All About the Alpha Male
by Chantelle Shaw, author of Sheikh’s Forbidden Conquest
The Alpha male! For me, Sheikhs are the epitome of Alpha heroes – powerful, commanding and of course drop-dead sexy. So having written twenty-five books why had I only featured one Sheikh? (At the Sheikh’s Bidding – published in 2008)
The truth is I struggled with the cultural differences and could not imagine that a powerful ruler of a Middle-Eastern country could have a softer side. That’s when I thought of Sultan Kadir Al Sulaimar the hero of Sheikh’s Forbidden Conquest. The ruler of Zenhab is bound by duty to his country but Kadir is also capable of deep feelings – and Lexi Howard stirs a whole range of his emotions!
The fiercely feminist helicopter pilot impressed Kadir with her bravery when she plucked him from his sinking yacht, but Lexi spent ten years as an RAF pilot in a predominantly male environment and her lack of respect infuriates the Sultan of Zenhab. However Kadir realises that Lexi is just the person he has been looking for and he offers her a job working for him as his private pilot.
Lexi is shocked by the sizzling sexual attraction between her and Kadir. She is off men after being dumped by her fiancé who admitted that he was already in a relationship and had a child. So when her new boss explains that part of her job will be to fly his future bride between Princess Haleema’s home in the mountains and the royal palace, Lexi knows she must fight her growing feelings for the sexy Sultan at all costs.
Just before his beloved father died, Kadir had promised Sultan Khalif that he would marry the Princess of the northern tribes to ensure peace and stability in Zenhab. Falling for his sensual pilot is not on the desert King’s agenda and Kadir must resist beautiful Lexi – but he finds that he is increasingly reluctant to honour his arranged marriage to a woman he has never met.
Torn between duty and desire, Kadir must choose to follow his head or his heart – but the discovery that Lexi might be carrying his heir changes everything!
I was fascinated by the cultural differences between Kadir and Lexi and their battles of wills as this modern twenty-first century woman stood her ground against a Sheikh who is used to being obeyed without question. But although Kadir can never forget that his destiny is to rule his country, he is a man of deep passion and intense emotions trapped by his promise to honour his arranged, loveless marriage.
In Sheikh’s Forbidden Conquest I wanted to dig beneath Kadir’s persona as a powerful desert King and show him as a man who is strong and driven by duty, but who is also vulnerable as he realises that he has to follow his heart.
Sheikhs are hugely popular heroes. I love the idea of a very powerful man falling completely and utterly in love with the heroine – and trying to resist his feelings all the way! What kind of man is your favourite hero – and why?
Read an excerpt from the book below!
About Sheikh’s Forbidden Conquest:
Sultan Kadir Al Sulaimar may be Europe’s most notorious playboy, but since his bride-to-be finally came of age, he’s sworn to be faithful to the princess he’s never met.
Yet when feisty helicopter pilot Lexi Howard saves his life, she turns Kadir’s regimented world upside down. His first duty must be to his country, but avoiding the sensual pilot is becoming increasingly difficult…especially now that she’s working for him!
Lexi’s disregard for his command is somewhat…refreshing. Can the desert king resist making her his final—and most forbidden—conquest?
THE SEARING PAIN that felt as though Kadir’s skull had been split open with an axe was the result of being hit on the head by the sail boom of the White Hawk—his brand-new racing yacht that was now residing at the bottom of the sea. However, his immediate concern was not for the loss of his boat but the welfare of his crew, who were being stretchered off the helicopter that had just landed at a hospital on the mainland.
The rescue had been dramatic—and just in time. Once Kadir had realised the yacht was sinking, everything had happened so quickly. He hadn’t had time to feel fear, but for a few seconds he had pictured himself galloping across a golden desert on his black stallion Baha’, and his heart had ached for what would become of the kingdom his father had entrusted to him.
But, like a miracle, out of the dark sky had appeared a shining light, and he had heard the
distinctive whump-whump of helicopter rotor blades. Kadir had flown in a helicopter many times, and as he’d clung to the rigging of his wrecked yacht being battered by forty-foot waves he had recognised the skill and bravery of the pilot flying the coastguard rescue chopper in the worsening gale.
