Happy Wednesday, and thanks again to Angelica Dawson for organizing the MidWeekTeases!
This week’s tease comes from my erotic interracial romance A Thorned Rose in the Sand, which has just finished at 22K. In this scene, Stevie is trying to surmount the shock of seeing Ragab pleasing himself in the dunes.
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Hours later, after a breakfast of mint tea and home-made biscuits served by Ragab’s mother on a carpet outside the tent, Stevie brought her luggage to her motorbike. The punishing sun climbed high in the bright blue sky, heating the air she breathed. She had a long road ahead, but before she even started, the thick rally clothes made her sticky with sweat. Worse, her head buzzed and ached from lack of sleep, and the warring emotions within drove her crazy. Not the best conditions to drive on a difficult terrain.
Ragab hadn’t returned, and his dromedary was missing.
She tried holding back her tears.
Was he angry with her? Did he think she’d been spying? If only he would give her the chance to apologize and explain. She hadn’t meant to walk into him in the dunes! It wasn’t like her to sneak up on people. She wasn’t the nosy kind—on the contrary, she demanded discretion, and so in return she gave it too.
Feeling sick, she strapped her luggage to the back seat when his mother came from behind the camp with a bucket of goat milk in hand and her daughters in tow. The little girls wore colorful dresses, and hair bands of cotton and pearls decorated their braided hair.
Stevie stopped working and asked the black-clothed woman, “Have you seen Ragab? I need to talk to him.”
His mother lifted her shoulders, didn’t speak English. Neither did the girls.
“’Ayn hu?” Stevie’s Arabic sucked, but she could at least ask where he was.
Shaking her head, his mother put the milk bucket on the ground, stepped forward, and took Stevie into her arms, as if to tell her she accepted her, or maybe that she understood how she was feeling. Holding her for a moment, she delivered a long line in this foreign language, voice raucous.
Stevie didn’t understand much, except, “Choukran.” The woman thanked Stevie, but for what? For bringing her little son to the hospital?
Oh, but that had been nothing. It was only natural to help. By the way, maybe she could stop at the hospital and say hello, since she had to drive through Erfoud to get to Fez. Wouldn’t that be nice?
She said, “Choukran,” too. She really did have a lot to thank for. Her two-day stay with the desert nomads had been a most enlightening and educational experience. An adventure of the rare kind. Even if she came back one day, this time, this moment would be forever etched in her mind.
Leila and Aida stood watching the scene, their dark brown eyes—the same as Ragab’s—sparkling with expectation.
Stevie searched a pocket, found a pack of chewing gum, and handed it to them.
They screamed and danced in delight, like it were a sensational gift.
Neighbors stuck their heads out of the other tents.
“Maʿ al-salāmah!” Stevie waved good-bye at them, before kneeling and holding out her arms to Ragab’s sweet little sisters. They came into a girl group hug that had her choke. Was this their last time together?
And what about Ragab?
Tears rushed to her eyes, filling them so her vision blurred, and rolled down her cheeks like warm rivers of hurt. Releasing the girls, she got up, turned her back to the Bedouin camp, and started the motor. No, she didn’t want to leave.
Copyright @ 2018 Lea Bronsen
After his studies in London, Ragab has returned to the nomadic lifestyle of his Bedouin family and the majestic silence of the Sahara. His days are spent herding camels and dreaming of the perfect wife, until a beautiful but feisty bike driver stuck in a sand dune turns his quiet world upside down.
When the rat-race of life in a big U.S. city becomes too much, Stevie Jones decides to change track and live her wildest dream – compete against the tough guys in a thrilling motorcycle rally across Morocco. But to her surprise, the real excitement is to be found away from the race track, in the shifting sands of the desert…
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Find out more about the book here
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Disclaimer: I’ve borrowed this photo to illustrate the book excerpt.