Here is the first of two extracts from my upcoming novel, Love vs Honour:
Sabina had been looking forward to the school trip for days, and it had finally come. At first, her parents had been reluctant to allow her to attend, but after much persuasion, they had eventually given in. These small victories were important, and she knew that without them, she would lose her mind.
The school trip in itself was not anything special. The post-exam summer weekend in Dartmouth had been organised with no particular educational purpose, but conceived as a sweetener to encourage the girls of Plymouth High to stay on for A-Levels. Yet for Sabina it meant three precious days away from home, and a measure of freedom from her overprotected and stifling – if not entirely unhappy – home life.
Prior to putting on her school uniform, Sabina had taken extra care to complete the Salah washing ritual without skipping any parts, thinking that if she was seen to be doing this, her mother Ziba and brother Tariq might prove a little less hostile at the idea of her going away. However, as Tariq greeted Sabina at the breakfast bar in the kitchen, it was immediately apparent no amount of pious action on her part would make a difference. His stern expression communicated obvious irritation that their father Ahmed had permitted her to go.
Sabina observed her brother for a moment, pondering his attitude. Although Tariq’s shoulder length hair, intense hazelnut eyes and goatee beard insistently announced a manly demeanour, somehow his otherwise smooth skin made him appear baby-faced.
‘Why do you not wear the headscarf?’ Tariq asked, his eyes glinting with barely concealed disapproval.
‘I never wear headscarves, you know that,’ Sabina answered.
‘You ought to.’
‘It’s not part of the school uniform.’
Tariq frowned. ‘Neither is it forbidden.’
‘Dad doesn’t think it is necessary, and neither do I. Besides, it’s too hot.’
‘Why will you not wear it? Are you ashamed of what you are?’
‘No. I just don’t see the point in wearing extra things on a day like today.’ Sabina indicated the July sunshine outside with a vaguely irritated gesture. Even though it had been exceptionally hot, and the weather forecast predicted temperatures as high as thirty-one degrees, it was typical of her brother to try and make her feel guilty, whether over headscarves or associating with her “immoral” friends from school.
Tariq shook his head. ‘If only Plymouth had an Islamic school we could have gone to.’
Sabina said nothing. She cared for Tariq dearly, but in these moods he was intolerable. If she weren’t his brother she would have thought his behaviour not unlike that of a jealous lover. For a while neither of them spoke as Sabina made herself some toast. Then, as she ate, Tariq looked up at her.
‘You must understand Sabina, I am your brother, and am two years your elder, whereas you are not yet sixteen. This school trip you go on, although you go with other girls, will nevertheless provide many opportunities for immorality. There will be boys on the beaches you visit who will see your beauty and want to take advantage of it. Beware of such boys! I love you and will do anything to protect your honour.’
Love vs Honour is released on the 31st May on Kindle, and can be pre-ordered from the link below:
Print copies will be available from the 7th of June.
Here is the blurb from the back of the book:
Two Religions. Two Deceptions. One Love.
When Johnny meets and falls in love with Sabina, their bond proves stronger than a teenage holiday fling.
Fearing the disapproval of their strict Christian and Islamic families, they undertake an elaborate deception to continue seeing one another. Johnny pretends to convert to Islam whilst Sabina pretends to covert to Christianity to appease their parents.
But how long can this deception last before it unravels?