Authors: Theodora Koulouris
Copyright © 2012 by Theodora Koulouris
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This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialogue in this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
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ISBN: 978-1-4759-4475-4 (sc)
ISBN: 978-1-4759-4477-8 (e)
ISBN: 978-1-4759-4476-1 (hc)
Library of Congress Control Number: 2012916955
iUniverse rev. date: 10/8/2012
With God everything is possible …
even the impossible.
I owe a huge debt of graditude to all the people who helped me make my dream come true. First and foremost I thank my five “editors” who eagerly read my book and gave me friendly advice. My lovely daughter Eleni, who pushed me hard to finish my book and achieve my goals, my neice Xrisa, who was the first to read it, Irene, one of my best friends, who had excellent ideas, Maria, friend and neighbor who always found time for me, and my cousin Katerina, who always encouraged me to reach for the sky.
I want to thank my lovely daughter Yianna who helped me with all her computer skills.
I want to thank the “Cuz Club,” my sister Kathy, my cousins, Katerina, Sofia, Paula, Kathy, and Patricia, for encouraging and cheering me on as I followed my dream.
Many thanks to my best friend Vasiliki, who from the beginning of my journey, listened to my story for months, has put in thousands of hours of her time to hear me tell it over and over again, and not once ever, has she complained. She now knows every word in my book by heart.
Many thanks to my cousin Tina who guided me, and her daughter Maria, who helped me start my blog.
I would like to thank my husband George. It is because of him that I felt inspired to write this story.
Many thanks to Nidal, my Prince Charming from high school.
Many thanks to my mother, who has dedicated her whole life to her children and grandchildren. A woman who knows how to love unconditionally. She is my hero.
I would like to thank my two sisters, Kathy and Maria, for all their love and support throughout our lives. You have been with me through thick and thin.
Ta athelfia then xorizoune, H mira toxi yrapsi, kai opios anamesa tous be, fotia na tous ekapsi.
I thank all my nieces and nephews, Billy, Yianni, Demetri, Anastasia, Chrissy, Joanna, Nicky, Bobbie, Vickie, Robert, and my great-nephew Matthew, for filling my life with great joy.
Many thanks to my two brothers-in-law, George and Bob, who truly I say, act like brothers and not like in-laws.
I thank my three sons, Apostoli, Panagiotis, and Yianni, for their love and support, and my beautiful daughters, Eleni and Yianna, who pamper me so much that I truly feel like a queen. I love you all dearly. You are all the very air that I breathe. I cannot and will not live without you.
Above all, I thank the lord, my Heavenly father, who has made everything in my life possible, even the impossible. Thank you Father for reminding me to count my blessings and not my needs. I praise you.
here he was, looking as handsome as ever. He stared right at me, clearly distressed, with his big, beautiful, blue eyes. He was leaning against the stone wall, looking lazy. It seemed to everyone in the ballroom that he was listening to a few gentlemen argue about politics, but I knew him better than anyone in this room did. He nodded to the two gentlemen, as if he heard every word they said, but his eyes never wavered from me, as if I were the prize, as if I were the only woman on earth.
Some people say I have cast a spell on him. They do not understand his feelings for me.
Even though a distance was between us, I could still feel his eyes on me, burning my skin, electrifying my body, and stirring strong feelings of lust deep within my soul.
Sometimes I wonder who this man is and why he loves me so. I do not have royal blood running in my veins; nor am I an aristocrat. I am but a poor commoner from America with no family or wealth to speak of.
Every breath Nidal takes, it is for me. I see it, I feel it, and I know it without any doubt whatsoever. Sometimes his love scares me. No one has ever loved me this way before. My prince loves with all his heart and soul. When I touch him, every fiber in his body comes alive. I have this unexplainable power over him.
His piercing eyes were still looking hungrily at me, and I looked back at him. I stared right into his soul, the same way he looked at me. Frustrated, he sighed and ran his hands through his hair, never once taking his glance away from me.
I know what he is thinking at all times, even before he thinks it. I know it is hard to understand what I am saying, but it is the truth. His feelings for me consume him. These feelings run in his blood, in his veins, like a drug that takes over his body and controls his every thought.
And if he does come to me now, I will have no way to control myself. I will tell him that I love him too. I have withheld from telling him this because I fear the way he will react. There’s no telling what he might do in the name of love.
Nidal had been ridiculed for loving me this way. His people did not understand the hold I had on him. The king, Nidal’s father, said he would lose the respect of his people. They were already questioning his obsessive behavior.
