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Rescued from the Desert

Rescued from the Desert

Book One in the Desert Royalty Series

Alys Newman

Little Books Media

First published in Great Britain in 2017 by

Little Books Media

County Durham

Copyright © Alys Newman 2017

ISBN 978 1 52130 7366

The right of Alys Newman is to be identified as the Author of this Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission form the Publisher in writing.

Book One of the Desert Royalty Series: Rescued from the Desert.

‘Rescued from the Desert is the story of King Rashid al-Shalan and the return of the love he believed he lost forever five years ago.

The last five years Emily’s life has changed dramatically. She didn’t know if returning to the desert kingdom of Kindah was the best for her. How she would feel if she if she saw the man she had spent one unforgettable night with?

As Rashid and Emily begin to explore their relationship together, those around them cause situations to arise that threaten their future happiness.

Can the kingdom survive the return of the true king and can Emily be rescued from the desert before it is too late …?

To Philip, the man in my life. You are the one who supplies endless cups of tea, and who copes with my frustrations, and who applauds my triumphs. You are my inspiration, and still rock my world after all these years!

About the Author:

Alys Newman is an author with a strong passion for history. She writes romance books entwined with historical themes set in modern times.

Trained as a medieval historian, Alys Newman is also a regular contributor of historical articles to several popular magazine titles.

She lives with her family in the north of England, near the Northumberland border. Here she takes inspiration from the amazing countryside and rich living history.

Alys is an avid use or social media & email. Contact her:

Twitter: @AlysNewman

Email: AlysNewman@gmail.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/AlysNewman

Other Books by Alys Newman: Booked for Love (available in Paperback and on Amazon and eBook stores around the world!)

Chapter One.

Emily plonked herself down on a stone bench in the private garden outside the ballroom. She could still hear noises coming from the party that carried on inside without her. The frivolities and noise were irritating her and she wasn’t in the mood for being jovial tonight. Emily felt her eyes fill as she thought of the journey that awaited her tomorrow. She had received a telephone call earlier in the day from back home in England to say he brother had been in a car accident and she needed to return as quick as she could. The hospital didn’t say the extent of his injuries, but it was implied that they didn’t know if Matt would survive or how badly he was hurt. Emily thought of her brother’s broken body and felt her eyes fill with fresh tears. ‘Oh, Matt’ Emily sobbed.

How could she lose her brother? Matt had been there for Emily when their parents died, and then when their grandparents had passed away a few years ago. Matt was her only option other than the state stepping in and making her a ward of court. Yet, Matt had argued with the social workers that at nineteenth he was more than capable of taking care of his sixteen-year-old sister. He promised them that he would make sure she attended school and that he would work all the hours necessary to make sure she had everything she needed. And he had. Matt had taken two jobs to make sure they could stay in the family home. Emily couldn’t bear the thought of him not being a part of her life. Tears streamed silently down her face as she lost herself to the wave of pain that threatened to engulf her.

In another area of the garden Rashid al-Shalan escaped the celebrations for his father’s fortieth anniversary of being on the throne, to make a call on his mobile. He knew his attendance inside was required and his absence would be noted, however, the family’s business interests around the globe needed his attention, and it fast becoming a juggling act that was becoming waring. Rashid wondered if he would ever find a balance between royal expectation and the necessity of economic survival for the kingdom. Kindah did not have vast supplies of oil like many of the neighbouring kingdoms, but they recently had found rich veins of minerals that would see the country’s wealth explode. Rashid hoped that once he was king he would be able to utilise that wealth to bring many of the modern amenities that the twenty-first century expected and needed.

However, before he had chance to access his contacts and retrieve the number to make his call, he heard a noise and realises it is the sound of a women crying. A woman’s tears normally hardened his heart. His mother had used them time and time again to get her own way, and it sickened Rashid how his father had given in to his mother’s constant demands. He remembered his own tears when his mother had died. He swore then that he would learn to temper those emotions as the pain of her leaving was forever marked on his heart. Sighing, Rashid gave into the inevitable demands of doing the right thing and went to find out who was crying, and see if they needed assistance.

The first point that Emily realised that she was no longer alone was when a pristine white handkerchief was thrust into her hands. Startled she looked up into the most mesmerising eyes she had ever seen. They appeared totally black in the dim light and yet she was not scared and they immediately drew her into their warmth and depth.

‘Are you alright?’ the vision before her asked.

‘I’m fine, thank you’

‘You do not look fine. Can I fetch someone for you? Do you need assistance in some way?’ the man asked.

