Saraha Heat: Three Kinds of Wicked Series Book 9
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by Brenda Williamson
Category: Erotica/Menage Erotica/Romance
Description: Sold to the Sultan as a concubine, Sabra dreams of love. Yet, the passionate and forbidden embraces she shares with the Sultan's son, Xavier can only bring her heartache. After her first meeting with the Sultan, she knows she can never be happy as a slave to his needs, and she voices her objection. However, when the insulted and displeased Sultan orders a painful punishment, Trey, the eunuch assigned to attend her comes forward and convinces the Sultan that it may be more beneficial for Sabra to endure training to learn her place. Xavier can't resist the beautiful and beguiling Sabra. From behind lattice stone walls he watches as Trey teaches the delicate desert flower to dance and move to please the Sultan, and he soon finds himself so enchanted with the slave that he becomes careless enough that Trey catches him watching. When Trey suggests he help train Sabra, Xavier can't refuse. However, after his power-seeking brother catches them in an intimate setting, Xavier fears his obsession with Sabra will be the death of them all. To My Readers: There's much to be said for the adventure and danger involved in falling in love. In SAHARA HEAT I bring you an Arabian tale of a forbidden love. Sabra is a young woman who feels destined to know no happiness as a slave and concubine to the Sultan. Xavier, one of the Sultan's sons has suffered the loss of a wife and child, and now searches the desert oasis' for his kidnapped sister, never thinking he'll find peace in his life again. Trey, a eunuch in the palace brings erotic temptation to Xavier and Sabra, and shows them there's still hope for love.
eBook Publisher: Red Sage Publishing/Red Sage Presents, 2010 2010
eBookwise Release Date: August 2010
5 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [201 KB]
Reading time: 124-174 min.
Sahara Heat: Chapter One
The glow of the moon cast long shadows on the white sands behind the men approaching Sabra. To become the concubine of the Sultan was an honor, she told herself whenever she thought about her future. However, from the time she'd turned twelve, although housed in comfortable surroundings, she'd been a slave. Six years had passed slowly as her guardian and taskmaster, the plump and vulgar Hasan, treated her worse than property. Now she stood nervously ready to face her destiny with little hope that she would like the Sultan's touch any more than Hasan's.
Even before her childlike body developed the curves and full breasts of a woman, she had to contend with what Hasan called her pre-training. While young, she'd successfully fought his kisses and touches. But this past year he'd forced her to surrender to the degradation of his fondling. She might have kept up her fight if he hadn't told her that if it wasn't her, it would be one of the younger girls.
Sabra kept her gaze down as one man from a group of three dismounted his horse and followed Hasan toward her.
"These are all of the females you own, or just the ones you're willing to part with?" The rich timbre of the man's voice sent rivulets of shivers through Sabra.
Her strange connection to that perfect pitch drew her gaze to the face scarf concealing the stranger's mouth. Were his lips soft and warm and powerful like his tone? Her breasts tightened, her nipples tingling.
"Yes, Amir Kaseem," Hasan answered. "I'm showing you all. Any one of them will make a fine addition to the Sultan's harem."
Hasan had many visitors to his oasis because caravan animals needed watering. His purchase of slaves was part of his occupation, his sale of them a common practice. Still, it had surprised her over a year earlier when the Sultan stopped on his journey home. She had never seen a man more grand or powerful. He bought her, but didn't take her then because his travel plans at that moment wouldn't allow him to accommodate a woman. He'd promised to collect her later, but as time passed, she assumed the Sultan had forgotten her. She never expected he'd send one of his sons for her. Nor had she expected to see eyes so beautiful on the man staring at her.
He looked away from her and continued his hasty perusal of the eleven prospects. She wondered if he selected another for the Sultan or for himself. Hasan had made it sound as if the choice would be for the Sultan. However, the Amir scrutinized them as if he looked for something unique about one of them. It made her wonder if he might be looking at the girls for a completely different reason.
When he finished, he stood near her at the end of the line. His gaze flickered toward her and back to the others. An inaudible muttered curse made the white cloth over his lower face flutter. Then he walked away.
"I'll take the youngest," he announced over his shoulder without emotion.
"A fine choice," Hasan praised. "The delicate flower will please you, indeed. She's the most obedient and quiet. Her supple flesh is her greatest asset. She has a body most desirable to a man."
The Amir paused his magnificent strides, and then his gait took him quickly to his horse. His outer robe swirled with the twist of his body as he mounted the large black steed. The Shamshir sword hanging from his sash stopped the garment from tangling around his legs.
