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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Arranged Review & Excerpt Tour

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arrangedKash Kamdar is the king of a peaceful but powerful island nation. As Loa Mali’s sovereign, he is always in control, the final authority. Until his mother uses an ancient law to force her son into marriage. His prospective queen is a buttoned-up intellectual, nothing like Kash’s usual party girl. Still, from the moment of their forced engagement, he can’t stop thinking about her.

Dayita Samar comes from one of Loa Mali’s most respected families. The Oxford-educated scientist has dedicated her life to her country’s future. But under her staid and calm exterior, Day hides a few sexy secrets of her own. She is willing to marry her king, but also agrees that they can circumvent the law. Just because they’re married doesn’t mean they have to change their lives. It certainly doesn’t mean they have to fall in love.

After one wild weekend in Dallas, Kash discovers his bride-to-be is more than she seems. Engulfed in a changing world, Kash finds exciting new possibilities for himself. Could Day help him find respite from the crushing responsibility he’s carried all his life? This fairy tale could have a happy ending, if only they can escape Kash’s past…

   

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    “Are we a happy couple?” “I don’t think we’ve had time enough to be sure of that yet, but I know we were once.” She’d thought it through in a way she never had before. She had a much different view of those months with Kash in England. “You were courting me back then, weren’t you? You wanted me to be your girlfriend.” He sat down in the plush chair that dominated the sitting area portion of his bedroom. Normally they stayed in the living room, but he’d wanted more privacy. This was the only place in his suite that wasn’t covered by CCTV, the only place where they could truly be alone. Everything about the space was masculine and decadent, including the man himself. With his hair disheveled and his chest on display, it wasn’t hard at all to see him as a primal male. One she’d dearly enjoy taming. “I don’t think you realized it at the time.” She was willing to admit her faults. “I didn’t. I had my nose in a book most of the time back then and I had little experience with men. No, I had no idea you were interested in me beyond copying my notes from class when you slept in.” “It would surprise you to know that I often thought about sleeping in with you.” His voice had gone low and gentle. “I was crazy about you back then, Day. I find myself in the same position today, but I don’t want to scare you. I know you think we should take this slow and I will honor your wishes, but I want this marriage to work. You see me as a playboy, but I don’t want to be some forty-plus player who trades on his money to keep young girls around him. I think it might be time for me to find out if I can be the king my father would have wanted me to be.” It was all she needed to hear. If he wanted to try, she was ready. Despite his reputation, she’d fallen right back into a peaceful friendship with him. He’d been the old Kash, supporting her when she needed it. He’d asked her questions about her work with the education department and then gave her ideas on how to handle the parliament. He hadn’t told her what she should do. He’d suggested, debated. “I think you’ll find me less averse to giving this marriage a real try than you think. I was planning on talking to you about using the Palm Ceremony to begin to explore what we could be as a couple.” He frowned. “I’m not sure what that means. You want to talk? Or have counseling? Because that sounds terrible.” “I was talking about sex, Kashmir. I thought we could use this time to see if we’re sexually compatible.” He popped up out of his chair like an eager puppy. “Yes. I think that is a brilliant idea. We should start now. Don’t worry. I intend to be gentle with you.” She didn’t move at all. “Like you are with your lovely flowers?” “Women deserve a man’s care,” he said quietly. “Day, I can’t erase my past.” “I don’t want you to.” He misunderstood her problems with his statement. “But I do need you to understand that I’m not one of those flowers. I’m not here to sit at your side and bat my eyelashes in the hopes that you’ll buy something for me. I don’t work like that. I don’t care about your money.” “That is easy for you to say. You’re about to have access to all of it, aren’t you?” He had a point. “Even if I wasn’t, that wouldn’t be why I would want you, Kash. Sit down. We have some things to talk about before we get started. Come here close to me.” He moved to the chaise she was sitting on, lowering himself down with a sullen frown. “I knew there would be talking.” She was fairly certain his lovely flowers did very little talking, but he would get used to it. “Why did you want me back then?” “I liked you. I liked talking to you. I liked being around you. I rather liked who I was when I was around you.” His expression softened. “I don’t think you knew how alluring you were to someone like me. You didn’t understand how beautiful you were, so you didn’t use it against me. Most women do.” “Well, that happens when you surround yourself with women who are mostly valued for their looks. I don’t blame them. They’ve been told their beauty is the only thing worthy about them. If you want to meet women who don’t feel that way, you should probably expand out of models and actresses.” “Well, you would be surprised how many gorgeous, sexy physicists turn me down because I’m not smart enough for them.”        
Excerpt: 