Looking at the handkerchief Emily tried to think of the last time she had seen anyone with one. ‘Do people still carry handkerchiefs?’

Laughing Rashid told her ‘Evidently It would appear so’.

Wow, it was amazing how a simple thing as a laugh could light up a face. Emily thought he was handsome when she had first seen him, but now she thought he was breath-taking. He had jet black hair that flopped over his forehead and curled gently over the collar of his shirt, with a rugged angular face that Emily thought looked strong but kind. She realised the ridiculousness of their situation and felt embarrassed for staring and for being caught crying. ‘Thank you, and I’m sorry if I disturbed your peace. I will just let you be’ and went to stand up to move away.

Smiling down. ‘Don’t apologise I came outside to make a call but a damsel in distress is more important, yes? And please do stay where you are’.

Sitting back down. ‘Ok, and I don’t know about damsel but thank you for asking if I was alright’ Emily told him.

‘It is my pleasure. But, what is it that troubles you? Can you share it? Do they not say in your country that a problem shared is … halved … is, that, right? Rashid asked.

‘It is a problem shared, is a problem halved. But, yes that is what we say. Your English is very good, probably better than mine, but how did you know I wasn’t a local?’

Rashid reached out and ran his finger down the side of this vision in front of him. ‘Oh, my little English rose. Your colouring gives you away. None of my people are so fair skinned or with such lovely freckles’.

Emily blushed ‘That’s a bit of a personal comment, isn’t it? Especially to someone you do not know, or haven’t been formally introduced to’.

‘And that is something my countrymen also find hard to do. A blush in this day and age is a rare thing of beauty’ Rashid told her.

‘You can’t say things like that! I don’t even know who you are’ Emily stated.

Standing up and performing a low and theatrical bow. ‘Then let me introduce myself then. I am Crown Prince Rashid al-Shalan’.

‘But … but … you’re a prince. You’re the next in line to the throne. I can’t talk to you’ Emily blustered.

Rashid threw his head back in a full throaty laugh. ‘Why not? Do you have an impediment that prohibits normal speech? he asked her in a serious voice with humour in his eyes.

‘Oh, don’t be silly of course I don’t’ Emily told him, and then clamped a hand firmly over her mouth. ‘I can’t believe I said that’ smiling up at Rashid ‘Are you going to chop of my head now or send me to the dungeon?’ she asked.

‘No chopping of heads tonight, the royal head-chopper has the night off. I would more likely want lock you up in the harem’. Rashid found it strange that he found himself entranced with the beauty in front of him. She was lovely with no artifice and seemed totally unaware of her charms. It had been a very long time since he felt so connected and lustful of a woman. His position as a royal drew women to him, but he had little inclination to mix with many of them who were only interested in his wealth and his position. He thought it was time to find out who she was. ‘And you are?’ he asked.

‘Oh, I’m just Emily. I am here to complete the digitisation and archival work being done on the palace manuscripts and texts. I was working with Professor King back in London but I was the one chosen to come out to Kindah.’ she told him.

‘I would say you could never be thought of as “just Emily”! Do you keep your family name from me for some reason? Are we harbouring a notorious criminal or will I recognise your name from the tabloids?’ Rashid asked Emily.

Laughing out loud. ‘You really are not what I expected a prince to be like. But, rest easy your highness, I have no criminal past. My surname is Cartwright. I am just no one important, just plain old me’. She said.

‘Please you would do me a great honour if you would call me Rashid. You know Emily, you really are lovely. This conversation is refreshing, believe it or not people normally cannot wait to introduce themselves, yet I had to pull your first and last name from you’. Placing his hand firmly on top of hers. ‘Please do not call yourself plain, to me you are a breath of fresh air. It is like the sun has come out after many days of darkness’.

Emily considered Rashid’s words. His English was excellent probably the product of a very expensive and exclusive education, far better than hers, yet he made her feel special and as if they were the only two people in the world. It helped her take her mind of Matt’s injuries and the thought of dealing with everything when she left in the morning. Sighing Emily knew she needed to be strong for whatever lay ahead and this moment of escape was more than welcome.

Rashid heard Emily’s sigh and wondered what troubled her. ‘Will you share with me what concerns you Emily, what was it that made you cry?’

Emily considered her reply. Focusing on the fountain in front of her and watching the waters movement she began. ‘It’s my brother, Matt. I got a phone call today to tell me there had been a car accident and he was injured, and could I get here as soon as possible. I went into a panic but everyone here has been so kind, and a flight has been arranged for me, but it doesn’t stop you from worrying and imagining all kinds of things’. Tears welled up and spilled over the rims of her eyelashes as she added. ‘I’m scared of what I’ll find when I get home Rashid. Matt has always been the strong one, what if I can’t be the same for him?’.

