Today I am so pleased to welcome Robin Knight to Joyfully Jay. Robin has come to talk to us about his latest release, Under the Arabian Sky. He has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Robin a big welcome!
I followed Tariq outside where he put on his own ghutra then placed mine over my head, adjusting it to sit right before wrapping the thick rope-like agal around my headpiece to keep it in place.
“That’s heavier than it looks,” I remarked.
“It’s supposed to be, otherwise one strong wind would blow it away. Trust me, you do not want to cross the desert without a ghutra to protect your head and neck.”
Once my headpiece was secured, I turned toward his Jeep.
But Tariq was already heading in a different direction. “We cannot take the Jeep where we are going. We need to take a trail through the hills outside of town to get to the desert. There, the sand is deep in parts and can be treacherous for vehicles. For this trip we’ll take the camels.”
“The camels?” I wanted to tell him I’d never ridden a camel before, but I think that fact was quite obvious in my voice.
“Don’t worry. They know the desert better than me. They’ll carry us there and back safely. Wait here.”
Tariq set his medical bag and empty cage on the ground and retreated around the side of the family home to where I assumed the camels were housed. Moments later he returned escorting two camels by the reins. The creatures were already harnessed up, with several decorative hessian saddle blankets draped over their humps.
“Arthur, may I introduce Huda and Habibi. Huda is thirty-six, and baby Habibi turns twelve next month. My mother is already planning a celebration.”
“You throw birthday parties for your camels?”
“Here in the Middle East, our camels are not just part of our culture and livelihood; they’re our family.”
He proceeded to ease Huda, then Habibi, onto their knees. Lumbering from side to side and snorting in the heat, the camels lowered their large frames, first kneeling down on their front knees, then their hind knees. “Come… say hello,” Tariq urged.
I stepped forward cautiously in case they bit or spat, as Tariq himself had warned me.
Tariq saw my hesitation and reached out. “Give me your hand.”
“Give it to me.”
Tariq took my hand before I even had a chance to offer it.
I caught my breath, the thrill of his warm, gentle touch enough to ease my trepidation.
He turned my hand over in his and held both our hands in front of Huda then Habibi.
The camels sniffed at my palm, taking in my scent. They gazed at me, and their big black adorable eyes seemed to cast an approving look my way.
“Touch them. Let them feel your hand on their neck.”
Still guiding my hand, Tariq pressed my palm against the hair on Huda’s long, elegant neck.
“They’re so soft. It feels like fur,” I said.
“They are indeed beautiful creatures. Come… let me help you into the saddle.”
He knelt beside Habibi and clasped his hands together to give me a leg up.
I was too nervous to argue, so I simply placed my hands on his shoulders to steady myself, then placed my boot in his hands.
“Right leg over first. Lift it over the back of the hump. Move confidently and quickly, otherwise you’ll make her anxious.”
I did as I was told, and giving me a helpful push upward Tariq managed to slide me onto the saddle blanket.
“Hold onto the horn of the saddle.” He tapped the front of the saddle that had a grip for me to hold. “Now lean backward. I mean, way back… as far as you can.”
“Because camels stand with their back legs first. There’s a lot of pitching and swaying. If you don’t lean back and hold on tight, you’ll either break your nose on the back of her neck or she’ll throw you right over her head.”
“Are you serious? That sounds terrify—”
Before I could finish my sentence, Tariq gave Habibi a firm pat on her hind quarters and called out “Yaqif! Yaqif!” On his command, Habibi quickly rose, lurching so far forward that I barely managed to keep myself from planting my face in her neck.
As soon as her back legs were standing, Habibi’s front half rose, throwing me backward with so much force I almost fell head over tail off the back of the beast.
Somehow, I managed to hold onto the saddle for dear life.
Part of the Love Abroad Multi-author Series
Find Love Abroad Under the Arabian Sky…
Arthur Somersby is an expert in sand. Working as an arenologist at Oxford University, it’s Arthur’s job to gather research and data on the movement and molecular structure of sand, blending geology, chemistry and biology into one specialty science. But while Arthur’s colleagues conduct their work around the globe — from the Sahara to the Kalahari and beyond — a tragedy in Arthur’s past prevents him from wanting to leave the safety of his office.
That is until one of his colleagues goes missing, presumed dead, and Arthur is called upon to take his place in the distant Arab nation of Oman.
It is there upon the shipless oceans of sand that Arthur meets falcon veterinarian Tariq Hassan. And while the desert heat ignites an instant spark between the two men, a clash of cultures could mean their Arabian love affair is over before it’s even begun.
Can two strangers from opposite worlds overcome the Middle East’s tightly-held religious beliefs and find a way to love one another? Can a connection be made between the science of sand and the spirituality of the desert? Will Arthur’s past and centuries-old traditions keep two souls apart, or will Arthur and Tariq find their happily-ever-after… Under the Arabian Sky?
Under the Arabian Sky is a 40k-word MM romance that will transport you to the deserts of Arabia from the comfort of your favorite reading chair. It can be read as part of the Love Abroad collection or as a stand-alone romance.
Robin Knight is the author of gay fiction novels, novellas, and short stories, ranging in genre from gay adventure, gay romance, gay suspense, and gay comedies.
The heroes of Robin’s books love to spend their time jumping off the page, stumbling through misadventures, and falling in love.
Robin has worked in advertising, politics, journalism, and event management, but nothing is as fun as telling stories.
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To celebrate the release of Under the Arabian Sky, Robin is giving away 3 e-copies of the release! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!
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