This review does have some spoilers, but not a whole lot.
Although the title is a bit primitive, and I am sure not the title Susan would have chosen, this was a good read. I love the little Harlequin books. This one was a “Presents” book. This book is part of a series called Surrender to the Sheikh! It sounds naughty! Surrender… ooo…. The back cover went all out to push you into a fantasy..
“Zara has gone to the desert city of Zaddara to confront the man she blames for her troubled past. But when, during a sandstorm, she’s protected by a dark stranger. she finds the desert holds hidden treasures.
Zara soon discovers that the man she yearns for is Sheikh Shahin , the thief of her happiness!
Shahin knows that Zara is a virgin , forbidden no matter how strong his desire. But it’s forbidden fruit that tastes the sweetest.”
Clearly this was written by the team at HR. They want us silly girls to fall for wild exotic “Fruit”. Humph! Well! I can tell you one thing. i bought it. lol. Geez… saying that has reduced me to a crumb in my own eyes. Fantasy is fantasy, and damn it I am as guilty as the next. Does it mean “We have a long way to go as a people” ? Hell no.
The places named in the book are not real, and to make it even better, this book is not at all what the cover or the back insists. Sure it has a few common denominators, but all in all, the title and description are enticements.
Zara Kingston lost her parents in the deserts of Zaddara when she was a child. She has come to find answers to the questions that have plagued her. She was left an orphan, with no family to hold onto. She makes her living as a photographer, and she hides behind her job as a way to find the man she feels is responsible for what happened.
Sheikh Shahin was 19 when he made the fatal mistake that caused the death of the two people his father and their country had relied upon to help them bring oil and wealth to a country in desperate need. He has lived with his guilt and his nightmares since it had happened.
I could have done without the forbidden fruit statement, But eventually that is kind of what she was. Forbidden because she was his ward. He was suppose to protect her, not sleep with her, for goodness sake, but he has all these feelings for her that he is not suppose to have, and honor and duty has placed him in a role that would mean that anything but a night would be all he could give her, and .. she was more than that, he was not suppose to be attracted to the woman who was put in his care.She was twenty, and it did not help that the last thing she wanted was for him to have any control over her life.
This was a good book. Not really like the back suggests. Shahin, before knowing who she is, does protect her from a storm and then seduces her , finding at the last moments that she is a virgin, he stops himself, leaving her to think she did something wrong. Bad, Bad Shahin! He should have explained himself, but he doesn’t. Cause he is the cool super freak Shahin and he just cannot believe that he almost took a virgin.
He is upset with himself for what he almost did, and then later finding that the same woman is his ward, and the daughter of the two people he is responsible for killing. could things get worse? Of course they can!
I thought that Susan Stephens did an excellent job of telling a story, and also introduced me to customs and relationships along with items and words I was not at all familiar with. I am assuming that the customs and costumes were real. There was no magic carpet or genies, so I am thinking that the things she told and said were spot on. Interesting and unusual.
I liked the story, very much and I thought it was written with a lot of respect and knowledge that I do not possess.
She presented two very likable characters, and did not bring religion into focus, of which I know is prominent, but it was held off. She was from England, he from a fictional city in a desert that I am assuming is somewhere in the middle east. Without real location it keeps it in fantasy. That was a nice touch , keeping traditions is even better. It took me only a day to read this one, and I thought it was well worth it.
The title was a bit over the top, but it did attract me. I have never been a big fan of romance in the desert, but I realize that it would be more than easy to pick up more . Written in 2006, It is not a new title, as most of the books I review. If you get the chance, this book was worth reading. Maybe picking up other titles of hers would be also.
There are some super hot men that I thought of for the role of Shahin.
Wait! How did a pic of …
Yeah…. he is hot. Omar…. mmm……..
Being a photographer, I did find her choice of careers not all that well thought out. Maybe it is because ten years later, everyone is a photographer. Also, how is it that sand did not get in the lens of her camera and it was on just a little cord around her neck. Did that mean she was carrying a small digital. But what kind? Does it matter? No. But I am curious. A pro photographers equipment is always interesting.
There were only a few scenes that did not jive. Other than that, the whole thing was carefully choreographed. There was a few not over the top sex scenes that I found tasteful and erotic. So all in all , excellent. I thought Zara and Shahin deserved the happy ending! But…. What happened to her Jeep!!! Agh! LOL… It is stupid little things like this that have no bearing on anything that I ask.
Four an a half stars!!!
P.S. When will we get titles from Harlequin like “Bedded by the Dental Hygienist” Taken by the Trash Man.” “The Skin Doctor’s Baby” “In Love with a Telephone Operator” “Flinging Tires With The Mechanic” “Safe in the Arms of the Grocery Manager’s Assistant.” “The Security Guard’s Secret Baby” “Mall Cop Love”” Seduced By The Stock Boy.” “The Insurance Salesman’s Mistress” Pregnant by the Plummer.” ?
Susan Stephens also writes as Xandra King. Check out her books! http://susanstephens.net/diary/2014/08/04/wallace/ That might need copy paste, but it is the link to her website. 🙂