Oct 28, 2012

Sunday Smooch - Defying Her Desert Duty - Annie West

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Defying Her Desert Duty by Annie West, but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Mary Preston!

Congratulations, Mary! Can you please contact Robyn Grady at

robyngrady (at) hotmail (dot) com

and she'll send you a copy of The Wedding Must Go On.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Defying Her Desert Duty by Annie West ...

Chained by silks and jewels

Across the bustling nightclub bodyguard Zahir El Hashem watches his latest charge temptingly sway on the dance floor, his pulse quickening. Returning the princess to her bridegroom might not be such a simple operation after all...

Soraya Karim knew that one day she must resume her royal obligations, just not so soon! Clinging to the last shreds of her freedom, Soraya insists they take the long way back to the palace. Zahir cannot refuse her, but a liaison is utterly forbidden...

(Set up: Soraya and Zahir have been fighting their attraction to each other for weeks. She is promised to the man who has been like a father to Zahir and for reasons of her own, Soraya believes she can't turn her back on this royal marriage. Just before this scene Zahir had found Soraya trying to overcome her fear of the water. Rather than let her put herself at risk, he begins teaching her to swim.

   A man would have to be made of desert stone not to respond to Soraya.
   Despite his reputation as a hard warrior, Zahir was made of all too human flesh. If only he were stone!
   How could he hold out against a woman who appealed to him on a level no woman ever had? Not even the girl he'd been head over heels in love with as a youth.
   'Zahir? What's wrong?' She was standing, water sluicing down the black top that clung like a second skin.
   He shook his head. 'Nothing's wrong.' He turned away. 'That's enough now. We'll continue tomorrow and you can learn to float face down, ready to swim properly.'
   'Really?' She caught his hand and stopped him moving away. 'You think I'm ready?'
   Reluctantly he turned and looked down into a face that to his dazzled eyes seemed flawless. Excitement shone in her eyes and her smile wrapped around his heart.
   He wasn't aware of reaching out but found his hand cupping her jaw. Her satiny skin was smooth and sleek to the touch. Her pulse trembled against his fingertips.
   Something deep inside, something stronger than logic or caution, roared into life.
   Her eyes were wide as she swayed towards him, her lips parting. To warn him off?
   It was too late.
   His lips met hers and the world collapsed around them.

