BEDDED BY THE DESERT KING - SUSAN STEPHENS
This is absolutely a fantastic read. It's emotional, warm, spirited and a very sensual journey in finding love. It's a story of survival for them both with a peaceful ending full of joy!
Susan Stephen's characters Zara and Shahin sizzled and their attraction and passion was instant. This is a story I will long remember and will enjoy reading again and again.
BEDDED BY THE DESERT KING - SUSAN STEPHENS
Zara Kingston 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 that the desert holds hidden treasures.
Zara soon realizes 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….
Publisher: Harlequin (November 1, 2006)
THE SHEIKH'S CAPTIVE BRIDE - Susan Stephens
One passionate encounter is all it takes for Lucy Benson to become pregnant with the son of Sheikh Kahlil. Almost a year later, Lucy has business in the kingdom of Abadan and is startled to find herself face to face with the handsome man she'd bedded!
Kahlil soon guesses the truth about little Edward's paternity and declares that his child will inherit Abadan. In order for this to happen, however, she must become his wife. Lucy is both apalled by the idea of a temporary marriage to the arrogant sheikh...and unable to deny her desire to share Khalil's bed again. But unless she can change Kahlil's mind, after six months, she'll no longer be his captive bride.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
SHEIKHS AND THE SERIOUS BLOGGER - TIME ARTICLE
This summer, romance novels turn to the desert—and bloggers are riveted
By MELISSA AUGUST Monday, Aug. 22, 2005
Some otherwise serious bloggers have spent the summer fascinated by a niche in romance literature with its own fan website: Sheikhs and Desert Love. Eerie, a contributor to 'Aqoul, a blog mostly about news from the Middle East, noting a significant increase in the number of romance novels featuring handsome desert nomads, provided a helpful graph documenting their rise. Yin Shui Si Yuan dismissed these romance novels as "incredibly ill-informed, orientalist, romantic fantasies involving oil sheikhs." Political Animal's Kevin Drum and Abu Aardvark's Marc Lynch have found the subject an amusing distraction from the August doldrums.
The discussions turned more scholarly recently when an article in al-Sharq al-Awsat, the Arabic international daily, complained about Penguin paperback books 70th anniversary publication of excerpts from Gustave Flaubert's letters from Egypt. The article's author, Susan Bashir, complained about the provocative new title, "The Desert and the Dancing Girls" and the cover's "half naked girls." Abu Aardvark echoed Bashir: "Is this what Penguin thinks the Arab world really is...empty deserts and exotic dancing girls?" Meanwhile, as the genre's 51 million readers pump gas this summer, will they be dreaming of oil sheikhs in exotic kingdoms or eternal supplies of fuel in the arms of a gas station owner?
THE SHEIKH'S SOLUTION
Pregnant Molly Larkin thinks that Sheik Kaliq bin Shalik will graciously accept her resignation, but instead he shocks her by proposing a marriage of convenience. It seems her powerful boss needs an American bride to remain in the country. Since Molly has opened her heart to the wrong man, Molly is in need of a name for her unborn child.
Nevertheless, Molly never expects that the man she's secretly loved from afar will look into her eyes as if they hold the most precious secret. As her life with the Sheik takes her to his desert land of Manasia, Molly begins to ponder whether the fantasy will come to an end in a few months...or develop into something real.
THE SHEIKH'S PROPOSAL
Photojournalist Sara Kinsale is given the plum assignment of filming members of the royal family of Kamtansin, one of the newly emerging Arabian countries on the Mediterranean Sea. But soon after she begins taking shots, she is apprehended, arrested, and accused of being a spy.
When Sheikh Karun bak Samin discovers that Sara is the daughter of the man with whom he has been negotiating oil leases, he takes action to ensure that her arrest doesn't create an international incident. He quickly proposes that he and the blonde beauty marry temporarily, until the oil lease negotiations have been completed. But soon he begins to wonder whether or not Sara will be his bride in name only.
HER DESERT FAMILY
Librarian Bridget Rossi isn't used to mingling with the rich and famous. But after the death of her beloved father, she is invited--through her glamorous, model cousin--to stay at the opulent residence of a powerfully sexy sheikh.
