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Jenny Richert is an all-American girl who has just emerged from a breakup when she decides to move to the Middle East. One night while out on the town in Abu Dhabi, Jenny sees a handsome Arab man sitting at the bar. Undeniably intrigued by his dark eyes and magnetic charm, Jenny sips her wine without any idea that he is married-and the father of two. Handful of Smoke shares a tale of forbidden romance that leads a Christian and Muslim from the golden streets of the Middle East to a tropical island where the truth awaits.
“Reading the novel, Handful of Smoke, was like binge watching a series on Netflix

Chapter 14


Smoke unfurled off Ghaith’s Marlboro and danced in the red interior of the sultry room. The Meat Kitchen was a trendy upscale steakhouse.

“You know, you and I could rule this city.” Ghaith exhaled smoke
through his nostrils and watched Jenny twirl her glass, the merlot dancing around in large swirls.

She smiled coyly at him. He could tell that she was beginning to get drunk, and he welcomed the honesty and rawness that ensued from her when she was drinking. The wine was also starting to fill him in a fuzzy way, as the room felt warmer and seemed smaller. He was focused on Jenny’s red-stained lips and her toned legs. The soft lighting and dark wooden décor of the room nestled around Ghaith with a sexiness that he couldn’t resist. The Meat Kitchen was his place, where he brought his dates and got them drunk on wine, meat, and ambience. At the Meat Kitchen, he could build a strong sexual tension and leave his dates wanting more … and then having more. But this conversation, he noted, was going in a different direction. Jenny was definitely getting drunk on the wine, meat, and ambience. But Ghaith was letting himself get drunk, too, which was rare.

Also, Jenny was smart and exactly what he needed right now—a
contract writer. Ghaith watched intently while Jenny crossed and uncrossed her tanned legs, and he noticed the way her inner thighs briefly touched between. He licked his lips while she talked about liaising with business owners and explained how easy it was to get information from them.

“If only you spoke Arabic, you would rule this city,” Ghaith said. He
watched her take a bite of steak, chewing slowly and efficiently, red lipstick still intact. He scooted his chair closer to hers, subconsciously licked his lips again, and looked at her seductively.

“You know, an American business owner told me to get call girls for my potential clients and keep them around while we wine and dine. Then after the clients get nice and drunk, they can pick out the girl they want for the night,” Ghaith said. “What do you think of that strategy?” He wanted to gauge Jenny’s ethics and see if she was truly ready for the ride on which he wanted to take her.

Jenny’s jaw tightened and stopped midchew. She took a deep drink of wine and looked off into the distance. He wasn’t sure if she was appalled or just thinking. As she set down her wineglass, a small burgundy splash landed on the wooden table.

“I think that’s smart.” She slowly reached across him and took the
cigarette out of his hand. Then she took a deep drag and relaxed back in her chair with a smile on her face. “Sex is an instant way to get men hooked.”

“Exactly.” Ghaith nodded emphatically and lit another cigarette.

“Yep, the two of us just might rule this city.”

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Erica Sand

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