   Soraya had imagined his kiss so often. She'd even dreamed of it. The reality obliterated her imaginings as a tidal wave would the ripple of a single stone.
   Zahir's broad hands cradled her face, his touch tender yet strong as he held her head just so and angled his own for better access.
   His questing tongue slicked her lips, parted them, and she shuddered in great racking waves as sensation exploded within her. Zahir devoured her, invited her, stole her breath with his audacious demands yet even while plundering rapaciously, offered back such sweet, poignant pleasure Soraya was lost.
   The fresh taste of his breath was in her mouth. It was the most delicious flavour in the world - spice and salt and the mystery that was maleness. His scent filled her nostrils. His hard body was muscled and intriguing, his heart thundering with hers. His wet skin burned, branding her through her clothes, making her breasts tingle and a curl of tension twist deep and low.
   Instinctively she grabbed his shoulders, swaying as her limbs melted and the world became a place she didn't recognise.
   Nothing had prepared her for the vital life force throbbing through them as if they were one. Or the need spiralling out of control and the sheer wanton delight of being in his arms. Every sense was hyper alert. Even the softly eddying water was a silken caress drawing her deeper into sensual overload.
   She'd never felt more frail, more delicately feminine than now, with his heavy-muscled thighs braced wide around her, his hands trapping her, and his mouth seducing her with sheer carnal pleasure.
   Yet she'd never felt stronger. As if power sizzled and sparked in her blood. As if she could lay mountains low with the single flick of her fingers.
   His kiss shattered her and rebuilt her at the same time.
   Her hands slid from his shoulders to the back of his neck, up through his damp hair and he growled low in the back of his throat. It was a sound of approval, of male possession, and she revelled in it. Revelled in the power she, even with her inexperience, had over this man who haunted her thoughts and dreams.
   His tongue slid against hers, demanding a response and she gave it, tentatively at first, then wholeheartedly, lost in the wonder of this heady passion.
   Her body ached, throbbed for Zahir. Only him. She wanted to climb his tall frame and meld herself against him. She needed with a desperation she'd never experienced or thought to know.
   Even the rough pressure of his chest expanding against hers incited a thrill.
   Soraya pressed closer. She loved the feel of his body, the unfamiliar outline of muscle, bone and sinew. The tickle of his hairy legs against hers. Lifting herself higher into his hold her hips tilted against him and she registered the solid proof of his arousal.
   At the feel of him hot and heavy just there against her, she stilled. A frayed thread of common sense told her to move away, yet some older, sense-deep feminine instinct urged her closer.
   Soraya was swaying nearer when firm hands grabbed her upper arms. An instant later she gulped huge drafts of air into oxygen-starved lungs as he put her from him. But nothing made up for the loss of Zahir's mouth on hers, or his body against hers.
   Hungrily she eyed his reddened lips. They were drawn flat now, matching the horizontal lines furrowing his brow.
   Yet his eyes didn't match his scowl. His eyes were smoky dark and held a hint of the same shock she felt.
   Soraya loved his eyes, she realised. From the first when they'd watched her so intently she'd felt a sizzle of awareness. Even when he'd looked askance at her, Zahir's eyes had fascinated. Now they shared the secret she felt. The secret turmoil of amazing emotions and sensations.
   The secret his grim face denied.
   'I'm sorry.' His voice was harsh and unrecognisable. 'That shouldn't have happened.'
   His gaze left hers to fix on something over her shoulder. As if he couldn't bear to see her. Or as if he couldn't face what he read in her expression.
   Soraya felt something crumble inside.
   She gulped down a shaky breath and searched for control. Her heart pounded and she had the shakes so badly she wasn't sure she could stand without his support.
   'But you can't pretend it didn't happen.' The words emerged breathless and uneven.
   She didn't understand what made her say it till he yanked his gaze back to hers and heat exploded inside.
   That's why. Because you want to feel it again - what Zahir makes you feel.
   Because you want him to admit he feels it too.
   But Zahir shook his head, thrusting her further away.
   'It was wrong.' The last word was dragged from him as if from a tortured soul and she felt his pain as hers. His hands dropped and he stepped back, as if unable to remain within touching distance.
   As if she tainted him.
   Of course it was wrong. Soraya understood that all too well. To desire her husband-to-be's most trusted advisor was disastrous. Unthinkable!
Yet it felt so right. When it was just her and Zahir it felt incredible.
   'Zahir. Please, I...'
   She didn't know what she was going to say. Only knew she couldn't bear the pain she read on his proud features. That she had to ease it somehow.
   Yet he didn't give her the chance. before the words had left her mouth he'd vaulted from the pool, every line of his athlete's body taut with rejection.
   He didn't say a word as he strode away.

To be in the draw to win a signed copy of Defying Her Desert Duty, just tell me the most fun you've had doing something you knew you shouldn't do!

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from A Girl Less Ordinary by Leah Ashton will be posted!


  1. Defying Her Desert Duty sounds fantastic, Annie! I think the most fun I had recently doing something I know I shouldn't is spreading butter on ginger snap biscuits. I know how to live ... :0)

  2. Hi Rachel, I'm glad you like the sound of 'Defying Her Desert Duty'.

    I'm chuckling over your butter on ginger snap biscuits. I'm a butter fan myself but I'd never thought of adding it to ginger snaps. Now you've put the idea in my head...

  3. Ooh, Annie, that's a kiss and a half! I LOVE Defying her Desert Duty, it's one of your best. So much emotion and passion and drama. Vintage Annie West. Hmm, contemplating chocolate for breakfast. That's both immediate and something I should NOT do!

  4. I love sheikh typed books so I really like the sound of this one. The first thing that comes to mind for me is spending too much money for Christmas last year on my grandkids. Even though it wrecked my budget, the smiles on their faces was worth it. I'll probably be doing that again here soon with the holidays in the near future.

  5. Anna - chocolate for breakfast? Hm, that definitely sounds like something I shouldn't do. I confess I found an old recipe last night in a magazine I was throwing out - for pastries filled with chocolate - rather like choc croissants. I cut it out in case I decided to try it. Tsk, tsk. So much for my healthy eating.

    Thanks for the kind words about Soraya's story. Feeling rather like a fine wine here - love that reference to 'vintage' Annie West!

  6. Hi Linda, it's always great to hear from another sheikh fan.

    Nodding here at you spending too much at Christmas. Even when I try to be organised and buy early for the family, I then find other 'perfect' gifts close to Christmas and can't resist them either. As you say, there's something fantastic about watching the joy on their faces, isn't there?

  7. Hi Annie, love the smooch, I just wanted to keep reading! I'd have to say reading one of your books while in supposed to be working... It's the trouble with having the kindle app on your phone :( very unproductive day :)

  8. Hi Tash, I'm so glad you wanted to keep reading. I really did have a lovely time writing this one. I suppose I felt for them both so much, stuck in such a difficult situation and trying to do the righ thing.

