Protecting His Princess
wasn’t Mikhail’s. It looked like at least three separate people had written inside the book. “It’s a list of events and their dates, some of them natural disasters, some political milestones and some are names I don’t recognize.”
    “Does it say anything about the Holy Light Brotherhood?” Harris asked.
    Laila continued to skim. If someone caught her and Harris in this room snooping through Mikhail’s books, she had a lot of explaining to do. “I don’t see any reference to that.”
    On the last page, a name caught her attention. “It has my brother’s name.” Surprise and sadness created a heavy mix of emotions.
    “No. Saafir. It says Saafir is to be welcomed into the light before Mikhail’s wedding.” Laila’s stomach dropped to her shoes. Not Saafir. He couldn’t be involved. Both of her brothers wouldn’t allow the Holy Light Brotherhood to draw them into their clutches. Mikhail had always been hungry for power, angry at the world and focused on getting his way. But Saafir was easygoing and cared about others. He was less concerned about pressing his agenda, which almost never had anything to do with personal gain, and was more focused on helping the people around him. For all the compassion Mikhail lacked, Saafir made up for it in spades.
    “What does that mean?” Harris asked. “What makes him part of the Holy Light Brotherhood?”
    Thinking aloud or did he need an answer? “I don’t know anything about the inner workings of that organization. Does he have to prove himself somehow? A show of loyalty?” A chill of disgust traced down her spine. She couldn’t picture Saafir and Mikhail working together, much less Saafir working with the Holy Light Brotherhood. Laila shook loose her thoughts. “Saafir wouldn’t hurt anyone.” Even as children, Mikhail had had a darker side to his personality. But not Saafir. He had a heart of gold. He wouldn’t get involved with terrorists. Not willingly and knowingly.
    Harris took out his phone and snapped a few pictures of the pages of the book. He then set it back on the shelf. “I’ll see what I can do about getting more information on this. If they are planning something, we need to get in front of it and stop them,” Harris said. He moved toward Mikhail’s desk, slipped his hand under it, likely placing a bug.
    Laila locked the cabinet and replaced the key under Mikhail’s desk. She followed Harris to the door and bumped into him when he stopped abruptly. She braced her hand on the door, and he grabbed her arm to steady her.
    Heat shot from his touch up her arm and to her core. Their gazes met and held. Heat and excitement rushed into the space worry had occupied a moment before.
    “Excuse me,” he said. He didn’t release her.
    She didn’t want him to. Was she bold enough to pull him deeper inside the room, press him against the wall and kiss him? She’d seen it done in movies. Was she sexy enough to pull it off?
    Harris’s survey drifted from her eyes to her lips, where it lingered a moment before plunging lower.
    Her long dress suddenly felt too revealing. Barely any skin was showing, but his look devoured her as if she were stark naked in front of him.
    “Laila,” he said. Her name on his lips sent a shiver down her spine.
    “Yes?” she asked. Her adrenaline was pumping, fueled by the danger of being discovered, fear for her brothers and the excitement of being alone with Harris.
    Footsteps and voices sounded outside the library doors. Harris dropped his hand from her arm. He waited a moment, and then pulled open the door and moved out of the library. He gestured for her to follow. Laila didn’t recognize anyone in the group retreating down the hallway.
    A blush darkened her cheeks, and Laila slowed her thoughts to calm her racing heart. They had remained on platonic ground except for an innocent touch. Not so innocent thoughts, but Harris didn’t know about those.
    “Lead the way,” he said.

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