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Return of the True King.

Return of the True King

Book Two in the Desert Royalty Series

Alys Newman

Little Books Media

First published in Great Britain in 2018 by

Little Books Media

County Durham

Copyright © Alys Newman 2018

The right of Alys Newman is to be identified as the Author of this Work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from the Author or Publisher in writing.

Book Two of the Desert Royalty Series: Return of the True King.

Return of the True King is the story of Arif al-Shalan and his return from the northern tribes to reclaim the throne of Kindah from his brother Rashid.

Arif knows the pain of loss yet, knows he must marry to continue the line of al-Shalan’s on the throne. Who he marries is not important and the desert tribes put forward one of their own. Will Arif treat her well and will his bride break through the shell his heart has been encased in for a long time.

As Arif and Amina begin married life, things change and Arif throws harsh words at his wife that send her running he regrets what he said but can he repair the damage that he has done?

Can the Kindah survive the return of the true king and can Arif and Amina both bend enough to admit their faults and find an easier path to love?

To the men in my life, you know who you are!

My husband -- You are the one who supplies endless cups of tea, and who applauds my triumphs. You are my inspiration, and still rock my world after all these years!

My sons – Remember ‘reading is dreaming with your eyes open’

About the Author:

Alys Newman is an author with a strong passion for history. She writes romance books entwined with historical themes set in modern times.

Trained as a medieval historian, Alys Newman is also a regular contributor of historical articles to several popular magazine titles.

She lives with her family in the north of England, near the Northumberland border. Here she takes inspiration from the amazing countryside and rich living history.

Alys is an avid use or social media & email. Contact her:

Twitter: @AlysNewman



Facebook: http://

Other Books by Alys Newman:

Rescued from the Desert (Book One in the Desert Royalty Series)

Booked for Love

(all available in Paperback, on Amazon, Apple iTunes, Smashwords and eBook stores around the world!)

Chapter One.

A black stallion, its head proud, made its way over the desert. Its hooves exploded over the soft sand and announced its arrival to anyone within miles. Its coat glistened with sweat, and the fabric of the saddle rug sparkled in the dawn light as it rose over the dunes.

The towering, upright rider seemed as one with the horse as it thundered towards the encampment. The horse and master had a mutual darkness that was based on more than their shared colouring, and the breeze lifted the man’s hair, so it rose away from his forehead.

On a closer look, his hair was threaded with flecks of silver. His forehead was creased in a frown and his eyes wore a troubled expression. Pausing on the top of a dune he surveyed the land all around him. The horse snorted with impatience as its rider scanned the horizon. However, he found no pleasure in the rugged desert in front of him. The sight usually eased his troubled soul but today he only saw that the sun was beginning to rise and shed its warmth on the land in front of him.

It had been the land of his late wife. A dry river bed marked the extent of her land below, there were many miles of sand dunes and mountains that defined the domain of the northern tribes. Yet, Arif al-Shalan had no wife now. She was gone. Dead. Along with her unborn son. They had both died in a freak sand storm that had killed them when they had been travelling to the south to their home after visiting her family in the north. Arif had needed to stay in the capital and had not travelled north with his wife who had been returning for her regular ante-natal appointment with the palace doctor.

Since that day his heart had been wrapped in ice. He honestly believed he didn’t know how to love anymore. Or whether he wanted to. Finding out your wife had betrayed your trust and the child she carried was not yours left a hurt that he did not know if it could ever be healed. He had tried to be a good husband and accept the unborn child as his own. It had been hard, but he felt it was the right thing to do. A long time had passed since their deaths and his time spent with the northern tribes had been cathartic. Yet his own family and his responsibilities were in the south, in the capital of the kingdom of Kindah. Arif had walked away from them and everything after his wife and unborn child’s death. He had negated his duty and responsibilities as his grief had threatened to overwhelm him. And as he sat there thinking back to that dark time when it had been enough just to focus on surviving. When nothing or no one mattered. Each day had been a lesson in pain and endurance. To get through each twenty-four-hour period had been an achievement.

Those dark days were now long gone and now in their place was an emptiness. His heart was barren and cold. Yet, he knew that the elders of the tribe he lived with all these years were pressuring him into marry again. They also were dropping subtle hints that it was time he returned to his rightful role as true king of their kingdom. Arif let his mind drift to think of his family. His father had died a few years ago after a being on the throne for many years. It had been expected that as crown prince Arif would become the next ruler. However, when the tragic accident and betrayal of Arif’s wife and the death of the son he claimed as his occurred he had refused to become king and abdicated in favour of his brother Rashid.