In the past she'd pretended it was best for the girls to be sold out of Hasan's charge. Now she was upset by the idea that little Thara could become a concubine so young. The thought of letting Hasan rob another young girl of her childhood was too much to bear. Only the week before, he had sold twelve-year-old Azaria. Traumatized by something that had happened to her, the girl had never spoken to anyone. And her mute helplessness had changed something deep inside Sabra's heart.
"No." The loud and demanding word came from Sabra's mouth before she realized it.
"Be quiet, girl!" Hasan came at her, anger flashing in his narrowed eyes.
The Amir spun his horse in her direction. She stiffened with fear, even though whatever action he took against her would be worth it if she could save Thara.
Elegantly seated, the Amir rode his horse toward her. An odd chill of foreboding wormed through her body. She looked up into his eyes for no more than a few seconds and then lowered her head to stare at his booted foot in the stirrup, afraid her impertinence might have angered him.
"Why not?" The Amir's voice expressed curiosity instead of annoyance.
Caught by surprise, she dared to glance at his eyes again.
"Speak." His calm order bolstered her courage.
"She's a child," she protested quietly.
"Yes, I know." He looked at the others. "If not her, then which one do you suggest would be suited to assist my mother?"
Sabra wanted to bite her tongue. A servant to a woman was the best of all positions for a slave.
The Amir swung his leg over the horse and hopped down in front of her. He snatched her hand from where it held the corner of her kaffiyah over the lower half of her face. Bedouins seldom wore veils, yet Hasan demanded they show respect.
"I'm sorry," she whispered, her face now bare to his gaze. "Of course Thara would be a good choice. She's quiet and obedient."
"Perfect," he whispered, seizing hold of her chin. His long rough-tipped fingers jerked her face upward, making the agal band on her head shift back and threaten to fall off. She resisted moving to catch it.
"Yes, she's perfect." Sabra agreed.
"Who?" His brow furrowed.
"Yes. The girl, of course." His blue eyes twinkled and creased at the outside corners.
Had she said something amusing? She wondered if he smiled beneath his face scarf, but his stroke along her jaw distracted her from this question. The intensity of his exam warmed her cheeks. Embarrassed by the way he made her feel, she lowered her gaze. His thumb took a brazen pass over her bottom lip. She whimpered from the thrill it created in the pit of her belly. Then the Amir freely ventured with one finger down the length of her neck.
"She's still a virgin?" he asked Hasan, petting her skin continuously with the back of his hand as if she were an animal.
"Of course, Amir Kaseem. The Sultan paid a handsome sum for her, and I'd not dare let anyone touch her." Hasan rattled off the lie to easily.
Sabra stole a glance at the Amir's face for his reaction. He gave away nothing as to whether he believed Hasan.
The Amir flipped her kaffiyah back over her shoulder. The colorful head cloth made of goat's hair no longer concealed her neck where her loose Bedouin dress had shifted off her shoulder.
Her pulse sped up under the arousing strokes. To be in the Amir's presence for even a minute gave her an exhilarated feeling of freedom. How much more excited would she be should she have an hour of his time. Her heart thumped harder just imagining such an experience.
He touched her skin and a shiver from the caress made tiny bumps rise on her arms. There had been few times in her past when a man inspected her. Strangely, she liked his unhurried scrutiny.
Then the Amir showed a more personal interest. He sifted his fingers into her hair and rubbed a lock with his thumb. "Any price my father paid is too little for this exquisite creature, but I remind you, he will weigh that cost against the flaws in her disposition."
"I disclosed the imperfection of her waywardness," Hasan replied. "I told him she would need beating regularly."
"I highly doubt that will be necessary." The Amir laid her hair down against her chest as if its placement mattered. As the back of his hand traveled over her breast, Sabra braced herself to remain silent. His slight upward movement over the cloth nudged her rigid nipple. A heated sensation zipped through her body to the crux of her legs. It was then she noticed the unusual dampness between her thighs and the tingling awareness twitching her insides.
"Bring this one and the young one to my camp before nightfall." The Amir turned to his horse and picked up the reins.
Sabra felt an instant emptiness as she watched him remount his saddle.
"I'll be glad to be rid of you," Hasan gloated in a harsh whisper.
"No one could be happier than I am to leave here." She adjusted her headwear.
"Without your interference, I can begin training any one of the younger ones in the ways of pleasing a man." He grinned. "I think Laleil will show me just enough resistance to make time spent with her very interesting."
Sabra hated him. From the time her parents had died and the creditors took her as payment and sold her to Hasan, she loathed his unscrupulous actions. But her fate was unchangeable, so she looked in the only direction she could for help.
"Amir Kaseem!" she yelled, stopping him from leaving with his men.
