He stole her heart. Now they'll have to steal their chance for love...
Chala may be a princess, but as her caravan bears her toward an arranged marriage, she feels more like a prisoner, robbed of any chance for true love. When she is kidnapped by a band of nomads, escape is her first instinct. But as the leader, Kyo, turns his seductive charms on her, she finds fury and lust inextricably entwined.
Kyo only meant to take the treasures Chala carried, but the fiery tempered princess draws more than blood when she scores his face. She ignites a craving in his veins that burns hotter than the desert sands. Impulse drives him to seduce her until she freely gives him everything he wants. What he gets is a battle of wills--and a new enemy in the form of her jilted fianc�, who isn't about to let a merger between two kingdoms dissolve without a fight.
Captured between duty and desire, Chala must use every ounce of her cleverness to save a desert people...and take back the most precious treasure of all--a future with Kyo.
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July 06, 2009
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Excerpt from The Thief and the Desert Flower by Bonnie Dee
What had he been thinking of, bringing the ganza princess here? Of course, he could hardly take her to camp, letting everyone know what he'd done, but showing her his hideaway practically ensured he could never let her go. If he returned her to her people now, she might not be able to draw a map through the wilderness, but could describe his lair, giving them a starting place for their search. Stupid, Kyo, blinded to reason by a beautiful face and a throbbing c***.
The girl slipped on the shale again, flat gray stone sliding from beneath her shoe and down the slope. Kyo pulled her upright once more and around the big boulder that served as excellent cover for him to watch over the surrounding valley.
"Where are we?"
"Middle of nowhere. Ass of Karachi," he teased.
That's what Tanjia, his adopted brother, had called the desert when they were young. Tanjia was originally from Gendera, a survivor of an attack on his village who had stumbled into their camp. He'd won Kyo's mother's heart and a place in their tent. In all the years he'd lived with them, he'd never gotten used to the desolation of the nomads' land and used to make Kyo laugh by calling the desert "God's asshole".
Kyo guided the girl into the pitch-black cave. If the desert was dark, the cave was blindness. It sucked up light like the sun drank water. Even Kyo, who knew the layout and right where to find his flint and a torch ready for lighting, stubbed his toe on a rock. He struck sparks from the flint and the oil-soaked torch flared to life. Several large mirrors Kyo had confiscated over the years reflected light around the cave, sending black shadow demons dancing across the stone walls.
He glanced toward his guest, checking out her reaction to his secret domain.
She stood just inside the entrance, brown eyes wide as she gazed around. Kyo looked, too, seeing the place with fresh eyes. He owned nothing larger than could be carried on a pack horse, so there was no furniture, but no one in his tribe had ganza furnishings, which were too hard to transport as they moved from place to place.
The floor boasted several thick carpets with rainbow colors, which gave some cushion against the rocky floor. Sometimes he liked to lie belly-down on them, tracing his finger over the intricate woven patterns. Would the princess think the carpets pretty? Would she find the cushions, mirrors and trinkets gained from years of thieving as rich as he did? Kyo saw only dismay in her eyes. He studied his meager possessions again and realized they were a collection of junk. To her they were scavenged odds and ends only an ignorant desert rat would think luxurious.
His gut twisted and he turned away from her to ignite the previously laid campfire with the torch. After that he lit his oil lamp and set it on the flat rock he used as a table. He gestured at a pile of cushions on the floor.
"Sit. I take care of horses." He bound her hands together, but doubted he needed to. She'd slumped exhausted onto the pillows and her eyes were nearly closed.
Kyo retreated from the cave and drew a deep breath as he gazed across the shadow-filled land below. What had he done? What was he going to do with the woman sitting in his den? His expectation she'd adjust to being his prisoner was ludicrous. Just then he'd have given anything to start the day over. This time he wouldn't look twice at the ganza princess--simply take her jewels and ride away.
Night was plunging the valley below the rocky outcropping into blackness. His torch would be visible for miles. He'd better tend the animals quickly. He rubbed down both horses and left them cropping the sparse grass.
As he walked back up to the cave, Kyo clenched his hands lightly at his sides, his stomach fluttering. What was wrong with him? Where were his balls that he was allowing this woman to make him suddenly nervous? This was his land, his kingdom in the desert. He was in charge and what she thought of him or his den didn't matter in the least.
With that attitude, he strode into the cave, shoulders back, chin up, his arrogant bearing proclaiming him a leader among his people and a fine figure of a man. He stopped short when he saw the woman. She lay on her side on the pile of cushions, eyes closed, fast asleep or pretending to be. Her bound hands were drawn up near her face. One naked leg gleamed pale in the lantern's glow. The open flap of her split skirt showed everything. He couldn't take his eyes off that smooth, gleaming leg from the ankle above her shoe up to the lacy edge of her underwear.
His c*** rose hard and full, pressing into his pants. He tore his gaze away from her casually bent leg to look at her face. Thus far, he'd only caught flashes of snapping brown eyes and a jutting lower lip. For the first time, he was free to study her features without interruption.
In sleep, her face was relaxed and very young. Shinjate! How old was she? Her sun-flushed cheeks were as soft as a young child's, not weathered by sun or wind. Her pouting rosebud of a mouth invited kisses, and he imagined sucking the plump lower lip between his teeth. Her brown hair gleamed golden in the lamplight and tumbled around her face in flowing waves.
A frown creased her finely drawn eyebrows and she made a small protesting sound in her throat. Guilt struck him like a snake's fangs that she must be dreaming of the raid with Kyo as the demon of her nightmare. He wanted to sit beside her, stroke her tangled hair and soothe her fears away, but very likely his touch would only startle her awake into her real-life nightmare.
Instead, he carefully spread a length of lightweight jamoma over her body. After watching her sleep a few moments longer, he headed to the back of the cave. Kneeling beside the spring-fed pool that bubbled up in a crevasse in the rock, he drank his fill then peeled off his clothes and washed the sweat and grit from his skin. This abundance of water was an indulgence he would never take for granted. His appreciation for cleanliness had reached the point where he could hardly stand to spend time in camp, where water was strictly rationed and sweat-soaked fabrics dried stiff against dirty bodies.
When he'd cleaned up, he put on a fresh shirt and set his other to soak. He scooped a dipperful of water and padded barefoot across the cave to set it near the woman. If she woke in the night, she would be thirsty.
Stroking his hand over the jagged tear she'd made in his cheek, he wondered if he dare untie her hands. He decided against it, not wanting to wake with his head bashed in. After smothering the torch and turning the lamp wick low, he paused to stare at the sleeping woman again. Her eyelids flickered and he wondered if she was faking sleep.
Kyo considered lying beside her, holding her snug against him, but for tonight, he would sleep separately, letting her know she was safe with him. Soon enough he'd wrap himself around her, cover her body with his, touch her, kiss her, lick her... He swallowed, his c*** hard as granite.
"Time. Patience. Persistence." His grandfather had repeated those words many times. That creed was what gave the desert people the strength to survive in a land no others would inhabit.
Taking the words to heart, Kyo wrapped himself in a plain, woven blanket and lay down. He would be as steady and inexorable as the wind that shaped the desert to its whim. And slowly he would bend the woman's will to his.