Title: Her Desert Prince
Author: Marie Tuhart
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Catherine Taylor, no stranger to life’s school of hard knocks, at 18 leaves her dysfunctional family behind, striking out on her own to embrace her passion for art. Years of hard work has given her a degree of acclaim. When offered the opportunity to work in the middle eastern country of Bashir to create the defining mural for the new children's critical care ward, Catherine embraces the chance to meld her love of children and her love of art. What she doesn’t think she is ready for is the blatant and instant passion she feels the moment she meets the successful country’s crown prince, Malik. Malik al-Hakim has been raised with the sole purpose of someday becoming the king of Bashir. Years of careful preparation by his loving family has him ready to take the yoke from his father one day, but nothing could prepare him for the instant lust he feels the moment he sees Catherine. Never one to let an opportunity slip by, Malik pursues Catherine, convincing her to explore their desire. But when political intrigue places Catherine in danger, Malik soon realizes lust has evolved to love and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep the woman of his dreams safely by his side, no matter how hard she tries to fight their fate.
She stepped outside, the scent of jasmine filled her senses and her muscles instantly relaxed. The quiet snick of the door closing spurred her into action. She took the first path until she found a nice grassy area beneath a palm tree. She sat down and opened her sketchpad.
Her fingers flew over the pages as she captured the scenes flittering through her mind. She lost all track of time until a husky male voice said, “Hello, beautiful.”
Her head snapped up to see the stranger from the airport.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, pulling the sketchbook to her chest.
“I was about to ask you the same thing.” He slipped closer. “What are you drawing?” He craned his neck but couldn’t see anything.
“Nothing.” She closed the book with a snap, but her cheeks turned pink, making him even more curious about what she’d been drawing.
Then a memory nudged his brain. “You’re the artist commissioned to do the mural at the hospital.” He shook his head, trying to reconcile her with the woman at the airport.
“Yes.” Her chin came up, and he couldn’t help but grin. She was defensive about her work for some reason. No worries; he thought it was great. But part of him wanted to haul her into his arms and kiss her again. Instead, he followed a saner choice and sat down on the grass across from her.
She wiggled an inch or two away, then her gaze met his. She was wary of him, but he caught a hint of curiosity in her gaze.
“I’m Catherine Taylor.” She held a hand out to him.
“Malik.” He grasped her hand, lowered his head, and caressed her knuckles with his lips. A slight shiver moved through her body and transferred to him. So she was affected by him. Good. He squeezed her fingers.
“Well, Malik, with no last name,” she said, and tugged her hand away, “what brings you to the palace?”
He was taken aback, then realized she didn’t know who he was and almost burst out laughing. It was rare he could be this anonymous.
“I was invited to dinner.” While she’d eventually find out who he was, right now, he wanted to keep it a secret. Just be a normal guy and get to know her without his royal title being involved.
“Is it that late?” She lifted her wrist, and then shook her head. “I left my watch in my room.”
“It’s only seven. Dinner won’t be for another hour.” Now that he wasn’t rushed for time, he allowed himself to look her over. Her long legs were tucked underneath her.
The small vee of her shirt gave him a glimpse of her curves.
She regarded him with a bit of suspicion. “Do you have dinner here a lot?”
“Yes.” He liked the way she reacted to him. Like a normal man and not the crown prince. It was a nice change. No scraping and bowing or kissing up for position for this woman, and he was enjoying every second of it. “Come.” He rose to his knees and grasped her elbow. “Let me take you on a tour of the garden.” He brought her to her feet as he rose.
“Nothing.” He pressed a finger against her lips and had to bite back a groan when her tongue touched the pad of that finger. “We have plenty of time before dinner, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy the tour.”
Catherine stared at the man. Confusion about him, as well as riotous feelings, ran through her body. He invoked desires she’d thought long buried. She should be running a thousand miles from him, but instead she allowed him to lead her around the gardens.
Thank goodness she’d left her closed sketchbook back where she’d been sitting. There was no sense in his seeing what she’d drawn there. It was too personal, too sensual to share with a man she barely knew. A man who screamed danger to her emotional side.
Oh, quit being dramatic, she told herself. It was unlikely this man was even aware of who she was or of her wild side.
After a few minutes, she relaxed and enjoyed the tour. His knowledge of the garden was vast, from the cacti and succulents, to sweet acacia and oleanders, to tubular flowers, desert willows, and palm trees. She wondered if he was the gardener.
She glanced at his hands. No, there were no rough calluses scraping her skin at his touch. So who was he? He hadn’t given her a single clue. But she was enjoying walking by his side and listening to his deep voice.
When they arrived back at the spot where he’d found her, she knelt and picked up her sketchpad. “I must go and get ready for dinner.”
“Of course.” He took her hand and pressed a kiss into her palm, and briefly the tip of his tongue swept over her skin, making her nerves dance. “Until later, my beautiful dove.”
As he walked away, she thought about how easy it would be to let this man overwhelm her common sense. He was so naturally charismatic, he should be locked up before every woman within a hundred-mile radius fell in love with him. Her stomach fluttered; that man was trouble. And she wasn’t very good at avoiding danger.
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Be swept away to the desert with a sexy prince who finds a woman who doesn’t care that he’s a prince. It starts with a scorching kiss, and takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster ride all the way to the end.
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Marie Tuhart lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Marie loves to read and write, when she’s not writing, she spends time with her two dogs, Tommy and Trina, family, traveling and enjoying life.
Marie is a multi-published author with The Wild Rose Press, Trifecta Publishing and self-publishing. To be alerted to her new releases you can join Marie’s newsletter or check out her website: www.mairetuhart.com
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