This country cried for him to find a wife from their country—not a woman from another world, a commoner who did not speak their language well and did not know their traditions. They wanted him to choose a wife with Arabian blood in her veins, a woman who could give him a son, an Arabian son. The people wanted him to marry royalty. They wanted him to marry the beautiful Princess Shaeena, someone who had been trained from birth to marry my prince one day. Nidal did not love her. He never had. He saw her as the sister he never had. Nidal, his cousin Billal, and Princess Shaeena grew up together.
He does not listen to anything anyone tells him, and he betrays everyone by loving me. He has loved me ever since he laid eyes on me many years ago. He has never loved or been with another woman. He is true to me and only me. The king has been patient with him all these years because he thought his son would eventually change his mind, but that did not happen. So the king stood back and allowed his son to follow his dreams. He had no other choice.
I could not take my eyes off him either. I watched him watch me. I knew he was losing his patience. Any minute now, he would come charging over here to stake his claim. He was very possesive of me and did not like it when men were around me, especially his cousin, Prince Billal, a handsome prince who showed admiration for me. I knew that my prince suffered deep inside his heart whenever I so much as glanced at Prince Billal. He told me so. Nidal felt threatened whenever his cousin was around. I had no idea why. I knew I had not given him any reason to feel threatened, and neither had Prince Billal so far.
Prince Billal walked over to me, and I did not know what to do. He flashed me a smile to die for, showing off even, white teeth and luscious lips that I was sure could seduce any woman he wanted to. He had dreamy eyes and long eyelashes. He had tied his lengthy black hair in a ponytail, and I knew without a doubt that every woman in Arabia would love to run her fingers through his thick mane. Billal’s powerful warrior body stopped a few feet away from me.
I looked around the room and noticed every woman in the ballroom staring breathlessly at him. He reached out and pulled me close to him, near enough where I could feel his heart beat against my breast. He kissed me tenderly on the cheek, and then he whisphered hoarsely for my ears alone, “Loula, you take my breath away,” and at that moment I looked over his shoulder and saw Nidal lose all color in his face and charge right at us.
I felt Billal’s body stiffen as a fuming Nidal barked, “Take your paws off my woman!”
The music halted. Everyone in the ballroom stared at us. I froze, not knowing what to expect next. I could hear whispering among the crowd, and I saw the people of this kingdom shaking their heads in disapproval. I braced myself for what I knew would happen. My prince swung his fist and knocked the stunned Billal off his feet. As he fell to the floor, everyone, including myself, stared at Nidal in disbelief.
Nidal turned and looked at me with accusing eyes, as if I had betrayed him, as if I had torn down his world. At that precise moment, his cousin stood up after stumbling a few times and raised his fist to swing back at Nidal, for he was angry and feeling humiliated. But the crowd kept him from doing just that. The consequence of putting one’s hands on the crown prince was prison.
There was silence again in the ballroom. Everyone fearfully took a few steps backward. They did not want to be caught in the middle of the feuding cousins.
Nidal took this opportunity to threaten everyone at the ball. “If any man so much as touches, talks, or even looks at Loula, I will rip out your throat!”
Everyone stared at him, fearing he would do as he threatened. Nidal was a man obsessed. His hands shook as he looked around the room. I knew he was daring anyone to disobey him. He wanted me all to himself.
I am supposed to stand among this crowd at the ball all by myself? What is the point for me to be here in the first place if the men are not allowed to look at me and the women keep their distance out of envy and fear? No one has befriended me yet, and after this episode, no one will ever want to be my friend!
Nidal’s accusing eyes stopped on me. I shrank back from the hostility I saw in them. Nidal grabbed my arm abruptly and pulled me swiftly through the disbelieving crowd, humiliating me to no accord. He angrily marched us both out of the ballroom with quick strides down the hall while everyone looked on.
I was racing to keep up with his long, angry strides, I almost lost my balance and tripped on the Oriental carpet that was so lavishly thrown on the marble floor. We reached the bedroom door, and Nidal kicked it, creating a two-inch gash with his boot. The door swung open, and he pushed me in the room as he also walked in and slammed the door shut behind him.
His chest was rising and falling and his eyes were blazing fire as he turned and faced me. He gave me a look that said, “I will kill you now.”
But I held my ground.
I am not afraid of him! I know he loves me, and I know that I love him too.
So I only felt anger that he dared to embarrass me so.
How dare Nidal do this to me!
He walked up to me. He was so close that I could feel his breath on my face. He was fuming, out of his mind with anger. I knew he wanted to throttle me, but I was angry too. Nidal had humiliated me in front of all his people. They already had a hard time accepting me, and now this would put an even bigger damper on things.