He was stunned. Rashid hadn’t known what to expect what it was that was upsetting the young woman beside him, but he had not imagined such a tragic event. ‘Oh Emily, I am so sorry. I had no idea’.

‘Of course, you hadn’t, why would you? I just needed a few minutes away from the party to compose myself. It all got too much for me and the garden felt so welcoming’. Emily told him.

Rashid smiled. ‘I can see that, and the garden certainly has been my sounding board along the way. It is important to find a few minutes’ peace, a few moments out of time, when nothing is more important than just the silence’.

‘That sounds like you understand how I was feeling. If it isn’t being too nosey for me to ask, what is it that makes you seek the peace Rashid? You seem so ‘together’ surely there is nothing that you cannot solve or someone solve it for you’.

Rashid looked at Emily before deciding how much to reply to her. The years had taught him to guard his words however he found himself wanted to share something of himself with Emily. ‘Of course, I have an army of staff. I am the Crown Prince Emily; therefore, I am not allowed have concerns in the same sense as others. That does not mean I do not have worries and moments of doubt. But, other than my family, who can I share them with, without people wanting something from me or using the information to harm my family?’.

‘That sounds incredibly sad and lonely’ Emily told him.

‘I guess so but being part of the royal family comes at a price. My father, the king tonight celebrates being on the throne for many years, he is lauded for bringing stability to the crown after years of tribal in-fighting. And I know at some point, I must take up that legacy and hope the fragile peace holds when I become king’.

Emily thought about what it must be like to be in Rashid’s position and shuddered. She liked her life as a digital archivist. She had the responsibility of protecting the manuscripts she worked with, but it wasn’t quite in the same league as overseeing a country. She had come to Kindah to record and protect the royal library and archives from the ravages of time. It was tiring work but she found it rewarding knowing that she was preserving the many written treasures for future generations. But, would she want the same pressures Rashid felt on her shoulders? Emily doubted she would want to swap places with Rashid. She had dreamed of being a princess as a little girl but the reality appeared nothing like her childhood storybooks. Rashid appeared to be handling the demands and expectations well, but she could see stress lines beginning to form around his eyes. ‘Do you have no one besides family who could help share the burden or a wife to work alongside you?

‘I do not have a wife Emily. Fear not I would not speak to you as such if I was promised to another. My culture is unforgiven to those who treat our women with disrespect. Times are changing and the kingdom is slowly embracing the modern world, but the old ways still permeate our lives’. Rashid paused for a moment before speaking again. ‘I have a sister, Farah who is a couple of years younger than I am. I have also have an older brother’. Glancing across at Emily. ‘You may wonder why he is not Crown Prince and next in line to the throne’?

‘I wouldn’t presume to have an opinion on such matters. Through my training, I do obviously understand primogeniture, and the rules of first-born son, but I also know it doesn’t always follow the heir and spare format’ Emily said.

Rashid looked up at the clear night sky. ‘No, but you have summed it up pretty well. My brother Arif refused to become Crown Prince because he wanted to live as the Bedouin do and take his place as the al-Shalan sheikh with the desert tribes in the north of the kingdom. The Bedouin are important to my country and their role as advisors to the king has been a long tradition’.

‘Did you … no, I can’t ask that. It’s not my place’ Emily stated.

‘Let me guess. Did I resent Arif for walking away and placing it all on my shoulders? Is that what you were going to ask Emily?

‘Well, yes but it was impertinent of me, and I’m sorry for probing where I should not’.

‘There is nothing to forgive. You are only voicing what I have often thought and wondered myself. I think it is a hard question to answer. I have often been angry at Arif for being able to choose the way his life has developed, even to do it by force. But, I love my family and I must accept what is given. As Allah tells us In shaa Allah.

Emily understood the Arabic phrase and it gave her some peace when thinking about Matt’s accident. If god will’s it Matt would survive and recover. ‘Thank you for that. Talking with you has helped and giving me some perspective on going home tomorrow. I don’t know what I will find but I need to have the strength to get through it. Whatever happens’.

Rashid believed it was at that point, and after Emily’s wise words when he knew he was going to fall in love with her. Before tonight he would have laughed at anyone who said that it only took a moment to meet the love of your life. Never had a woman’s smile rendered him speechless or the to feel the turmoil he had been suffering due to pressures of his position melt away. He didn’t want to lose her; he knew she had to go home but Rashid knew he needed to persuade Emily to return and spend time with him and eventually share his life as his … wife?