His home in the desert oasis is stunning, but despite the luxury, Bridget discovers a man who's buried his emotions. Ever since Rashid's wife died, his little son has been crying out for his father. Bridget knows she can bring these two lost souls together...the only problem is that in the process, she's falling in love--with both of them!
THE SHEIKH'S SECRET
Laura has been absolutely swept off her feet by a gorgeous new man -- she's never been made to feel so special!
But as they become closer, Talique is torn. Laura doesn't know his real name, the past that drives him, even that he's a sheikh! All she knows is the perfect world he's created for her. And just as his secret plan is about to be revealed, he realizes his intentions have changed: he wants Laura as his bride!
THE SHEIKH'S GUARDED HEART
Saved from certain death in the unforgiving desert of Ramal Hamrah, Lucy Forrester is transported to a world of luxury by her rescuer, Sheikh Hanif. The tender care he offers her is more than Lucy has ever experienced in her loveless life, and she finds herself drawn to the proud Arabian prince, despite his tortured soul.
As Sheikh Hanif helps Lucy recover from her injuries, Lucy wonders if she can heal Hanif's own wounds, and capture this sheikh's guarded heart….
THE DESERT ROSE
Prince Hassan al Rashid has all the trappings of an international playboy, but underneath his expensive Italian tailoring lies the heart of a true desert prince. In his determination to save his desert land of Ras al Hajar, he decides to attract the world's attention by kidnapping the beautiful fiery-haired English journalist, Rose Fenton.
Wooed to Ras al Hajar to write a flattering piece about reigning Prince Abdullah for a major news magazine, media darling Rose Fenton is instantly fascinated by the appealing Hassan. He is her ultimate fantasy man, but she wonders if pride will ever allow him to see her as suitable marriage material.
THE SHEIKH'S CHOSEN WIFE
It's been one year since lovely Leona left her husband, Sheikh Hassan ben Khalifa Al-Qadim, and is startled when her spouse abruptly re-enters her life.
At first Leona is angered when she believes Hassan has abducted her, but as they spend time together on his luxurious yacht, headed for the Gulf state of Rahman, his actions are explained and she remembers why she fell in love with him and became his wife.
Unfortunately, the fact that Leona cannot get pregnant is an issue that continues to come between her and her handsome Sheikh. Leona fears that her failure to deliver a child could mean the end of her marriage...or could it?
THE MISTRESS BRIDE
The whole world is interested in the golden couple, Sheik Raschid Al Kadah and Evie Delahaye. Despite fierce opposition, their passionate, high-profile affair has lasted for two ecstatic years--but soon the relationship will have to come to an end. Raschid is expected to marry an Arabian princess, and Evie's mother is constantly pushing her toward a member of the English aristocracy.
Time is running out, but a drastic turn of events reveals Raschid to be a man of honor. As the Sheik whisks away his love to his native land of Behran, his honor comes to the test when he must choose to turn against the wishes of his family in order to make Evie his bride.
THE ARABIAN LOVE CHILD
It's been eight years since Englishwoman Melanie Portreath fell in love with Rafiq Al-Qadim, a son of the ruler of Rahman. But when she is cruelly ejected from his life after he believes ugly lies about her, she never gets the chance to tell him that she is pregnant with his child.
Now that her son is old enough to need his father, Melanie is determined to tell Rafiq about the child he's never known. Still embittered by what he believes is her past betrayal, Rafiq doesn't let the beautiful blonde from his past get a word in edgewise. However, when he finally discovers that she gave birth to his child years earlier, he quickly assumes his role of father and seeks to fulfill the role of husband.
Sparks fly when he and Melanie reunite, but are the sparks enough for a lifelong marriage?
Sunday, October 29, 2006
THE SHEIKH'S BARTERED BRIDE - LUCY MONROE
Lucy Monroe has done it again! This is an incredible love story, one which begins as an arranged marriage, and evolves into a passionate love affair. Secrets create and put up road blocks in the relationship with an incredible resolution. I highly recommend this East meets West love story.
After a whirlwind courtship Sheikh Hakim bin Omar al Kadar proposes marriage. There are no declarations of love, but shy, innocent Catherine Benning has already fallen head-over-heels in love and she accepts… After their wedding day – and night, when the sheikh claims his virgin wife – Catherine and Hakim travel to his desert kingdom. Catherine discovers that this is no love match for Hakim – he’s bought her!
