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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Woman in a Sheikh’s World by Sarah Morgan

Woman in a Sheikh’s World by Sarah Morgan
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (152 pgs)
Heat: spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

With a client list hotter than the Zubran desert, wedding planner Avery Scott shouldn't be surprised that her latest client is Crown Prince Malik of Zubran—the man who once lit her body on fire…before steamrollering over her heart.Determined to ignore Malik's lethal charm, Avery makes a very personal not-to-do list:

1. Not being Malik's intended, our relationship must remain 100 percent professional.

2. His arranged bride might have run away, but I mustn't distract him—for the kings of Zubran, duty always comes first.

3. However luxurious the Bedouin tent—and smoldering the tension—pride dictates the touch I crave stays strictly forbidden.

To have a relationship, you have to have two people who open up to each other and at least meet each other half way in revealing their inner fears, right? Without trust, how can something like love grow? Those are some basic questions that both Avery and Malik have to wade through before they can move forward.

Interestingly enough, I ‘met’ Avery in one of Ms. Morgan’s previous books and based upon a few comments that were made in that story, it was inevitable that I’d eventually see Avery as the main heroine at some point. This is her turn in the spotlight and wow, what a powerhouse of a lady. She’s driven, focused, has amazing determination and business savvy and plays her cards so close to her chest, she never reveals even the tiniest hint that’s she is not in charge at all times. Doesn’t she sound uptight? I mean, she’s successful in the book, but it’s come at a cost. And for a person, man or woman, to be that controlling, doesn’t that trigger some questions? As an avid reader of romance, I knew that the heroine was hiding behind that control. What I couldn’t have guessed in a hundred years was the secret.

Malik, or as Avery and close friends call him, Mal, was another controlled and dominate character. At first I saw him as Avery saw him – a man who didn’t love, who kept women at arm’s length and who was so not into her that as soon as they separated, became engaged to another woman. I was not a fan of Mal. That is until the author lets readers into his head. Until at one point Mal does open up to the heroine and what gets revealed is an amazing and heart wrenching picture of what it is to be Prince Malik. At that moment, and a credit to the author’s writing, I was very sympathetic to his character. In fact I felt bad for him. And for Avery. They have an incredible amount of emotional baggage, they’re both hurting and they both need the strengths found in each other to heal.

What I found most intriguing was Avery’s eventual secret. A few comments that she made during her internal dialogue gave me hints that I put together about what it might be. It turns out that I was right. It was interesting but on the other hand, I am unsure whether or not such a situation would be that much of a stumbling block to love. I can see the stress that it might cause, but the massive amount of importance that Avery attached to it seemed overwrought. Then there was her mother. For a character that was never on stage, she sure was a bizarre nutcase with some serious hang-ups and phobias. Descriptions alone had my hackles rising in defense of Avery. And that text was so cold! It’s not a wonder the heroine had some serious relationship issues.

My favorite part is when Malik has his “Aha!” moment. When he finally got to see a crack in Avery’s armor and realized a very important fact previously missed is when the momentum of the plot picked up speed and it got really interesting. Before that, I was just as frustrated as the two of them.

This story is solely focused on two people who were hurt once before and being able to get a second chance at love. It comes about in a most unlikely and twisted manner and I sort of found it funny. It seemed to me, once I’d read it, that they both really wanted the second chance but simply could not find a way to make it happen. They were too stubborn, boneheaded and hurt. And yet as oddball as it was, they eventually rationalized how much perfect sense it made, and henceforth drove each other nuts with smoldering looks, passionate remembrances and yearnings that drove their libidos up the wall. It definitely made for interesting reading. Ms. Morgan really put her characters through an emotional wringer in this one.

Even though her role is a small one, my absolute favorite secondary character is Chloe. She completely cracked me up. And what she does at the end gave me the giggles. What a cutie.

Woman in a Sheikh’s World takes readers on an exotic adventure filled with passion between two personalities with enough charisma and conflicts to make Clash of the Titans seem tame. Two strong people who have too many secrets, who fear revealing them enough that they almost let the best thing that could ever happen to them slip away. But for once, Mal’s stubbornness and ability to focus on the end goal finally has a clear path and nothing is going to stand in his way, even if that stumbling block is Avery herself. It’s a well written romance with a happily ever after that satisfies while educating me on why doves are better than swans. Pick up your own copy ofWoman in a Sheikh’s World and experience the journey for yourself.