One of my favourite poems is The Lady Of Shalott by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. I love the way it tells such a bittersweet story with its haunting, beautifully-written lines. A copy of the famous painting by Waterhouse hung on my bedroom wall during my teenage years. It captures the doomed aristocrat in the moment just before “she loosed the chain and down she lay…”
The poem also provided the inspiration for my latest book: SHAMED IN THE SANDS.
Leila is a desert princess and, a bit like the Lady of Shalott – she is completely cut off from the real world. Leila isn’t exactly locked up in a tower and only able to see life through the reflections in a mirror, but she might as well be. Isolated in her lavish Qurhahian palace, she has been strictly brought up by her autocratic brother Murat, the all-powerful Sultan. Murat is determined to protect his little sister and consequently, she has very little personal freedom. She sees the world through the images which are filtered to her from the West. She loves watching romantic-comedies and reading the love-stories which get past the palace censors. These innocent pastimes have become both her escape and her reality.
But Leila is also a talented photographer and she is getting bored and increasingly frustrated with her restrictive lifestyle. When billionaire advertising guru Gabe Steel arrives in Qurhah to advise her brother – Leila decides to ask him for a job.
Disguising herself as a man, she sneaks up to Gabe’s luxury hotel suite and begs him to hide her from the Sultan’s bodyguards, who are following her. Reluctantly, Gabe agrees. He is bewitched by the stunning young princess and he isn’t really thinking straight. He has his own baggage, and that day it is feeling particularly heavy.
Neither of them are prepared for the sexual chemistry which overwhelms them – and yet neither can stop themselves from acting on it…. Until they are left with a consequence which could blow both their worlds apart.
And that is when Leila discovers that steely Gabe is nothing like the soft-hearted heroes of the films she so adores….
About Shamed in the Sands:
A princess in disguise
Bound to a life of restrictions and rules, Princess Leila of Qurhah feels like a puppet dancing to the sultan’s strings. She’s desperate for her freedom, and only one man holds the key….
When notorious advertising mogul Gabe Steel arrives in the desert kingdom of Qurhah, the last thing he expects is an alluring stranger in his hotel room, demanding a job.
Enthralled by the innocent beauty and her intoxicating touch, Gabe is unaware of her royal connection or the lengths he will have to go to prevent her from shame!