by Maisey Yates, author of To Defy a Sheikh
This book came about the way so many books do. I had an idea that I wanted to write a present for the heroine came to kill the hero. But I dismissed it quickly because, that’s crazy. Now, I’m no stranger to crazy, but I thought that I was overstepping, even for me. Right at that time Caitlin Crews was emailing me about the book idea that she had. So I thought I would mention my new, toned down idea. No one was out to kill anyone in this new idea.
She sent back a response that was appropriately underwhelmed. I returned volley with an email that said: well I was going to have the heroine come to kill him.
Her response back was: Well, if you aren’t going to have her try to kill him what’s the point of writing the book?
I could only hope my editor felt the same way.
Luckily, she did and that was how Ferran and Samarah’s story came to be. As most of my books do, with a little help from my friends and a lot of help from my editor.
I’ve always liked the idea of the heroine being the character in the story who is out for revenge. I have written quite a few vengeful heroes, but I’m not sure I’d ever written a vengeful heroine before. Certainly not one quite is determined, or as deadly as Samarah.
Like any revenge story the challenge with these two characters was to take them from a place where they hated each other to where they loved each other. Simple, right?
*cue maniacal laughter*
For all the challenges it represented, I actually really enjoyed writing this book. Because even though the heroine’s feelings toward the hero weren’t positive, they were passionate from the beginning. There was so much at stake for both of them. Ferran wanted to heal the nations, Samarah wanted to satisfy her need for revenge, to repay the evil she believed Ferran had done to her family.
When he thwarts her plan to assassinate him, he offers her an ultimatum: marriage to heal the rift between their nations or prison.
Of course, Samarah believes that she can use their tentative truce against him. But during the time she spends with Faron, as she gets to know the man, she has to concede that he isn’t the monster she has built him up in her mind to be.
Samarah has never imagined a future for herself. Beyond her revenge plan, she has nothing. Because she’s always imagined she would die pursuing justice for her family. Ferran’s offer of more is tempting, but it conflicts with everything she believes in.
Ultimately, during the course of writing this book I had to answer the question: how powerful is love? Can it wipe away years of hate? Can it heal the people who need it the most?
I think the answer is yes.
Here is an excerpt from To Defy a Sheikh, for your pleasure. In this scene Ferran and Samarah are burning off some energy…sparring in the gym.
She found herself fascinated by his chest. By each cut muscle. By the way the hair spread over his skin. So unique to a man’s body. These shapes, the hair, the hardness of the muscle.
She looked down farther. At the well-defined abs, the line of hair that disappeared beneath the waistband of his shorts. And she nearly choked.
She’d never been this close to a man. Not for this long. She’d fought them off before, but this was different.
She looked back up at his face, breathing even harder now. Her limbs tingling a bit. From the lack of oxygen, she was certain. Since she was breathing hard. And there was certainly no other explanation.
He leaned forward and bit her neck. It wasn’t painful, the sensation of his teeth scraping against her skin. It was something else entirely. Something that made her flail, stumble and fall backward onto the mat.
“I say we call it even, little viper,”he said, looking down at her.
Rage filled her and she popped back to her feet. “Of course you’d say that because I won. That was…not a move I recognize.”
“You didn’t say no biting.”
“One shouldn’t have to say that!”
“Apparently one did,”he said, breathing out hard, the muscles in his stomach rippling.”
“I demand a rematch.”
“Later,”he said, “when I can breathe again. You are a fierce opponent. And considering I do have a major size advantage, I cannot overlook the fact that, were we the same size, you would have destroyed me.”
“I very nearly destroyed you as it is,”she hissed.
“Don’t sound so dry. I could have ended you.”
“But you will not,”he said. “Not now.”
“You don’t think?”
“No,”he said, shaking his head. “Because I can offer you life. Ending me means ending yourself, too.”
Her throat tightened, her palms slick. “I was prepared for that.”
“I understand,”he said, his tone grave. “But I think now that you’ve been given another opportunity you might see things differently?”
She looked down, hating that the war inside her was transparent to him. Hating that he could see her weakness. That he could see she wanted. That his poisoned apple was indeed shiny and tempting.
A future. One with power. One where she wasn’t starving, or freezing or afraid.
One where she lived.
About To Defy a Sheikh:
Princess Samarah Al-Azem knows you cannot rush revenge. Having bided her time, she’s finally ready to bring down Ferran, her kingdom’s enemy and the man who took everything from her. In the still of night, she lies in wait in his bedchamber….
It isn’t the first time Sheikh Ferran has found himself at the edge of an assassin’s blade…but never has it been wielded by such a beautiful assailant. Soon he has her at his mercy—something he’s wanted for years!
Now Samarah must decide: imprisonment in a cell…or in diamond shackles as his wife.