"How dare you," Hasan hissed. He hit her so hard across the face that a blinding splash of pointed lights dotted her vision. She fell to the ground, landing hard on her bottom. The hot sand had an unyielding solidness and she cried out in pain.
"You'll never touch any girl again when I tell him that you've cheated the Sultan in the past. The Amir won't like being made a fool." She cringed as his hand rose up once more to hit her.
Faintly, she had heard a galloping horse. When she looked up, she saw sand spray from hooves stopping fast. Even Hasan turned.
"You will not touch her again!" The Amir practically flew off the saddle. His white robes fluttered around him as he grabbed Hasan's arm and yanked him back from her.
Wide-eyed at his response, Sabra sat and stared at the Amir in awe. Her agal and kaffiyah had fallen off and remained on the sand behind her.
The Amir shoved Hasan away and rushed to her. He tugged his face scarf off to reveal the rest of his handsome face. She yearned to know him.
"Are you all right?" He stooped down to her.
Chivalrous as well as compassionate, he made her heart ache with emotions she'd never felt before. Could he guess her thoughts? She dropped her gaze. "Yes, Sayyid."
"Tell me why you would risk punishment?"
"I wanted to--" She paused and looked at the girls, concerned about their fate when she was gone. If she spoke out and the Amir didn't care, the problems for the girls would be worse.
"You cannot believe a thing she says," Hasan yelled.
"Wanted to what?" The Amir caressed the side of her face where it burned with Hasan's handprint.
Hasan persisted. "I tell you, Sayyid, she's--"
"Enough!" The Amir rose.
Sabra cringed at his angry tone. She thought she felt the ground shake from the rotund Hasan stumbling back in fear.
"A thousand pardons, Sayyid." Hasan clasped his hands together and bowed. "I only meant to warn you of her cunning ways."
The Amir Kaseem seemed to disregard Hasan. He reached out, extending his hand toward her. She looked at his long fingers. Their rough surface showed evidence he was not an idle man. She wanted to grab hold and pull his hand to her lips, kissing his knuckles in appreciation for putting Hasan in his place. However, if her harsh life had taught her anything, it was to reserve her gratitude for bigger situations.
She dared a glance at Hasan. He waited for her words with a gleam of revenge in his silent stare. She'd pay for his embarrassment if she remained with him. If she went with the Amir, she might find the opportunity to speak of the conditions later. His character thus far proved favorable. He had the power to help.
"Come, take my hand." The Amir bent slightly.
"I wish to be no more bother," she whispered, fearing he'd leave and Hasan would have charge of her.
Hasan had many ways to torture her that left no visible signs. With his sour breath and foul odor, he could make minutes seem like hours. It wouldn't be the first time he'd push her to her knees before him. Some nights she had wished to die from the disgrace, yet that would be his victory. It was better to live with hope. Still, the shame left a deep, invisible imprint on her soul.
Sabra gasped when the Amir leaned further and grabbed her under the arms. He pulled her to her feet, showing strength in the ease of his movement. His large hands slid down and fit snug at her sides. She tensed, feeling his thumbs press the undersides of her breasts. A spark of heat radiated through her chest.
"You're small," he commented.
His hands moved down in a pass over her hips. He continued stroking up and down her sides. A warning slowly emerged in her thoughts. This man wanted to do the same things Hasan had done before and threatened to do to her again. The idea should have been repulsive.
"Now what was it you wished to say to me?" His kindness attracted her trust.
"Once you're gone, he'll beat me," she spoke softly. "I fear he'll ruin me for the Sultan."
The Amir's grip tightened on her sides.
"What's your name?" He let go and backed from her.
"Hasan, you're to take special care of Sabra. I expect her to arrive in my camp in the same condition as I see her now. When she's delivered, I'll personally have her inspected for any abuse, and I don't need to tell you how severe your punishment will be should she have a single mark."
Sabra trembled. The Amir's warning wasn't enough.
"Please," she said again, grasping the sleeve of his robe.
"Yes?" His hand covered hers and the warmth of his fingers invited her to move closer.
"He can hurt me in a way no one can see," she whispered so low, she couldn't be sure if even the Amir heard her.
His caress boosted her courage. She lifted her lashes and stared into his blue eyes. The light and tender brush of his knuckles swirling over her cheek showed her his concern. A tear slipped down her face and disappeared beneath his soothing caress. He touched her hair again, hesitant in his moves as if she might recoil.
"I'll take Sabra with me." He waved one of his men forward. "Omar, take the other with you."
The Amir bent down and retrieved her headwear.
With the first of her wishes granted, Sabra prayed she'd be able to convince the Amir to buy all the other girls. She didn't care what he wanted from her in return for his help. She was prepared to do anything he asked--absolutely anything at all.
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