From the Authors Website:
THE CHARACTERS: Hakim bin Omar al Kadar is a man driven by honor, duty and loyalty to his family - the Royal Family of Kadar. His duty includes convincing Catherine Benning to marry him. Catherine spent her childhood and teen years as a social outcast because of physical problems she could do nothing about. By the time she was able to alter her appearance, she no longer trusted people, particularly men, enough to pursue her dreams of love and having her own family. She begins the book vulnerable, but she's a strong woman and her growth forces Hakim to look at his own motivations and feelings.
THE SETTING: This book takes place almost equally in Seattle, WA and the imaginary Middle Eastern country of Kadar. I had a tremendous time making up my own Middle Eastern country with its very own Royal Family as well as traditions and customs. And setting parts of the story in nearby Seattle was a lot of fun too.
THE STORY: Hakim is the alpha hero we all dream about. Sexy. Intelligent. Bent on doing what is best for all the people he cares about, including a quickly recalcitrant Catherine. While Catherine learns to trust beyond betrayal and Hakim learns to love beyond duty, they both test the limits of the emotion that simmers between them.
THE SHEIKH'S DISOBIEDENT BRIDE - JANE PORTER
Disobedient doesn't begin to describe Tally who is on a photo assignment in a wild and dangerous desert city. When she is involved in a cross fire and rescued or should I say kidnapped by the handsome sheikh Tair, the war of the sexes begins!
Tally and Tair's love story is full of passion, heat, disagreements and misunderstandings. Tally in Tair's eyes is disobedient and Tally to prove the point keeps trying to runaway. As this couple gets to know each other, the reader is led on an incredible journey right along with them. When Tair takes Tally to his palace, fires like you won't believe ignite.
In the past both characters have been through so much. Tally had to abandon her life's dreams to stay at home and take care of her siblings as her mother needed to work to support the family. Tally goes through a lot of self-discovery and realizes she has fallen in-love with this incredible sheikh. Tair not only lost his father but also his wife and son due to desert wars. He is afraid to let Tally mean everything to him but she slips right into his heart. They marry, because Tair demands they do so but then Tally is kidnapped. When he realizes she might suffer further danger, he sends her away.
Again Jane Porter has given her readers not just another adventure but an incredible love story, one I will personally long remember.
Publisher: Harlequin (June 1, 2006)
She must be tamed-- by the Sheikh...
Sheikh Tair lives by the rules of the desert. When he finds Tally has broken a sacred law, endangering the safety of his tribe, Tair has to act.
Tally is kept like a harem girl, but every time she tries to escape, the hostile desert drives her back. And with each new act of her disobedience, Tair's resolve hardens. As a ruler, he must tame her. As a man he wants her-- willing or not!
THE SHEIKH'S VIRGIN - JANE PORTER
This book was exceptional. I've probably read most of Jane Porter's Harlequin Presents books and I'm always amazed by her knowledge of other countries. While reading one of her books one actually feels they've stepped into that particular country.
In the case of The Sheikh's Virgin, I fell in love with the Middle Eastern Desert. I could almost feel the sun on my face, smell the desert scents, feel the sand on my feet and hear the camels and Berber's setting up and taking down camp. I'm amazed at Jane's knowledge of the desert, the cultural aspects of the book and the love story, it took my breath away.
Sheikh Kalen is a true alpha to the core. He is handsome, rich and very powerful in London and in his homeland Baraka. He has had many mistresses which he doesn't seem to keep for long. He is mysterious, sensual, warm and intriguing.
Keira is a very beautiful emotional and sensitive woman who met Kalen during her teens in Baraka where he stole her heart. Keira was raised by her mother in the US and spent very little time with her father in Baraka. Her father felt she was too educated and her mother felt she was not smart enough. So where does Keira belong? And now, her father has promised her hand in marriage to an official in Baraka and Kalen is on a mission to protect his brother from Keira's father and intended husband.
This wonderful love story, full of mystery, passion, and intrigue will steal your heart as it did mine. I will read The Sheikh's Virgin many, many times and highly recommend it.
Keira al-Issidri is enjoying her carefree life in Dallas when her father suddenly orders her to return to her native Baraka to marry a prominent but old man named Sidi Abizhaid. Keira is horrified at the thought of returning to Baraka and live her life hidden behind a veil, and has no intention of obeying her father's edict.
