SOME DAYS STARTED OUT well and stayed that way. Others started out well and rapidly deteriorated.
This day, Nadir Zaman Al-Darkhan, Crown Prince of Bakaan, decided as he stared at a very large and very ugly statue squatting in the corner of his London office, was rapidly sliding towards the latter. ‘What the hell is that?’
He glanced over his shoulder at his new PA, who blinked back at him like a newly hatched owl transfixed by a wicked wolf. She’d been recommended by his old PA, whose recently acquired husband had taken offence at the seventeen-hour work-days Nadir habitually kept, and he wasn’t sure how she was going to work out.
In general people either treated him with deference or fear. According to his brother, it had something to do with the vibe he gave off. Apparently he emanated an aura of power and ruthless determination that didn’t bode well for his personal relationships, which was why he didn’t have many. Nadir had merely shrugged when Zach had delivered that piece of news. Personal relationships ranked well down below work, exercise, sex and sleep.
Not always, a sneaky voice whispered in his ear and he frowned as that voice conjured up an image of a woman he had once briefly dated over a year ago and had never seen since.
‘I believe it’s a golden stag, sir,’ his PA all but stuttered, definitely falling into the fearful category.
Applying some of that ruthlessness his brother had mentioned, Nadir banished the image of the blonde dancer from his mind and turned back to the statue. He could see it was a stag and he only hoped it hadn’t once been alive. ‘I got that, Miss Fenton. What I should have said is—what the hell is it doing in my office?’
‘It’s a gift from the Sultan of Astiv.’
Ah, just what he needed—another gift from some world leader he didn’t know, offering commiserations over the death of his father two weeks ago. He’d only been back in Europe a day since the funeral and he was, frankly, tired of the reminders which always brought up the fact that he felt nothing for the man who had sired him.
Annoyed, he strode across to his desk and sat down. His PA stopped in his doorway with her iPad clutched to her chest.
‘Tell me, Miss Fenton. Should a person feel badly that their father has just passed away?’
His PA’s eyes slowly widened as if he’d just raised a gun to her head. ‘I couldn’t quite say, sir.’
Meaning she didn’t want to say. Which didn’t surprise him. It wasn’t as if he was known for seeking out the personal opinion of those who worked for him. Not on private matters anyway.
Still, he couldn’t quite contain his frustration as his PA shuffled into his office and perched on the edge of an office chair. Between fear and awe he’d go with awe every time but his new PA looked as if she was waiting for him to attack her with a blunt instrument, which could have something to do with the whole host of unwanted emotions and memories his father’s death had stirred up in him. He knew a shrink would tell him that was a good thing. As far as Nadir was concerned, long buried emotions and memories were long buried for a very good reason.
‘What else have you got for me, Miss Fenton?’
She flashed him a relieved look that he had turned his mind to work. ‘Miss Orla Kincaid left a message.’
Nadir already regretted calling up an old mistress to see if she was free for dinner. Earlier, when it had crossed his mind, he’d been bored by a group of business executives who couldn’t give away a cold beer to a dying man in the desert let alone convince him to shell out millions to invest in a product they were trying to manufacture on the cheap. ‘Let’s have it.’