Arranged: A Masters and Mercenaries Novella

Coming April 25, 2017
Kash Kamdar is the king of a peaceful but
powerful island nation. As Loa Mali’s sovereign, he is always in control, the
final authority. Until his mother uses an ancient law to force her son into
marriage. His prospective queen is a buttoned-up intellectual, nothing like
Kash’s usual party girl. Still, from the moment of their forced engagement, he
can’t stop thinking about her.

Dayita Samar comes from one of Loa Mali’s
most respected families. The Oxford-educated scientist has dedicated her life
to her country’s future. But under her staid and calm exterior, Day hides a few
sexy secrets of her own. She is willing to marry her king, but also agrees that
they can circumvent the law. Just because they’re married doesn’t mean they
have to change their lives. It certainly doesn’t mean they have to fall in

After one wild weekend in Dallas, Kash
discovers his bride-to-be is more than she seems. Engulfed in a changing world,
Kash finds exciting new possibilities for himself. Could Day help him find
respite from the crushing responsibility he’s carried all his life? This fairy
tale could have a happy ending, if only they can escape Kash’s past…


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NY Times and USA Today
bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three
kids, and the laziest rescue dog int eh world. She began writing at a young
age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing
romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to
find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how
odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.



“Did you enjoy the dessert? They had been
planning on serving crème brûlée, but I remembered you like gelato. Strawberry.”

She turned and Kash was standing in the
doorway, the tie to his tuxedo undone and the first few buttons of his shirt
open, showing off golden skin.

Oh, how the girls must swoon over that man.

Unfortunately for him, she was a woman and
not a girl. She curtseyed, recalling her etiquette classes and going down deep,
to show her respect for the crown. “I thank you, Your Majesty.”

“Come now, Day. I asked you not to call me
that long ago, and now it appears there’s even less reason. We were friends then.
We’re going to be husband and wife in a week. Shocking how quickly that woman
can move when she wants to.”

He looked so composed, but she couldn’t
forget that he’d only found out his mother was dying this afternoon. That was
when she’d seen the real man. She’d interrupted them with her silly dress and
she’d seen the shock and pain on Kash’s face before he’d smoothed it out and
gone back to being the polite royal he’d become.

“Are you all right?” She asked the question
for two reasons. First, she wanted to know the answer and second, to see if
they really were still friends.

His lips curved up slightly. “I’m faring
quite well. We Kamdars are made of sterner stuff than this. Did you enjoy the

So, not so friendly he would talk about
private things with her. It was good to know where they stood. They needed to
have a long conversation about how this was going to work. They might be
marrying to protect the Kamdar line and to give his mother some peace, but they
needed a plan of action about how best to achieve their goals.

Partners. That was how she’d decided to
look at this. They were partners. And if she ended up governing the kingdom
while he was out fucking around with supermodels, she wouldn’t get her heart

Just humiliated.

Yes, they needed a talk and perhaps a

“I enjoyed the meal very much. The company
left something to be desired, but I suspect I’ll get used to dining with
windbag politicians.” She turned back to the balcony, leaning against it. The
view from here was spectacular. Beyond that, it was soothing in a way.

“Yes, Mother told me they’re giving you
trouble.” He joined her, leaning beside her, their bodies so close but not
touching. “I’ll talk to them, ensure you have your funding.”

“Don’t. It can wait a few weeks. I need to
go back to them and introduce myself as their new queen.” She wasn’t about to
let them think she sent her husband in. If he behaved as he so often did, he
wouldn’t be around much and it would be up to her to keep everyone in line.

“Is that why you agreed to this
arrangement? Because you wanted power?”

“I agreed because I care about this
country. I’ve spent the last ten years of my life working here and trying to
ensure that our children get what they need to make it out in the world. I
agreed because your mother is excellent at putting one in a corner. I agreed
because someone has to and I wasn’t sure who you would bring home if given the
chance.” She shuddered at the idea of some brainless model attempting to be a
role model for Loa Malian girls.

“Ah, you don’t think I have good taste in

“I think you have an unquenchable appetite
for them, Your Majesty, and that is something we should talk about.”

“Ah, the wifely lectures begin,” he said
with a sigh. “Please proceed. I’m anxious to get this over with so I can be
properly chastened.”

“I only ask that you attempt some
discretion, Kashmir. I don’t expect you to be faithful in any way, but I do
expect you to not humiliate me.”

