Dear Reader,

I’m so pleased to tell you a little about my current North American release – Girl In The Bedouin Tent is a Harlequin Presents Extra title available now. It recently won a CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice Award and was shortlisted here in Australia in the Australian Romance Readers’ Awards.

Here’s a taste from the back cover:

Not your average damsel in distress!

Sheikh Prince Amir has vowed to redeem his scandalous family name – so the last thing he needs on a tour of his desert kingdom is to have a sensuous blonde with more spirit than clothes presented for his harem.

Fiery Cassie might have been kidnapped by bandits and dolled up as the Sheikh’s love slave, but she refuses to be any man’s plaything. Yet spending a week in Amir’s desert tent pretending to be his mistress would get under any girl’s skin. Especially when she is under his sheets…

This is one of my most intense stories to date. I started out exploring what a modern, independent woman would do if thrust out of her comfort zone and into a strange world where she found herself utterly dependent on a stranger. It’s nightmare territory for any woman but especially for Cassie, who has particular reason to cling to her independence. But life isn’t black and white and even in these fraught circumstances, Cassie learns trust and hope, two things she’d lacked in her life. As for Amir – his world can never be the same again as he realises Cassie represents what he most wants in his life, and what he can’t have.  

Reader comment so far has been very positive, including:

“Thank you again for a lovely piece of heaven.  Girl In the Bedhouin Tent was WORTH THE WAIT!”  
“Amir and Cassie were such gorgeous characters. LOVED the opening, so dramatic and evocative. It really reminded me of the real classic romances...you've such a deft touch and your characters ooze integrity and intelligence and humanity.”

I hope you enjoy the excerpt below.

Warmest wishes and happy reading,

Annie West



Excerpt from Girl In The Bedouin Tent

by Annie West

Cover art copyright © by Harlequin Enterprises Limited ® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher

The bed was massive. Low and wide enough for four. Yet it looked far too full with just one man occupying it.

No matter that he’d given his word. That he’d assured her she was safe. Cassie couldn’t share his bed.

A shiver spidered its way down her backbone, drawing her skin taut at the idea. Silently she crept across the carpeted floor to gather up her black cloak. Holding her breath she reached her other hand towards the bed and slid a massive pillow towards her.

He remained oblivious, his chest rising and falling slightly with each breath.

A spurt of indignation filled her that he should be so unaffected by her presence, her story of abduction and ill use, that he’d fallen asleep. Yet it made this easier.

With quick, efficient movements Cassie wrapped the cloak around her and curled up on a silk carpet beside the bed. She nestled her head on the plump pillow and almost sighed her pleasure. Every bone ached with tiredness.

‘You can’t sleep there.’ The crisp voice came out of the darkness. Instantly she stiffened.

‘I prefer to sleep alone.’

‘We’ve been through this, Cassie.’ Was that a sigh she heard? ‘Still you do not trust me?’

‘It’s not…’ Of course it was. A matter of trust.

But how could she trust this stranger as completely as he expected?

A stranger whose touch had been gentle yet soothingly impersonal as he’d removed that hated lead chain. A stranger whose deep voice and efficient, unfussy care of her had eased her frayed nerves and given her support when she needed it.

Still-

Her thoughts disintegrated as warmth surrounded her. Strong arms lifted her tight against his solid form.

Terror engulfed her, obliterating her tentative sense of wellbeing. Cassie fought to escape but could get no purchase on the smooth hard muscle of his bare torso. Not when his body seemed made of unbreakable steel beneath the warm silk of his skin.

A whoof of air expelled from her lungs as he dropped her onto the bed. Cassie barely touched the mattress before she was scrabbling to escape, but he sat beside her, his hip hard against her own, his hold firm as he captured her flailing hands in one of his.

‘Enough!’ The single word broke through her panicked struggles. ‘Enough. You are quite safe.’

Safe? Cassie stared up at a broad, muscled torso dusted with dark hair, to a dangerously angled jaw accentuated by a shadow of stubble. Her heart gave a single lurch. Of fear or something else?

‘You can’t sleep on the floor. You will sleep here, with me, and you will give the impression, when the servants arrive in the morning, that you are well content. Is that understood?’

Eyes like glittering black jade met hers. ‘Cassie? Do you understand? It must appear we spent the night as lovers. For your own safety. Unless you wish to be taken away.’