    Well, would I be biased if I said reading one of my books when you're supposed to be doing something else is a good thing? Probably. Hope you have a marvellous day and get more productive later.

  9. Hi Annie, Thanks for sharing highlights from your book, it sounds a ripper read.
    Doing something I'm not suppose? I worked for 38 years in a major country hospital, and being a budding author/novelist, every spare moment I would write excerpts of what was happening in Emergency department on the computer, race do another job, moment to spare put it all down on the computer.
    While I still have succeeded in publishing, I have heaps and heaps of notes to work from.

  10. Oh, Annie. I think Zahir and Soraya's story is a must read. That was steamy and sensual and emotional and beautiful. Happy sigh. That book sounds like a must read.

    Something I knew I shouldn't do, but was fun anyway? Yesterday I ate far too many salt and vinegar chips. Funny thing is, I'm not really a chip fan, but I love vinegar (I have it on vegies and lots of things). I had to go without S&V chips for years because I get migraines from MSG (which they add to most flavoured chips) but there's a brand or two now that do S&Vs without it. Hooray! So I'm still in the joy of a rediscovered favourite. However, today my mouth is still feeling pickled - which is the reason I knew I shouldn't have eaten as many. :)

  11. Hi Robhap,

    I'm glad you think this story is a ripper.

    I love the idea of you racing off to snatch time at the computer in between emergencies. You must have a real mine of information and inspiration there! Sounds like it will be quite a task going through it all and using it to best effect - and enormously rewarding too.

  12. Rachel, I'm torn between gladness at your rediscovered joy and commisserating over your pickled mouth! Actually someone here (not me) brought home lime and black pepper chips. I told myself (a) I didn't need them and (b) I probably wouldn't like them, but like you I ate far too many. I'm telling myself a little bit of what's not good for you can't hurt much. Glad you liked the excerpt!

  13. Annie - what a scorchingly fabulous kiss! I am so looking forward to reading this. Your sheikh books are the best - off to fire up the Kindle now :)

  14. That is an amazing first kiss. It sent me rummaging through my TBR piles to see if I had it. Found another of yours but not that one. *sigh* Will search again later.
    Things I get a kick out of but know I shouldn't? Buying new books when I have enough books to last me into the next millenia (in my DH's opinion).

  15. Annie, wow.That's some kiss. If anyone reading that doesn't dash off to get the book they're made of stone. As Helen says - scorching.

  16. Helen - Ooh, I love the sound of 'scorchingly fabulous' - thank you! I hope you enjoy it.

  17. Princess Fiona, I doubt you'd have this one. It was out in the UK in October and hits Aus/NZ shelves in November.

    Smiling at you buying too many books. You can never have too much to read - trust me!

  18. Hi Sue,

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. I have to admit it was one of my favourites to write.

  19. No Zahir, don't walk away. LOVED this!! DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY is now on my wish list.

    I once went to a BBQ on the beach that finished up around 3am. Another hour to travel home. I had to start work at 6am. I worked 12 hours on 2 hours sleep. I was young & it had been the best night. So much fun. I think now that would kill me.

  20. Oh, Annie, I'm so glad I have this sitting on my desk just waiting to be picked up.:-) That kiss is a winner!

    As for something I shouldn't have done, but did anyway...I probably shouldn't have indulged quite so comprehensively at high tea this afternoon. But I can't really find it within myself to actually regret it. ;-)

  21. Annie

    I am reading this one now and loving it the tension between Zahir and Soraya is wonderful.

    I have to say the same as Michelle The High Tea was great and those cakes and sandwichs I really enjoyed and I am lost if there are Tim Tams around LOL

    Have Fun

  22. Oh Annie, what an amazing kiss!! I can't imagine what the love scenes are like =))
    One thing I remember having fun doing when I really didn't know if I should was, years ago, getting my long blond straight hair cut, spiral permed and dyed red. Good fun!

  23. Mary, I'm chuffed Zahir appealed so much.

    12 hours work on 2 hours sleep? Sounds a recipe for disaster these days, doesn't it, but I remember doing similar things when I was younger. And it was definitely worth it at the time.

  24. Hi Michelle,

    I've only had a few high teas - loved them all but found them challenging - don't think I ever managed to do justice to the spread of food but such fun. Glad to hear about your weekend indulgence!

  25. Helen, they had Tim Tams there? Say no more. I bet you all had a wonderful time. I wish I'd been able to get there (family commitments instead). I'm thrilled you're enjoying 'Defying Her Desert Duty'. Thanks for letting me know.

  26. Robyn, I'm trying to visualise you with curly, red hair. I bet you spent a lot of time smiling! Thanks for sharing.