Shannon Smith thinks her marriage to the intense, brooding Hani bin Nasser is one of convenience, but her mysterious Saudi husband has other plans.
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Ellora's Cave Publishing, Incorporated
November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from Subjugated by Jaid Black
"Where are you going?"
The question was spoken softly, but sent chills down her spine nevertheless. He had an unnerving way of speaking, a tone that both demanded and commanded respect. And those eyes...
More chills. She'd never seen eyes like his before. They were dark, almost black, and coldly austere. They watched her every move, calculating and assessing, as if homing in on her every thought and deed.
Where am I going?
Her teeth gritted as she considered telling him her life was none of his fucking business. But something inside her hesitated, a sixth sense that warned her it was in her best interest to just give him an answer. She'd have to lie, of course.
She couldn't tell her husband that she was going on a date with another man.
Then again it was possible he wouldn't care. Perhaps she was seeing warning signs in those grim black eyes that weren't really there. Maybe he was feigning a polite interest in her comings and goings. The vows they'd spoken were, after all, a sham. Theirs was nothing more than a modern day marriage of convenience.
Shannon Smith, now Shannon bin Nasser since the rushed wedding ceremony almost one year ago, steadied herself before meeting his gaze. She thrust her shoulders back, her chin up, and ran a hand through her soft mane of wavy golden curls with a pretended nonchalance. She met his stare and her turquoise eyes widened just a bit, always unnerved by his stoic presence.
Damn him anyway. He was only twenty-six years old, a full decade younger than her, yet she'd never met anyone more formidable. Ever.
Physically, her young husband was quite tall at six feet four inches. His shoulders were broad, his physique sleekly muscled, and his arms vein-roped in that I-just-came-from-the-gym way. His jet black hair was cropped close to his head, his complexion bronzed olive in color.
He rarely spoke. In the eleven months they'd been married, they had never carried on a real conversation. She had tried...oh how she'd tried! But he'd ignored her, never giving her much material to work with. The result was the feeling that she was married to a stranger, and one whom she'd never felt terribly comfortable around.
Perhaps he thought she was too old, too American, too...who knew what. It didn't matter really. In a few weeks he would be done with his degree and heading back home to the Middle East, halfway across the globe.
And she would be forgotten, as though she never was.
She frowned, for some reason not liking that thought. It would have been nice if they could have been friends, but the quietly intimidating giant currently staring her down had never seemed particularly interested in developing a friendship.
Shannon delicately cleared her throat and glanced down at the floor. Hani bin Nasser was not only physically and mentally intimidating, but with his chiseled face and straight nose was also a leading contender for the title of world's sexiest man. On the few occasions they'd been out together since they'd spoken their "I dos", she couldn't help but notice all the gawking girls wanting his attention...and no doubt wondering how she'd gotten him.
Not that she wasn't beautiful herself. On the contrary, Shannon was very aware that men had found her desirable since the day she'd hit puberty. Possessing full D-cup breasts, a perfect ass, and an exotically pretty face, she'd never wanted for attention from the opposite sex.
But this man, Hani, was so much younger than she and heralded from a culture that placed a lot of importance on youth. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a woman was considered old at age thirty. Shannon had surpassed that milestone six years and some months ago.
"Out with some friends," she finally said, glancing up. "There are leftovers in the refrigerator if you get hungry while you're studying."
He said nothing, just stared at her. After eleven months of marriage, she should have been more accustomed to this treatment.
Shannon blew out a breath. "I, uh...I guess I should finish getting ready." She found her nerve and pierced him with her steady gaze. "You have my cell number if you need me."