Bedded by the Desert King [Surrender to the Sheikh Miniseries] [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Susan Stephens
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Zara Kingston has gone to the desert city of Zaddara to confront the man she blames for her troubled past. But when, during a sandstorm, she's protected by a dark stranger, she finds that the desert holds hidden treasures. Zara soon realizes that the man she yearns for is Sheikh Shahin--the thief of her happiness! Shahin knows that Zara is a virgin--forbidden, no matter how strong his desire. But it's forbidden fruit that tastes the sweetest....
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2006
24 Reader Ratings:
SHE was tempted to take more shots, but her spine was tingling. And that wasn't a good sign when the man she had her camera focused on had a sidekick with a gun slung across his shoulder.
Zara guessed her target had to be one of the local tribal leaders touring the border of his land. But, whoever he was, he was magnificent. Capturing striking images was her stock-in-trade, though wildlife of a different kind had brought her to the wadi—rare desert gazelles and the Arabian oryx, graceful creatures that had been hunted to the point of extinction in some parts of the desert. They had been reintroduced into Zaddara in the early eighties and were said to drink here at dawn. The man was an unexpected bonus.
Zara tensed, realising he had started stripping off his clothes. The temptation to zoom in was irresistible. His torso was hard and tanned an even nutmeg and muscles bulged as he flexed his arms. Discarding his tunic, he let his trousers drop and she gasped as he stepped out of them, completely naked. It was a moment before she realised she hadn't taken a single shot. She made up for it now.
Wildlife photographer to hot-skin snapper? Zara smiled wryly. There was a whole world of opportunity opening up for her here. But she had no inclination to broaden her horizons in that direction even if she could use some of the images she was capturing now in the exhibition she intended to stage when she got back home…An exhibition that was supposed to contain more than wildlife images, Zara reminded herself. She had been hoping to capture something that would help her to forge a closer link with her late parents, not this incredible specimen…
Burrowing deeper into the sand hollow that served as her 'hide', Zara worked as fast as she could, hoping her camera lens wouldn't catch the sun and give her away. She had a living to earn, as well as a past to understand. And the truth about her past lay here somewhere in Zaddara…
Her parents had lost their lives in an oilfield disaster working as geologists for the late Sheikh. Sheikh Abdullah had been a simple man with a simple goal, and that had been to find oil to bring wealth to his impoverished country. Her parents had helped him to do that and had paid for it with their lives. The kingdom of Zaddara was now one of the major oil-producers in the world thanks to them, but the country had a new sheikh, and Sheikh Shahin was said to be far more ruthless than his father. Her late grandparents had always told her Shahin was responsible for the accident that had killed her parents.
Her jaw clenched as she thought about the blood money paid into her bank account each month. As soon as she was old enough, she had formed a trust to hold the money, then used it to fund the schemes she cared about. Recently she'd given a lump sum to a scheme that reintroduced rare species into their natural habitat. She refused to spend a penny of it on herself and had found solace of a sort from using the Zaddaran money to do some good.
Zara felt a shiver run through her a second time. It was a warning. Something wasn't right. Where had the bodyguard got to? Lowering the camera, she knew she shouldn't have allowed herself to become distracted. Capping her lens, she started to shuffle backwards down the slope towards her Jeep.
* * *
Shahin's jaw clenched with anger when he heard Aban's warning shout. He was poised on the edge of the wadi ready to dive in. He had waited almost a month for this promise of cool relief. He couldn't believe someone would dare to disturb his privacy now. He was in the middle of the desert. How far must he go to find solitude?
He had chosen the area for his retreat carefully. This place was at least fifty miles from the nearest habitation; only the Bedouin trails of his ancestors, hidden to those unfamiliar with the changing patterns of the desert, passed this way. There shouldn't have been a chance of him coming into contact with another human being. And now this…
Narrowing his eyes, Shahin shaded them against the first low-slanting rays of the sun. Staring up into the dunes, he could see two dark shapes silhouetted against the threatening red sky where there should only have been one. The area might be remote, but the fact that he hadn't checked their surroundings personally was a careless mistake. He could afford no more errors.
Casting another glance into the dunes, Shahin relaxed, seeing his bodyguard Aban had everything under control. The intruder had been apprehended and it would dent the old man's pride if he were to interfere now. Aban was a good man and he would make sure he retired with honour. The elderly guard had travelled willingly into the wilderness with him to share the privations of a prince. A prince who had for a lifetime cared only for himself, and who must now be a king and father to his people. Only Aban knew the long days and nights of fasting were not just to prepare him to rule, but to drain the pus from a longstanding wound, a wound that even now could make him call out in his sleep and pound the sand with his fists in frustration that the past could not be changed. But if he must live with what he had done, he would learn from it. Diving into the freezing water, he powered across the wadi knowing that when he returned to the capital to be formally recognised by his people as the ruling sheikh of Zaddara he would take on all his father's responsibilities, however challenging. He was ready now.
Copyright © 2006 by Susan Stephens.