Excerpt: Bound to Her Desert Captor

Excerpt: Bound to Her Desert Captor

Conveniently Wed! #3639

Chapter One

‘I’m sorry, Your Majesty, but there has been no further information as to your sister’s whereabouts.’

Jaeger al-Hadrid, King of Santara, nodded once then turned his back on his silver-haired senior aide. He stared out of the arched windows of his palace office on to the city of Aran below. It was early, the dawn sun bouncing off the Gulf of Ma’an and bathing the sleepy capital of Santara in a golden glow. The pale pink palace perched on the crest of a hill faced the once industrious port that had recently been transformed into a tourist mecca: hotels, restaurants and shopping outlets, tastefully designed to blend the old with the new. It was just one of Jaeger’s successful attention-grabbing visions to boost the local economy and showcase the changing face of his kingdom.

He didn’t see any of it right now, his mind locked down by the worry brought about by his sister’s disappearance.

Where was she? And,more importantly,was she all right?

A week ago he had returned from a business trip to London to find a note on his desk.

Dear Jag,

I know you won’t like this but I’ve taken off for a few weeks. I’m not going to tell you where I’m going because this is important to me.That’s why I haven’t taken my cell phone.

No doubtif I didyou’dfigure out where I’m going before I even get there! But don’t worry, I’ll be fine.

I love you,

Milena xxx

Don’t worry? Don’t worry?After what had happened three years ago, how could he do anything but worry?

He reached for the note on his desk, now enclosed in an evidence bag, and had to force himself not to crumple it in his fist. So far the only thing his elite security team had been able to find out was that she had taken a flight to Athens and then disappeared with a man. A man who had been identified as Chad James. An employee, no less, whom Jaeger had personally allowed his sister to work alongside for the past six months.

His jaw hardened and he had to force himself to breathe deeply. Chad James was a brilliant graduate who had been recruited from the States last year to work for his pet company, GeoTech Industries. The company only employed high-energy, intelligent men and women who could think outside the box to create leading-edge technologies that rivalled anything coming out of Silicon Valley. A week ago the young graduate had put in for one month’s leave without pay.

Had he coerced Milena into going with him for some lovers’ tryst? Or, worse, kidnapped her and planted the note, planning to ask for a ransom any day now?

Jag cursed silently. Since becoming King a decade ago he’d done his best to keep his siblings safe from harm. How had he failed so extraordinarily in that endeavour? How had he got it so spectacularly wrong? Again! Because it washis fault. He’d put his sister in harm’s way, even if he hadn’t known it at the time, and he held himself fully responsible.

And it couldn’t have come at a worse time.

For the past decade he had worked tirelessly to pull Santara out of the economic and political quagmire his father had inadvertently left it in, and, right when he was on the verge of having Santara recognised as an integral political powerhouse on the world stage, his sister went missing.

The worry was eating him alive.

‘How is it possible,’ he growled in Tarik’s direction, ‘that in this day and age no one can find out where she is?’

The elderly man Jag had known since his boyhood shook his head. ‘Without her mobile phone or computer there’s no way to track her,’ Tarik answered, not telling him anything he didn’t already know. ‘We have accessed security footage in and around the ports of Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrio, as well as the local train stations, but so far we have come up empty-handed.’

A knock at the door cut off Jag’s vicious string of curse words. His PA entered, and murmured something to Tarik before casting him a quick, sympathetic glance.

Jaeger’s heart thumped into his throat. Please don’t let his sister be in trouble.

Noticing his granite-like expression, Tarik shook his head. No, not the Princess.

Jag let out a rough breath. Only his tight inner circle knew that Milena was missing. Together they had mobilised a small taskforce of elite soldiers to hunt for her and Chad James, demanding absolute silence in the meantime. Jag hadn’t even alerted his brother to Milena’s disappearance and he didn’t plan to until he had something concrete to give him. Nor had he alerted the Crown Prince of Toran whom Milena was due to marry in a month’s time.

The last thing he needed was a scandal of this magnitude, a week out from hosting one of the most important international summits in Santara’s history. Leaders from all over the globe would be descending on Santara for four days to discuss world matters including environmental affairs, world health issues, banking and trade deficits. It would be the largest summit of its kind; a pinnacle moment in Santara’s rebirth, and his staff had worked tirelessly to see that it came off without a hitch.

‘Tell me,’ he demanded, noticing the slight hesitation on his aide’s pale face.

‘I have just been informed that Chad James’s older sister landed in Santara an hour ago.’

Jag frowned. ‘The sister he emailed the day before he disappeared?’

‘I believe so. A report on her has been sent to your inbox.’

Jag sat down at his desk, touching the mouse pad on his computer to awaken the screen. Quickly he found the relevant email, scanned it, and opened the attachment. It was a dossier of sorts.


Name: Regan James

Age: Twenty-five


Height, weight and social security number were all there. Her eyes were brown, her hair brown, and she worked at some posh-sounding school as a teacher. According to the report, she lived alone in Brooklyn, and volunteered at a bereavement centre for kids. No pets and no known convictions or outstanding warrants for her arrest. Parents deceased.

Which Jag already knew from the file that had been compiled on her brother. She also had a photography website. Jaeger flicked to the next page. On it was a photo of Regan James. It was a half-body shot of her standing on a beach somewhere, her hair tied back in a low ponytail, wisps of it caught by the breeze on the day and flattering her oval-shaped face, her hand raised as if to keep it back. She was smiling, a full-faced smile, showing even white teeth. A camera hung around her slender neck, resting between her breasts. It was a photo of a beautiful woman who didn’t look as if she would hurt a fly. And her hair wasn’t brown. Not in this photo. It was more auburn. Or russet. And her eyes weren’t just brown either, they were…they were… Jag frowned, caught his train of thought and shut it down. They were brown, just as the report said.

‘Where is she now?’

‘She booked into the Santara International. That’s all we know.’

Jag stared at the photo that shimmered on his screen. This woman’s brother had taken his sister somewhere and he would move heaven and earth to find them and bring Milena home.

He only hoped Chad James had an army to help him when he finally got his hands around the bastard’s scrawny neck, because nothing else would be able to.

‘Have her followed,’ Jag ordered. ‘I want to know where she goes, who she talks to, what she eats and how often she goes to the bathroom. If the woman so much as buys a packet of gum I want to know about it. Is that clear?’

‘Crystal, Your Majesty.’