ABOUT CAUGHT BETWEEN TWO WORLDS…
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?
About the author:
June was born in June and she always loved the moon. She comes from Slovenia, a country which got its independence almost three decades ago.
She studied economics, and quickly realised she hated it. Afterwards, she found herself working in a mainly male-dominated businesses; at first in automotive and later steel products. She can choose the best steel for your project, but don’t, please don’t, ask her which lipstick brand you should use.
She started to write in high school and was criticised by her teacher. Stubborn as she is, that didn’t stop her. Under different pen names, she had stories published in magazines, and then went on to publish three books.
After having two children, and learning that her second child has autism, she married their father and carried on working. Work and family life left her with little free time. But the desire to write didn’t die. When life somehow sorted itself out, she decided to write a novel in English and her first submissions were rejected…
For what happened then, re-read the third paragraph, second sentence above…
Before the next door opened, Nicholas stopped the Range Rover. The door stayed closed.
Both men turned around and Salah Ali smiled at me.
“Welcome to my home,” he said.
“Your home?” I quickly checked my appearance. I was wearing shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt covered with a thin, long-sleeved shirt. Only then did I realise that what I was wearing was totally inappropriate for the Arabic world. It was fine for the tourist areas of Egypt but not for… wherever I found myself. I didn’t know what to expect and I was scared.
“Tell her the truth,” said Nicholas.
“Tell her that this is only one of your homes.”
“Well, that is the truth.” He let out a barely audible sigh.
“Let’s get out.”
“Now?” I said.
“I’m not getting out of the car,” I said when both men opened their doors. “Take me back to Hurghada. Now.”
“We will,” said Nicholas, opening my door. “But we don’t have enough gas and we need to solve this matter differently. The chase took longer than we expected.” We stared at each other while he offered me his hand to help me out of the car.
“Believe me, you’ll be safe here. Safer than anywhere else for the time being. You have my word,” said Salah Ali as he came around the car to the opened door.
“I don’t understand anything. Why…?”
“I’ll tell you everything, but not here. I promise. Please get out of the car.”
Still looking at sky blue eyes, I slowly got out. They both moved aside when I did, but left me standing between them. I suddenly felt so small. The sun was already far on the west side of the sky and we stood right beneath the walls in the shade. It was still hot, but it was a little bit easier to breathe than before.
I wanted to ask what we were waiting for, when the door started to open into some kind of passageway with a small fountain on the other side.
“What is this place?” I said.
“You’ll learn everything in its own good time. We’re going in now. Just don’t be afraid.” Salah Ali tried to put a hand on my shoulder but I avoided his touch. He didn’t try it again.
He walked to the open doors. Nicholas patiently waited for me to take the first step.
“What are you doing here?” I said quietly as I followed the older man. I knew I had no other choice.
“Taking care of you,” he said.
“All in its own time,” he said firmly.
I realised he was repeating Salah Ali’s words and I looked at him. He was a foot taller than me and he was even better looking up close.
When we passed the door, they started to close, faster than they had opened. I stopped and looked back.
“Don’t worry. This isn’t a jail,” Nicholas said.
“You’re not really convincing.”
“We saved you,” he said and sighed. “Don’t you forget that.”
When our eyes met again I asked,
“Did you really?”
When he didn’t answer I followed Salah Ali who was already standing by the water fountain.
A short way down the passage there was a completely different view. We had come out onto a yard. That small fountain I had seen from the outside stood in the middle. The water lifted up into the air and fell back down, repeating the cycle again and again.
I looked at the walls there were windows criss-crossed with ornamental wooden panels. The walls circled a square yard.
Suddenly a woman came out from the castle on the opposite side of the yard. She was dressed in wide pants and a short top. Instinctively I took a step back.
“Al-salamu ‘alaykum,” she said to us. Salah Ali answered same way but I didn’t understand.
“Thank you Halima Noor.”
While they were talking I was watching the woman. She was small and thin. Her black hair was tied at the base of her neck and her complexion was the colour of olive oil. Her make-up was perfect. Her age was indefinable. She was beautiful.
“Nicholas, welcome to our home too.” She turned to the man that stood beside me.
He answered in Arabic and I looked at him in awe. I had no idea what he said, nor that he obviously was fluent in Arabic.
“You’re impolite,” she said in English. “To our guest.”
“I’m sorry Amira. It won’t happen again. This is Veronica. Veronica this is Amira Halima Noor,” Nicholas said and looked at me.
I was just staring at him.
“What happened?” she asked and looked at Salah Ali.
“She was taken. Luckily we got to her first…”
“Not here,” she said, interrupting him. “We’ll talk later.” She then turned to me and smiled. Her smile made me feel a bit more relaxed.
“You poor thing. Look at those bruises you’ve got. That must have been a nasty fall.” She looked at my legs. I followed her gaze and only then did I notice that I was covered in bruises from jumping out of the moving car. And they hurt.
“Good evening.” I finally gathered the courage and strength to speak.
“Good evening and welcome,” she said and stepped closer to me, offering me her hand in greeting. I slowly took it and shook. Her grip was firm.
“Don’t you worry. You’re safe now.”
“Everyone is saying that, but I’m not convinced.” I spoke without thinking.
“Let us go inside,” said Salah Ali. Halima Noor nodded and they both began to walk away.
“We need to follow them.” Nicholas stepped closer but I instinctively stepped away.
“You still don’t trust me.”
“No I don’t. But it looks like I have no other options, right?”
For a moment I thought I saw a sadness on his face, but as he turned, the light changed and the expression was gone.
“We need to catch them.”
I followed him in silence.
“I’ll take care of our guest,” Halima Noor said to the men. “You two know what you have to do.”
Salah Ali lowered his head and kissed her on her cheek.
“I knew I can rely on you.”
She smiled and pushed him away towards the door.
Nicholas followed him and, before he vanished inside, he looked back and slightly bowed his head:
She laughed and said to him:
“Stop flirting with me. I’m a married woman, old enough to be your mother.”
Nicholas smiled and left us both.
“You don’t know what happened and you’re afraid.”
I remained silent. She was right.