abduction, culture, Jinn, love, Only Love Twice by Kat Canfield, romance, romance novels,, romantic fantasy, Saudi Arabia, Saudi desert, Saudi weddings, spirits of the desert, wedding celebrations, wedding customs
The fun part of writing romance novels is you can put your fantasies on paper. I can only hope others feel the romantic intent of the fantasy, but judging from the few comments and book reviews on Amazon so far, many people like them. I have included the Prologue to the next, thus unnamed novel to this blog today. I hope you enjoy it and please critique it.
Madison reread the simple note: My Princess; Please, remember the culture here and just go with it no matter how much you might disagree. I promise you will be safe no matter how much you may think otherwise. I am waiting for you and will deliver your greatest fantasy. Love from your Prince, Saleem.
Matthew, the pilot of the jet, gave it to her when he came to tell her they would be landing in fifteen minutes. She knew Matthew to be a dedicated employee to Saleem’s company as well as a fellow American. She folded the note and slipped it into her pocket. She donned her abaya and veil. She was about to land in Saudi Arabia. She felt nervous landing in this strange country without her Prince next to her. Saleem flew to the Kingdom two days ahead to meet with members of the King’s Council to request permission to bring her to Saudi Arabia and for them to marry. Saleem sent the jet to get her and bring her here to join him.
The landing was as smooth as Matthew had ever set the jet down. He was a wonderful pilot. After taxiing to the gate, the customs officials came on board, checked her passport, and then exited. A woman in a black abaya and niqab came on board. “Miss Kelly?” she asked her.
“Yes, mam,” she said to her.
“I am Amina Al Johoni, I will be taking you to the Foreign Ministry,” the woman said to her as she turned and walked down the steps to an awaiting black limousine. Madison followed. Inside the car, the driver was dressed in Bedouin costume. Amina got in the back and left the door open for Madison to enter. No one spoke as they drove out of the airport into the city of Riyadh.
The drive was long and uncomfortable since no one was speaking. They had left the city behind and traveled down a sandy road into the desert. Finally, they stopped beside a caravan of camels. “I thought you were taking me to the Foreign Ministry to meet Prince Al Abdullah.” Madison said.
“I am sorry, Miss Kelly, there has been a change in plans,” Amina said to her. Amina grabbed Madison’s hands and wrapped a silk cord around them. “I think you were given instructions to follow whatever happens and not to fight it?”
“Yes, I was,” Madison answered. “It is just against my nature to being bound like this.”
“I was told you may have difficulty with our culture in Saudi Arabia. Women are not allowed much freedom here. However, I think you might learn to like it here.”
The driver exited and went to talk to the men with the camels. Madison could see other women dressed as she was sitting on the camels. The Bedouin man walked back to Madison’s side of the car. He opened the door and took the end of the cord wrapped around Madison’s hands to pull her out of the car. She saw coins exchanged between the man who held her cord and another Bedouin. The cord was given to the other man and he pulled her along toward a waiting camel. “Get on,” he told her as he pointed to the camel kneeling next to her. She was tied to a harness on the camel. The camel rose when the man commanded it and then he got on another camel. The caravan set off into the dessert.
If Madison did not trust her prince, she would have been fighting the tying of her hands and the rough treatment. But she had studied the culture of Saudi Arabia and Saleem had instructed her in the ways of the Bedouins. It was an education few outside the country would ever experience.
The swaying of the camel’s movement was lulling her to sleep. She had no concept of time while the caravan traveled. Her camel traveled next to the others with the women riding them. The other women were speaking in what Madison knew was Arabic. She had learn a few key words but these women spoke so fast she could not follow. Sometimes they would look over at her and laugh. Madison could tell they were traveling south by the direction of the sun overhead. Ahead, she could see an oasis on the horizon.
Sometime later, the caravan stopped at the edge of the oasis. All the camels knelt and the women untied Madison from the camel and led her into a tent. Inside the tent was cool and luxuriously furnished. One of the women pulled Madison’s veil off then motioned for her to remove her abaya. Her hands were untied but the cord was then placed around her ankles and tied so she could walk. The women pulled and pushed her toward a tub in the middle of the tent. They undressed her and put her into the warm water. The water had scented oils of clove and cinnamon in it. It felt great to relax in the warm water after the camel ride. Madison was washed then instructed by gesture to step out onto a soft chamois where the women dried her. She was then lain on rug and the women painted a waxy substance all over her. Madison knew they were preparing her for the removal of her body hair. This was part of the Arab tradition.
When they finished, Madison was dressed in an ivory silk gown and taken to another tent where dinner was prepared. There were all women inside and a celebration seemed to be going on. The cord was removed from Madison’s ankles so she was free to move around the tent. A young woman brought her a plate of food and motioned for her to sit on the silk pillows arranged on the floor. The woman looked familiar to Madison but she could not place where she had seen her before. The women all spoke Arabic as they sat around Madison laughing and seemingly joking about her.
Madison watched everything going on around her. There were no men inside but she could see feet outside of the front entrance. She assumed there were men guarding the entrance. There was an opening to the rear of the tent that appeared to be unguarded.
Madison ate the roasted lamb and several of the delicate pastries handed to her. The young woman who seemed to be her guardian while inside the tent had walked away. Madison rose and walked toward the rear entrance. She had a feeling that seemed to call to her so she walked outside. The tent was set next to a small lake circled by the oasis.
The moon had risen and shed its light onto the lake. The night was warm and stars twinkled above. Madison walked along the path beside the water. In the deep darkness ahead of her she thought she saw movement. She stopped to watch the dark area to see what had drawn her attention. There was a faint scent on the air she recognized so she walked forward toward the dark.
As she stepped around a large tree the moonlight fell onto a shape of a man leaning against the tree. The man reached out and took her hand. He pulled her to him. Madison knew the scent to be Saleem so embraced him. Finally, her beloved prince had found her. He kissed her.
“I asked the Jinn to lead you outside. I see it worked,” he whispered to her.
“I felt something calling to me. It is the only language I seemed to understand this night. But a Jinn? I have heard they may obey initially then turn on the person who asks favors of them.”
“The Jinn use the language of love and romance,” he said to her. “Sorry you have to deal with the language barrier inside and this was a good Jinn. This is your wedding feast, Princess. You shouldn’t be out here with me yet but I couldn’t help myself. I missed you these past few days. In a few more hours we will no longer be separated. A’isha has taken good care of you has she not?”
“I thought I recognized the young woman but couldn’t figure out where I’d seen her. She’s your daughter.”
“You talked to her several times on the computer so I hoped you might recognize her and feel more comfortable. Everyone else are aunts and cousins who are talking about us behind our backs. I hope they are having a good time at our expense. Now go back inside and enjoy the rest of the celebration. I will come get you shortly. There is more to the men’s part of the celebration. I thought I should let you know what was going on so you didn’t think a war had erupted outside.”
Madison snickered. “I’ve seen that part of the men’s celebration in a Youtube video. Just remember what goes up must come down. Stay safe and come to me in one piece.”
“I have been to many weddings and never taken a bullet at one yet,” he laughed. “Get back to your feast, Woman, you don’t want to be missed or the Jinn turn against us.” He gave her a quick kiss and pushed her back to the path. Madison happily went to her wedding celebration.