Raif meets Claire on the beach and they get together. Neither of them know what lies ahead or that events will occur half a world away which will radically change both their lives.
Raif loves another woman. How will Claire handle that?
And the future she must accept when she marries him?
UPDATE (Sept 2022): Claire and Raif’s story will be called “The Baby The Desert King Must Claim“.
Excerpts From the Book
Claire was transfixed
From below the shade of the tree sheltering her from the sun, Claire was taking a video of the gorgeous view for the benefit of Lottie, her friend back in London. When a man in a suit appeared in the lens, she frowned in bemusement because he was such an incongruous sight. Nobody got dressed up on the island unless there was a wedding or a funeral but, come to think of it, she reflected, she had seen flowers being carried into the village church, so he could well be a guest. He peeled off his jacket and set it down on a rock and then removed his shirt. So, he was going in for a swim, she assumed, watching him haul off the shirt to reveal a muscular golden torso straight out of a superhero movie.
At that point, Claire was transfixed, peering into her phone, intent on the sight. He was very tall and black-haired, and he was indisputably incredibly well built. It had been longer than she liked to admit since she had seen such a very attractive man because most of the islanders were middle-aged or elderly. He tossed off shoes and socks and peeled off the narrow-cut trousers to reveal what she assumed to be boxers, rather than swim shorts. However, at that point, she got a little uncomfortable and decided that if the boxers came off as well, she should stop filming and look away. But without hesitation he turned and walked into the sea, long, powerful, hair-roughened legs ploughing through the surf.
That was the goal
‘You look fantastic,’ Raif whispered only loud enough for her to hear.
More colour warmed her already flushed cheeks and her blue eyes sparkled with pleasure. ‘I wasn’t expecting a Christian minister and ceremony,’ she whispered back.
‘I wanted you to be comfortable,’ Raif responded.
And she ate sparingly of the delicious dinner that followed because she was lost in a reverie. There had never been a man in her life, including her late father, who had worried so much about what would make her happy. She had never enjoyed such thoughtful consideration. Yet Raif had had her injured cat treated and had had Claire ferried back and forth on pet visits, which others might reasonably have deemed unnecessary. He had ensured she had new clothes for her future role, and he had even had his late mother’s jewellery collection offered to her for use. Yet he made no demands on her whatsoever.
She decided that he was the most unselfish person she had ever met and that melted her heart, because there could be few men as rich and in possession of a superyacht who, in his position, would have made so much silent, kind effort on her behalf. And he always brushed away any attempt to thank him.
‘You’ve made it a wonderful day,’ she murmured.
‘That was the goal,’ he confided with satisfaction.
Don’t be so stubborn
‘Don’t be so stubborn,’ Raif urged her impatiently. ‘Occasionally I will give you advice that is not to your taste and, unfortunately, this is one of those occasions.’
‘That’s not good enough,’ Claire told him irritably. ‘I want an answer. I want to know why you don’t really like Nahla being around.’
Raif stared back at her, scanning her vivid face and the brightness of the blue eyes that had captured him at first glance. He breathed in deep and slow, wishing he could tell her the truth, wishing he could get that off his conscience but convinced that that truth would distress her and cause trouble he would struggle to handle. ‘I can’t tell you,’ he declared with sudden harshness.
‘And is this the same guy who told me that there should be nothing I can’t tell you?’ Claire responded. ‘What a shame it doesn’t work both ways!’
Raif swore under his breath. ‘To tell you would entail breaking a promise I made you before our marriage,’ he replied grimly. ‘I don’t know what to do for best. You tell me.’
Claire had no idea what he was referring to. She blinked, drew in a sharp breath and tried to clear her head. ‘Raif…’ she began quietly.