& Ice Book 1
virgin Samantha Harman longs to escape her boring life and
overbearing father in South Africa. She gains temporary freedom when
she visits a friend’s ranch in Arizona. Her father’s price for
letting her go? Return to an arranged marriage. But an unexpected
attraction to a sexy cowboy is hard to fight and soon she’s in bed
with the devil.
Bentley, a hardworking no-nonsense rancher, has been hurt before. Tohim, women are wanton troublemakers out for gold. Then his sister’s
feisty friend comes for a visit and ensnares him in a white-hot
passion that threatens to melt the icy wall around his heart.
Samantha dare to defy her father’s demands and convince Cody to
take a chance on love?
and raised in the coastal city of Durban, South Africa and now living
in the City of Gold, Johannesburg, Charlene’s days are an energetic
mixture of a full time job, a wife and Mom to two beautiful
teenagers. She holds a Law Degree and is an avid events
writing is the wings to holistic escapism, she makes the time in her
busy schedule giving life to her dreams of bringing together passion
filled heroes and heroines in a happily ever after.
of the question.”
Here we go again. Samantha Harman rolled her eyes. She was a prisoner in
her father’s home, not allowed to go out, and heaven forbid she ask to meet a
girlfriend alone. A mere wish to join her friend, Kajal at the Northgate Mall ice
rink last week, ended in a similar heated argument. Unmarried girls without a
chaperone were taboo. Her cousins’ stories became the unceremonious joke at
every family function.
“Why not?” Samantha said, testing her father’s patience with the simple
request. Deborah Bentley, her college roommate, spent hours regaling her with
stories of ranch hands, horses, and barbecues which added a little excitement
the prestigious but boring all girls’ college. Ten months ago, they said their
goodbyes. Deborah’s letter requesting Samantha to visit her in Arizona, USA
arrived as a total surprise.
“Diane, tell your daughter I won’t tolerate this insolence.” Her father darted
her mother a livid glare, rose and ambled to a large bay window. With his
cupped stiffly behind his back, he stared out.
“Samantha, I think—”
“I’m here, Papa. Why don’t you speak to me?” Samantha straightened and
interrupted her mother. Her father’s tyrannical behavior suffocated her
He swung around, his face red with rage made Samantha shrink back.
“Young lady, I will not tolerate my daughter speaking to me in this manner.”
“Why does it always have to be this way?”
“As long as you live under my roof, you will do as I say, do you
Samantha recognized the enmity in his voice. Her father ruled their house
like he did his business. With an iron fist and despised being challenged.
“Shall I move out then? I’m sure it will make you happy.” She didn’t think,
just spoke her mind. Not allowing his imperious stance and action deter her
“Stop this insolence at once,” he shouted. Capable of calamitous anger, her
father was never this harsh. Right now, he appeared flustered by the
uncharacteristic intensity of his tone and swiveled away to stare out the window
Samantha glanced at her mother, elegantly dressed in satin silk, her lustrous
red hair pinned neatly in a knot at the back of head, and her green gaze fixed
intently on her husband. She sometimes wondered how her parents endured a
twenty-six year marriage. They were so different, both in character and
her father cold and ruthless, her mother sweet and charming. Maybe they
madeup for each other’s weaknesses.
Her mother stood and walked across to her husband. She placed a hand on
his shoulder, squeezing. “Please, Deven, talk to Samantha.”
“Do we know this girl? What’s her name?” Her father stared at her mother.
“Deborah visited during the holidays last year. Seems like a wonderful girl,
very polite and friendly. It may be good for Samantha to go—”
Her father’s suppressive behavior amazed her as Samantha caught sight of
the contemptuous glare he leveled on her mother which froze her words. The
man seriously believed in the age old tradition where men of the house made
the decisions whether right or wrong, while his wife remained at his side
dubiously stoned with placating indifference. The mannerism a true reflection
didn’t take kindly being told what others thought he should or shouldn’t do.
Samantha conceded her life was plenty different from her friends. Her
parents survived the boundaries of a mixed race betrothal only because her
came from Indian royalty and her mother from an openly diverse British family.
Even though they lived in South Africa, her father ensured a way of life he
deemed an equivalent of his royal heritage and expected his family to follow
suit. He demanded respect.