Sheikh Kalen Nuri of Baraka is aware of the fate that awaits Keira and swiftly intervenes for political reasons yet unknown to her. He spirits her out of Dallas and ultimately weds her in an impromptu desert ceremony.
Keira is drawn to the magnetic sheikh, but a secret from her past torments her. She doesn't know how to tell him...or how he will react when he learns the truth. But she does know that she cannot bear the thought of losing him, now that he has claimed her as his woman.
Publisher: Harlequin (June 1, 2005)
THE SULTAN'S BOUGHT BRIDE - JANE PORTER
The first in the Princess Brides series. A Princess and a Sultan who you are led to believe their meeting is to protecct Nicky's older sister. Some twists, fun, pretense and a wonderful love story. I highly recommend it and encourage you to purchase the next in the series, The Greek's Royal Mistress", Chantel's story.
Princess Nicolette Ducasse refuses to allow her sister Chantal to follow through with an arranged marriage to Sultan Malik Roman Nuri of Baraka. She is so determined to protect her sister that she travels to the faraway kingdom of Baraka, posing as Chantal. She intends to tell the sultan that the wedding is off...but only once her young niece, Lilly, has been safely extracted from the clutches of Chantal's former in-laws.
But when Nic meets Malik, she never expects to find a young, sexy monarch. He is a kind, considerate man...and extremely hard to resist! Though Malik is a modern monarch, he makes it clear that if they share a bed, the wedding is on. And soon Nic begins to wonder how she will end this charade without humiliating the sultan by leaving him at the altar.
Publisher: Harlequin (September 1, 2004)
THE SHEIKH'S WIFE - JANE PORTER
Sheikh Kahlil al-Assad hasn't forgiven Bryn for abandoning her wedding vows. And when he discovers that he's also missed out on the first years of his son's life, an infuriated Kahlil decides to take his revenge.
Bryn doesn't realize that technically she and the Sheikh are still husband and wife,and she knows she can't deny her son the father he's been asking for, so she agrees to return to Kahlil's desert kingdom of Zwar. There she finds herself relegated to the harem quarters, where she must prepare for being taken back...into the Sheikh's bed!
September 2006 re-released in a UK anthology, The Sheikh's Woman (cover shown right) isbn: 0263850781
May 2002 in North America - isbn: 0373122527
September 2001 in the UK - isbn: 0263825345
HOSTAGE OF THE HAWK AND MISTRESS OF THE SHEIKH - SANDRA MARTON
I can't believe I forget these two Sandra Marton books, so here they are:
HOSTAGE OF THE HAWK - Harlequin 1994
While in Morocco, Joanna Bennett offers to take the place of her ill father at a meeting with Prince Khalil in an attempt to avoid an international dispute over a business deal. But when Joanna comes face-to-face with the "Hawk of the North", she suddenly finds herself being abducted and flown to his remote land of Jandara.
Held prisoner by the devastatingly handsome Khalil, Joanna is determined to escape...but she hadn't counted on the "hawk" fulfilling all her secret desires. She now has to discover if Khalil is simply using her as a political pawn, or if he desires her. But should she hope that his interest in her is more than desire...and something she can build a future on?
MISTRESS OF THE SHEIKH (Harlequin 2000)
Nicholas al Rashid finds a beautiful woman in his bedroom, and immediately assumes that she is there to spy on him. While he refuses to believe that she is there to work as an interior designer, he cannot deny his instant attraction to this woman.
AT THE SHEIKH'S COMMAND - KATE WALKER
At first glance they are lost………Malik the sheikh and beautiful proud Abbie who wants her brother out of jail. They see each other from afar and immediately there is lust, desire and tension.
Malik is regal, sexy, stern, determined…. all of the characteristics one would expect of royal blood and a sheikh. He has come to England to meet with Abbie’s father concerning the release of her brother from a Barakhara jail. Neither knows the truth about each other until one evening the truth is revealed and Abbie's hopes are shattered. Malik has come to England to offer pardon if Abbie marries his brother, the Sheikh of Barakhara (his half brother).
Abbie is so sexually and passionately drawn to Malik that she isn’t herself. The events are turbulent; an interesting mix to the storyline. Abbie’s desire for Malik, her pending marriage to his half brother and then a country in turmoil plus seeing Malik again after weeks of trying to forget him. This love story is as hot as the burning desert sun!
