Desert Jewel – Excerpt

Excerpt from Desert Jewel by Natalina Reis

Romantic Fantasy (with paranormal elements)



Knocking was unnecessary since the front door stood ajar, but she still rapped her knuckles on it as a polite warning that she had arrived. From inside, she heard that gentle modulated voice that made her skin go all bumpy and triggered chaos with her matangazos.

“Come inside. The door is open.”

Hand on her ibhayi to make sure it was in place and not showing her unkempt hair, Milenda stepped inside, feeling her legs shaking beneath her. Why was she so nervous? It was not like they had never met before. They had been together just yesterday in the jungle. So, why all the jitters inside of her now?

Jaali did not give her too long to ponder. He took two giant steps and, before she could react, he was standing right in front of her, holding her small hands in his and drowning her eyes in the crystal lakes of his. “Msichana,” His gentle voice dropped an octave, and for a second she wasn’t even sure he had spoken.

Afraid that she would lose herself in his eyes, Milenda dropped her gaze to his full lips to confirm he had indeed spoken. They were moving again, but this time not in speech. He was going to kiss her.


A princess cannot allow a boy, of lowly or high birth, to kiss her. The old traditional directive came to her as a scream inside her head, making her wince and involuntarily step away from him, their hands yanked apart.

Jaali looked disconcerted, confused. There was a question in his eyes that she couldn’t answer. That kiss was so desired by her heart and by her lips, but a lifetime of etiquette brainwashing had taken its toll. It was too soon for her, no matter how much her body yearned for it. She dropped her eyes to her feet, which she belatedly noticed to be bare. What would her tutors say? Barefoot and alone in a boy’s house. Fodder for scandal, she was certain.

His hand, which had been raised slightly, fell like a deflated balloon along with his whole demeanor. “Nasikitika,” he whispered, “I shouldn’t have…”

Her hand shot up to grab his wrist and pull him closer to her. “No, I am sorry Jaali,” she said, her eyes pleadingly raised to his. “I have these voices in my head telling me what I should and should not do.” His peering eyes danced with amusement. “Well, not voices literally. That would be crazy.” She giggled and his face opened up in a smile.


With a gentle tug, he twisted his wrist in her hand and held it, palm against palm, fingers interlaced. Their bodies mere inches from touching, and his eyes glittering with excitement. “And what are those voices telling you not to do?” he asked, his voice low and meaningful. He tugged her closer to him, their linked hands now resting between them.

The strange hot/cold feeling she always felt when her matangazos were glowing spread from her face to her shoulder, as the heat from Jaali’s body seeped  into her skin underneath her kanga. With a shiver, she lifted her head to meet his eyes. He was taller than her by at least a foot, and as they came closer to each other he had to bend down in order to look at her face and mouth.

Jaali’s head dipped lower and his lips touched hers. They lingered there as if asking for permission to go any further. Milenda reveled in the feeling, but was too afraid to move.

“Is it all right?”

She felt his lips move over hers and losing all control, she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him even closer. She had never kissed a boy before, but she found she knew how—or rather her body did. Instinct seemed to have taken over, and her lips latched on to his with a passion she didn’t know she had. Under her touch, Jaali’s lips opened, welcoming her exploration. Her legs gave up under her and she braced herself against him.


Desert Jewel – New Release

“Powerful, passionate, & epic.”

Natalina Reis

 Desert Jewel

Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Release Date: October 8, 2016
Cover Designer: Claire Smith
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 On sale for 99 cents 
Rebellion brews inside Milenda’s heart as the date for the Trials approach. As the
heiress to the throne of Natale, she is forced to choose a consort from the survivors of the
grueling quest across the desert.
Milenda’s heart belongs to Jaali and wants no part in the ancient and cruel ritual, but the
Elders—the true rulers of Natale—will not back down.
Jaali was brought from the far North as a child slave. His only chance to be with the woman
he loves is to volunteer for the Trials, no matter how dangerous or how much Milenda
Together they begin their journey of discovery and rebellion against the Elders. But will their
love be enough or will they lose everything they’ve fought for?
Amazon: US | UK | AU | CA
Natalina wrote her first romance in collaboration with her best friend at the age of 13. Since then she has ventured into other genres, but romance is first and foremost in almost everything she writes. Her novel, We Will Always Have the Closet, is her first published romance.
After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She lived in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master’s degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she has taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.
Natalina doesn’t believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.
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