He turned, frowning a bit as though she’d
surprised him. “You don’t expect me to be faithful?”

It was time for some honesty. “I don’t
think you can be. How long have you kept a single woman? A month? Three?”

“Six,” he replied. “I was with Tasha
Reynolds for six months before we went our separate ways.”

“And were you faithful to her?” She already
knew the answer to that question.

“We had an agreement.” He frowned as though
the conversation wasn’t going at all as he’d expected. “She was on set much of
the time. She knew I had a highly stressful job, so she was understanding. I gave
her the same options.”

“Excellent, then let’s be fair with each
other. As long as we’re both discreet, this marriage of ours doesn’t have to
mean the end of our lives.”


“Are we a happy couple?”

“I don’t think we’ve had time enough to be
sure of that yet, but I know we were once.” She’d thought it through in a way
she never had before. She had a much different view of those months with Kash
in England. “You were courting me back then, weren’t you? You wanted me to be
your girlfriend.”

He sat down in the plush chair that
dominated the sitting area portion of his bedroom. Normally they stayed in the
living room, but he’d wanted more privacy. This was the only place in his suite
that wasn’t covered by CCTV, the only place where they could truly be alone.
Everything about the space was masculine and decadent, including the man
himself. With his hair disheveled and his chest on display, it wasn’t hard at
all to see him as a primal male.

One she’d dearly enjoy taming.

“I don’t think you realized it at the

She was willing to admit her faults. “I
didn’t. I had my nose in a book most of the time back then and I had little
experience with men. No, I had no idea you were interested in me beyond copying
my notes from class when you slept in.”

“It would surprise you to know that I often
thought about sleeping in with you.” His voice had gone low and gentle. “I was
crazy about you back then, Day. I find myself in the same position today, but I
don’t want to scare you. I know you think we should take this slow and I will
honor your wishes, but I want this marriage to work. You see me as a playboy,
but I don’t want to be some forty-plus player who trades on his money to keep
young girls around him. I think it might be time for me to find out if I can be
the king my father would have wanted me to be.”

It was all she needed to hear. If he wanted
to try, she was ready. Despite his reputation, she’d fallen right back into a
peaceful friendship with him. He’d been the old Kash, supporting her when she
needed it. He’d asked her questions about her work with the education
department and then gave her ideas on how to handle the parliament. He hadn’t
told her what she should do. He’d suggested, debated.

“I think you’ll find me less averse to
giving this marriage a real try than you think. I was planning on talking to
you about using the Palm Ceremony to begin to explore what we could be as a

He frowned. “I’m not sure what that means.
You want to talk? Or have counseling? Because that sounds terrible.”

“I was talking about sex, Kashmir. I
thought we could use this time to see if we’re sexually compatible.”

He popped up out of his chair like an eager
puppy. “Yes. I think that is a brilliant idea. We should start now. Don’t
worry. I intend to be gentle with you.”

She didn’t move at all. “Like you are with
your lovely flowers?”

“Women deserve a man’s care,” he said
quietly. “Day, I can’t erase my past.”

“I don’t want you to.” He misunderstood her
problems with his statement. “But I do need you to understand that I’m not one
of those flowers. I’m not here to sit at your side and bat my eyelashes in the
hopes that you’ll buy something for me. I don’t work like that. I don’t care
about your money.”

“That is easy for you to say. You’re about
to have access to all of it, aren’t you?”

He had a point. “Even if I wasn’t, that
wouldn’t be why I would want you, Kash. Sit down. We have some things to talk
about before we get started. Come here close to me.”

He moved to the chaise she was sitting on,
lowering himself down with a sullen frown. “I knew there would be talking.”

She was fairly certain his lovely flowers
did very little talking, but he would get used to it. “Why did you want me back

“I liked you. I liked talking to you. I
liked being around you. I rather liked who I was when I was around you.” His
expression softened. “I don’t think you knew how alluring you were to someone
like me. You didn’t understand how beautiful you were, so you didn’t use it
against me. Most women do.”

“Well, that happens when you surround
yourself with women who are mostly valued for their looks. I don’t blame them.
They’ve been told their beauty is the only thing worthy about them. If you want
to meet women who don’t feel that way, you should probably expand out of models
and actresses.”

“Well, you would be surprised how many
gorgeous, sexy physicists turn me down because I’m not smart enough for them.”

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