Desert Rogue

Desert Rogue by ERIN YORKE Read Free Book Online

Book: Desert Rogue by ERIN YORKE Read Free Book Online
look of pure malice, Jed laughed and began gathering his gear. “Let’s get one thing straight, Sharouk. I am no happier to be stuck with you than you are with me. In fact, I’m a damned sight unhappier—”
    â€œImpossible,” muttered Ali.
    â€œI told you to go home and wait for my message, but you wouldn’t hear of it.”
    â€œThat is not the honorable thing to do.”
    â€œBut it’s a hell of a lot more practical! Without you, I could have been halfway to the oasis already, but you insisted on wasting extra hours packing supplies—”
    â€œIt is only prudent to be prepared. It makes a long journey safer,” retorted Ali, folding the canvas shelter he had erected against the sun.
    â€œIt makes a long journey longer,” snorted the dark-haired American, running a hand across his ever-increasing beard. Ali was a novice at this, Jed reflected, mounting the larger of the horses Ali had hired near where they had traded the falucca.
    â€œEnough talk. Let’s ride,” Jed ordered, determined to reach the oasis as quickly as possible now. The thought of surrendering five thousand pounds to unknown villains with no guarantee of the girl’s safety still irked him, but perhaps another option would evolve. It would depend on the situation south of the wadi. If the girl was there, well... No man would say Jed Kincaid couldn’t accomplish what he set out to do, regardless of the wishes of the authorities or puppets like Hayden Reed.
    * * *
    Miles spent on horseback over almost imperceptible routes through the desert didn’t mellow the Egyptian’s stubborn resistance to Jed’s leadership. After a hard day of riding, they’d reached the oasis and Ali wanted nothing more than to turn over the ransom and head back. Jed, however, had other notions.
    â€œBy the life of the Prophet, American, you are magnun, crazy! Risking our lives for a woman we did not know was insane, but we had no choice once you opened your mouth to Reed. This new scheme of yours, however, makes no sense. No matter how you threaten me, I will not agree. Your foolishness will not cost me my life,” muttered Ali as they lay in the sand, watching the small camp in the oasis for signs of movement.
    Well removed from the most frequented trails across the desert, this small haven of shade and water had seen no arrivals since they’d begun their vigil in late afternoon. Clearly the kidnappers had known what they were doing when they chose it. Indeed, from what Jed could discern, they hadn’t even set a guard, though that didn’t mean a trap wasn’t laid within the oasis.
    â€œReed said we were to work together,” complained Ali. It was not that he wanted to venture into the camp himself, but he could not justify Jed’s acting alone, nor could he trust the dangerous gleam lighting his companion’s eyes.
    â€œReed is an unqualified jackass,” answered Jed, hard put to respect even those of legitimate authority. While there was the smallest chance of success, he could not let it pass. “Look at it this way, Sharouk, if it is a trap and we go in together, who will be left to report what happened to Hayden Reed?”
    â€œBut if they think you are alone—”
    â€œThey may be careless and give me the chance to save the girl and the money—”
    â€œNo! You swore you were not going to try that,” protested Ali, jumping up and pulling his knife. “I will cut you myself before the others have a chance if you are so foolhardy as to risk our lives so you can be a hero—”
    â€œAll right, all right. No heroics, but I am going in alone to deliver the money.”
    â€œWhy you? I am perfectly capable of doing as Reed ordered, handing over the English pounds while you sit here with the flies buzzing in your ear and the fleas biting at your—”
    â€œI give the orders, damn it! Don’t you know the only

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