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ALADINA AND THE FOUR GENIES

 

What’s a street-wise thief to do when she’s blackmailed by the evil palace guard over-lord into a magical cave and stumbles on not one, but four genies?

I mean, when you’re told you’re the ‘True Treasure’ that can end a curse of a thousand years and set four totally hot genies free, some sacrifices have to be made. Accepting her fate without enjoying it isn’t one of them.

Can Aladina end the curse and set her genies free? Can she save the street-orphans that rely on her for their survival?

And can she please find something to wear instead of the magical carpet that loves her curves just as much as her genies?

READ AN EXCERPT - warning curses used in this story

You’d think a street thief would know better than this, wouldn’t you?

Most would say that living on the rough streets of Alkabar for twenty years would be enough to wizen the most cunning of souls. Normally, they’d be right. I was nothing if not cunning. And sly. Crafty. Astute–any synonym will do. You get the idea.

I’d turned every trick in the business, and could spot a con a mile away. Hell, I’d even taught a few their trade–and added new scams to their repertoire. I’d stolen the wallets of princes, lords and businesspeople who had too much money, far more than they knew what to do with. I’d relieved rich dandies of their jewels, their gold, their fine clothing–even a neglected boyfriend on one occasion. Suckers.

And they never knew my face. I could walk past the most experienced palace guard, and they wouldn’t even know they were looking at Alkabar’s greatest thief. I was nothing more than a shadow. A mere reputation. A whisper of a whisper. They didn’t even know that they didn’t know me. I was that good.

Or so I thought.

Just goes to show that when life throws you enough camel-crap sandwiches, it gets a kick out of it and keeps throwing them your way. I kicked a ruby the size of my fist into a huge pile of gold coins. It hit the top and loose coins trickled downwards. Fat lot of good those will do. My dream had finally come true, and I couldn’t do a damn thing about it. I sat at the bottom of the pile and tried to ignore the coins’ hard edges biting into my butt.

 

I narrowed my eyes at the spluttering torch in my hands. That fucking Jakhad. Or Jackoff, as I’d recently nick-named him. The name was more fitting, believe me. I should have known something was up when he came into the gambling house–when was that? Only yesterday? He’d zeroed in on me right from the start. Pimping me up with a winning hand at cards and enough spiced rum that I’d loosened my guard.

I’d fallen for the oldest trick in the book. Even though I’d wandered this god-forsaken cave for hours now, I was still scratching my head wondering exactly how I had. Maybe it had been the amount of coin I’d won, which could feed the orphans for a week. Maybe it was drinking my favourite vice—for free—or maybe it was knowing I was winning a fortune off the infamous Jackoff, head of the palace guards—and he didn’t have a fucking clue who he was playing with that did it. Well, looking back, he obviously did, more fool me. Thank you very much, ego. You are so not my best friend.

In any case, it had still ended with me lost in a magical cave. In the darkness. No way out and looking for some sort of jug he’d sent me in to find. I was cold. Hungry. Lost. Pissed off. And I’d been suffering a major hangover courtesy of the spiced rum. And—unless I found this jug thing he’d sent me to find—I knew with all certainly that I was going to die here.

That was tickety-boo, top of the world, absolutely just great.

When I’d stepped through the hidden entrance to the cave, I thought I’d be looking through kitchen-wares. Maybe even storage containers. Instead of rows of industrial shelving, I’d come face-to-face with piles of gold. And gemstones. And jewellery.

Jackoff did know I’m a thief, right? Anyways, it was like stepping into my biggest wet dream. No amount of telling me: “Do not touch a thing. Doom will come to you with the lightest touch. Even if you look the wrong way, the cave will close and you will be lost forever – ever - ever…”—(insert  voice echo here)–could stop me.

I’d seen the most darling, delicious emerald earrings that would go nicely with that green silk coat I’d recently—err, borrowed—from Lady Yasmin. (Anyway, she had more money than sense and a laugh that sounded like a camel. She’d never miss that green coat, whereas I needed it to actually keep out the cold). So, being the light-fingered person I was, of course I tried them on!

Then there was this deep, booming voice telling me how horrible I was, and how I was never going to see the light of day again, and the entrance closed and the last thing I heard was Jackoff swearing his head off at me, telling me what a waste of space I’d turned out to be, yada yada yada. I could have told him that before he’d herded me here and forced me inside on pain of my orphans’ deaths.

And now, with the torch flame about to die any second, I was tending to agree with the deep booming voice and Jackoff’s high-pitched shrieking.

I was doomed.

More than doomed.

I was completely fucked.

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