Zoe and Raj are the characters in the third story in my trilogy. I very much enjoyed writing this book because it was a complete change of pace from the last and my very fiery heroine. I am still in France enjoying a wonderful sunny summer and relaxing. And ironically, the more relaxed I am, the more inclined I am to work so there aren’t many hours in the week when I’m out enjoying that sunshine.
Zoe is the youngest sister and her siblings, indeed everyone who knows her, regards her as mentally fragile and vulnerable.
When she agrees to marry and live in a foreign country for a few months as a princess, it is mainly because she wants to be independent and she needs to prove to herself and her family that she can stand on her own feet. Raj and Zoe agree to marry for practical reasons but both of them have baggage from their troubled pasts. Zoe was traumatised by an attack when she was a girl and Raj had his heart broken. How will Raj react when his former girlfriend reappears?
How will Zoe react when she is genuinely challenged? And will her sisters ever accept Raj?
Excerpts From the Book
She understood that their protectiveness came from love:
Although she had subsequently completed her degree and worked through the therapy required to put her back on an even track where crippling anxiety no longer ruled her every thought and action, her sisters had still continued to treat her as if she could shatter again at any moment. While she understood that their protectiveness came from love, she also saw that their attitude had made her weaker than she need have been and that she badly needed the chance to stand on her own feet. With her sisters now married, one living in Greece and the other in Italy, coming to Maraban was Zoe’s opportunity to prove that she had overcome her unhappy past.
‘I didn’t get delivered a package, I got a woman-‘:
‘I’m in a real fix, Raj and I think you are the only person with sufficient knowledge to approach with this,’ Omar declared, his habitually upbeat voice unusually flat in tone.’ I’ve been dragged into something I don’t want involved in and it’s serious. You know I’m a royalist and very loyal to my country but there are some things I can’t-‘
‘Cut to the chase,’ Raj sliced in with a bemused frown.’ What have you been dragged into?’
‘Early this morning I received a call from someone at the palace who asked if I would look after a ‘package’ as it was called and keep it safe until further notice. And that’s the problem, Raj…I didn’t get delivered a package, I got a woman-‘
‘A woman?’ Raj repeated in disbelief.’ Are you joking me?’
‘I wish I was. All the women in the tribe are outraged and I’ve been thrown out of my tent to accommodate her,’ Omar lamented.’ My wife thinks I’m getting involved in sex trafficking-‘
‘Then who is responsible’:
‘Then who is responsible for bringing me here?’ Zoe demanded, standing her ground, tensing her spine to keep her back and shoulders straight and her head high. Her favourite self-help book urged that even if you didn’t feel confident, it was still possible to fake confidence and by so doing, actually acquire it.
‘I’m afraid I can’t tell you that,’ Raj countered flatly.
Zoe’s green eyes flared as if he had slapped her.’ Why not?’ she demanded.
‘It would serve no useful purpose-‘
Zoe breathed in very deep to contain the temper she hadn’t known she had until that moment. He was so incredibly patronising, so superior and his attitude affected her like a chalk scraping down a blackboard, setting her teeth on edge.’ That’s my decision to make, not yours,’ she said succinctly.
Where The Story Takes Place
Image Credits: Pinterest board for Zoe.