Emily had no idea of what Rashid was thinking. She observed him unobtrusively whilst he appeared lost in thought. As a man, he seemed kind and thoughtful, and wasn’t at all what she had expected to prince to act like. Then again Emily didn’t come across many princes in her normal working day. It was only then that she realised the observer had become the observed.

With a slow smile, Rashid acknowledged Emily’s awareness of him. ‘Would you let me show you more of the gardens? They were planted by my mother. She is no longer with us, but this was one of the few unselfish things she did do, and since her death her gardens have been tended and preserved’.

‘Thank you, Rashid. I’d love to explore the gardens further’.

They set off at a gently pace that first led them through an archway then into an open area full of fragrant roses of all colours. Emily gasped as the perfume tickled her nose and she took in the scene in front of her. As far as the eye could see where perfectly pruned rose bushes. ‘This is absolutely amazing. May I?’ Emily asked as she indicated to the garden.

Nodding his head. ‘My mother started the garden and planted those first bushes. She had rare moments of altruism. Normally she never did anything without an agenda. My father, brothers and sisters loved the privacy the garden offered so it was agreed that it would be maintained. Over time those first bushes have been added to but the garden is primarily reserved for the royal family’.

Emily walked to one of the bushes and inhaled the flowers perfume ‘It’s beautiful, and it smells divine. You are so lucky to have access to all of this. I will think back to this when I am in England and it’s cold and grey. Thank you for allowing me to come into the garden and sharing this with me’.

Emily’s reference to leaving made Rashid realise how little time they had left, and how little time he had to convince her to return to him once her brothers situation had been resolved. Rashid needed to show Emily that he was serious and that they could build a future together. He knew that it was traditional in his culture for marriages to be arranged and very often the bride and groom didn’t meet until the wedding day. Or at best perhaps once prior to the ceremony. But, it was important for him to assure Emily that his feelings were genuine and not fickle. Rashid walked across to where Emily was enjoying the roses, and touched her hand. ‘You feel it, don’t you?’ he asked.

‘Feel what? Emily said pretending to not understand what Rashid was asking.

‘Now Emily, let us hope that is the first and last time you ever lie to me’. Rashid told her.

‘Sorry’ Emily blushed and said quietly. ‘It just that feeling like this scares me. I only met you an hour or so ago and yet I feel like I have known you for a long time and that it was part of my destiny to meet you, does that sound too fanciful?’

‘Not at all. You merely put words to my own thoughts’ Rashid declared. ‘Emily, you leave tomorrow and I wanted to ask …’

Emily could sense the pause in his words, almost as if he was unsure of himself. This prince in front of her, who probably made decisions that affected the lives of thousands everyday was nervous. It made her smile and feel brave. ‘Ask what Rashid?’

Rashid carefully pulled Emily closer and bent his head towards her. Her earlier worries totally disappeared and were replaced with a longing that she had never felt before. Rashid lips brushed hers and the gentle exploration was a test of restraint and of desire. Emily melted in Rashid’s arms and as their tongues met and entwined she trembled in an abyss of sensation.

Breaking the kiss Rashid asked. ‘Would you stay with me tonight? I cannot bear to let you go. I have never felt like this before and on my reputation and honour I would do you no harm. I cannot bring myself to let you out of my sight until I have to …’.

Emily gasped. But, she knew that she could not stand to be parted until time ran out in the morning, and circumstance would force them apart. She stared wide-eyed and studied Rashid’s strong-boned face. He had eyes that were fathomless and his black hair begged for her fingers to run through it. Emily should have felt intimated by his obvious strength but whilst she was overwhelmed by her own emotions, she was not afraid of Rashid. Emily knew she was putting her trust in Rashid and it was a risk, but she knew if she didn’t she would regret for the rest of her life if she didn’t take this chance. She drew a deep breath. ‘Yes’.

The one word answer was all that was necessary. Neither felt the need for words at the point. Their emotions were overwhelming, and their anticipation of the night ahead had silenced them both.

‘Are you staying in the women’s quarters or in one of the cottages in the grounds? Rashid wrapped his arms around her to shield her in case they were being observed as they slowly made their way towards the exit.

Nibbling her lip with her teeth, Emily told him she had been housed in one of the cottages.

‘Will you let me take you there?’ Rashid caressed her back with his fingers as the intensity of their desire grew.

‘Yes, I will’.

The crossed the garden and exited through a different archway into a paved area that led to a group of traditional small houses used for guests who preferred more privacy than the palace offered. Braziers had been lit outside each doorway to light the occupant’s way, and made Emily think of desert camps with goat-haired tents.