Kate Walker has yet again penned a powerful and promising love story full of passion, tension and drama set in the desert sun. Their love story will grip your heart and provide hours of reading enjoyment.
Abbie Cavanaugh's brother is in jail. Abbie can obtain his freedom--but only if she marries the Sheikh of Barakhara.
The explosive passion between Prince Malik and Abbie could turn a marriage of convenience into one of Eastern promise.
But neither Abbie nor Malik knows the other's real identity. Can their marriage survive once the truth is revealed?
Publisher: Harlequin (October 1, 2006)
DESERT AFFAIR - Kate Walker
Romantic Times January 2003
A thrilling, sexy read, with two volatile characters and one of the most romantic and sensual premises around.
Writers Unlimited Reviews
A romantic tale that touches the hearts and desires of all women. . .you won't be able to put it down.
Three days and nights in the arms of a sheikh!
Stranded with a devastatingly handsome stranger, Lydia Ashton decides to throw caution to the wind and spend a luxurious and passionate three days and nights in his arms. Soon she discovers that her charming stranger is the proud son of a sheikh, heir to the throne of Kuimar, and used to getting exactly what he wants. And he wants Lydia. Amir fulfils her every desire, and their passion seems to know no bounds. But Lydia knows she has broken the rules byt falling in love. Too late she discovers why.
DESERT VIRGIN - Sandra Marton
What a marvelous book this was to read. Cam Knight, the oldest of the Knight Brothers and his story is Sandra's first in The Knight Brother's trilogy. I loved his "tough" character role and how his "Salome" blind-sided him with her strength and beauty.
This story is truly a fantasy set in the desert and one you won't want to miss especially since it's a Sandra Marton trilogy.
From the back cover:
Cameron Knight is a fearless troubleshooter on a mission in the desert kingdom of Baslaam.... Leanna DeMarco is a ballerina; she's been abducted to dance for the sultan of Baslaam....
When the sultan offers Leanna to Cam, he sees a way to escape with her across the sands. But she's temptation! Can Cam resist taking the sultan's gift?
Publisher: Harlequin (March 1, 2006)
Romantic Times BOOKclub
"THE DESERT VIRGIN has it all, from thrills to danger to romance to passion."
Filled with her trademark steamy sensuality and adventurous protagonists, THE DESERT VIRGIN is a thrill ride from start to finish.
Sandra Marton - THE SHEIKH'S CONVENIENT BRIDE
Feisty, erotic a great addition to the O’Connell series
This is probably one of my favorites in the series. I loved Megan's story. Megan has spunk and fire even though she is an innocent. Sandra weaves a wonderful "Eastern" sheik tale set in the desert, full of mystery, fire and hot passion. It's a wonderful addition to the O'Connell series.
Fiery Megan O'Connell is an accomplished financial expert working at a firm in Los Angeles, who has just finished working on a proposal for client Qasim al Daud al Rashid, the King of Suliyam. It is clear to Sheikh Qasim (aka Caz) that she is the most qualified person to accompany him to Suliyam to ensure that important work is accomplished. Unfortunately, however, Qasim's homeland is a country where women have no status.
Determined to keep this lucrative account, Megan travels to Suliyam and finds her life threatened by tribal leaders who think she's a woman of loose morals. And the only way that the sheikh can ensure her safety is to marry her. Megan agrees, but does not expect or even want the marriage to continue once her work in this desert country is completed...or does she?
Publisher: Harlequin (August 1, 2004)
Stolen by A Sheikh Trish Morey
The sheikh's chosen bride...
Sheikh Khaled Al-Ateeq has granted Sapphire Clemenger the commission of her dreams: the designing of the wedding gown for his chosen bride...
Only the Sheikh's deal isn't as simple as it sounds. Not only must Sapphy accompany this formidable prince to his exotic desert palace, he also forbids her to meet his future wife. In fact Sapphy begins to doubt that this woman even exists... Especially when the measurements given for the gown are her own!
Sapphy realises she's trapped in Khaled's kingdom - and it's intended that she'll be the Sheikh's future wife!