“Did you enjoy the dessert? They had been planning on serving crème brûlée, but I remembered you like gelato. Strawberry.”
She turned and Kash was standing in the doorway, the tie to his tuxedo undone and the first few buttons of his shirt open, showing off golden skin.
Oh, how the girls must swoon over that man.
Unfortunately for him, she was a woman and not a girl. She curtseyed, recalling her etiquette classes and going down deep, to show her respect for the crown. “I thank you, Your Majesty.”
“Come now, Day. I asked you not to call me that long ago, and now it appears there’s even less reason. We were friends then. We’re going to be husband and wife in a week. Shocking how quickly that woman can move when she wants to.”
He looked so composed, but she couldn’t forget that he’d only found out his mother was dying this afternoon. That was when she’d seen the real man. She’d interrupted them with her silly dress and she’d seen the shock and pain on Kash’s face before he’d smoothed it out and gone back to being the polite royal he’d become.
“Are you all right?” She asked the question for two reasons. First, she wanted to know the answer and second, to see if they really were still friends.
His lips curved up slightly. “I’m faring quite well. We Kamdars are made of sterner stuff than this. Did you enjoy the dinner?”
So, not so friendly he would talk about private things with her. It was good to know where they stood. They needed to have a long conversation about how this was going to work. They might be marrying to protect the Kamdar line and to give his mother some peace, but they needed a plan of action about how best to achieve their goals.
Partners. That was how she’d decided to look at this. They were partners. And if she ended up governing the kingdom while he was out fucking around with supermodels, she wouldn’t get her heart broken.
Just humiliated.
Yes, they needed a talk and perhaps a contract.
“I enjoyed the meal very much. The company left something to be desired, but I suspect I’ll get used to dining with windbag politicians.” She turned back to the balcony, leaning against it. The view from here was spectacular. Beyond that, it was soothing in a way.
“Yes, Mother told me they’re giving you trouble.” He joined her, leaning beside her, their bodies so close but not touching. “I’ll talk to them, ensure you have your funding.”
“Don’t. It can wait a few weeks. I need to go back to them and introduce myself as their new queen.” She wasn’t about to let them think she sent her husband in. If he behaved as he so often did, he wouldn’t be around much and it would be up to her to keep everyone in line.
“Is that why you agreed to this arrangement? Because you wanted power?”
“I agreed because I care about this country. I’ve spent the last ten years of my life working here and trying to ensure that our children get what they need to make it out in the world. I agreed because your mother is excellent at putting one in a corner. I agreed because someone has to and I wasn’t sure who you would bring home if given the chance.” She shuddered at the idea of some brainless model attempting to be a role model for Loa Malian girls.
“Ah, you don’t think I have good taste in women.”
“I think you have an unquenchable appetite for them, Your Majesty, and that is something we should talk about.”
“Ah, the wifely lectures begin,” he said with a sigh. “Please proceed. I’m anxious to get this over with so I can be properly chastened.”
“I only ask that you attempt some discretion, Kashmir. I don’t expect you to be faithful in any way, but I do expect you to not humiliate me.”
He turned, frowning a bit as though she’d surprised him. “You don’t expect me to be faithful?”
It was time for some honesty. “I don’t think you can be. How long have you kept a single woman? A month? Three?”
“Six,” he replied. “I was with Tasha Reynolds for six months before we went our separate ways.”
“And were you faithful to her?” She already knew the answer to that question.
“We had an agreement.” He frowned as though the conversation wasn’t going at all as he’d expected. “She was on set much of the time. She knew I had a highly stressful job, so she was understanding. I gave her the same options.”
“Excellent, then let’s be fair with each other. As long as we’re both discreet, this marriage of ours doesn’t have to mean the end of our lives.”





NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

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