New release alert!
His Desert Rose, my very first “sheikh” book, was published by Mills and Boon a few years ago but the rights have now reverted to me.
I’ve given it a lick and polish and this great new cover, and it’s available for a short while at the the launch price of 99p/99c and the equivalent everywhere else worldwide.
If you missed it the first time round, now would be a good moment to download it from Amazon, or read on KU.
Here’s a taster –
A pale riderless horse leapt from a low bluff and landed in front of them, turning to rear up in front of the car, mane flying, hooves pawing at the air. Tim swung to avoid it, throwing the car into a sideways skid that seemed to go on for ever on the loose gravel.
‘That’s Adhafera, Abdullah’s favourite horse,’ he said, as he brought the Range Rover under control. ‘Someone’s going to be in trouble—’ The moment they stopped, he flung open the door and leapt down. ‘Sorry, but I’ll have to try and catch him.’
‘Can I do anything?’ She turned as he opened the tailgate and took out a rope halter.
‘No. Yes. Use the car phone to call the stables. Ask them to send a horsebox.’
‘Just say between the villa and the stables; they’ll find us.’
The interior light had not come on and she reached up, clicked the switch, but nothing happened. She shrugged, lifted the phone, but there was no dial tone.
Great. She twisted around to look for Tim but he’d disappeared.
She dug out the mobile phone that Gordon had included in the carrier with the book and the cuttings.
It was small, very powerful and did just about everything except play the national anthem, but she wasn’t confident enough with it to press buttons in the dark, so slid down from her seat to check it out in the headlights. Her feet had just touched the ground when the headlights went out.
She could hear her brother, some distance off, gentling the nervous horse, hear the scrabbling of hooves against the rough ground as the lovely creature danced away from him. Then that sound, too, abruptly stopped as the horse found sand.
It was so quiet, so dark in the shadow of the bluff. There was no moon, but the stars were brilliant, undimmed by light pollution, and the sand reflected the faintest silvery shimmer against which everything else was jet-black.
A shadow detached itself from the darkness.
But it wasn’t her brother. Even before she turned she knew it wasn’t him. Tim had smelt faintly of aftershave, was wearing a light-coloured jacket.
This man had no discernible scent and he was dressed from head to foot in a robe of a blackness so dense that it absorbed light rather than reflecting it. Even his face was concealed in a black keffiyeh worn so that nothing but his eyes were visible.
His eyes were all she needed to see.
Despite the charge of fear that fixed her to the spot, despite the adrenalin-driven panicky race of her heart, she knew him. But this was not the urbane Prince boarding a private jet in expensive Italian tailoring; this was not Hassan in playboy prince mode.
This was the man promised by granite eyes, deep, dangerous and totally in command of his environment; he wasn’t here to offer help.
Before she could do more than half turn to run, before she could even think about shouting a warning to her brother, he’d clamped his hand over her mouth and he lifted her clear of the ground as he pulled her hard against his body.
Hard enough for the curved weight of the dagger at his waist to dig into her ribs.
Definitely not from the local branch of auto rescue.
She might have done a self-defence course but so apparently had he, because he knew all the moves.
Her elbows were immobilised, and with her feet off the ground she had no platform from which to launch a counter-move.
Not that it would have been much help. She might make the high ground, but what then? There was nowhere to run for safety and although she couldn’t see anyone else, she doubted that he was alone.
She struggled anyway.
He simply tightened his grip and waited, and after a moment she stopped. There was no point in wearing herself out unnecessarily.
When she was quite still except for the unnaturally swift rise and fall of her breast as she tried to regain her breath, he finally spoke.
‘I would be grateful if you did not shout, Miss Fenton,’ he said, very quietly. ‘I have no wish to hurt your brother.’
And his voice was like his hand, like his eyes, hard, uncompromising, not playing games.
He knew who she was, then. This wasn’t some random snatch.
Well, no. It might have been some days since they’d exchanged that momentary glance on the plane that had brought her to Ras al Hajar, but she’d heard the voice much more recently.
Heard it insisting that she must go to the races. He’d wanted to be sure she would be there so he could plan exactly where and when to abduct her. And she had blithely assured him that she would be there.
Not Simon Partridge.
She realised that she wasn’t as surprised as she might have been. The voice was a much better fit.
But what did he want? She didn’t think for a moment that he was about to carry her off into the desert for the purposes of ravishment.
She was a journalist, and not given much to flights of fancy.
And why would he bother when, with the click of his fingers, he could bring just about any woman he desired to his side?
She nodded, once, promising her silence.
The formal courtesy was unmistakable not that she’d had much choice. But, as if to prove that he was a gentleman, Hassan immediately removed his hand from her mouth, set her feet to the ground, eased his grip on her.
Maybe he was so used to obedience that it didn’t occur to him that she wouldn’t keep quiet, keep still. Or maybe it didn’t matter all that much. There was only Tim, after all, and with a sudden sense of dread she recalled the sudden silence.
‘Where is Tim? What have you done with him?’ she demanded as she spun back to face him, her own voice hushed in the absolute still of the desert night. Hushed! She should be screaming her head off…
‘Nothing. He’s still chasing after Abdullah’s favourite stallion.’ The silver in his eyes gleamed in the starlight. ‘I imagine he’ll be gone some time. This way, Miss Fenton.’
Her eyes, quickly adjusting to the darkness, saw the uncompromising shape of a Land Rover waiting in the shadows.
Not one of the plush, upmarket jobs that her brother drove, but the basic kind that took to hard terrain like a duck to water. The kind used by military men the world over.
Far more practical than a horse, she didn’t doubt, any more than she doubted that she would go wherever he was taking her. Her only alternative was to run for it, try and dodge him in the rocky outcrops of the rising ground behind her. As if he anticipated she might try it, Hassan’s hand was at her back, urging her towards the waiting vehicle.
Despite the prickle of fear that was goosing her flesh, all her journalist instincts were on red alert. But, although her curiosity was intense, she didn’t want him to think she was going willingly.
‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ she said, and dug in her heels.
‘Kidding?’ He repeated the word as if he didn’t understand it. Then he raised his head, looked beyond her. The moon was rising, and as she turned she saw the dark silhouette of her brother in the distance. He had managed to get the head rope on the stallion and was leading him quietly back towards the Range Rover, completely oblivious to her plight, to the danger he was walking into.
Hassan had seriously underestimated his skill, his empathy with even the most difficult of horses, and, realising it, he swore beneath his breath.
‘I don’t have time to argue.’
She wasn’t about to let Tim walk into trouble, but even as she drew a ragged breath to shout a warning she was enveloped in blackness. Real blackness, the kind that made starlight look like day, and she was wrapped, parcelled, bundled, lifted off her feet and slung over his shoulder.
To find out just how much trouble Rose is in – how much trouble she gives Hassan – read on at Amazon.
2 Replies to “His Desert Rose”
Happy Book Release!
Thank you, Denise! Annoyingly the cover hasn’t appeared at Amazon – they are looking into it – but the book is live and will download complete with the cover.