildest fantasies pale in comparison. Mostly because of Sheikh Kyril, who made her nights burn hotter than any desert day. But when she discovers she’s pregnant—with the sheikh’s baby—she can feel the walls of responsibility closing in around her again. Determined to hang on to her newfound freedom for as long as possible, she decides to embark on one final vacation before she returns to Kyril and breaks the news about the baby.

But when Kyril finds her before she’s ready, she refuses to fall into line. So he falls in with her and begins a courtship through dream destinations and lavish pampering. But Hannah knows she won’t fit into Kyril’s royal family or lifestyle, and when they return to Al-Dashalid, discovering she’s right just might break both their hearts.

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Book Excerpt

Sheikh Kyril couldn’t lose her again.
He tore through the train station, his feet hitting hard against the cement platform, the collar of his shirt damp against his neck. Damn the people lingering everywhere in his path, faces buried in phones and squinting at the arrival and departure boards. Hannah’s hair was lit up in the afternoon sun streaming through the station’s high atrium windows. The train whistle blew shrill in his ears—and in theirs, too, but the French didn’t seem to care, only the tourists.
Hannah stood at the opposite end of the platform, ignoring the call to board the train. Of course she was. Kyril glanced up at the departures board as he rushed by—the only train leaving from that track was one bound for Venice. Now. Hannah dug into her bag, shoulders rising and falling. Even from this distance, Kyril’s chest hummed with pleased recognition. He would know her anywhere, among any crowd. The bag was the only thing saving him. He ran faster.
Hannah shifted the bag from one arm to the other, and her face turned to him in profile, a little frown on her full lips. The light shifted on her sandy hair, illuminating the varied shades of blonde and brown. The urgency of her digging increased, and Kyril’s lips turned up at the corners in spite of himself. What did she think, that the bag was endless?
God, she looked good—curvy, petite, delicious. As good as he remembered. Twice as good, even. He’d like to sweep her into his arms and run her somewhere private. But that bag—he had to stifle a laugh. It was a ridiculous bag, something huge and practical. He never knew what she was going to pull out of it—or lose in it—next. That image of her—head bowed over the opening of her bag—was burned into his memory. He knew this image would be, too. Hannah. Train station. Backlit by the sun.
They’d spent a week together, three months ago. He’d never forget a single detail of that week. Not for as long as he lived. He knew that for certain.
A more pressing certainty pounded in his chest. He had to catch Hannah before she stepped onto the train and it pulled away from the station. Its departure was imminent. He wouldn’t run like this if the train weren’t already humming with energy, ready to spirit her away from him. Weeks of searching had brought him to this point, racing through the Gare de Lyon train station like a businessman late to a meeting with his boss instead of the ruler of Al-Dashalid.
He ignored the shouts of his security team. Too slow, those men. Deadly, when they needed to be, but he outpaced them too easily. Sometimes his sister Adira would tease him about his hours spent in the gym, but this was precisely what those moments were for—when he had to take matters into his own hands. He’d watched his father do the same time and again when he was a child, though he’d never seen him run after a woman. Not even his mother. Kyril didn’t care.
His headlong sprint across the train station, warm from all the people crowding the platform, was beginning to cause a murmur in the air. The voices rose as he zigzagged through the people waiting there, his security team twenty paces back and utterly useless in the event that he was ambushed. But he wouldn’t be ambushed. He would make it to Hannah, come hell or high water.
Snippets of conversation—questions, really—came at him in broken fragments.
“Hey, watch where you’re—”
“Who’s that—”
A man sprinting through the train station was noteworthy enough to draw people’s attention. If that didn’t do it, the six men on Kyril’s security team would. Kyril breathed in through his nose and forced his jaw to relax. It wasn’t in his nature to chase like this, a run verging on an all-out sprint, but his need to find Hannah—to see her, to touch her—was so strong that it overwhelmed his reservations.
