Happy Wednesday, and thanks again to Angelica Dawson for organizing the MidWeekTeases!
This week’s tease comes from my current WIP, the erotic romance A Thorned Rose in the Sand. To place you in the context, Stevie and the nomad have arrived at the Bedouin camp after fetching water in the desert.
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The nomad spun and walked away. “Let’s go for that dromedary ride I promised you,” he threw over his shoulder.
“Um… Now? Can’t we eat first?”
He stopped in his tracks, raised a brow. “Eat?”
“Yes, as in have some food. You have food, right? I’m starving.” On cue, her stomach growled to stress the urgency.
He dug into a pocket hidden in his large tunic and brought out a small plastic bag. “Here, have some dried dates. They’ll keep you going till dinner.”
“And when will that be?”
“But…” She looked up at the sun, still so very high in the clear blue sky, and grimaced. She would never survive until then. Dammit, all she’d had today was a coffee and some pastry in Erfoud, after she brought the little boy to the hospital, but that was hours ago.
With a teasing smile, Ragab handed her a few dates. “You know, we pastoral nomads are often hungry, and we’re always thirsty. That’s how things are. We cope.”
He thought this was funny? She faked a huff. “Well, I’m a completely normal American girl used to regular and copious meals.” She accepted the dates and put one in her mouth. Mmm, the tasty fruit was thick with sugar and undoubtedly nutritive, but that didn’t mean she would survive until the evening. She pointed at him. “If I die of starvation, I have an army of bad-ass brothers willing to travel across the world to inflict the most terrible revenge.”
Ragab barked a laugh and spun on his heels again.
She couldn’t help smiling with him—and loving the sound of his voice, loving the way he looked at her, loving their humorous exchanges. And his playboy looks, by God!
But, be careful, girl.
Never forget the first motive of a man showing interest in a woman. Guys didn’t want a friendship. They wanted sex, hard and fast, day and night. And although the feel of Ragab’s stiff dick against her ass on the motorcycle had lit something hot and needy in her and she’d liked it—wanted more, even—she should never miscalculate a man’s intentions.
She spat out the stone, chewed on another date, and followed him to the backside of the low, rectangular tents, to an open space where camels, sheep, goats, and yapping dogs wandered freely and drank from basins.
They stopped at one of the camels, that rested on the ground with its long legs tucked underneath its body. The giraffe-like neck turned to them, and two bulbous black eyes beneath long, thick eyelashes studied her.
“Stevie, say hello to Usain,” Ragab said, petting the camel’s hairy neck. “Usain, this is Stevie, one very crazy specimen of the female species coming to see you all the way from America. I believe they have llamas over there, by the way. Your brothers.”
She held back a smile. “Crazy?” She gazed the big animal up and down. “I gotta be crazy to ride this thing, that’s for sure.”
Usain lifted its head in the air and let out a deep, rumbling, “Uuuurrr,” that sounded like an elephant’s trumpet.
Ragab smiled. “A lot of westerners call it a camel, but it’s actually a dromedary.” He grabbed a saddle from a carpet on the ground, placed it on top of Usain’s protruding hump, and tied it around the stomach. “It’s the smallest of the species and it has one hump. The others have two. Okay, climb up, lady.”
“Who, me?” She looked around.
He followed her look and frowned. “I don’t see anyone else here.”
“I’m not riding that thing.”
“I just am not. No fucking way.”
He pursed his lips. “And I who thought you were the toughest girl on the planet. I’m disappointed. We’ll ride together, then.” In one swift move, he got up on the saddle, adjusted, and extended a hand.
Taking a deep breath, she accepted the help and climbed up behind him. The saddle was wider than a motorcycle seat, and made of wood and piled blankets. Not the most comfortable thing to sit on. And what when the big animal underneath moved?
Ragab leaned forward and grabbed a blue rope that hung from Usain’s head.
She froze. Oh, my God…
Sitting back, he gave an order and tugged on the leash. Usain straightened its front legs, tilting Stevie backward so her world tumbled and the sky filled her view, and all she could do was grasp Ragab’s tunic and hold on for dear life, too panicked to scream.
Then Usain extended its back legs, and she was propelled toward Ragab so her boobs flattened against his back. Not a good time to worry about that—Usain moved with a rolling, lilting gait, scaring the living shit out of her. Without hesitation or shame, she slid her arms around Ragab’s firm waist and locked them in front of his stomach.
He didn’t say anything, but put a warm hand over hers. An incredible comfort in her moment of need.
Trying to breathe normally, she rested one side of her face against his shoulder blade and closed her eyes, holding on to him as tightly as possible and following his slow, dance-like movements. His body was lean, not an ounce of fat, yet muscled in the right places. A real man. His tunic concealed too much, like his turban. Oh, and he smelled nice, a mix of faint sweat and manly musk. She focused on breathing in his scent to forget about her fear.
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 annoyingly 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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Disclaimer: I’ve borrowed the photo to illustrate the book excerpt.