Desert Jewel The Jewel Chronicles Book 1 by Natalina Reis Genre: Fantasy Romance
She’s a princess. He’s an ex-slave. To survive, they must fight the all-powerful Elders, and Jaali's demons.
She’s a princess in a world of lush jungles and hellish deserts where the modern mixes with centuries-old traditions and superstitions. Taking a husband at the age of eighteen goes against every fiber of her being, but as a future monarch, she must follow the rules, even if her heart already belongs to someone.
He’s an ex-slave who wishes to be invisible in a world where he can’t hide. Loving the headstrong princess may prove to be his demise. To win her hand he must survive a grueling trek through the desert. Will her love make him strong enough?
Desert Jewel is the first book in The Jewel Chronicles. A unique interracial romance set against a breathtaking fantasy world with complex characters and twists at every turn. Let Desert Jewel take you to another world.
“It had the perfect mix of adventure, love, hate and mystery to keep you hooked.”- Amazon Reviewer
“Desert Jewel by Natalina Reis is a great read full of love, hate, hope, joy, devastation, fantasy and magic all rolled into one wonderful story.” – Amazon Reviewer
“I am so happy I had an opportunity to read this book. It really is a hidden gem!” - Amazon Reviewer
The five candidates would be dropped in the Jangwa Pori, a mostly arid expanse of land that stretched for hundreds of miles in every direction, and was inhabited by some of the wildest, most dangerous creatures in the kingdom. The consort-hopefuls would be provided with a bottle of drinking water, a small blanket, and a few other meager supplies; whoever survived the journey back to the capital would then have a chance at winning favor with the princess. Only then would she be allowed to make her final decision—accept their hand in marriage or chose someone else. One way or another, she would be the reason for a lot of their misery in the next few weeks.
The first man approached the throne, fell to one knee, and said, “Your majesty, I beg for your infinite love and mercy to allow me to prove myself to you so I may deserve the joining of our bodies and souls in holy union. I am Zakia, son of Malik and Zahra.”
Taking a corner of his veil, the man uncovered himself to reveal his identity to Milenda. Her heart skipped a beat; she knew this man. She had seen him in the market many times, selling his wares and entertaining the crowd with his beautiful singing voice. A well-liked man who was about to embark on a journey from which he may never return.
Swallowing bile, Milenda rose to her feet, not sure her weak legs would hold her. “I accept your proposal and look forward to attest to your courage and strength in the trials ahead.” The ritual words were said almost unconsciously, as her hand reached to Zakia to take symbolic possession of his soul. The veil he handed her was of the purest of silk, and felt as if it would evaporate at her touch. Slowly, as she had been taught all her life, she took it to her mouth and kissed it, thus sealing both their promises. The dark-skinned man rose and moved to take his place in the Contenders’ Row.
Three more men came to stand in front of her, fell to their knees, uttered the ceremonial words, and handed her their metaphorical souls before taking their seats.
Only one man remained. As he walked down the blue carpet, Milenda felt the first pangs of recognition. Like the others, he fell to his knee and uttered the meaningless words. Except, this time they were not meaningless to her. Even before he removed his veil, her heart began bleeding.
“No, not you. Anyone but you…” she whispered in a pained voice, tears stinging the back of her eyes. Fate was a cruel lover, it seemed. For when the veil was removed, Jaali’s beautiful pale eyes were staring back at her. Her world shook and crumbled one piece at a time, like a deck of cards in an earth tremor. Her vision blurred, her pulse slowed, and her limbs went numb. The room darkened as she sagged, unconscious, back onto her throne, and slid all the way to the carpeted floor in front of it. Oblivion welcomed her in its cold arms.
Snow Jewel The Jewel Chronicles Book 2
A princess on the run, an ex-slave returning home. Together they must battle prejudice and superstition if their love is to survive.
When Princess Milenda arrives at Isvärld, a land of snow and ice, she’s hoping for a quiet life with her new husband, Jaali. What she gets is anything but.
Even though happy he’s returned, Jaali’s people can’t see past the color of Milenda’s skin, a color she shares with the hated Mabaya Warriors who have been stealing and selling their children into slavery for centuries.
Freya, a goddess of the icy kingdom, tasked with protecting the princess and her man, doesn’t seem trustworthy, and their only true ally is Milenda’s flying lizard, Mjusi. But even the mutsi is acting strangely.
Will their love for each other and Milenda’s special gifts protect them from the dangers around them or will they meet their doom in the one place that promised them safe harbor?
Snow Jewel is the second book in The Jewel Chronicles. A unique interracial romance set against a breathtaking fantasy world with complex characters and twists at every turn. Let Snow Jewel take you to another world.
“Wait until you see the northern lights.” Jaali had come from behind, silent on bare feet, and wrapped his arms around her waist, resting his chin on her shoulder. Milenda felt immediately soothed and turned her face to lightly kiss the corner of his mouth. “When the night sky lights up with the wavering lights of the midnight sun, it’s almost as if looking into another world.”
“Midnight sun? Is that a real thing?” She wiggled in place, so her back would fit better with the curve of his body leaning against her. The sun had not fully risen, still peeking shyly from behind the white horizon and painting the snow in a rainbow of oranges and reds, the same colors of the Afrikan sun at the crack of dawn.
Jaali laughed softly. “Not really. That’s just what we call it.” He tightened his hold on her, turning his face to kiss the sensitive spot behind her ear. “The scientists call it a collision of particles. When the particles of the sun meet those of our atmosphere, it creates this amazing display of lights. It’s pretty romantic actually.”
