The Kadin

The Kadin

by Bertrice Small

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Overview

Abducted from a life of privilege, she was sold into slavery in a distant land. For Lady Janet Leslie there would be no escaping the harem of the wealthy and powerful Sultan Selim. But from the moment the handsome ruler spied his breathtaking "Cyra," was captivated — by the fiery desire that coursed through his veins. She belonged to him, body and soul -yet it was he who was enslaved.

Praised for her keen sense of history and remarkable storytelling powers, the bestselling author of The Spitfire displays the passionate magic that has made her a national favorite -sweeping the reader into the romantic past, from the magnificence of Renaissance Europe to the perfumed splendor of a Sultan's court.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380016990
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/01/1978
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 490,955
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.12(d)

About the Author

Bertrice Small (1937-2015) was an American author of numerous bestselling historical, fantasy, and erotic romance novels. She published more than 50 books and in 2004 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Romantic Times magazine for her contributions to the romance genre. Her popular series include the Pleasure series, the World of Hetar series, and the Border Chronicles series.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Ambassador's Daughter 1490-1493

Wiping his hands on his shirt, James IV, king of Scotland and the Isles, leaned back in his chair and surveyed the scene before him. On his left sat Patrick Leslie, lord of Glenkirk, who, at the moment was engaged in conversation With James's lovely mistress.

James's eyes swept the room. A minstrel sang a sad song of the Borders, and the unsually warm March day made the hall reek of the long, unaired winter. The king noted from beneath hooded eyelids that many eyes were darting back and forth between himself and Patrick Leslie. Good, he thought. Let the scheming bastards wonder! Dear God! Why are there so few I can trust? But he already knew the answer to that question.

On his right sat the Hepburn of Hailes newly created earl of Bothwell, who, James saw, had an ardent admirer in the person of a young redheaded girl who was sneaking a look at Bothwell from beneath her lashes.

"They say you seek to wed with a Gordon, my lord."

"At court only two days, Mistress Leslie, and already up on gossip?" the earl replied, looking down at his little admirer.

"Choose Lady Mary my lord. She is bonnie and sweet of temper."

"And Lady Jane? said Bothwell.

"She has cat's eyes and the Devil's own temper -- so I am told," she added demurely.

Lady Jane Gordon. who was sitting on the other side of the earl, glowered at the child. "Since when don my cousin Jamie allow young brats at his table?" she demanded.

"I am not a brat, my Lady. Jane Gordon rose from her seat "I have half a mind to box your impudent ears," --she snapped.

The little girl stood,legs apart, facing her beautiful antagonist 'Stand Fast' is my family's motto. Yours is something about 'cunning,' isnt it, Lady Jane?'

The room became deathly quiet as Lady Jane Gordon, hands raised, advanced on Janet Leslie. But Janet didn't wait it or the regal hands of Lady Jane to smack her. Instead, fists flying, nails raking, Janet flew at bar.

Caught off guard, Lady Jane Gordon screamed in surprise and tried to protect herself. Laughing, the earl of Bothwell stood up and, prying the child-loose, swung, hot up in his arms.

"Put me down, shrieked-Janet, beating at his chest

"Hold, lassie, the battle is over,and you've won. Rush now," murmured the cad, setting her down.

Janet looked up at him with her green eyes.

"Give us a smile now, lass."

The corners of the little girls mouth curled up, and she said "You smell of heather and the moors, my lord."

Bothwell grinned. Delightedly, and the king snapped "will someone send that flirtatious minx to her bed before she starts a feud between the Leslies and my Gordon cousins?"

Patrick Leslie rose and walked over to claim his wayward daughter.

Janet's face darkened. " I'll, not go," she shouted, "unless Bothwell takes me!"

The hall erupted with the loud, guffaws of the men mingled with the embarrassed titters of the women, all of whom knew too well the earls reputation with the ladies I "God's nightgown," roared James. "How old is that wench of yours, Leslie?"

The little girl stood, legs apart, facing her beautiful antagonist "Stand Fast" is my family's motto. Yours is something about 'cunning,' isnt it, Lady Jane?'

The room became deathly quiet as Lady Jane Gordon, hand raised, advanced on Janet Leslie. But Janet didn't wait for the regal hands of Lady Jane to smack her. Instead, fists flying, nails raking, Janet flew at her.

Caught off guard, Lady Jane Gordon screamed in surprise and tried to protect herself. Laughing, the earl of Bothwell stood up and, prying the child loose, swung her up in his arms.

"Put me down, shrieked-Janet, beating at his chest with her hands.

"Hold,lassie, the battle is over,and you've won. "Hush now", murmured the earl, setting her down.

Janet looked up at him with her green eyes.

"Give us a smile now, lass."

The corners of the little girls mouth curled up, and she said "You smell of heather and the moors, my lord."

Bothwell grinned delightedly, and the king snapped, "Will someone send that flirtatious minx to her bed before she starts a feud between the Leslies and my Gordon cousins?"

Patrick Leslie rose and walked over to claim his way ward daughter.

Janet's face darkened. "I'll, not go," she shouted, "unless Bothwell takes me!"

The hall erupted with the loud, guffaws of the men mingled with the embarrassed titters of the women, all of whom knew too well the earls reputation with the ladies "God's nightgown," roared James. "How old is that wench of yours, Leslie?"

"Ten, sire,"

"God help us all when she's fourteen! Shell turn this court upside down. Very well, My lady Janet. Lord Bothwell will escort you to your apartments. Leslie you come with me." James faced the hall. "The rest of you, got outand go back to your schemes and intrigues! The feast is over."

The king moved swiftly to his own quarterswith Glenkirk following. Settling himself in a chair, he looked up the Highland chief standing before him "So, my lord of Glenkirk, it takes a royal summons to get you to court,", said James Stuart.

"Aye, Your Majesty."

"Yet you were one of the few Highland chiefs who supported me against my late father. Why is that?"

"I felt Your Majesty had the right on his side. In his day your father was a great king, but he grew old and foolish, and Scotland needed a young man to rule her. So I supported Your Majesty. I have kept from court because my estates need me and, as Your Majesty well knows, I am not a man of intrigue. Intrigue is necessary to survival here in Edinburgh."

"Perhaps not a man of intrigue, Patrick Leslie, but certainly one of great, diplomacy. That is why I have sum-moned you." The lord of Glenkirk looked puzzled but James continued. "I am the first king of the Scots to send ambassadors to represent me in other countries. I want you to serve as my ambassador to the duchy of San Lorenzo."

"Your Majesty will forgive my ignorance," said Patrick "but where is San Lorenzo?"

James Stuart laughed. "I didn't know of it myself until, several months ago. It's a tiny country an the Mediterranean, but it is vital to our merchant trade with Venice and the East. Our dear cousin Henry of England has been,trying to get a toehold there for several years, but his emissaries are as dour and as pinchpenny as Henry himself. They annoy the duke, who is a man of culture and generosity. He sent a delegation to me this Christmas past. I sent them back with many fine gifts and the promise that I should send an ambassador come spring."

"But Your Majesty," protested Patrick, "I am no court gallant!, I am a simple Highland chief. I know only of my lands and my people Surely there a someone more suited than I."

"Nay, my lord. I want you. For all your talk I know you to be an educated man, a man with a silver tongue, they say. The duke of San, Lorenzo is a man of elegant tastes. Those wily fools my cousin of England has sent, to him have angered him to the point of turning to me simply to annoy Henry. Scotland is a poor country, Patrick, With a haven of safety in the Mediterranean where our ships can stop to replenish their water and supplies, we can...

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