(The Arranged Brides duo - book 1)
Mills & Boon Modern Romance - August 2005
Harlequin Mills & Boon Sexy - September 2005
Harlequin Presents - February 2006
Harlequin Bianca - May 2006 - "Robada Por Un Jeque" (Stolen By A Sheikh)
Pride and anger are such worthless emotions when so much is at stake". Quote from author Trish Morey.
I loved the book....excellent storyline. Who I really liked was Sappy (Sapphire), not just her spunk and energy but her character. Usually the women in "sheikh" books are from the UK or US Sappy is Australian born and raised which made this story very interesting plus her profession, a fashion designer working in Milan.
Sheikh Khaled, just a wonderful alpha, yet tender even though revenge was his first priority. He really met his match in Sappy. The attraction and sexual pull between these two characters was amazing and made for a great romance.
Thanks for the great read, Trish Morey. I can't wait to read Paolo's story, The Mancini Marriage Bargain.
Alpha males ahoy! Trish Morey has a talent for producing hot, sizzling men that leave us thirsting for more and Sheikh Khaled is no exception." ~ Cataromance Reviews
"...shows the talent of a great storyteller." ~ Cataromance Reviews
"Stolen by the Sheikh is a hot read that the reader will be unable to put down - try it and see!" ~ Cataromance Reviews
SHEIKH ARTICLE - CHICAGO TRIBUNE
I had the opportunity to speak with this reporter. He asked me interesting questions and one I actually did not think about, 911 and how reading books concerning sheikhs affected me? 911 was personally horrific for me and my country and mostly importantly for the city of New York.
Quite honestly, when I read these stories I don't think about 911, nor religion, nor where they take place, I think about falling in love, about romance and hopefully all of this craziness going on in the world will someday resolve itself and there will be peace! I pray this happens for all because in my heart it's all about LOVE.
Here is the article as it appeared in the Chicago Tribune:
By Patrick T. Reardon
Chicago Tribune staff reporter
Published April 24, 2006
If this story were a romance novel, it would read something like this:
The heroine -- a feisty, brassy American woman, representing hundreds of thousands of female romance readers -- is irresistibly drawn to the Arab sheik. He's dark, brooding and incredibly wealthy, ruling everything he surveys in his desert kingdom. They have exotic adventures and eventually make hot, feverish and often graphic love. The End.
But this story isn't just about the many romance readers who relish fantasies about sheikhs (or, as some prefer to spell the word, sheikhs). It's also about a mystery.
So let's bring in a character from another pop fiction genre, a detective, to examine the puzzle. Picture him as a somewhat rumpled, somewhat nerdy middle-age guy. (Any resemblance to a certain newspaper reporter is strictly coincidental.)
The mystery is this: Since 2000, the number of sheik romances published each year in North America has more than quadrupled.
That's easy to explain, Susan Mallery tells our gumshoe. When it comes to sales, Sheik romances "kick butt." She should know. Over the past six years, Mallery, who lives in California, has published 10 sheik novels, each with press runs of more than 100,000.
But that doesn't explain why they kick butt. Or why they happen to be kicking butt at a time when U.S. soldiers are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and when fears of Middle East-inspired terrorism on U.S. soil remain high. Or why they remain popular after 9/11.
Sheik romances have a Web site devoted to them (sheikh and Desert Love at www-and-desert-love.com) and a Beloit College anthropologist (Kimberly Mills) who is studying them.
When our detective analyzes lists that Mills and the Web site compiled, he determines that, during the 1990s, an average of four sheik romances were published annually in North America -- compared to 17 a year since 2000.
Several romance readers tell him that, when they read about sheiks, they're learning about the exotic world of the Arabian Desert. And Lucy Monroe, who lives in of Oregon, says she spent a lot of time researching her two sheik novels.
"I take the best of the culture," Monroe says. And she leaves out the rest. In "The Sheikh's Bartered Bride," published in 2004 by Harlequin, she says, "I was careful not to get into the oppression of women."
Why? Because, Monroe says, the job of a romance novel is to "feed hope in the world -- the hope that those we see as our enemy can also be our friend."
Every romance novel, our detective learns, whether it features a sheik or some other male, is about the transformation of the two central characters, the Adam and Eve of the story. The hero and the heroine are expected to dislike each other initially -- to be enemies -- and, then, to be drawn against their wills into each other's arms. That's the happy ending every reader expects.