Hannah lifted her head from the bag, her eyebrows rising. She must have heard the crowd’s hum getting louder, and nothing in front of her was that much of a spectacle.
She turned.
In one smooth motion, she faced him, holding the bag close to her stomach as if he were a pickpocket coming for her purse. She went still, eyes wide with shock. They were green, those eyes of hers, green shot through with a startling ring of gold around her pupils. He thought of that gold ring at night when he woke from dreams about her. Three months, and he’d thought of her every day.
And every night.
He closed the gap between them, and she stood as still as a stone pillar in the desert, not moving a muscle. It was only when he stopped abruptly in front of her that she jerked the pointed oval of her chin to the side, as if she were looking for a way out. Hannah’s grip tightened around the strap of her bag, and Kyril consciously relaxed his fists. It wouldn’t do any good to drag her out of the train station, because Hannah wasn’t the type to come quietly. No, she’d go kicking and screaming, and then it would be an event. An unforgettable, embarrassing event. Not behavior befitting Sheikh Kyril, the ruler of Al-Dashalid.
“Kyril.” Her lips, dressed up in red lipstick that made him want to lean in and devour her with kisses, parted again, but she had no words. “I—” She swallowed hard. “You’re here. What are you doing in Paris?”
An urgency that he thought he’d trained himself not to feel pounded in his ears, a smile spreading across his face. “What am I doing here? Trying to find you before you step on a train and disappear into the ether.”
“Even if I wanted to disappear into the ether—and I don’t, because that sounds awful—I couldn’t.” She seemed to struggle between a smile and a frown. “Not via this train, anyway.”
“No?” He cocked his head to the side, considering her. A gauzy pink sundress hugged the curves of her body as if it was made for her. His palms ached to be pressed against those curves. “Have you come here for a little getaway? An escape from life?”
The corner of her mouth turned up in a woeful grin. “Ha. In order to escape you have to have a train ticket, and mine disappeared.”
It wasn’t the first time she’d misplaced an item like that. During their week together—that heady, passionate week—she’d lost her ticket to a special exhibit at one of the museums not far from his residence. It was sold out for the day, and he’d had to pull rank in order to get them in.
Now that she was within arm’s reach, he felt a strangely determined calm. The thrill of the chase was over. He’d caught her. He also caught the worried glance she tossed toward the huge clock in the center of the station.
“Come with me.” He put a hand on her arm, a firm but gentle suggestion. “I have a plane. I’ll take you anywhere you want to go.”
“No.” Hannah was adamant. “I want to take the train. It’s part of the experience.”
“A private plane, Hannah.”
“I don’t fly.”
Kyril sighed. Her voice was firm. “I’ll get you another ticket, then.” His accompanying her on the train, security team in tow, would never fly.
“You don’t have to do that.” She reached down into the opening of her bag again. “I’m sure it’s around here somewhere. Or else it’s between the ticket counter and the information desk. That’s the only place—”
“I’ll replace your ticket.” Hannah met his eyes, cheeks reddening, and he had a flash of her face as she tilted her head back against a pure white pillow case, those same lips parted in ecstasy. “But hurry. We don’t have much time.”
“I saw you running.” She pitched her voice low as the security team caught up to them, hanging back several paces in a loose semicircle. They had some privacy—almost. “You chased me through the train station, and now you’re going to let me carry on with my trip?”
“I’m not sure that it was technically a chase, since you weren’t running.” He steered her toward the ticket counter. “This time, at least. You’re a surprisingly difficult woman to find.”
“I’ve been traveling.”
They stopped in front of the ticket window, and Kyril turned her to face him. “I’ve been looking for you for weeks. Your landlord said you were on a world tour. I didn’t believe him at first. But here you are, in Paris.” He felt it, then, the relief of finding her after the hectic search.
“Here I am. And so are you.”
“The food is incredible in Paris. And sometimes, if you’re looking for a woman, she might appear here, too.”
Hannah laughed warily. “I’m trying to get out. Hence the train ticket.”
“Tell me.” He was overwhelmed with the urge to know. “Did you plan to come back to Al-Dashalid? Or are you taking a world tour to escape from the memory of our time together?” He leaned in close, so that his lips were nearly brushing her ear, and breathed in the fresh, floral scent of her. “Or did you miss it?”