Arif had kept a watchful eye on Rashid’s time as king. His brother was a fair and good ruler but Arif knew that Rashid had never wanted the role but had felt obligated and trapped into doing so. They communicated via email these days. The closeness of their childhood had long since gone, and he knew that his decisions had been responsible for the distance that now sat between them.

Letting out a deep sigh Arif nudged the horse forward towards the rough goat hair tents that were grouped together for protection against the elements and against anything untoward that could occur. The kingdom had known peace for many a year, but old habits died hard and it was always better to practice caution than feel regret.

‘Welcome back your highness’ the groom said with low bow as Arif vaulted off the horse.

‘Thank you, Faisal, and have we not discussed that there is no need to bow?’

Smiling the man winked with a degree of familiarity and said over his shoulder as he walked the big brut of a horse away. ‘But of course, your magnificent majesty’

Arif smiled wryly to himself. It was rare that he found humour in the little things but his conversations with Faisal these last few years had kept him sane. The man had come north with him as his head of security, following Arif to the tribes when he had arrived full of anger and with a need to lash out at anyone who came within arm’s length. Yet, the man had resolutely refused to accept that he had not needed or wanted him around. Subsequently Arif had become firm friends with the man who guarded his life.

‘I see your shadow has lost none of his devotion to you after all these years your highness’ the old man said as he came to stand by Arif’s side.

Turning slightly he acknowledged the chief of the tribe. ‘Please Nabil can you not after all these years please call me Arif as I have asked you to do many times?

‘It would not be right, your highness’

Sighing Arif knew he was fighting a losing battle. It was a conversation they had had many times and one that he knew he never stood a chance of winning. The sheikh of the northern tribes, Nabil bin Karim al Adnan was a man of the old ways and saw duty to the king or an heir as an important part of who he was.

‘You require something of me Nabil?’ Arif asked, knowing what the old man wanted to speak to him about. It was a discussion that they had entered into frequently over the years but one where the pressure had increased more recently.

‘It is time your highness’ the sheikh merely said.

‘You think I do not know that old man?’ Arif said sharply.

The words were unspoken but Arif could hear them on the air. It was time for him to marry again and to return to the capital and become the true king of Kindah.

‘It is something I do not wish to do. Yet, I know that I must for the sake of the kingdom’. Turning he faced the elderly leader of the tribes of the north. ‘You have someone suitable?’

The old man slowly smiled before answering. ‘Yes, I do’.

‘I care little for who they are … I assume the chosen has been vetted and is suitable for the role as queen?’

‘You may not care your highness, but I hope that you will be kind to them?’ Nabil added.

Arif frowned at the unusual choice of words from the old man at his side. Kind? What did he know of being considerate of others. For so long he had isolated himself from the community. He joined in with events when he was required but limited those as much as possible. He still found crowds and being pleasant for prolonged periods a strain. Arif’s natural response since that tragic day was to snarl and push those away who tried to get too close. They say time heals all wounds but Arif’s still felt open and weeping. He often wondered as time passed when the pain would begin to ease. However, he would never intentionally hurt a woman and bristled at the implication that he would.

‘You dare to suggest I would treat a woman without respect?’ He challenged.

The old man physical flinched as if hit by Arif’s accusations. ‘Your highness, forgive me. I meant no disrespect. Allow an old man to worry about a woman under his protection’.

Arif placed a hand on the elder’s arm. ‘There is no needed for forgiveness Nabil. This woman … the one you speak of she is under your care?’

‘Yes, she is part of my family.

‘I understand. You care for her and wish to know that I will treat her well? It is a natural expectation and I understand you do not mean any offence’.

A silence descended between them whilst they stood at the edge of the camp. Arif eyes surveyed the goat haired tents and temporary structures. He would miss this simple life when he returned to the capital. As he looked around he could see the children running between the tents and hiding from their mothers who were calling them. He allowed himself a brief smile at their antics before moving on to watch many of the other men who were sat around one of the numerous fires. They would be discussing arrangements for their impending move further south as the cooler weather of winter arrived. The logistics of moving even a smallish camp as theirs took an inordinate amount of planning and time.

Arif knew these moments were numbered and soon he would be leaving all this behind him. He felt its loss and was uncomfortable with returning to a more structured life in the palace. The years he had spent in the north had been freer than anything he had ever known, but he also knew that those years were at another’s expense. It was time to repay Rashid for his endurance and for his sacrifice to their country.

