Desari Nazir has spent years hiding her true feelings and her secret nights as a belly dancer from her best friend, Kanin Reeves. So when the blond Adonis wanders into the restaurant where she moonlights, she realizes her luck has run out. Little does she know the half veil she's donned doesn't hide her violet eyes or her identity from him.
When Kanin takes one look at the mysterious belly dancer, Dara, recognizes her as his shy, reserved friend. He has waited years to show the beautiful belly dancer he can be more than a friend, and this is an opportunity he's not about to waste. He'll lie if he has to, cheat all fates, and beg the gods of Christmas to make her his.
One way or another, the couple will live their long-awaited fantasy this holiday season...if they only have the courage to look Beyond The Veil.
“Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please. The woman you have all come to see. The woman who commands the desert sands with the swish of her hips. The woman who can make men melt with a twirl of her veil. A beautiful Egyptian rose descended from Queen Nefertiti herself.”
Desari’s heart sank lower with each word. There was no escaping now.
“Please welcome the one and only, Dara!” Cousin Omar’s voice boomed out over the heavy drum beat Issam was pounding out.
Desari felt like crying but held herself in check so she wouldn’t suffer the indignity of her Kohl liner running down her face in black streaks. Thank God Omar had used her family nickname instead of her real name. Hopefully, no one would make the connection between the sedate Desari and the exotic Dara.
She mustered up her courage and twirled the large silken body veil around her then launched herself from her hiding place. The restaurant went wild at her entrance. The reaction was always the same: cheers and wolf whistles from the men, polite laughter or awe from the women. Determined to stay as far away from Kanin and her friends as possible, Desari avoided their side of the room.
She shimmied, she hip rolled, she veil danced. For a moment, she forgot about her friends and Kanin, losing herself in the music. She never felt freer than when she danced. The music moved her. She let go with hedonistic abandon and embraced the sexual side of her nature.
Undulating her stomach muscles, Desari leaned backward until she knelt on the dance floor and the back of her head touched the cool wood planks in an elaborate backbend. She rose gracefully, brushing her body with the silky veil. Forgetting everything and everyone, Desari let the sensuality of the dance take her over completely. She could entice a man with the shimmy of her hips.
Desari danced for a full ten minutes before Omar motioned her to the side. She maneuvered over to her cousin.
“Dance at the other side. You’re neglecting those tables.” Omar said to her. “I will have Issam play ‘Baladi.’”
Desari shook her head, but Omar was not to be swayed. The song was loaded with syncopated drum beats, a song designed to test belly dancers’ ability.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’re in for a treat. Our beautiful Egyptian rose has agreed to demonstrate the terrific control a belly dancer needs in her stomach muscles. She and Issam, our drummer, are going to duel. Issam with his drum, Desari with her stomach.” Titters filled the room. “The table to guess the number of times Desari can do a camel, or a full body undulation, will win a free meal.”