It was Milenda’s turn to laugh. “Romantic? Particles crashing into each other? A bit too scientific to be romantic, don’t you think?” At the university in Natale, Milenda had never found the time to take science classes, other than the basic ones. Science fascinated her, but not as much as art. She’d chosen art instead.
The Fjorden’s hand starfished across her stomach, the heat of his palm making Milenda shiver in delight. From the corner of her eye, she could see the soft glare of her matangazos reacting to his touch.
“Think about it.” His soft, melodious voice blew a gust of warm air into her ear. “These particles are floating around in space, lonely and lost until they find their polar opposites. Their joining is so overwhelmingly pleasurable and fulfilling that they explode in a colorful firework of lights across the sky.”
Rebel Jewel The Jewel Chronicles Book 3
The people of Natale have long suffered under the tyranny of the Elders. Now, they are ready to fight for their nation, but their one and only hope, the Jewel, is no longer alive.
Or so they believe.
Milenda never wanted the responsibilities that came from being a royal heiress. After three years in exile, she's called back home to ignite a revolution. A revolution that will spill innocent blood and endanger her husband and baby daughter.
After a lifetime in captivity, Jaali only wants a quiet life with his wife and daughter. But the gods have other plans, ones that promise a wave of destruction. To rescue their people from the Elders and free the enslaved, Milenda and Jaali must put aside their fears, summon all their courage and wits, and march head-on into a bloody revolution.
Even if their love for each other carries them, unscathed and victorious, to the end, the revolution may yet destroy the lives of the ones they hold dearest.
Rebel Jewel is the third and final book in The Jewel Chronicles. A unique interracial romance set against a breathtaking fantasy world with complex characters and twists at every turn. Let Rebel Jewel take you to another world.
The smell of blood suffocated him. There was no running from it. It surrounded him, tightening its nauseating grip on Jaali’s senses, clinging to his nostrils, not letting him go. Where is Milenda? Jaali scanned the area around him, his glance bouncing off objects and undefined shapes, straining through the red fog closing in on him. Even the mist was tinted with blood, snaking over the wet ground, the exhale of a hidden monster. Milenda was nowhere to be seen. His heart pumped harder, the drumming echoing in his ears, deafening and frantic.
He tried to move, but invisible hands held him steadfast, feet rooted to the dirt-covered ground, unseen shackles around his ankles, breaking through skin and digging into his flesh. No, not again.
With all the strength he had left, Jaali pulled and pushed against whatever held him in place, the sting of wounded flesh shooting up his legs, a feeling all too familiar to him. He was enslaved again. He thrashed harder, blood now running down to his bare feet, warm and frightening.
A shadow emerged from the fog. Milenda! But, no, it couldn’t be. Its frame was too tall and broad. Jaali opened his mouth to yell for help, but the word never left his lips. Panic rose inside of him, insidious and overwhelming. Why had they returned to Afrika? He had warned his wife it was too dangerous. Too many people wanted them dead.
The shadowy figure took shape as it approached him—brown legs the size of tree trunks and long arms to match. No, no, no.
The sight of an impressive bald head choked him. It couldn’t be. The duivel was dead. And yet, there he was, striding toward him like an out-of-control transport. Jaali yelled out, his voice freed from whatever was muting it, and pulled harder on the invisible chains holding his ankles. To no avail. The shackles held steady as if glued to the ground.
The slaver proceeded toward him, a cruel smirk curling the corners of his lips. “I’ve got you now, my beautiful boy. You can’t run this time.” Mnyama threw his massive weight into his stride, coming closer and closer to Jaali. “It’s been too long. Ready to give me some of that milky goodness?”
“You’re dead,” Jaali screamed, his voice absorbed by the thick fog. “It’s not possible.”
The large man took a few more steps, a growl-like chuckle leaving his lips. “Well, I’m not. And I missed you, little white boy. My friends missed you too.”
From the thickest part of the fog, where the blood seemed to have coagulated into disgusting blobs, a few more shadows appeared, coalescing into several human bodies, both male and female—all unwelcome echoes of his past. The slaver had brought his cronies.
“No, you’re dead.” Jaali’s voice came out as a sob, a heart-wrenching plea to whatever gods were listening. “I killed you.”
The group of human shadows united in their progress toward him. “It’s about time we have ourselves a good orgy.” Mnyama glanced at his friends. “Any preference about who does the boy first?”
He couldn’t be sure the ear-splitting scream he heard came from himself. Jaali closed his eyes tight and, like a mantra, repeated the words, “It’s not possible. You’re dead, duivel. This is only a nightmare.”
“Well, you should have stayed in Isvärld,” a familiar female voice said. “You wouldn’t be going through this again.”
Natalina wrote her first romance in collaboration with her best friend at the age of 13. Since then she has ventured into other genres, but romance is first and foremost in almost everything she writes.
After earning a degree in tourism and foreign languages, she worked as a tourist guide in her native Portugal for a short time before moving to the United States. She lived in three continents and a few islands, and her knack for languages and linguistics led her to a master's degree in education. She lives in Virginia where she has taught English as a Second Language to elementary school children for more years than she cares to admit.
Natalina doesn't believe you can have too many books or too much coffee. Art and dance make her happy and she is pretty sure she could survive on lobster and bananas alone. When she is not writing or stressing over lesson plans, she shares her life with her husband and two adult sons.