Publication date: March 29th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Shiekh Tarek of Zahkim doesn’t believe in superstitions or hunches, so when an old woman tells him an angel will fall from the sky and save him and his tiny kingdom, he ignores such a prophecy—until Tess Angel crashes into his life. Literally. Now he’s struggling with an attraction to this very modern
woman—but her life is worlds away from his own. There’s no chance of a future for them, but in the present moment, he can’t keep his hands off her.
After her jet crashes, Tess Angel is stuck in Zahkim with a gorgeous sheikh, and she has a hunch they could be soulmates. But this sheikh keeps telling her he’s a rational man who doesn’t believe in true love, and while his grandmother is scheming to keep Tess in Zahkim, Sheikh Tarek seems willing to let her go on her way. Can she convince him there’s more to this world than facts and numbers—and that true love can overcome any obstacles?
Tarek Rahim watched as his cousins and friends, Nasim and Arif, leaped with a whoop down the curved steps of the Sheldonian Theatre, their academic gowns flapping behind them. He followed at a more dignified pace.
“We’re free, lads!” Nasim shouted.
Tarek shook his head. Happy as he was to have completed his Oxford education, he couldn’t quite bring himself to crow. Other graduates laughed and jostled around them, greeting their families, and Tarek pressed his lips together. For a moment, he could only think of his parents. Five years ago, an automobile accident had taken their lives. He wished they could see him now.
Blinking, he pulled himself back to the moment. He could already hear the rattle of shackles coming to bind him to the throne of Zahkim, inherited from his father. His grandmother, Amal, had been acting as regent until he finished his education. Tomorrow he must become Sheikh Tarek of Zahkim, and the thought wasn’t appealing.
Nasim jabbed an elbow into his ribs. “We are going to party right up until we have to pour you onto the plane home. Let’s get rid of these robes and head to the Sunset Lounge.”
Arif chuckled. “You only want to go there because of that bartender who gives you doubles. It’s amazing you got your degree, given how much attention you paid to women and drink instead of your studies.”
“I had to make up for you,” Nasim said, slapping Arif on the back. Tarek smiled. They did tend to give Arif a hard time about his resistance to hedonistic delights.
Tarek thumped his cousin’s back as well. “Don’t worry, Arif. I’m sure we can find a woman to interest you tonight. It’s our last chance in England to live like the English.”
An hour later, they crossed the street and headed to the upscale bar they’d made their own over the last four years. Arif had his eyes on his mobile, as usual.
“No phones tonight.” Tarek plucked the device from Arif’s hand and stuffed it into his own pocket. “Only friends. Who knows when we’ll have another chance to do this.”
“And no being maudlin,” Nasim said.
Tarek straightened into a mock-formal pose. “I am a serious man, Nasim.”
Nasim snorted, and Arif said, “Tell that to the first year whose shampoo you replaced with mayonnaise.”
They laughed and turned toward the entrance, where chatter and laughter spilled out. The evening was descending, and streetlights flickered on up and down the sidewalk. The peculiar smell of Oxford—something not quite like sour milk—hung in the air. Tarek shivered in a cool gust of wind. He’d never become accustomed to the cold of England. He’d just reached the corner of the building when an old woman stepped from the shadows of an alley and grasped Tarek’s wrist.
The woman looked older even than Tarek’s grandmother. In the dim light, he couldn’t see much but bright blue eyes and wisps of gray hair escaping from the black scarves swathed around her head and shoulders. A baggy dress draped her figure, and she smelled faintly of beer.
“I’ll tell your fortune. Such handsome men, such tangled paths…”
“Not tonight, mother.” Shaking her off, Tarek reached for his wallet. “No futures. We want only this moment.”
But Nasim stepped between Tarek and the old woman. “It’s the perfect night—we have only the future ahead of us. Let’s hear her out.”
Arif frowned and stuck his hands in his trouser pockets. “Do you really want to know? There’s more to it than you realize.”
Tarek pulled two fifty-pound notes from his wallet and pushed them into the woman’s gnarled fist. “Find yourself some food and a place to sleep, mother. I’m not thinking about the future until I must.”
She grasped his arm and pulled at him until he had to bend closer. She spoke clearly, but so softly only he could hear. “An angel will fall from the sky and land at your feet, sheikh. She will save your country, but only if you fall at her feet in turn. Trust your instincts, my son.”
Tarek stared at her, but she only gave a smile and faded into the gathering night.
Nasim broke the silence with a nervous laugh. “I’m not sure what you just bought.”
Tarek hunched a shoulder. How had she known he was a sheikh? Was it a guess because he looked Middle Eastern? What had she meant about saving his country? From what? He shrugged off her words. If his country was on the line, he’d trust his intellect, not his instincts.
Leslie North is the pen name for a critically-acclaimed author of women's contemporary romance and fiction. The anonymity gives her the perfect opportunity to paint with her full artistic palette, especially in the romance and erotic fantasy genres.
The truth of the matter is she loves her fictional persona, Leslie North, more than her normal, day-to-day persona! Her bestselling books focus on strong characters and particularly women who aren't afraid to challenge an alpha male. Inspired after years of travel, her stories are set all over the world, from the tough streets of Russia to the beautiful beaches of the middle east.
Leslie fell in love with romance when she first picked up a scrappy, dog-eared romance book from her local library. She began writing soon after and the rest, as they say, was history. She now lives in a cozy cottage on the British coast and enjoys taking long walks with her two Dalmatians, George and Fergie.
She LOVES reader feedback, and if you have any comments, don't hesitate to contact her via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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