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Caught Between Two Worlds

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Caught Between Two Worlds
A vacation on the shores of the Egyptian Red Sea was Veronica Blake’s long lasting dream.

But dreams turn into nightmares. Controlling boyfriend Peter complains and embarrasses her frequently in front of everybody from the start. A trip to the ancient sites turns into a disaster. But the salvation comes in the form of the mysterious Nicholas, a blue-eyed man she remembers from the hotel.

Deep in the Sahara desert Veronica encounters a totally different way of life. She desperately seeks the truth about everything that happened. Alone and afraid of her new written future she finds consolation with Nicholas, the only man she’s left to trust.

Will she ever accept the truth she seeks, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

Will she be able to find a way back to the life she was forced to leave behind?
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The following four days were just like the first few months when Peter and I had got together. He did everything I wanted. No complaining. He was as charming as I remembered him from the start. It was as if the first four days of our vacation had never happened.

We socialised with others. He played tennis with Jason. He let me go riding without complaint and was waiting for me to come back every time with a rose in his hand.

I didn’t see Salah Ali again at the stables. Alnnajm Almuta’alliq waited for me and I had an escort. Since Rashid was occupied with other hotel guests, I was accompanied by another man from the stables. He never spoke a word, not hello at my arrival, not goodbye when I left. He looked almost the same as Rashid so I presumed they were at least relatives, if not brothers. Every evening we took the same route as the first day when I rode with Salah Ali. I already knew the path by heart.

Another argument broke out at the start of the second week of our vacation.

I had stayed that morning with Peter by the pool. I knew he preferred the pool to the sea. I didn’t understand that but I wanted to show my appreciation for all the effort he had made.

The pool was divided into several sections with small islands, connected by bridges.

As the weather was sunny and hot, I spent most of the time in the water or in the shadow of the palm trees that grew on the islands. Peter joined me a couple of times and then he decided to get himself a drink from the bar on the other side of the pool.

“Do you want anything?” he asked.

“No. I think the tea guy will be round in a minute. I’ll have tea then.”

“How can you drink tea in this weather?”

“Easy. It cools me down. You should try it.”

“No, thank you,” he said, turned around and went to the pool bar. Knowing it would take him some time to get back to the loungers I decided to swim some lengths. The last length took me back to our side of the pool. I swam under the water as I wanted to see if I was still able to hold my breath long enough to do it.

When I reached the edge of the pool, I reached up to place my hands on the ledge to pull myself out. Instead of touching the marble, I clung on the hand that pulled me out of the pool. My face was soaking wet and my hair dripping, so I grabbed the towel that was handed to me. Wiping my face, I realised that it had got very quiet. There was still music playing in the background, but the usual chatter had stopped.

I put the towel down, and stared into Salah Ali’s black eyes. We looked at each other and when I finally managed to glance around for Peter, I saw that everyone near was staring at us; the guests, the hotel staff, Peter on the bridge that led to our side of the pool. Everyone. Salah Ali had that kind of charisma.

I caught Peter’s eye and shrugged my shoulders in answer to the question in his eyes.

“Thank you,” I said. Salah Ali took the wet towel from my hands and gave it to the man behind him.

“You’re welcome.” Then Peter joined us, putting his hand possessively over my shoulders.

“Is she yours?” Salah Ali said to Peter.

“Yes,” Peter answered.

“I’m no one’s possession,” I said and shook Peter’s hand off. I knew I had turned red in anger. Just at that moment, the tea waiter appeared. As soon as he spotted Salah Ali in our company, he turned away. The hotel guests went back to what they were doing. Even the hotel staff returned to their chores.

“Watch over her,” I heard Salah Ali saying, crystal clear.

I shook Peter’s arm off my shoulders.

“If you two are discussing the price, don’t! I’m no man’s possession!” I said to Salah Ali.

Both looked at me as though I was some strange species. Salah Ali turned back to Peter.

“Watch over her, very carefully. Al-salāmu ʿalaykum.” Then he left, not saying anything to me.

“What the hell was that?!” Peter turned towards me.

“You’re asking me? You two were discussing it.”

“We certainly were not! How could you say something like that?” Peter sat down in front of me. “Who was he?”

I shrugged my shoulders.

“All I know is his name. Salah Ali.”

“And?” Peter’s voice started to tremble and he raked his hand through his hair over and over again.

“And nothing. He accompanied me the first evening when I went riding. You didn’t.”

“So every evening for the past four days you went back there hoping to see him again?” I finally put my sunglasses down and looked straight into his eyes. We were silent for a moment.

“You’re nuts. Do you know how old he is?”

“So what was he doing here?”

“How on earth should I know? He might be a guest here like we are. Jeez Peter! Think!”

I realised I was yelling and I didn’t want to make a scene. I stood up. There was that man again, standing on the edge of the pool, preparing to jump into the water. I could see his sky blue eyes, such a contrast to the colour of his hair and sun-tanned skin.

 

Ribbon Reviews for this title:
(These are similar to our Bookworm reviews, but they are
not submitted by our in-house reviewers. Each Ribbon Review corresponds to the matching color of our Bookworm reviews.)