Writing a sheik romance "is a hoot," laughs Mallery. "I make up my own countries. It's broad fantasy. It is not based in reality. I don't deal with anything icky. [Readers] are not going to learn anything about the Middle East from me."
In the past, though, sheik fantasies could be pretty icky.
Consider the 1919 novel "The Sheik" by Edith Maude Hull, the forebear of all subsequent sheik romances. Not only does the sheik of the title -- "a splendid healthy animal" -- abduct and imprison the heroine, Diana, but he also rapes her.
Then she falls in love with him.
Monroe says this pattern of kidnap-rape-love, rooted in a pre-1980s cultural belief that unmarried women shouldn't go looking for sex, involved "forcing pleasure on women." For their own good, apparently.
This, notes Mallery, is the origin of the term bodice-ripper.
From Saskatchewan, Canada, where she edits the Sheikhs and Desert Love Web site, Erika Wittlieb tells our sleuth that "these novels [now] are quite generous in portraying Arab men, sheiks, as larger-than-life, virile, ultra-masculine heroes with a strong moral code."
Although the 9/11 trauma had little impact on sheik romance sales, Wittlieb says that, since the attacks, "romance novel sheiks were not often featured [on book covers] in their traditional Arab headdress or robes." Now, they appear in Western-style clothing.
From Harlequin headquarters, Katherine Orr, vice president for public relations, says the jump in sheik romances is simply a coincidence, having has nothing to do with world news.
As if to underline that, Marilyn Shoemaker, a sheik romance fan in Seattle, says, "I don't think about Iraq and Iran when I'm reading them."
Which leaves our investigator flummoxed and our mystery story without a solution.
But maybe it's the mystery that is the solution.
In a romance novel and in real life, it's often impossible to say why two people fall in love. They just do.
Why are romance readers buying so many more sheik novels? Our detective just throws up his hands. They just are.
- - -
Even sheiks can be afraid of commitment.
According to Sheikhs and Desert Love, a Web site devoted to romance novels featuring sheiks (www.sheikhs-and-desert-love.com), there are 11 major plots and themes for such books. They are:
Abducted by the enemy
Babies and child rescue
Kidnapped by a handsome sheik
Marriages of convenience
Meddling family members
Reunions with former lovers
Sheiks fearing commitment
- - -
"He paused at the door to speak to the Frenchman, a picturesque, barbaric figure, with flowing robes and great white cloak, the profile of his lean face clean cut against the evening sky, the haughty poise of his head emphasized by the attitude in which he was standing, arrogant, dominating."
-- "The Sheik" by E.M. Hull (1919)
"His black hair was damp with sweat at the temples and nape. He looked sexy and full of sin, and, God help her, she was ready to ask him to kiss her."
-- "A Bed of Sand" by Laura Wright (2004)
"Beneath his loose, traditional clothing, this man was powerfully built. Strong and hard. The power that emanated from him had nothing to do with what he wore. Even with sunglasses hiding his eyes from her, she could tell that he had an unusually handsome, olive-toned face. The cut of his jaw was sharp and masculine, the nose perfectly straight and fittingly regal, and the mouth ... a mouth that sensuous should be illegal!"
-- "Secret-Agent Sheik" by Linda Winstead Jones (2002)
"His bronzed complexion and very black hair suggested an ancestry at variance with his beautifully enunciated English. Every aspect of him offered a source of immediate fascination. ... A tiny twist of something she had never felt before pulled low in her pelvis."
-- "The Sheikh's Innocent Bride" by Lynne Graham (2005)
"He towered over her, and she had on pretty high heels. He smelled clean, just soap and man, and even though it felt strange to have him continue to hold her hand, it was more good-strange than bad-strange. His dark eyes seemed to see down to the very depths of her being, as if he could read all her secrets."
-- "The Sheik and the Virgin Secretary" by Susan Mallery (2005)
Welcome to Romancing the Desert where you can find recommendations for sheikh books written by some incredible romance authors.
I decided to start this blog due to the spammers who posted on SHEIKH'S AND DESERT LOVE. It is a very nice website, full of information about upcoming releases, features, themes and lists authors who write sheikh books. Website is http://sheikhs-and-desert-love.com. However the message board is no longer available.
Authors, I can't possibly read every sheikh book so please share or promote your book. Readers, I ask the same of you. share what your reading.