by Annie West, author of The Sultan’s Harem Bride
When it’s about a sultan, of course.
I confess, I’ve got a weakness for desert romances. They’re doused in the exotic. They’re about hot-blooded, passionate men who rule their worlds. There’s more than a touch of drama and all sorts of fun to be had when cultures and expectations clash. No wonder I love writing them. These powerful, usually honourable men, knocked completely off balance by a woman, draw me every time, especially when they’re faced with a woman who doesn’t seem to fit their well-ordered life.
But my current desert romance is just a little different. It starts in a harem. