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♥ Excerpt ♥
The Sheik Retold
“S’il vous plait.” He waved me to a low Turkish divan. “Come and sit, mademoiselle. I shall call for coffee and then you shall recount to me all that is the cause of your great distress.” He smiled and settled his girth into a large leather-covered chair. “I wish to know precisely how such a delicate English woman managed to survive alone for months in such inhospitable conditions.”
“I am not so delicate, nor was I alone,” I replied. “I was abducted and held captive.”
“Were you indeed?” He lit a cigarette and then offered his case to me, but I didn’t care for the scent of the cheap Gauloises tobacco, having become accustomed to the rich aroma of pure Turkish Murads.
“I suppose these savages demanded a ransom for your release?” he asked and took a long draw on his cigarette.
“No, he did not.”
“He?” His brows rose as he blew a wispy cloud of grey smoke.
“Yes. My captor wanted nothing monetarily.”
“Is that so?” He was silent for a long moment as his beady black gaze swept over me. The unspoken implication and his lascivious sent a profusion of heat to my face. Nevertheless, I forged on. “It is my belief, monsieur, that my own brother may have intended to kill me.”
“You believe your own brother has intrigued against you? And where is he now, this brother?”
“He is in New York or perhaps Newport. He has a perfect alibi, of course, but I have evidence to support my suspicions.”
He nodded slowly and then pursed his lips. “Then your abductor was an accomplice in this nefarious plot?”
“No. It is not as simple as that. As it turns out, my captor inadvertently saved my life.”
“Alors! This is fascinating indeed. I wish to hear this tale en totalité, but first I shall summon my scribe to record this story. After which, I intend to send an urgent dispatch to the British Embassy in Paris. I assure you, mademoiselle, justice will be served.”
He stubbed out his cigarette. “As to your abductor, I shall deal with this heathen dog, this barbaric bâtard, personally.” His gaze suddenly narrowed on me with a disconcerting intensity. “You must tell me now, Mademoiselle Mayo, who was the perpetrator of this…this… outrage to your person?”
And in that moment I knew.
It was not the details of my intended murder that had captured his interest. No, he didn’t care at all about me. He desired only to know what I knew—specifically, the name and location of the force behind the simmering unrest—my captor and my lover— Sheik Ahmed Ben Hassan.
2013 © Victoria Vane, E. M. Hull