 

I saw this reviewed on RRR with the book cover attracting my attention first. When I read the blurb, I knew I had to download it. I wasn’t sorry because I enjoyed this book despite getting frustrated with Veronica, the main character at times. She seemed to have a lot of patience for her situation than I would. She was forever being told that ‘all will be revealed’ and then it wasn’t. Quite often she was told something that I, as the reader, didn’t believe for one moment, yet she did. Then, the opposite happened, she didn’t believe what appeared to be the truth.

Despite that, this novel had a magical feel to it.  Exotic locations were beautifully described. I felt I was there as well. There were a few twists on the way and I particularly liked the hotel and solitude she found in Slovenia, until it was spoilt, that is by some nasty men!

This really is a globetrotting story and I can still imagine the shimmering and changing sands of the desert all described to perfection.

There are enough plot twist and surprises to keep the reader going right until the end.

The end! What can I say without giving anything away? If you are a romantic and you love horses, then there is a daring rescue will leave you starry eyed. Wonderful!

Submitted by Karen J. Mossman

Endorsements
Caught Between Two Worlds by June Moonbridge has the capacity to be a great romantic thriller. There’s a kidnapped heroine, a couple of villains, a sexy hero, and an assortment of mysterious supporting characters.

Veronica Blake, a young English woman, has longed to travel to Egypt her entire life. Her mother would never take her. Her boyfriend Peter doesn’t want to go. However, when she receives brochures showing the glories of an Egyptian vacation, she decides to take matters into her own hands. She books a holiday for her and Peter to go to a luxury hotel in Hurghada, on the shores of the Red Sea. On their flight, Peter is disagreeable and obviously unhappy to be there. On debarking they hook up with another couple from the flight who happen to be staying at the same hotel. Although Jason and Sarah begin to build a friendship with Veronica, Peter doesn’t seem to like them very much. He refuses to take part in any of the activities offered.

Veronica is an expert horsewoman and when the opportunity to go on a ride is available she jumps at the chance. It’s here that she meets Salah Ali, an older man. When it becomes apparent that Veronica is too experienced for the other riders, Salah Ali agrees to accompany her on the ride.

Peter prefers to lounge by the pool, and while spending some time with him Veronica notices an attractive stranger with “sparkling blue eyes”. It’s the second time she’d seen him and he obviously made an impression on her.

Eventually Peter decides to join Veronica, Sarah, and Jason on an excursion to Luxor. This is where things begin to turn strange. When returning from the trip, Veronica suddenly awakens in a van with Sarah. There is a driver and another man in the front seat. There’s no sign of Jason and Peter and when questioned the men give her a story about the men leaving earlier. Little by little Veronica begins to suspect something is wrong and finally she manages to jump out of the car.

Rescued from the desert by Salah Ali and the mysterious blue-eyed stranger she is taken to “The Garden”, an estate in the middle of the desert. She meets Amira Halima Noor and Dona Yolanda, the first and second wives of Salah Ali. She also learns the name of the man with the “sparkling blue eyes”, Nick. Little by little she learns there are secrets that she must wait to have revealed. These secrets will have a tremendous impact on her life.

This is a good story and Moonbridge does an excellent job of describing scenery and settings. However, I did find her character development a little lacking. I would have liked to learn more about Veronica; her relationships with her mother and Peter, where she worked or what she did for a living, and something about her friends. There are gaps in the story when it comes to her mother’s relationship with her missing father; how did they meet and why didn’t they stay together?

I also felt the relationship between Veronica and Nick develops too quickly and without enough of a “courting” period. Veronica herself seems to float between independence and outright rebelliousness against her captors and an almost obsequious deference to them.

There are missing and misspelled words throughout and Moonbridge does repeat some words and phrases. While this doesn’t detract from the story, it would benefit from another edit. If that was done and the characters fleshed out more I think this would be a Gold Bookworm book. The idea of the story is good; the author leads to the conclusion with some tension. I was enthusiastic about learning the outcome of the story despite any concerns I had with the writing. I encourage Ms. Moonstone take a second look and make some changes and have a good edit performed. I rate this book a Green Bookworm.

Veronica has always wanted to visit Egypt and she decides to do just that with her not so willing boyfriend, Peter. She tires of his complaining and sets out to explore on her own. She meets two travelers, Jason and Sarah, and a mysterious man named Salah Ali. When she plans a trip with Peter, Jason, and Sarah, she is kidnapped by the sheikh. Salah Ali rescues her and keeps her in his palace. She spends months in the dark not understanding her kidnapping or rescue. As the story unfolds, you find out the answers just as Veronica does.

Caught Between Two Worlds is a page turner. I liked not knowing what was going on until Veronica did. The description of Egypt, the customs, and language was vivid. It made you feel like you were there.

I was surprised by the story of her connection to Salah Ali. I felt Veronica was such a strong character for what she was put through. I don't normally read books like this, but I am so glad that I had the pleasure of reading it. The only reservation I had about the book was with Nicholas. I understood their connection, but there wasn't enough there to buy when and how she fell in love with him.

I would recommend this book and definitely read more by this author.

The main thing I found wrong with this book is that I could not put it down. Loved the story line and it flowed smoothly. It gave a good impression of what life is like in the Arab countries.

Definitely a gold. If you want an interesting book with a little mystery, and a little love story and an adventure to keep things moving, you will love this book.
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