The Sheikh's Purchased Bride

By: Holly Rayner





She nodded and watched the man leave backstage as quickly as he entered. Eight weeks of attending this theater as an understudy and years more as a fan led her to know exactly where he was talking about: The Delphi—a small, classy bar situated in a nook across the street. The architecture was beautiful and intricate; the wood beams and interior craftsmanship showing the building’s historic character and elegance… And besides that, they made a mean sangria.





TWO





Amie had never changed so fast in her whole life. She frowned in the mirror, at the gross sweatpants and ridiculous sweatshirt she’d come to work in. Of all days, why couldn’t she have worn something a little more dignified?



She told Michael she’d likely be late to the after party and raced across the street at lightning speed. Luckily, The Delphi was small enough that she easily spotted her mystery talent scout and made her way over to him.



“Amie Shaw,” she said as she sat down, reaching across the table to shake the scout’s hand.



He looked her outfit over and, though he never changed his expression, Amie could feel a definitive judgment about her less than stellar wardrobe.



“I came to work straight from the gym,” she lied sheepishly.



He squeezed her hand and released her from their overdue introduction, smiling charismatically as he said, “Please, call me Malik. I’ve taken the liberty of ordering us some champagne, I hope that’s all right.”



“Perfect,” she smiled and adjusted herself at the high-top table; minding the incredible chandeliers that hung over each tabletop.



“I figured you’d be in the mood to celebrate.”



She laughed and twirled her hair in mock-seduction. “What tipped you off, my amazing performance tonight, or do I just have the face of a drunk?”



“A little of both,” he said with a wink. “You’re confident. I like that. You seem perfect for a role I have in mind.”



“That’s amazing,” she smiled and gracefully picked up her champagne flute. She’d been to this establishment enough times to know how ridiculously expensive the bottle was, and inwardly chided herself for taking a giant gulp instead of sipping at the beverage like a lady. “Oops,” she said in a silly tone, referencing her chugging the champagne. Yeah, good job Amie, try and act a little more like someone who was raised in a barn!



“So, what’s the job?” she asked smoothly in an attempt to transition the conversation.



“Well, it’s… it’s a little unconventional. Kind of like a live-action drama piece.”



“Oh, neat. Like a reality show, or something?”



“Something like that.” He frowned playfully and then leaned in from over the table; a broad smile crossing his lips. He looked to be in his early thirties; short dark hair and a sharp jaw. His eyes were what intrigued her most; deep hazel, framed by dark lashes which accentuated the color.



“Picture this…” he said breathily, as though he were about to sell her something. “You’ll be whisked away from this cold Chicago weather to someplace warm; historical. You’ll be playing a bride-to-be to a sheikh of a foreign land. A prince, really.”



“A prince… So romantic,” Amie said absent-mindedly as she pulled a notepad from her purse and began furiously scribbling notes. “How long will the project run for?”



“Six weeks,” he said plainly, staring down into his champagne, yet making no move to drink from it. “It will require the utmost class, charm, and tact.”



She tapped her nose. “Act like a lady. Got it.”



“Any questions so far?”



She nodded. “Yes. When do I start, and how long will rehearsals go on for?”



“That’s the thing,” he pursed his lips and pressed his fingertips into a steeple. “How do I put this…? It’s an immediate start, as in tomorrow. And there aren’t any rehearsals. Think of it as an improvisational work.”



Amie paused for a second. She was a good actress and everything, but she wasn’t that good… or was she? She did get a standing ovation and a job offer immediately after her first performance, after all.

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