He loved the smile that graced her lips. “I did miss it. But that’s—that’s not why I planned the trip.” She shifted from side to side, the bag still held firmly in front of her, and bit her lip. “I didn’t expect to see—” She pinched the thought off mid-sentence. “Venice is next on my agenda. I didn’t think you’d be here to…to make it happen for me.”
“We could pick up where we left off, now that I’ve managed to find you.”
She pressed her lips into a thin line. “I wanted to tell you….” The space between her words lingered in the air. “Thank you. For the incredible time. I left without saying that before, and it’s weighed on me.” Something else was left unsaid, he was sure of it. But he didn’t press.
“You’re welcome.” He resisted the urge to press a kiss to the curve of her neck and stepped up to the ticket counter. Kyril ordered the replacement ticket in fluent French, and the woman behind the glass batted her eyes at him.
“Better hurry,” she replied in her native French. “The train is leaving.”
As if on cue, the whistle blew again, shrill and urgent.
“It’s leaving!” Hannah squeaked, her voice rising in panic. “Kyril—”
He took Hannah’s hand. She didn’t pull hers away. “Let’s go, let’s go. You can still catch it, hurry—”
He rushed her toward the train, the seconds ticking away around them. Kyril wanted badly, with every fiber of his being, to wrap her in his arms and take her away with him. He’d settle for keeping her hand in his. But he couldn’t afford to get caught up in emotions like this. The whistle screeched again, a final warning, and he squeezed her hand and guided her onto the silver train.
Hannah stepped into the wide-open doors. She turned back to look at him, hiking her bag up to her shoulder.
That was when he saw it.
The gentle curve of her belly under the sundress.
It was a shock that ran from his head to his toes, ice followed by a surprise that was pure heat.
“I was going to tell you.” She was eye level with him, standing one step up, and her face was stricken, undecided. “I didn’t plan on meeting you here.”
“Is it mine?”
There was no hint of deviousness in those big green eyes of hers, only an electric truth. “It is.”
“Mine.” His mind seized on the details. The little rise in the hem of her sundress where the bump lifted the fabric. The way the curves of her body were smooth and glowing. Her skin shone, and in the center of it all, her eyes searched her face. Was she looking for excitement? Disapproval? Could she see the storm that raged in the center of his chest?
His hands rose, and he pressed his palms against that curve. Oh, it was like a sigh of relief, touching her like this, and underneath his palms he felt it—an incandescent spark of life.
One they’d created together.
Hannah leaned into his hands, an imperceptible shift of her weight, and he slid his hands around to the sides of her waist. A new life, there between his hands. A new life that was his. He could hold her like this forever.
The train shuddered, the brakes releasing, and he dropped his hands away from her and stepped back.
“Goodbye, Kyril,” she said, and the doors of the train slid closed between them.
“Sir? Is everything all right?” The head of his security team drew close. Hannah turned away, disappearing into the car.
The train pulled away without him, leaving him standing alone on the platform.


Author Info


Leslie North is the USA Today Bestselling pen name for a critically-acclaimed author of women's contemporary romance and fiction. The anonymity gives her the perfect opportunity to paint with her full artistic palette, especially in the romance and erotic fantasy genres.

The truth of the matter is she loves her fictional persona, Leslie North, more than her normal, day-to-day persona! Her bestselling books focus on strong characters and particularly women who aren't afraid to challenge an alpha male. Inspired after years of travel, her stories are set all over the world, from the tough streets of Russia to the beautiful beaches of the middle east.

Leslie fell in love with romance when she first picked up a scrappy, dog-eared romance book from her local library. She began writing soon after and the rest, as they say, was history. She now lives in a cozy cottage on the British coast and enjoys taking long walks with her two Dalmatians, George and Fergie.

Discover her full book list at www.LeslieNorthBooks.com.

Leslie LOVES reader feedback, and if you have any comments, don't hesitate to contact her.
Twitter: @leslienorthbook
Facebook: www.facebook.com/leslienorthbooks
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