Book & Author Details:
Banished by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Published by: HarperCollins
Publication date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Young Adult
She thought she’d lost everything . . .
After spending months traveling the harsh, unforgiving Mesopotamian desert, Jayden reunites with a broken, injured Kadesh. Although everyone was convinced the violent and unpredictable Horeb, Jayden’s betrothed, killed the handsome prince, Jayden knew in her heart that her love was alive and safe. But their reunion is short-lived, as they learn Horeb is on their trail and determined to take back the girl he has claimed. Soon, the two star-crossed lovers are on the run toward Sariba, Kadesh’s homeland, where, as heir to the Kingdom, he plans to make Jayden his princess.
But the trek to Sariba is fraught with heartache and danger. After narrowly escaping being stoned to death for a crime she didn’t commit, and learning that her sister has disappeared, Jayden’s only solace is her love for Kadesh. But even he is keeping secrets from her . . . secrets that will change everything.
This gorgeous and enchanting sequel to Forbidden, is full of love, danger, and heated passion that will leave readers breathless.
With bare toes, I stepped along the spongy bank, making my way to a covert spot along the river. Quickly, I dropped my dress and entered the river. The water was cooler than I expected, but after a few moments, the temperature was perfect and refreshing.
To immerse myself was a luxury, the water dream-like against my bare skin. Farther out, the water grew deeper. After washing my hair I swished my neck to rinse the soap.
Moving through the water, I spun in slow circles, the water rippling about my swaying hips. My arms arched overhead, flinging drops of water against the last of the crescent moon.
Holding a hand to my abdomen, I swirled on my toes in the soft mud. When I touched my naked skin, I thought of dancing for Kadesh on our wedding night.
The tamarisk trees rustled and I was startled out of my reverie. A flash glittered beyond the trees. I scrambled up the bank and grabbed my dagger from its sheath, my breath raspy.
“Is someone there?” I called in a harsh whisper. Hurriedly I dried myself with the towel. My thighs were taut with nerves as I threw the dress back over my head just as Asher stepped out of the shadows.
My stomach dropped sickeningly. “Have you been watching me?”
“No, my lady, no!” The young man strode forward to reassure me and then stopped. “I was on watch and heard noises. I had no idea it was you. I apologize for intruding.”
Heat rose like wildfire from my toes to my damp chest. My hair was heavy and wet against my neck, my stomach queasy at the sight of him. The stars were fading now, the river a hazy gray in the early morning. “Do you speak the truth?”
The young man pressed a hand against his heart. “I do not lie. I had no idea you were out here.” Impulsively, Asher took a step forward. “When you walked up the bank you were the loveliest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”
My mouth opened and I spluttered, “How am I supposed to respond to that?”
“That was stupid. Unforgivable. Please don’t speak of this to Kadesh. I mean—it’s true I think you are one of the finest girls I’ve ever known. The most brave, and the most beautiful. But I would never hurt you. I’d never do anything to make you hate me.”
Confusion tumbled inside my mind. “Of course I don’t hate you.” I attempted to walk up the slope of the bank, but he was standing in the middle of the path I needed to take to return to my sleeping quarters.
“You have my complete allegiance and devotion, my lady.”
“You’ve demonstrated that most faithfully,” I said, keenly aware of the listening trees. “I’m grateful, but it can never be more. You understand that?”
Asher’s expression dropped as though a small flicker of hope had drained away. “Jayden, if you ever have need of my heart, it’s yours.” His fingers brushed against mine and I quickly sidestepped him.
“Get some sleep, Asher,” I said, making my voice brisk. “Before the camp rises.”
I couldn’t get to my bed fast enough. When I lay down, my heart was still pounding.
Asher had denied it, but I knew he’d seen me rising naked out of the river.
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When I was a kid I read a book a day, scribbled stories, and dreamed about having my very own book on the library shelf. I grew up in San Francisco, but now live in an adobe house on the banks of the Rio Grande with my husband and sons. I think I’ve drunk so much Land of Enchantment water that some of that ancient magic got into my blood and now spurts out my pencil–I mean ergonomic keyboard. I adore anything old and musty with a secret story to tell.
I’m the author of 10 award-winning middle-grade and Young Adult novels with Scholastic and Harpercollins and I make way too many cookies when I’m writing – and I’ve got the best book trailers in the universe – for reals! Check them out here: www.kimberleygriffithslittle.com. Please find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Youtube.
Awards: Southwest Book Award, Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel, Whitney Award Finalist and Association of Mormon Letters of Art Award, Bank Street College Best Books of 2011, 2013, and 2015, a Crystal Kite Finalist, and New Mexico Book Award Finalist.