Book #3 of the Sultana series
In fourteenth-century Spain, former friends vie for a man's heart and the future of his kingdom. Both women are captives sold into the harem of Sultan Yusuf I of Moorish Granada. A young girl with a hidden heritage, Esperanza Peralta, forges a new identity as Butayna and becomes the mother of Yusuf's firstborn son.The Jewess Miriam Alubel takes the name Maryam and also bears Yusuf's children, including two sons. The clash between former friends is inevitable, as each finds diverging paths in a dizzying rise to power beside their husband. Both remain aware of the struggle ahead, for only one heir may inherit Yusuf's throne and only one woman can claim the revered title, Mother of the Sultan.
"...Two heirs to sit upon the throne when there can be just one Sultan to succeed his father. Some would say Yusuf is fortunate to have two sons. Others would think him cursed. Regardless, I do not doubt the news will please him, given your recent tragedy."
Butayna's nails raked the doorpost. Her other hand went to her empty stomach, where six weeks ago her second child had thrived for five months until failure shattered her hopes. The court astrologer had predicted another boy.
Maryam added, "If you believe this is the last time I shall bear Yusuf a son, you are mistaken. I will not fade away, while you keep Yusuf at your side. He does not love me, not yet, but I will bind his heart with our children. If you think Muhammad shall inherit the throne just because he is the eldest, you are wrong."
A shudder coursed through Butayna. She fisted her hands at her sides before she turned to Maryam. "If you ever strike at Muhammad, no one, not even Yusuf shall save you from my wrath! I will choke the life from you with my bare hands. Do not mistake the measure of my love for my son."
Over her shoulder, Maryam said, "Do not underestimate my ambitions for mine."
Book #4 of the Sultana series.
In fourteenth-century Moorish Spain, a marriage of convenience for the sake of peace leads to disaster in the medieval kingdom of Granada. The young queen Jazirah, caught up in a dynastic struggle between warring brothers, fights for her survival. Wed to a husband who looks at her with more suspicion than lust in his eyes, she must escape reminders of a brutal past in a quest to find forgiveness, hope, and love.
Her husband Muhammad faces greater peril than union with a wife he cannot trust. Surrounded by enemies within his family who seek the throne and undermined by ministers who would alter the course of his country's future, he intends to rule the land of his ancestors alone. How can he endure against his most bitter opponents, not least among them, the woman whom he has chosen for a bride?
"...Why do you speak of me as if I am not here?" Jazirah demanded. Despite the collective gasps from everyone in attendance, she continued, "We may address each other as equals for we are both the grandchildren of a Sultan of Gharnatah."
Her father admonished, "Jazirah, you are not the equal of a man, least of all the Sultan! You will apologize and beg his forgiveness. Now!"
Muhammad raised a hand. While Ismail fell silent and glared at Jazirah, she returned his narrowed stare with intense regard.
The Sultan said, "Let her keep false words behind her teeth. I would not believe them. What else could I expect, but this behavior from the daughter of a traitor to his people and my father?"