Cassie swallowed, the movement like scratching sandpaper in her throat. Through the manic pounding of her heart the only sound was her ragged breathing. Fury, she assured herself.

He leaned a fraction closer and the scent of sandalwood tickled her nostrils. ‘All right?’

‘You give me no choice!’ She had no doubt he’d bring her back if she shifted from the bed.

‘I’m glad you understand.’ Amir moved then, bending away from her and reaching out to something beside the bed.

Cassie froze, wary and at the same time mesmerised by the shift and bunch of muscles in his torso. She’d never realised how imposing a naked male could be up close.

‘Here.’ He closed her fingers around something cold. ‘My gift to you.’ He straightened.

Frowning, Cassie turned from him to look at the heavy object in her hand.

‘Hold it like this.’ His hand closed around hers and he drew from the scabbard a lethal-looking blade that gleamed wickedly in the lamplight.

‘You’re kidding!’ Cassie’s breath sucked in on a hiss of disbelief.

‘Keep it with you till I return you to safety. It’s far more effective than the paring knife you dropped.’

Stunned, she looked up to his smiling mouth, then up to grim eyes that belied his light-hearted tone.

Suddenly she believed. She trusted.

‘Sleep with it, Cassie. And if anything frightens you in the night, remember you have this.’ On the words he lifted her hand and pressed the tip of the dagger against his chest.

His hand fell away and still the deadly blade rested on his bare, bronzed skin.

Holding the heavy knife took all her strength. Yet within something surged as she watched him watching her beneath hooded lids. As she saw the blade glint with every slow rise and fall of Amir’s chest.

Her heart squeezed. He gave her not just words, but the power that had been taken from her. The power to protect herself.

The knife wobbled dangerously in her fist and he closed a gentle hand around hers, lowering it to the cool cotton sheet near her shoulder.

‘Rest now. No one will harm you.’ He released her, his hand hovering a moment as if to stroke her cheek. Then his hand dropped.

His lips thinned and abruptly he stood, towering above her, his wide square shoulders and tapering waist perfect male symmetry limned by the single lamp. 

Before she could respond he pulled the coverlet over her and she couldn’t help but tense. He stood a moment watching her, then with an abrupt movement bent to tuck in the bedding. A moment later he was striding to his side of the bed.

Cassie’s eyes followed him. She took in the power of his lean torso and the powerful buttocks and thighs encased in pale drawstring pants that rode low on his hips. She’d never known a man to look so elemental. So…male.

Heart in mouth, she watched him lift the coverlet on the far side of the bed and slip beneath it. Without a word he turned away from her.

How long she lay there, staring at the golden expanse of his back, Cassie didn’t know.

Eventually, despite her determination to remain watchful, her eyelids flickered and her fingers loosened their hold on Amir’s knife.

As exhaustion finally claimed her she was aware of a growing sense of peace.

She was almost asleep when her drowsy brain registered why it was she felt so safe. Not because of his words. Nor the concern she’d read in his eyes. Nor the blade he’d given her to defend herself, even against him.

It was the cursory, almost unthinking comfort of that one final action.

How many years had it been since anyone had tucked her into bed for the night? Had showed her such tenderness?

Her heart clutched at the memory then warmth filled her as she slipped into a dreamless sleep.

She was totally oblivious of the man who turned in the bed and propped himself up to watch her through the night, his brows drawn together in a frown.

Excerpt from the title: Girl in the Bedouin Tent by Annie West
ISBN: 9780373528585 Copyright ©: 2011 by Annie West
First North American publication 2012
The excerpt is posted by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

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Contest!


To celebrate the release of Girl In The Bedouin Tent, Annie is giving away prizes in a contest exclusive to Newswire readers.

To enter the draw, just answer these two questions:

1. What does Cassie do when she’s alone with Amir for the first time? You can either find out from the opening of the book on the book page of Annie’s website or from any bookseller site, or make your own guess.

2. Name one of Annie’s other upcoming releases.

You’ll find the answers on Annie’s website.

Email us at staff@authorsoundrelations.com with your answers before midnight on March 19th, 2012. Be sure to include your full name and mailing address and mark the subject as 'BedouinTent'. Winners will be contacted via email shortly thereafter.

One winner will receive a $25 gift certificate from Amazon and a signed copy of one of Annie’s books. Two more winners will each receive a signed copy of one of Annie’s books.

Good luck!

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