Love Slave to the Sheikh

By: Miranda Lee


‘YOUdo not need to couch your diagnosis in soft terms. Please tell me the reality of my situation.’

The neurosurgeon looked across his desk at his VIP patient. He did not doubt that Sheikh Bandar bin Saeed al Serkel meant his brave words. But he wondered if the Sheikh was really prepared to hear that his odds of surviving were the same as those the bookmakers were giving on the Sheikh’s three-year-old colt winning the Derby?

Even money.

‘You have a brain tumour,’ the doctor told him. ‘It is malignant,’ he added, impressed when the dark eyes fixed on him did not flinch or even flicker.

People usually paled at such news. But this man was holding strong. Maybe it was the Arab way—their belief that their lives belonged to Allah. Maybe he was thinking that if it was Allah’s will that he die, then so be it.

Yet the man was only thirty-four years old. To all outward intents and purposes he was a splendid physical specimen of manhood. No one would guess by looking at him that he had cancer. Or, for that matter, that he was a sheikh.

Not for him any form of Arab dress. Or facial hair. His tall, lean body was clothed in the best Savile Row suit. His long, leanly handsome face was clean shaven.

But a sheikh he was. The only son of an oil-rich zillionaire and a London socialite—both of whom had been tragically killed in a fire on board a luxury yacht—he was Oxford-educated and currently lived in England, where he owned an apartment in Kensington, a stable full of expensive racehorses at Newmarket, and a stud farm in Wales.

The doctor’s impressed secretary had made it her business to discover all there was to know about her employer’s most exotic and possibly most wealthy patient. She’d been going on about him for a whole week, especially about his playboy reputation. He not only owned fast horses, he drove fast cars and dated fast women. Fast and very beautiful women.

The surgeon hadn’t been impressed. Till now.

‘And?’ the Sheikh prompted.

The surgeon gathered himself to deliver the final blow. ‘If you do not have surgery you will be dead within a year. The surgery, however, is risky. Your chances of survival are about fifty-fifty. The decision is yours,’ he finished, with a shrug of his shoulders.

The Sheikh smiled, his flashing teeth looking extra white against his olive skin.

‘You make it sound like I have a choice in the matter. If I do nothing, I will surely die. So of course you must operate. Are you the best man for this job?’

The doctor drew himself up in his chair, his shoulders broadening. ‘I am the best there is in the United Kingdom.’

The Sheikh nodded, his striking face serious once more. ‘I have great faith in the British. They do not overestimate their abilities as some people do. And they are excellent under pressure. Schedule surgery for me for the last week in June.’

‘But that’s three weeks away. I would prefer to operate as soon as possible.’

‘Will my chances of survival be much worse by waiting three weeks?’

The surgeon frowned. It was never good to wait with cancer. ‘Possibly not a great deal worse,’ he conceded. ‘Still, I do not recommend it.’

This time the Sheikh’s smile was wry. ‘But I am assured of staying alive for at least those three weeks, am I not?’

‘Your headaches will get worse.’

‘Can you give me something for them?’

The surgeon sighed. ‘I’ll write you a prescription,’ he agreed grudgingly. ‘But I am still not happy about this delay. What is your reason for waiting that long?’

‘I must go to Australia.’

‘Australia! What on earth for?’

‘Prince Ali of Dubar has asked me to look after his thoroughbred stud farm there whilst he goes home for his brother’s coronation. You might have read that King Khaled passed away yesterday?’

The doctor hadn’t. He avoided reading the news. When he wasn’t working he preferred to do something relaxing, like play chess. But he knew where Dubar was, and how wealthy its royal family were.

‘Surely Prince Ali could get someone else?’

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