When Kal fixes his lusty attentions on Ily, she is reluctantly aroused by his interest. She knows he desires her and against her better judgment, she wants him too. A chance encounter leads her to make him a scandalous offer: her body in exchange for enough money to leave the city. She sees their time together as a temporary erotic adventure until Kal reveals that what he truly wants from Ily is more personaland more dangerousthan bed play. And she must choose between taking her chance at a new life or risking it all for a man she never meant to love.
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Ily rolled her carpet, not looking up, not wanting to see the smirk on Kal's face. He'd been dogging her steps for weeks, setting up his stall right next to her favorite spot and stealing away all her best prospects. She was no threat to him. He played with her purely for his own sick personal amusement. Why won't he just go away and leave me alone?
The crowd roiled around her. The smaller merchants were beginning to pack it in for the day. The travelers who sold directly from their wagons would close their doors soon and light the fires. Best that she was gone before then, before darkness and drink made the men bold.
An instant before she rose from her crouch, Kal's solid legs blocked her vision and she could ignore him no longer. Her gaze drifted up, lingering on the bulge between his thighs. Flat belly, firm chest, proud shoulders and the mocking smile that never failed to rile her.
"You got greedy."
She gave the cord a vicious jerk. "My work is worth twice the garbage you sold her."
"Sold," he repeated. "That's the important thing, Ily. Your pride's not keeping your belly full."
She stood, but he held his ground, forcing her to tip back her head. "That rug will start to unravel before the month is out."
"Perhaps she understood that and only made do with what she could afford now."
He would lecture her on economy? His arrogance took her breath away.
"I hate you."
His lips quirked at the corners. "My fault, is it? You don't hate me."
Dark, knowing eyes dared her to contradict him, but she couldn't. He was shrewd and powerful, wickedly sexy and for some unfathomable reason, he'd fixed his attention on her. A man like Kalar Azi could snap his fingers and have any woman. Why her? "What do you want, Kal?"
"You do good work, but the streets aren't the place to be selling it."
"The shops won't buy from a woman," she said, glancing over her shoulder to see if she could slip between the stalls and escape him. The poles were permanent fixtures, spaced less than a foot apart. Too tight a fit, even for herthere was no way through. She'd have to push past Kal, but she was reluctant to touch the lean body that disturbed her so greatly.
"I could help you."
That brought her attention back to his face. A mistake. It was far too easy to look upon that raw masculine beauty and think that was all there was to the man. She'd seen him work before, studying his clientele in the same way he was looking at her now, searching for weakness while giving little away. Beneath all his dangerous charm, he was ruthless and cunning as a snake.
She slung the bundle over her shoulder and crossed her arms beneath her breasts, noticing the flicker in his eyes when he briefly dropped his gaze.
"So...you'd like to help me out of the goodness of yourdo you even have a heart?"
He leaned in closer, lowering his voice. "It's a simple business proposition. I speak with the shops on your behalf, you give me a cut of the profit. There are several people I use to move my finer quality merchandise. They're reputable enough and even cutting me in, you'll make more than you do here."
He didn't need the pittance he'd earn for the effort. He wasn't here for money, which left only one other possibility, as unlikely as it seemed. She should leave now, but her feet were rooted to the spot. Curiosity held her there and greed, along with the unhealthy fascination she'd developed for this selfish, pompous man.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was quite enchanted by the new short novel by Eleri Stone "Threads of Desire", so as to devour during an afternoon of reading, savoring the magic, sensuality and beauty of the characters while reading. The novel's reminded me of "The Thousand and One Nights", but also one of those markets in the Arab world. Perhaps the fact, that Ily is a weaver and part of the book is set in a market, has created a "mental image" of this kind, while I was reading.Ily is a weaver of great talent, who attended the university to grow and refine her gift to create tissues through her magic, but she's forced to flee, to cover her tracks, leaving the possibility to sell her masterpieces using the title she was worth, to survive and she's forced to sell her creations to the market, groped to earn the money to rebuild her life elsewhere. Kal is a rich merchant of aristocratic origin, with a questionable reputation, who would have no real need to sell his goods to market, but doing so he's in competition with Ily; between them there is a strange relationship of rivalry -attraction, which pushes the girl to put aside her pride and groped to somehow get the help of man to achieve her goal. Kal, on the other hand, can use the opportunity to accomplish his purposes, where the Ily's ability are essential.Kal is a wonderful character: mysterious, sexy, smart, and he's hiding a precious secret. Ily is 'proud, and she starts a game with this man, who can be extremely dangerous for her future. Let's say that the two together are explosive as fireworks. I loved this story and for me the discovery of Kal's misteries was a gradual and pleasant surprise.