Life has taught Prince Vereham al a'Karim bin Hakar to control his emotions. Duty to his kingdom drives the enigmatic sheikh.But one unexpected, intensely sexy encounter with inexperienced Samantha McLellan shakes Vere's steely control. And when he discovers that Sam could be betraying his country, he decides to blackmail her--into being his mistress!
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June 30, 2008
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Excerpt from The Sheikh's Blackmailed Mistress by Penny Jordan
Vere looked through the window of his office in the palace of Dhurahn, thinking not of the beauty of the gardens that lay within his view, which had been designed by his late mother, but of the desert that lay beyond them. The familiar fierce need that was stamped into his bones was currently possessing him. He wanted to put aside the cares and complexities of rulership of a modern Arab state and enjoy instead that part of his heritage that belonged to the desert and the men who loved it.
Which in one sense he would soon be doing. In one sense, maybe, but not wholly and freely. On this occasion it was his responsibility to his country and his people that was taking him into what was known as the 'empty quarter' of the desert, to the boundary they shared there with the two of their Gulf neighbours.
As he crossed to the other side of his office to look down into the courtyard, where his household were preparing for his departure, the remote and aloof air that was so much a part of him, which those who did not know him thought of as regal arrogance, was very much in evidence. Vere felt the weight of his responsibility towards the birthright he shared with his twin brother very deeply. He was, after all, the elder of the two of them, and his nature had always inclined him to take things more to heart and more seriously than Drax, his twin.
To Vere, ruling Dhurahn as their father and mother would have wished was a duty that was almost sacred.
There had only been one previous occasion on which his longing for the desert and the solace it offered him had been as strong as it was now, and that had been the time following the tragic death of his parents--his mother's passing having hit him particularly hard. That thought alone was enough to fill him with a savage determination to tighten his control over his current feelings, which he saw as a wholly unacceptable personal weakness.
It was unthinkable that his physical desire for the carnal pleasure afforded by one of those western women who came to the Gulf ready to trade their bodies for the lifestyle they thought their flesh could buy--a woman ready to give herself on the smallest pretext, shamelessly openly--should have driven him to the point where he felt his only escape from it could come from the same place where he had sought solace for the loss of his mother. It was more than unthinkable. It was a desecration, and a personal failure of the highest order.
It was more than half his own lifetime ago now since the death of their parents, but for Vere as a teenager, struggling to be a man and ultimately a ruler, with all the responsibilites that meant, the loss of the gentle Irish mother who had supplied the softening wisdom of her love against his desire to emulate his father's strength, had been one that had taken from him something very precious, leaving in its place a need to protect himself from ever having to endure such pain again.
Some men might think that for a man in his position the answer to the sexual hunger that was threatening to destroy his self-control was to satisfy it via marriage or a mistress.
His brother Drax was, after all, already married, with his wife expecting their first child in the near future, and Drax had hinted to him that he would like to see Vere married himself.
Vere frowned as he watched the four-by-fours being loaded for the long overland drive to the empty quarter.
The initiative prompted originally by the Ruler of Zuran, to investigate and if necessary redefine the old borders that separated their countries from one another, and from the empty quarter, was one he fully supported. They all in their different ways held certain territorial rights over the empty quarter, but by long-held and unwritten tradition they tended to ignore them in favour of the last of the traditional nomad tribes, who had for centuries called the empty quarter home.
The Ruler of Zuran wanted to bring the small band of nomadic tribespeople within the protection of the opportunities for education and health welfare he provided for his own people, and to this end he had contacted his neighbours: the Emir of Khulua, and Vere and Drax.
His initiative was one that was very close to Vere's own heart, provided it could be accomplished without depriving the tribes of their right to their own way of life. The Emir, not wanting to be excluded even though he was a more old-fashioned and traditional ruler, had also indicated that he wanted to be involved in the project, and as a first step the Ruler of Zuran had funded the cost of a team of cartographers to thoroughly map out the whole of the area.
It had been the Emir who had suggested that whilst this was being done it might be a good idea to reassess and establish their own individual borders with one another, which met at the empty quarter. It was a good idea that made sense--as long as the Emir, who was known for his skill at adapting situations to suit his own ends, did not make use of the re-mapping to claim territory that was not strictly his.