Sam and his brothers had said goodnight to Leanne and her sisters after the wedding reception, then headed to the tiki bar by the pool at the resort along with Prince Marcos. They lounged in chaises where they could kick back and loosen their ties and remove their sport coats. They had even gone so far as removing shoes and socks and rolling up the pant legs of their tuxes.
“Fantastic wedding.” Prince Marcos Sayid of Madain Saleh held up his glass of Scotch in a toast.
Sam had already tossed back a couple of glasses, as had his two older brothers, Liam and Lyle. Their youngest brother, Jacob, was not yet eighteen and was sipping a soda. He raised his glass as well.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Liam grumbled. “I haven’t gone that many hours without a drink in years.” He downed another large glass of Scotch and laid his head back on the lounge chair, eyes closed and probably not long from needing an escort to his suite for the night.
Nicholas and Adele had decided not to serve any alcohol at their wedding because Liam had made a complete fool of himself at Lyle’s wedding less than a year ago. But when the bride and groom snuck away, presumably to head up to their hotel suite, they left the rest of the bridal party to fend for themselves. By eleven-thirty, the guys headed out back to the tiki bar near the pool.
Since Nicholas was upstairs doing what Sam wished he could be doing, he’d better not fault the guys for having a little fun of their own.
Sam was eyeing the pool and its promise to wash away the oppressive heat that never seemed to dissipate in the City of Dubai. That would require the removal of his tux and that would require traipsing all the way up to his suite. Way too much work just to cool off. He downed the last of his Scotch and a waitress handed him another.
She also handed a drink to Prince Marcos, who was completely oblivious to her flirting. He’d been ignoring women the whole evening and never seemed to dance with any of them more than once.
The young prince, who had been Nicholas’ best friend for years, had nearly upstaged the groom because he was required to wear his crown while attending formal social events. The way traditions had been explained to Sam was if the occasion warranted a tux, it required at least a simple band of gold around his head.
To his credit, Marcos had grown out his hair a little in an attempt to hide the crown. It hadn’t worked. The effect just made him look like a rock star in a tux with a crown. He could probably have his pick of the single women in this outdoor bar.
If Sam hadn’t already been in a relationship with Leanne, he might have been jealous of his younger brother’s best friend. As it was, Sam couldn’t care less how many girls fell at Marcos’ feet.
Or into the pool.
A blonde in a little black dress had locked eyes with Prince Marcos and had become so distracted that she walked right into the pool and landed with a giant splash.
Sam fought the impulse to laugh and pretty much lost the fight, along with his brothers, when Marcos jumped in after her, fully clothed in his tux and crown, presumably to rescue her.
Although the pool was shallow enough for her to touch the bottom, Marcos wrapped his arms around her waist, and she wrapped her arms around his neck. Sam couldn’t hear what they were saying from out on the pool deck, but they were obviously enamored with one another.
After flirting incessantly for several minutes, Marcos carried her out of the pool and set her on the patio right in front of Sam and his brothers. He heard Marcos call her Lyla, then he asked a pool attendant to jump in and fetch Lyla’s shoes from the bottom of the pool.
They stood there dripping wet for a few moments then left after making plans to meet back here after getting dried off and into something more comfortable.
Lucky prince. They’d been at the bar less than an hour and he already had a date with a pretty girl.
Not that Sam couldn’t spend the night in the arms of a pretty girl. If he wanted to push the issue, he could have Leanne join him at the pool as well. She left with her sisters at the end of the reception, claiming her feet were sore. He’d complain also if forced to wear heels with two-inch spikes.
He was just fine right here with a glass of Scotch and his brothers. They wouldn’t stay too much longer. Just long enough to get Liam inebriated so that he’d stay in his hotel room when they tucked him into bed. He’d caused enough trouble at their brother Lyle’s wedding that the guys were determined not to let that happen at Nicholas’ wedding.
Before any of them could think of leaving the bar, a very frantic Prince Marcos hurried over to them wearing jeans and a T-shirt. “My brother, Jared, was in a terrible motorcycle accident and I need to fly home.” Marcos handed a folded sheet of paper to Jacob. “Please make sure Lyla gets this note. You’re the only one sober enough who I can trust.”
“I promise to get this to her,” Jacob said, taking the note.
“Hope your brother’s okay,” Sam said.
“Thanks, man. They said he doesn’t look good.” Marcos reached out for a quick fist bump then hurried out to the back of the resort where a helicopter was just landing.
“Crown Prince Jared?” Liam asked with a sneer. “The same guy who dated Ruth Ashish when he was already married to that princess from Tayma?”
“Yep, Jared is Marcos’s older brother,” Sam answered.
“Excuse me—” The beautiful blonde named Lyla stood beside them in comfortable clothes that looked suspiciously like pajamas, with fluffy pink slippers. Her wet hair had been combed out and she’d washed off the smeared mascara. “Was that Marcos?” She pointed to where the helicopter was lifting off the back lawn of the resort.
“He asked me to give you this.” Jacob rose from his lounge chair and handed Lyla the folded note.
Lyla read it with a crease in her brow then glanced longingly in the direction of the retreating lights and fading whir of the helicopter blades. “I hope his brother will be okay.”
“Me too,” Sam said. “Or your prince charming is about to become the future king of Madain Saleh.”