“Papa, please. Deborah lives with her older brother.” Samantha subtly left
out the fact Deborah lived with not one but three single brothers. He’d probably
throw a hissy fit if he found out.
“What business is he in, Sam?” he asked a tad calmer.
Sam, a pet name which sometimes gave her the distinct impression her father
desired a son as his first born, yet they never wanted any more children. “They
own a ranch.”
“So they’re mere ranch hands.” He cast Samantha an arrogant glower.
“These people are beneath your status. You were raised like a princess. What
heaven’s name will you find of interest on a ranch?”
The pompous tone irked her, and she clenched her fists. “Oh, c’mon, Papa,
I’m twenty-four years old. Stop treating me like a child. Let me make my own
decisions for once,” Samantha retaliated with irritation. “I’m not asking for a
marriage proposal. I want a vacation. On my own. Just this once.”
“I’m well aware it’s not a marriage proposal.” He walked back and sat down
on the closest sofa. “The world out there, Sam, is harsh and I only want what’s
best for you.” His interrogative gray eyes locked with hers. Tall man, strong
and stern, his countenance more like a gentleman from the sixteenth century
with his curled moustache and long sideburns. He rarely dressed in anything
except three-piece suits and polished shoes.
Samantha dropped into the seat and grasped his hand in a gentle squeeze. “I
know, but…but you won’t live forever, you know. When do I experience the
realities of life?” she pleaded softly, her anger momentarily forgotten.
“You’ve never been out of South Africa on your own.”
“Whose fault is that?” Samantha responded hotly then changed tactics when
his brow lifted. One of his many warning signs to tread lightly. She huffed and
continued calmly. “I finished my studies, which you allowed then refused to let
me work, not even in your office. Apart from dinner parties with old, dreary
people, I sit at home bored,” she said. “I wanna see and do something else,
this is the perfect opportunity.” She watched her father, and her shoulders
in misery. He looked away and stared into the fire.
Despite their profound traditions, none of the functions she attended held the
appeal of the Indian flair of bright colors and music. It usually consisted of aunts
and uncles who met once a week for family dinners. The idea of waking each
morning for the next month to a totally different discovery other than the usual
routine sounded like a new adventure and she wanted excitement.
Samantha waited patiently as her father turned his head and studied her for a
long intense moment. “I have one condition, then.”
“What is it?” She caught her mother’s hopeful gaze. Somewhere in the
recesses of her mind apprehension grew.
“Rajesh has asked for your hand in marriage, and on your return, you will
accept his proposal?”
Samantha’s jaw dropped in stunned silence. Seriously? Ok, she expected an
arranged marriage but not to Rajesh Rao. Her apparent suitor appeared
but dull and pretentious. With his Armani suits and brushed back hair, she’d
never seen him so much as tap a toe to a beat. “What?” she said at last. “But…
“No buts, Sam. My condition is simple, if you still want to go on this
“Can’t we discuss it on my return?”
Slowly, he shook his head. “No. Rajesh is exactly what I want in a son-inlaw.
It’s a good business deal for both families from a personal and professional
Typical! Anything to clinch a business deal. Sell your daughter to the highest
She wanted to fall in love, not be forced into it. In her mind, love was
supposed to come naturally. It would be easy to accept any man as her
in accordance with her father’s dictates. Her desire, however, comprised of a
man able to express his love in return. Not a parody of her father, which Rajesh
emulated quite well. Love meant going weak at the knees, and Rajesh, purely
put, held no excitement. No oomph.
Samantha wanted to jump into the deep end of a pool with her true love and
swim together to safety. Not sink because of their inability to trust each other.
“What about what I want?”
“End of discussion, Sam. My condition stands, if you want to go.” His tone
remained matter of fact.
Exasperation set in as her gaze met her mother’s solemn expression of
subservient obedience. Over time, Samantha learned when it came to her
her mother never argued. Truth be told, her mother would rather suffocate to
death than indulge in a battle of wits with her husband.
Once he made up his mind, no one could argue any further with her father. “I
agree.” Samantha exhaled on a slow breath. God, what am I getting myself
She wanted freedom, right? Sheltered, it became essential for her to
life. Dancing, dating, and perhaps live on the wild side for a while. What it
meant, she wasn’t sure right now. Maybe it started with a simple decision, like a
serious wardrobe change for instance. And this was her ticket, so to speak.
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