He knew that he and his crew had been lucky to survive. But the two young sailors who had crewed for him since the start of the race in the Canary Islands were suffering from hypothermia and were in a bad way. As Kadir watched them being wheeled across the helipad, frustration surged through him. His clothes were wet and stiff with sea salt and the wind whipping across the helipad chilled him to his bones. He lifted a hand to his throbbing head and felt a swelling the size of an egg on his temple.
The coastguard paramedic gave him a worried look. ‘Sir, please lie down on the stretcher and one of the medical staff will take you down to the A&E department so that your injuries can be treated.’
‘I’m fine; I can walk,’ Kadir said impatiently. ‘It’s my crew who I’m concerned about. I wish you had followed my instructions and rescued them first. They got too cold because they were in the sea for so long. You should have winched them up onto the helicopter before you rescued me.’
‘I was under instructions to rescue injured casualties first and it was obvious that you had sustained a possibly serious head injury,’ the paramedic explained.
‘My crew were my responsibility,’ Kadir argued. He was interrupted by another voice.
‘I hardly think you are in a position to question the professional judgement of a member of the coastguard team when it was your poor judgement in deciding to sail in atrocious weather that put your crew in danger.’
Frowning, Kadir turned towards the person who had jumped down from the helicopter cockpit. Like the other members of the rescue team, the figure was wearing a bulky jumpsuit, but as they removed their flight helmet Kadir’s confusion grew.
‘Who are you?’ he demanded.
‘Flight Captain Lexi Howard. I was in charge of the rescue operation. The helicopter crew acted under my instructions, which were to winch up injured casualties first.’
The instant the words left his lips Kadir realised he had made a crass fool of himself. There was a crowd of people standing on the helipad—medical staff and a team of firemen, who were required to be present whenever a helicopter landed at the hospital, and everyone fell silent and stared at him.
He could blame his shocked reaction to the female helicopter pilot on his recent trauma of nearly drowning, and also on the fact that—despite the new laws and policy changes he was gradually trying to introduce—gender equality was still a relatively new concept in his country, the isolated desert kingdom of Zenhab. But it was obvious from the pilot’s icy expression that any excuse Kadir might offer for his tactless comment would not be well received.
‘Full marks for observation,’ the Flight Captain said drily. ‘If the fact that I’m a woman bothers you so much I could always drop you back in the sea where I found you and your crew.’
The reminder of the two injured sailors reignited Kadir’s sense of frustration that he was not in charge of the situation. He was used to making decisions and having them obeyed without question, and he was struggling to accept that in this instance the female Flight Captain was in control. It didn’t help matters that his head felt as if it was going to explode. He gritted his teeth, fighting the nausea that threatened to overwhelm him and destroy what was left of his dignity.
‘As the yacht’s skipper, it was my duty to ensure the safety of my crew,’ he insisted. ‘I was in a better position to judge their physical condition than you were and I could see that they were both exhausted.’
‘It was my duty to ensure the safety of all the casualties in need of rescue, as well as the safety of my flight crew,’ the Flight Captain said coldly. ‘How dare you question my authority?’
How dare he? No one had ever dared to address Kadir with such insolence, least of all a woman, and certainly not in public. The knowledge that he was indebted to this self-assured young woman for saving his life made him feel emasculated. The fact that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen only made him feel worse.
In the nightclubs and casinos—the playgrounds across Europe of the rich and bored—Kadir had met countless beautiful women, and in his youth he had bedded more of them than he cared to remember. For the past decade he had lived his life in the fast lane and played hard, but at thirty-two he felt jaded. It was a long time since his curiosity had been aroused by a woman, but Flight Captain Lexi Howard intrigued him.
Beneath the floodlights on the helipad, her complexion was flawless and so fair that the skin stretched over her high, slanting cheekbones was almost translucent. Her long braid of ash-blonde hair suggested possible Nordic ancestry and the impression was further enhanced by her light blue eyes that reminded Kadir of the cool, clear skies above the Swiss Alps where he skied every winter.
He found he could not look away from her and he felt a sudden tightness in his chest as if a fist had gripped his heart. Heat surged through his veins. He tried to convince himself that the fire inside him was a natural response after his recent brush with death, but deep in his core something hot and hungry stirred.