Hey, romance addicts! I had the pleasure of introducing you guys to Raad Khouri, the scrumptiously villainous antagonist in Building on Broken Dreams, the third book in the hot Brothers in Law series.
Raad’s wickedness is a result of conflicting emotions of desire for Maryam and the family-fed racism infusing his veins. He is one of those men who loves Black women but not Black people. He tries to have it both ways, but that didn’t work out for him. His family soon made demands, and he (at least in his mind) had no choice but to crush the woman he loved in his own sick way.
Raad has his cruel side, but he is a consummate charmer, with the ability to sway women his way. Check him out below, working his masculine mojo on his wife Yasmina and never forgetting that it is Maryam he really wants.
Raad turned into the smaller driveway leading around the rear of the house and passing the sparkling in-ground pool, before stopping in front of the guest house. He grabbed the roses and sauntered to the miniature version of the manor. “Salams,” he called out after opening the front door. “Habibti?” A mound swelled in his gut at the silence. “Fucking great.” He dropped the bouquet on the entryway table, turning back and setting a hand on the handle before pausing. What the hell am I doing? Going across the way would only mean a bunch of complaining. I’ve been through enough today. He made an about face, rubbing the small knot at the back of his neck. His phone rang. He hit the reject button and opened a food delivery app while trudging up the stairs.
After placing an order, he shed the business attire for a pair of sweats and a muscle tank. Blankets billowed around him as he flopped on the bed and tucked two of the massive pillows surrounding him under his weary head. All the chastisement would have to wait until tomorrow. He might avoid it from Yasmina. It was easy to calm her down. The folks were another deal. Baba had not let up since they returned from Egypt, and Umi was still sulking, even after he married Yasmina and played the perfect husband. It wasn’t enough to get the pout off her face whenever he walked into the room. He usually could make her smile, but not after her run-in with Maryam.
Damn it, Maryam. If only she had kept her mouth shut about the baby, he would have figured something out. He dialed her number.
Her voicemail clicked on. “Hi, you’ve reached Maryam. I’m sorry I missed your call . . . maybe. Leave a message and let me decide.” Her light chuckle at the end made his heart skip a beat. He took a deep breath and tossed the phone on the nightstand.
What the hell was wrong with him? Why was he stupid enough to even look for her? As usual, his hunger for Maryam drove him to the brink of irrationality. It had been that way since he saw her at the first masjid event Umi had forced him to attend when they moved to the island. Usually, he steered clear. She emerged from the women’s door. Her heart-shaped face and round, brown eyes over full cheeks commanded his full attention and kept it from that moment. He’d seen and had beautiful women before, but she was different. She lit a yearning in his soul that he would do anything to satiate, including espousing a world of promises he couldn’t keep.
He slammed his lids shut and clenched a fistful of his hair. No. I have to stop thinking with my junk. Maryam was just another conquest. I had her. That’s it. Mercifully, the faint ding of the doorbell helped him push down the truth. He bounded down the stairs and opened the door.
“Salams,” Ibrahim chimed in Arabic, carrying two white paper bags. “I have your food.”
“Shukri, Ibrahim,” Raad responded.
“Excuse me.” Yasmina’s voice floated past Ibrahim, who moved to the side, revealing her. Blond curls bounced as she strode by Raad. He didn’t miss the tight lips and glare.
“Salams, Habibti.” She kept walking, her clicking heels echoing through the entryway. Her tiny stomps faded upstairs, and the faint sound of the bedroom door slamming floated down.
He sat the bags next to the flowers and turned back to Ibrahim. “Thanks.” He slapped a bunch of folded bills in the halal restaurant owner’s hand and shook.
“No problem.” Ibrahim shoved the money into his pocket without even counting. Always a class act. “Salams.” He got into a red BMW and drove off.
Raad picked up the food and roses and headed to soothe his testy bride. He stuck his head inside the bedroom. Yasmina stood in the middle of the floor, yanking off her designer peasant blouse, perky breasts jingling. He grinned. First dessert, then dinner. “Hungry?” he asked, holding up the bags in one hand and flowers in the other.
The shirt cascaded to the rug. “No—” Yasmina yanked at the slender belt buckle around her waist “—I already ate at your parents, like you were supposed to.” She stopped and put her hands on her hips. “I hope what you hung up on me for was worth blowing us off.”
He closed the distance between them. “I’m sorry, Habibti. It was urgent.”
“It always is, Raad. They kept asking me where you were. I had no clue. I never do.”
He dipped his head to her neck. “You don’t trust me?” His lips almost hit their target, but Yasmina stepped away and flopped on the comforter. “Aww, come on.” He put the things on the chest at the foot of the bed and joined her, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “Don’t be like that. You were the only thing I was thinking about all day.”
“Yes. You know I can never get you out of my mind.” He nibbled her ear above the diamond earring. Her tender giggle filled him with a sense of triumph. It was all too easy. He kissed her, pushing her backward until pillows and blankets surrounded them.
Raad chomped another tasty kabab and flicked the channel. He glanced at Yasmina, splayed naked on the other side of the bed He pushed back the mass of blond tendrils partially hiding her sleeping face and sniggered. It took putting off his dinner and keeping her busy for over an hour, but by the time he finished with her, she was too worn out to gripe about a damn thing. He shoved a spoon of rice in his mouth and reached for the bottle of soda on the nightstand. His hand brushed against the cellphone next to it. He picked it up and lit the screen with Maryam’s picture. He needed to leave her alone. She was his past . . . maybe. He had to see her once more to decide.