She unlocked the door and they entered the foyer then Emily locked the door quietly behind them.

‘Where do you sleep?’ Rashid asked, his voice rich with craving and instilled with hedonistic hunger.

Emily placed her hand in Rashid’s and led him down a dark corridor into the air-conditioned bedroom. The bed dominated the room and wall sconces muted the lighting into a soft glow.

Rashid stood in front of her, and gentled put his hands around her face – hands that were kind and strong. He took on the role of protector and pleasurer at the same time. It was a heady mix. He looked at her as if she was the only person in the world.

Emily allowed herself to drown in his dark eyes. She was a mass of swirling sensations and was shocked at her behaviour. Never had she behaved like this before. She didn’t see herself as sensual or the kind of woman who would hold a man like Rashid in her grasp. Yet, for this one night she was the centre of his world and it awakened yearnings within her that she didn’t know she possessed.

He felt his heart swell and his pulse race. Rashid was overcome by how quickly he had connected with Emily and how savage the attraction to her was. He was held captive by her and without knowing she held his heart in her hand to crush or to fill it full forever.

Rashid paused for a moment as he thought that this could be their one and only night together. If he could not persuade Emily to come back to him, he dealt with the horror that he may never see her again. Who knew what she would find when she returned to England? How long would it be before her brother would recover from his injuries, and would Emily feel able to leave him? This possible cause of action was terrifying and made his insides twist. Why did they have to meet now when she was about to leave the country? Before long she would be gone …

‘This feels wrong when Matt is struggling for life’ Emily whimpered.

‘I know, but as harsh as it may sound, life does go on. You cannot put your life on hold Emily … our greatest gift to those who have gone before us is to show them us living well I believe’.

Emily considered his words. And decided Rashid was right. If all they had was this one night, then they should make sure they it was a night they never forgot. They should feast on each other and share their pains and their appetite for each other. Emily would not let the future overshadow this one night out of time expected or not. ‘I didn not expect this Rashid’.

‘Neither did I aziz’. He pulled her close to him and slowly kissed along her jaw. ‘If all we have is this one night, then know you have my heart Emily. Know that you are my beloved, and I will never forget you or this night. Our souls have met and they will know each other again …’

Chapter Two.

Five Years Later …

‘Matt, it’s just me’ Emily shouted as she unlocked the front door to her brothers flat.

‘I’m in the kitchen’ came his reply.

Emily sighed. She could hear the despondence in Matt’s voice. It was hard to think back to the time before it wasn’t there. The car accident that Matt had been involved in five years ago had changed both their lives completely. As she made her was down the dark corridor Emily noticed the general air of untidiness and general lack of care. As she entered the kitchen-come-dining room at the back, Emily was struck by how bright and welcoming it was. Or rather it would be if there wasn’t a large pile of dirty dishes in the sink and most of the work surfaces were not covered in dirty pots, pans and crumbs.

‘Oh Matt, this place is a filthy. Where is Mrs Southern? I thought she was coming in to do the housework and keep this place if not tidy at least not a health hazard’.

‘I sacked her, and told her to go’.

‘Why on earth would you do that?’

Matt finally looked up at Emily and she found herself shocked by his appearance. Before the accident, Matt had been a writer and a big part of the local rugby team. His six-foot stature and broad shoulders had made him a quick target for many of the sports teams. Though this all came tumbling down when some drunken driver had ploughed into his car after a boozy lunch. Matt had lost the ability to walk for more than a few steps and now relied on the use of a wheelchair to get around. The doctors were hopeful that the paralysis would eventually go if Matt worked hard at his physio and stayed focused. However, after throwing himself into his recovery the first year, Matt soon began to lose hope as the slow progress finally wore him down. Emily had tried every method she could think of to get Matt inspired but as of yet nothing seemed to be able to break through the hard shell that he had built around himself.

Matt looked at Emily and saw her frustration at him. ‘She fussed around too much. “Are you eating enough Mr Matt”, “Do you want me to do that for you Mr Matt”. It drove me insane’.

Emily laugh at Matt’s impersonation of the stout housekeeper. “But, you need someone Matt. The flat is dirty and you could do with some help you know that’.

‘I know but I just can’t face it at the minute Em’.

‘Ok, fair enough. Well I guess I have the day free so let me get started on the kitchen and then I can work my way through the flat and get it back to something approaching normal’.

‘Em it’s your day off, you don’t need to do this and you cannot want to spend what little time you have off cleaning my flat’ Matt told her.

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