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January 2011
Second Book in the Desert Sons Trilogy
ISBN: 978-0373277117

Sheik Shakir Kadir, scarred by warfare and lost love, is ready for the ultimate confrontation. But his deadly mission to bring down his family's archenemy is compromised by the discovery that the princess who destroyed his heart is now a prisoner.

Held captive in a war-ravaged country, Nikki Olivier has her own life-or-death task to complete: bring her kidnapped son home alive. Her only hope is Shakir, the man she's never stopped wanting. Royal obligation had forced her to hurt Shakir and keep the volatile secret that her missing child is also his. Once the truth is revealed, will they create their own family legacy—or will it be their destruction?

More about The Desert Sons Trilogy



Shakir silently pointed the older woman into a corner, jammed the barrel of his weapon to the base of the young Taj soldier’s skull and ordered the kid to be silent.  The soldier kept squirming and moaning.  Pressing his advantage with a knee to the kid’s kidney, Shakir tried to quiet the tango.  He growled orders in both the Taj Zabbar language and in the few words of Kasht that he could remember.

“You are making a mistake,” the old woman said in French.

He glared at her, flipped the tango to his back and began a rough pat-down.  Sweeping his hands across the kid’s shoulders and down his sides and legs, Shakir checked for more weapons.  The sight of that ancient dagger had put him on alert.  This young Taj soldier could be as deadly to the mission as a scorpion’s sting.

Temporarily stashing his compact MTAR21 in the pack on his back, Shakir used both hands to search.  With his right, he checked between the kid’s legs.  While with his left hand, he rolled down under the soldier’s arm pits and around the rib cage. 

“Bloody hell.”  Shocked, Shakir stepped back and stared down into surprised hazel eyes.  “Blast it, who the devil are you?”

“I…I…”  The female under his hands was at a loss for words.  So was he.

Then it hit him—a few minutes too late.  “Nicole?”  He reached out to take her by the arm and pulled her to her feet.

“Shakir?  Shakir Kadir?  Oh my God, what are you doing here?  You scared me to death.”

He took a step back and studied the form of the young man standing in front of him.  Only now that he knew the truth, the form no longer even vaguely resembled a young man.  He should’ve known.

But Nicole’s honey blonde hair had been tucked up entirely under a purple-checked kuffiyah.  Her skin beneath the Taj soldier’s garments looked the color of splotchy brown dates.  Her tiny feet—the feet should’ve been a dead giveaway, were encased in the smooth leather sandals prevalent in these desert regions.

“What is that ridiculous looking thing you’ve stuck to your lip?”

She reached up, smoothing her finger along what looked like a line of dirt.  “Just a bit of Lalla’s hair.  Doesn’t it look like a moustache?”

“Not even a little.”

She grimaced, but immediately recovered her composure.  “I don’t understand.  This is crazy.  Like a bad dream.  What are you doing here, Shakir?”

His initial flood of relief at finding her alive gave way to irritation and he, too, grimaced.  “We’ve come to bring you home.”  She didn’t look injured, but what had they done to her mind?

Where was her gratitude?  Where were the tears of joy he had expected to see?

Antsy and ready to move out, Shakir fought his annoyance and reached for her arm.  “Let’s go.”

Nicole jerked back.  “Where?”  She fisted her hands on her hips and glared at him.  “How did you find me?  Why are you really here?”

Stunned, Shakir saw the mistrust in her eyes and it wounded his pride.  Never in their entire relationship had he given her reason not to trust him.

And he didn’t have time to deal with it here.  “We’ll hash this out later.  The choppers won’t wait.”

She stood her ground.  Something odd was going on behind those eyes.  Something very odd.

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