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Authors: Bertrice Small

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Wild Jasmine

BOOK: Wild Jasmine
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“L
ook, my princess! The moon is rising.”

She looked in the direction that he was pointing and said, “It was full on my birthday, a few days ago. Alas, it has begun to wane.”

“Even as my love for you begins to grow,” he promised her.

Yasaman blushed again. His words were so wonderfully thrilling. She had never imagined that a man could say such lovely things, and what was more, he sounded so sincere. Perhaps, just perhaps, this marriage was not a bad thing and would work out. Still, she knew not what to answer him back. So she remained quiet.

He took her hand in his and squeezed it gently. Then, raising it up, he turned it over and placed a warm kiss upon her palm. “Such a dainty hand, my princess,” he murmured low. “I am overcome with the thought that soon that hand will caress me.”

The touch of his mouth upon her skin set her heart to leaping in her chest. “
Ohhh
,” she gasped as the sensation suffused her body, leaving her weak with the simple pleasure his first kiss had created.…

By Bertrice Small
THE KADIN
LOVE WILD AND FAIR
ADORA
UNCONQUERED
BELOVED
ENCHANTRESS MINE
BLAZE WYNDHAM
THE SPITFIRE
A MOMENT IN TIME
TO LOVE AGAIN
LOVE, REMEMBER ME
THE LOVE SLAVE
HELLION
BETRAYED
DECEIVED
THE INNOCENT
A MEMORY OF LOVE
THE DUCHESS
THE DRAGON LORD’S DAUGHTERS
PRIVATE PLEASURES
The O’Malley Saga
SKYE O’MALLEY
ALL THE SWEET TOMORROWS
A LOVE FOR ALL TIME
THIS HEART OF MINE
LOST LOVE FOUND
WILD JASMINE
Skye’s Legacy
DARLING JASMINE
BEDAZZLED
BESIEGED
INTRIGUED
JUST BEYOND TOMORROW
VIXENS
The Friarsgate Inheritance
ROSEMUND
UNTIL YOU
PHILIPPA
THE LAST HEIRESS
The World of Hetar
LARA

A Ballantine Book

Published by The Random House Publishing Group

Copyright © 1992 by Bertrice Small

Map copyright © 1992 by Random House, Inc.

All rights reserved.

Published in the United States by Ballantine Books, an imprint of The Random House Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.

BALLANTINE and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

www.ballantinebooks.com

eISBN: 978-0-307-79485-7

v3.1

To Leona Nevler, with thanks

THE PLAYERS

IN INDIA

Yasaman Kama Begum
—The daughter of India’s ruler and his English wife, called Candra
Jalal-ud-Din Muhammad Akbar
—The Grand Mughal of India, 1556–1605
Hamida Banu Begum, called Mariam Makani
—Akbar’s mother
Rugaiya Begum
—His first wife, Yasaman’s foster mother
Jodh Bai
—A favorite wife, mother of his heir
Salim
—Akbar’s oldest son and heir
Man Bai, Nur Jahan
—Salim’s favorite wives
Murad, Daniyal, Shahzad-Kanim Begum, Shukuran Nisa Begum, Aram Banu Begum
—Akbar’s other children
Yusef Ali Khan
—The defeated former ruler of Kashmir, now Akbar’s loyal general
Jamal Darya Khan
—Yusef Khan’s youngest and most loyal son
Yaqub Khan, Haider Khan
—His other surviving sons
Father Cullen Butler
—Yasaman’s tutor, a priest
Alain O’Flaherty
—Factor of the O’Malley-Small trading house in India
Captain Michael Small
—Captain of the
Cardiff Rose
Lady Juliana Bourbon
—A physician
Adali
—Yasaman’s high steward
Rohana, Toramalli
—Yasaman’s twin serving women
Ali
—The fisherman of Wular Lake
Balna
—The parrot Hiraman’s keeper

IN ENGLAND

Skye O’Malley de Marisco, Countess of Lundy
—Jasmine de Marisco’s grandmother, and the family matriarch
Adam de Marisco, Earl of Lundy
—Her husband, Jasmine’s grandfather
Velvet de Marisco Gordon, Countess of BrocCairn
—Their daughter, Jasmine’s natural mother
Alexander Gordon, Earl of BrocCairn
—Her husband
Sybilla Gordon
—Alex Gordon’s legitimized bastard daughter
James, Adam Charles, Robert, Henry, and Edward Gordon
—Velvet and Alex’s sons
Ewan and Gwenneth O’Flaherty
—Skye’s eldest son, and his wife
Murrough and Joan O’Flaherty
—Skye’s second son, and his wife
Willow and James Edwardes, Earl and Countess of Alcester
—Skye’s eldest daughter, and her husband
Robin and Angel Southwood, Earl and Countess of Lynmouth
—Skye’s third son, and his wife
Deirdre and John Blakeley, Lord and Lady Blackthorne
—Skye’s second daughter, and her husband
Padraic and Valentina Burke, Lord and Lady Burke
—Skye’s youngest son, and his wife
Conn and Aidan St. Michael, Lord and Lady Bliss
—Skye’s brother, and his wife
Thomas Ashburne, Earl of Kempe
—A friend of the family
Rowan Lindley, Marquess of Westleigh
—His cousin
James Leslie, Earl of Glenkirk
—The king’s confidant
King James Stuart
—King of England 1603–1625
Anne of Denmark
—His queen
Henry Stuart
—Their eldest son and heir
Elizabeth Stuart, Charles Stuart
—Their daughter and their youngest son
Robert Carr, Viscount Rochester
—The king’s favorite
Frances Howard, Lady Essex
—A lady of the court
Daisy Kelly
—Lady de Marisco’s tiring woman

IN IRELAND

Rory Maguire
—Of Maguire’s Ford
Fergus Duffy
—A village leader
Bride Duffy
—His wife
Eamon Feeny
—A royal land agent

P
ROLOGUE

India
February 1591

H
e could not tear himself away from the window of the tower, but there was nothing now to see. The coastal road stretched into infinity, the caravan long gone. There was not even the faintest puff of taupe dust on the horizon any longer to indicate its passing. He had no idea how long he had stood there before the window. The gray light of dawn had long since given way to the hot, bright yellow light of day. The insects in the trees about the palace had begun to hum and sing, a certain sign of hot weather, and yet he was cold.

BOOK: Wild Jasmine
7.96Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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