Latifa, the courageous daughter of the King of the Nubians, shuns her privileged life to take a vow of chastity and become a fierce female warrior. Her desire is vengeance against the Pharaoh of Egypt who she believes deceived and killed her father then destroyed her village.
Tariq, the newly appointed Pharaoh, has spent his life fighting against the Nubians as Commander of the Egyptian military. While journeying to Thebes, he unexpectedly confronts Latifa and makes a wager that he can conquer her hardened heart and make her willingly share his bed. Latifa vows to resist Tariq’s advances and is taken aback when she realizes he is the man she has sworn to destroy.
After long days and nights spent traveling beside the Nile River, will love seize the hearts of these two sworn enemies? Or will Latifa refuse to be seduced by the Pharaoh?
Tariq sank on the stool behind the table. After many weeks of travel, his legs ached and he was grateful to relax them for a moment. He looked into the flame from the lamp on the table and began to rub his right leg as he thought about his conversation with Jabari. He was indeed growing weary of war. He had hoped signing a treaty with the Nubians would usher in a period of peace and prosperity for both nations. But, as Jabari reminded him, life was unpredictable and now due to the provocation on the Nubian village peace seemed further away than ever.
Tariq’s thoughts were interrupted when the flaps of his tent were pushed aside and Jabari reentered the tent. He dropped his hand to his side as Jabari began to speak.
“Apologies for the interruption but ‘tis necessary. An intruder has been apprehended.”
Tariq waved his hand dismissively toward the Lieutenant. “You know what we do with intruders.”
“Ah… This is not any intruder. I think this is someone you’ll want to see.”
“Bring him in,” Tariq directed.
The seasoned soldier turned and disappeared out of the tent.
A few moments later, the quietness of the night was shattered by a boisterous squeal. The raucous sound of a scuffle ensued followed by a string of curses from what sounded like a female voice. Tariq raised his eyebrow as the tumultuous commotion advanced upon his tent.
“Don’t let her get away!” Jabari’s voice bellowed a moment before he along with a second soldier and a female burst through the opening of the tent
Tariq’s eyebrow wrinkled as he viewed a petite female sandwiched between the two burly men. Long thin braids imprisoned her black hair and framed her oval shaped face. Her nose was wrinkled in protest, her lips were closed in a confrontational pout and her dark brown eyes blazed with ire. As she pulled against the grip of her captors, Tariq could not help but notice the way her sullied kaftan yielded to her delicate curves.
Tariq stood to his feet after the threesome came to a bumbling stop. Looking from the female to the soldiers, he belted out, “What is the meaning of this?”
“This is the intruder I was telling you about,” came Jabari’s response as he worked to keep a hold on the trespasser.
Tariq stepped forward so that he stood in front of the female.
“This girl?” he questioned.
“Yes, Sire…Commander. She was found lurking around our camp. Show him what you found on her,” Jabari instructed the soldier who also had a hold on the uninvited arrival.
“She tried to kill me!” the soldier screeched then held up a dagger.
Tariq’s brow crinkled when he saw the dagger. He took the dagger from the soldier’s hand and examined its steel blade and brass handle for a few moments before slipping the knife under the leather strap that hung around his waist.
Tariq turned his attention back to the female. Impulsively, he leaned forward and reached out to touch her. Instantly, her dark eyes locked with his and the venom within them gave him pause. Instead of touching her, he reached for the necklace that hung around her neck. He heard her inhale sharply and saw her body stiffen when his finger grazed the figure of a cobra that dangled from the thin chain.
He straightened himself when the ache in his legs clamored to recapture his attention. Remaining silent, he shifted on his feet and looked into the female’s eyes once again. Finally, he spoke. “So you are the intruder? This is unexpected I must admit. What is your name? Why were you following my regiment?”
Her answer was an insolent glare.
“You were there when the Nubian fortress was attacked, were you not? Did you see who led the attack?”
Silence met his inquiry.
“Speak when I speak to you!” he commanded authoritatively.
She remained silent.
“Do you know who I am?” he asked her.
“I know only one thing! Egyptians cannot be trusted. Now release me! I command you release me!”
“You command? Who are you a Nubian Queen?” Tariq inquired.
“My father was King Rassom. I suggest you release me or retribution shall fall on your head!”
“You say you are King Rassom’s daughter? The King spoke of a daughter who wants to be a warrior. You expect me to believe you are she? You are but a defiant child. You are no warrior, little one.”
“Release me! I demand to be released!” the girl snapped peevishly.
“You demand? I give the orders around here. I am the decider. I am the…” Not yet ready to reveal the truth, Tariq let the word Pharaoh die on his lips. “I am the Commander and I give the orders. You shall find I have no tolerance for insolence. So, I suggest you change your attitude forthwith.”
"Or what? You Egyptians are all the same. You don’t have a drop of kindness in you. You are all murders, just like your Pharaoh!” she hissed.
Anger flared in Tariq at her words. Then, as suddenly as the feeling surfaced, it dissipated. He realized he was more impressed by the girl’s boldness than affronted by her impertinent manner. She was surrounded by battle hardened men yet she stood her ground. If everyone in his contingent showed such courage, the unit would never face military defeat. But, courageous or not, no one could be allowed to speak to him in such a way and get away with it. The girl needed to be shown her place. However, attempting to tame the feistiest female he had ever encountered could prove to be a challenge. On the other hand, every woman fell easily under his spell. If he chose to do it, bringing this girl to heel would probably prove to be unchallenging. At the very least, it could prove to be entertaining.
Tariq studied her face. Thick black lashes shrouded her almond-shaped eyes. Now that she was not pouting, he saw she had full inviting lips and that a pretty nose enhanced her face. As his examination progressed, he could not help but notice how her curves yielded to the pull of her clothing while her shapely bottom pressed against the confining material to provoke a stare. Upon completion of his close inspection, it was clear she was a desirable young woman. If by some miracle she dropped the brazen attitude, the trip back to Thebes was certain to be very enjoyable.