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Patricia Barletta
Patricia Barletta
Patricia Barletta
Patricia Barletta

Excerpt: Moon Gold

Book 4: The Auriano Curse Series

Raphael knew the woman fought against sleep. He heard her quick intake of breath every time she jerked awake, and then the rustle of her clothes as she shifted on her seat. She had drifted off twice and was in danger of falling off her camel. He glanced over his shoulder. Her head bobbed and her eyes were closed. He halted the animals, slid from his camel’s back and reached her as she toppled sideways. She landed perfectly in his arms.

Her eyes popped open, she gasped, and wriggled. “Put me down this instant! How dare you!”

Raphael grinned. “I dare, lalla, because you would have encountered the ground, and perhaps broken a bone or two in that lovely body of yours.”

That lovely body wriggled again. He found the experience very enjoyable.

She drew an indignant breath. “You are too forward, Mr. Pirate. A gentleman does not speak of a lady’s —” Her voice strangled the last word.

“Body?” He offered and sniggered. “What would you call it?”

She held herself as far away from him as possible, a neat trick since he had her snugged up against him. Her lips compressed and she glanced away. When she turned back, her gaze was as cool as starlight. “Please put me down.”


Those changeable eyes widened. “No? No? Why you —!” She squirmed in his arms like a puppy.

Raphael tightened his hold. “No, Miss Whelton, I will not put you down, for I do not wish to repair any broken bones you might incur from falling off your camel again, nor do I wish to waste the time tending to those broken bones.”

Preventing her from hurting herself had been his first reason for catching Miss Whelton as she slid from her camel, but it had become an insignificant second after he had experienced the enticing feel of her soft curves against his chest, despite her attempt to keep space between them. As she squirmed, he discovered she wore no corset beneath those utilitarian clothes, which was a wise decision while traveling in the desert, but a surprising one, considering her priggishness. His hands itched to explore her delightful shape, but he forced them to behave. She smelled like lilies with a touch of spice, and he wanted to breathe in her scent until he became drunk on it. Dismayed at his intense reaction, he strode the few steps to his camel and set her at the front of his saddle. Before she could argue, he had his camel kneel. She sputtered her protest as she was forced to hold on, first being thrown frontwards as the camel went down on its front knees, then back as the camel folded its back legs.

He mounted the beast behind her, then had it stand. Her bottom slid delightfully back against his crotch when the camel rose to its front feet, but sadly slid away again when the camel stood on all four. As she settled that lovely bottom more firmly in the saddle, she grazed his thighs. He forced himself not to clamp them closed around her. This woman was delicious, and he would enjoy every minute with her.

“You will ride with me,” he announced, as he captured the lead for her camel.

“I’ll do no such thing.” She tried to wriggle away.

Ignoring that wriggle between his thighs, he wrapped his arm around her small waist and pulled her against him, for her safety, but enjoyed the delectable feel of her bottom between his thighs. “I believe you have no choice, Miss Whelton,” he said as he urged his animal forward. “You are here on my camel, and we are moving on.”

She loudly voiced her objections to his arrogant manhandling, her abduction, the forced journey in the middle of the night, leaving Al Jabbar behind, and abandoning her companion. As she berated him, she squirmed to get comfortable. He clamped his teeth together, steeling himself against the dangerous allure of her soft body nestled between his legs. Perhaps he had made a mistake by putting her before him on his camel.

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