The Sheikh's Purchased Bride

By: Holly Rayner





Maybe she was just feeling a little full of herself. Still, she felt no small sense of pride as she heard a woman in the audience declare ‘She was amazing!’ to the woman she was sitting beside.



Amie almost laughed. Did they really think she was the star of the play? Didn’t they realize she was just the understudy? The thought filled her stomach with butterflies.



Her line of thinking was confirmed further as she headed backstage and was met by a barrage of co-stars, along with Michael, all congratulating her on a flawless performance.



“You’re coming to the after party tonight, right?” Michael asked, grabbing both of her hands in his.



“Um… Is that even a question?” she joked.



Michael laughed. “You know the address. Take in every moment of it, Amie. This is your night!”



Before Amie could respond, Michael suddenly seemed distracted, pointing behind her to a handsome man entering the greenroom. He had deep, tan skin and a fantastic gray suit that, she’d wager, probably cost more than the deposit on her apartment.



As the man approached, Michael leaned into her ear, whispering with a hint of annoyance, “Probably a journalist or a critic.” He looked Amie up and down, rolling his eyes and sighing playfully. “Well, at least try and act refined.”



“Thanks for that,” she responded dryly before turning to her Middle-Eastern hunk of a critic. “I don’t do autographs,” she joked before throwing her hands up in the air. “Oh, who am I kidding? Somebody get me a pen!”



Michael stared on, looking horrified for a moment before taking his leave backstage—but not before pointing to his watch and mouthing “Five minutes!” at Amie, from behind the critic’s back.



“That was a joke…” she awkwardly chirped out.



The man smiled. “You know your joke’s not funny when…”



“When you have to explain it?” she winced. “I’ve heard that before… Hey, you’re the man from the front row! Fancy suit, loud clapping, told me I was brilliant.”



“I did, did I?”



“Well, in my head you did,” she said with an easy smile. “I give it about, oh, two more minutes until you actually say it to my face.”



“You were brilliant,” he relented jokingly before making a half-hearted bow.



“Man, am I good.” Amie tried her best to act smooth but couldn’t help her face flushing red as he spoke to her; his slight accent peeking through his words. “So, you’re a journalist?”



The man looked taken aback. “Here, I thought I was in real estate? Hmm…”



“Oh, you’re not a journalist. My bad, sorry. I was told that when people come backstage it’s because they… Wait, if you’re not a journalist, what’re you doing back here?”



“I’m actually a talent scout, of sorts.”



“I thought you were in real estate?”



“What can I say, I’m a man of many talents.”



“If that’s true, then I am all ears,” she smiled.



“Good, because I think you might be exactly what I’m looking for.” He looked her over and gave his first flirtatious smile of the evening. “Perhaps I could let you get out of costume and we’ll speak further?”



Amie’s heart skipped a beat. Wow, this guy must’ve really liked her work if he was just waiting around to offer her a job right after the play. This was just the way she imagined landing her dream job; one fabulous night of acting followed by a wave of roles and opportunities coming her way. Alright, so this wasn’t exactly a wave, but it was something.



Flabbergasted, all Amie could think to say was: “You don’t like my dress?”



The man blinked and laughed. He stared down at her 1920s-style cocktail dress and the large feathered plume coming out of her flapper headband. Her eyebrows were accentuated into unthinkably long tails ending by her temples and she still held a long, ivory cigarette holder between her fingers. “I worry I’d come off as underdressed if we were to meet like this,” he laughed once more. “Meet me across the street for a drink?”

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