With a growing sense of trepidation Arif looked back to the weather worn face of the tribal elder at his side. The old man stood proudly at his side and he knew then that the girl had already been chosen for him.

‘She has been already selected and brought to the camp has she not Nabil? Arif asked in a tone that suggested he knew his fate was sealed.

‘Yes, your highness. Your bride arrived a few weeks ago and has been reacquainting herself with the desert and its expectations’.

‘Why would she need to become familiar with our ways Nabil. What is it you are not telling me? He challenged.

‘There are many things I do not share Arif. Just as you yourself have kept parts of your life hidden from us. We are who we are today from the events that shaped us in the past’. Nabil told the young man at his side.

Arif smiled at Nabil’s slip and use of his name. So … the old man had his secrets and was playing his cards close to his chest. Interesting he thought to himself. The old man was right and each and every event in their past defined their future. He sighed and knew it was time … time to return to the palace and to a more civilised life. He laughed to himself and thought about how different life would be to the simple ways he had come to love and would ultimately miss.

‘Alright, old man. Keep your secrets. You are right we all have them. But … be careful you do not over play your hand. It would be a shame for others to be hurt by those around me trying to manipulate events’. He told Nabil.

The elderly sheikh laughed out loud in a rare show of humour. ‘You credit me with more than I am capable. I leave it to the women of our tribe to try and influence the men around them’.

Arif allowed himself a brief moment to reflect on the life he had with his first wife. She had been chosen for him by his father. Neera had been the daughter of the ruler of a neighbouring kingdom who had been brought up to know she would marry Arif and trained for that role. She was quiet, and they had rubbed along reasonably well together, but they had never really connected, and he had accepted that his relationship with her would always be one based on respect rather than anything deeper. Part of Arif’s grief that still surrounding him came from the betrayal of his wife. One he thought pure of heart and incapable of the deceit had been proved a lie. They had not been unhappy, more that they had both come to accept that they were polite strangers who had to be intimate occasionally for the sake of the kingdom. But, her infidelity was something that had deeply hurt him and the knowledge that the child he so welcomed had not been his had almost destroyed him.

He sighed. These days he knew he could avail himself of any number of women and sexual encounters on his trips abroad. However, the women were transitory and that suited him for the most part. Occasionally though Arif craved that what he had not had with his first wife and didn’t know if he ever would. He wanted a woman that would stand at his side and have the strength to challenge him and those around him. Arif knew that the elders of the kingdom still questioned a woman’s role in society and he faced an uphill battle, yet he also knew that unless the country harnessed all its resources, including women, then he could not bring them into the modern world and bring prosperity to all the tribes and regions.

Turning to Nabil. ‘So, old man, had you not better inform me of your own and the council’s plans …’

Chapter Two

Amina smiled down at the young girl who was sat on her knee. She was reading a story from a collection of books she had brought with her when she arrived in Kindah. As she sat she reflected on how her life had changed in the last few weeks and months. The past few months had been full of revelations and tragedy and something she had quickly become familiar with. She took a deep breath and blinked to force back the tears that threatened to fall. She mentally chastised herself that there was no place for such weakness anymore. She had quickly learned that nothing that had come to light could change the past nor could she allow herself to wallow in misery forever. However, the hurts still had the ability to anger and upset her and Amina knew she needed to learn to guard her heart and her emotions better.

A noise outside the tent alerted her that people were approaching the area where she had set up the informal story time for the many children of the encampment. Without knowing why she felt a tingling sensation run down her spine, one that told her that they were no longer alone and a foreboding that someone important was about to enter the tent … and her life. She paused in reading of the story and lifted her eyes to see Sheikh Nabil bin Karin al Adnan enter followed by a tall man who stood back in the shadows.

‘Amina my child, you are well?’ Nabil asked.

‘Yes, I am, thank you. I have been reading to the children to alleviate some of their boredom’.

Smiling Nabil turned to the man who stood quietly behind him. ‘Your highness, may I introduce my daughter, Amina bin Nabil al Adnan’.

She was quickly trying to process the ‘your highness’ salutation as she passed the child over to one of the other woman before rising to stand in front of her father and his guest.

‘Father …?’ Amina questioned.

Before Nabil could answer his daughter’s question Arif placed a hand on his arm and steeped around him and into the light.

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