She is a textile expert specialist and has finally managed to land a job on an Egyptian dig site after months of unemployment due to an English recession. The h is expecting to be met by someone from the dig site. But after a long wait, no one shows and there is a persistent taxi Re Duel in the Sun - Sally Wentworth takes us on an interesting trip to Egypt with an archaeology dig as the background to a pretty solid romance. But after a long wait, no one shows and there is a persistent taxi driver who won't leave her alone.
Then a big black Mercedes pulls up and the driver asks if the h is English. Assuming this her ride, tho she is startled by the luxury car, the h gets into the vehicle and the Egyptian driver takes her to a very lovely and luxuriously appointed house. It soon becomes clear that there has been some sort of mixup.
The house owner, a wealthy and very handsome smooth talking Aristocratic Egyptian businessman thought the h was the new English tutor for his two daughters. The h explains that she is a textile specialist and that she is expected on a local dig. Initially the businessman seemed understanding of the error and may have been planning to offer the h a ride to her correct job site. But when the h mentions which professor's dig she will be on, the Aristo Egyptian starts trying to coerce and then outright force the h to stay and work for him as the tutor to his little girls.
It is very clear the guy is rich, spoiled and highly dictatorial. The h is very clear on her part that she is not interested.
But the AE doesn't want to listen , cause clearly he is the most interesting man in the world and the h should just be falling at his feet. The h is starting to get very worried and thinking she might be kidnapped when another man walks into the house. This man is the head archaeologist of the dig the h is supposed to be at and he bribed the taxi driver at the airport to tell him where the h was, he got to the airport late and missed the h who got there early.
It soon becomes even clearer that the AE and the Head Archeo are at odds with each other as they get into an argument about who gets to keep the h. The h decides it is time to assert herself and lets it be known that she isn't interested in the AE or his job, so the HA and the h adjourn the dig site. Things are decidedly spartan and rather dingy on the site, showers in the dust are limited to two a week and a handbasin and the h can't help but laugh when she compares it to the luxury she just left. There is a wanna be OW on site too, the Egyptian wife of one of the workers, who is supposed to be running the house and seeing that the house workers do their jobs.
The OW is blatant in her hostility to the h, but the h pretty much ignores her or serves the woman's insults right back. The h isn't exactly a specialist in Egyptian textiles, she has no practical experience.
She does have a master's degree and she had done as much studying as she could when there was a possibility she could be hired, so she did not exactly lie about her qualifications, she just made them sound the best that she could with what limited experience she had. She does correctly pass the textile identification test the HA sets up for her and on the dig site, she correctly identifies a modern piece of denim the HA buried in the hopes of fooling her.
The h turns it into a joke, but there is a hint of underlying tension with the HA, even tho he arranges for her to meet with a very experienced French textile specialist, who gives her more practical experience.
Then EA comes back. He offers the HA financing for the dig for the summer if the h will work for him for three days a week as a tutor for his girls. The h believes the HA needs the money to keep the dig open and she doesn't want to work for the EA, but she really wants to continue on the job at the site. So she tells the HA that if he needs the money to keep digging, she will do it. The HA interprets that as the h wants to be tempted by the EA's gifts and money she is sure to get while working for him and he takes the huge check the EA offers him.
The h will get an additional salary too and we learn that the EA had promised the HA money before, but something happened between them and they now hate each other. Between the HA and the EA, the h feels like a pawn caught between the two of them in some private war.
The h does see a nicer side to the HA when he helps her doctor up the mosquito bites she got because the wanna be OW, whose name was Lamia - which is a type of serpent-like female vampire who visits men at night, refused to give her a mosquito net and she got badly bitten. The h fixes the OW's viciousness when she tricks the woman into admitting she uses up more than her allotted amount of water for showers every day and the H has a harsh word with her warning her that she will be dismissed if the bad behavior continues. The EA is also going all out to impress the h, he brings her gifts and takes her and his daughters on exclusive outings.
The h soon discerns that he thinks he can bribe her to be his mistress, she really isn't interested because the AE is positively feudal in his treatment of people and 'peasants'. Meanwhile the HA takes the h to see the ruins of Karnak at dawn and to really interesting Egyptian archaeology sites as he quotes ancient Egyptian poetry and the h is very fascinated. SW did a great job on the travelogue here. The h is very attracted to the HA, but she isn't sure that he just isn't trying to score points over the EA guy in their apparent competition by wooing and winning her - so while she likes the HA's roofie kisses, she doesn't encourage him or react much when he gives her one.
We also learn that the textile specialist that had the h's job previously was a female too and apparently got preggers by someone in the area and had to leave the site. The h thinks it might have been the HA at first, but from gossip figures out it wasn't. The two men seem to be getting more intent on scoring off each other as the book progresses.
The HA makes accusations of gold digger tarthood towards the h, which she ignores in between some more roofie kisses. The HA also manages to get himself invited on one of the EA's tempting little outings and the competition seems to get even worse. The EA offers the h a lot of inducements to become his mistress and the HA is being remarkably cagey about how he feels about the h. The h has fallen in love with the HA at this point, but the HA refuses to make a move on explaining his feelings for her.
So the h loses her patience, she berates the H for inviting himself on the outing and claims that the two of them are using her as a weapon in their private little duel. The HA claims he is protecting her, cause European and lower class women are only seen as targets to pump and dump by the EA and he had no problems using them and then casting them aside. The h argues that she can defend herself and she will do the deciding on any relationships she may have, tho her career is really her main focus.
The h realizes that things are getting messy and decides extreme measures to end this nonsense are called for. She plays a risky chance of making the HA jealous by using the EA's incessant pestering to force the HA to admit his real feelings, if she can make him angry enough. Tho the EA totally blows it as far as the h's good opinion goes when he tells her she will be his mistress and then fails to stop a guy from beating a starving donkey when the h takes offense at the poor little donkey's treatment.
Then the big confrontation finally arrives. The EA is hosting a huge party and neglects to invite the h, because he is elitist and snobbish enough to think that the h will be his mistress and is therefore unfit to associate with the business people, friends, his family and the archaeologists that he is inviting - including the team that the h is working with.
The h is outraged over such disparaging treatment and designs herself a great dress and the HA takes her to the party anyways. The h finally learns the feuding is because the OM EA got the h's predecessor preggers in his all out attempts to lure the woman away from the H's team member who was in love with her and it ruined both the woman's and the team member's lives according to the H. The h realizes that this whole thing is a game to both of them and she lets her temper loose.
She loudly berates the two men. She explains that she is an independent woman with her own career and she doesn't want either of the chauvinistic bullying nematode slime swillers.
The h can support herself and she is going back to England and starting a clothes designing career with her Egyptian inspired designs and getting rich and famous and the two of them can find a cliff and jump. The h packs her bags and goes to the airport and gets a ticket for the next flight out.
She is waylaid by the chauffeur of the EA, who hands her a box with a diamond necklace and also an airport official, who gives her a note from the H that says "My love for you is in my heart as the reed is held in the arms of the wind. The h gives the EA his necklace back asks him to tell the girls goodbye for her and then she goes and gets in the H's jeep. The h asks about the quote and the H explains it is from a year old Egyptian love letter from another guy trying to get his girl.
The h asks why he didn't say anything and the H said he wanted the h to choose on her own, tho she should have kept the diamond necklace and used it to fund the dig for a few seasons. We learn that the H did not really need the EA's money, his family is rich, but he doesn't like to be accused of having unfair advantages. Select a valid country.
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