“Oh my,” Joline interrupted. She’d picked up her phone, obviously pulling up her husband’s itinerary for the day. “Keith, look up this guy’s name,” she said. “Sheik Laithir del Hassam of Piora.”
Shantra’s mouth fell open. “How did you…” then it hit her. The meeting!
“Rais told me about the meeting this morning,” she explained. “I just remembered the man’s name.”
Keith’s whistle came through the speakers loud and clear. “Damn, woman! You fall for the tough guys, don’t you?” Keith said, obviously looking at a picture of the man as well. “Wait, isn’t he married?” He looked into the monitor. “You can’t fall for a married man, Shantra.”
Joline shook her head, looking at an image of the sheik in question on her phone. “No, his wife died. About five years ago,” she went on, reading quickly through the information.
“His marital state is none of my business,” Shantra tried to interrupt, irritated by their innuendoes, even though they might be true. Not that she was going to admit that to either Joline or Keith. They wouldn’t let the subject go, and this was one man she really couldn’t allow to haunt her mind. Especially the way he was haunting it right at the current moment. Nope, she had to release this man and focus on work.
She’d already remembered the man’s wife. Shantra knew that she could never compete with the other woman. The sheik’s first wife had been gorgeous in a wispy, bohemian sort of way! During her life, that woman had been vivacious, charming, adored by the press and the elite social circles alike because the woman had loved throwing lavish parties that created excitement and awe in all of the gossip columns. The more Shantra thought about it, the more she realized that the woman was the complete opposite of her. His deceased wife had been flashy and charismatic, always charming the diplomats with her wit and relaxed style. There had been rumors about affairs with rock stars and celebrities that had visited Piora during that time period, but none were ever proven to be true, and had most likely only been jealous people trying to bring the woman down.
Shantra’s brothers might think she was flighty and loved shopping. Sure, she could socialize with just about any ambassador or palace guest, although Ciala had done most of that until she’d married and moved away.
Shantra just wasn’t the loud and vivacious type. She was chatty with her family, but generally quiet in public, enjoyed living her secret life designing clothes for the world, but she wasn’t the kind of woman who would go out into nightclubs and wear those clothes. Joline had done that on Keith’s arm before Joline had fallen for Rais, but now Jesek Designs were worn by enough celebrities that the three of them didn’t need to go to the nightclubs or the social gatherings. Everyone was doing that for them!
“Could we please focus on the meeting?” she said impatiently.
Both Keith and Joline lost their excitement as they read through the woman’s exploits. “She had a party that ended up with everyone naked in the palace pool?” Keith read out loud, obviously not impressed.
Joline held up her hand. “Wait, I have a better one. The woman was arrested for cocaine charges when she threw a party in Paris. There was cocaine dust on almost every surface of the penthouse hotel suite, but the charges were dropped.” Joline looked at Shantra and Keith with disgust. “How were the charges dropped? The woman should have been…”
“Royalty is not charged,” Keith interrupted.
Joline was flabbergasted. “Yeah, but that’s not fair.” She continued reading. “Wait, the woman had monthly parties that one person estimated cost over one million dollars for the food alone!” Her mouth fell open. “How do you spend a million dollars on food for one night? That’s outrageous!” She sat back in her chair but her hands fluttered in the air. “I guess it got her in the news, so why not?”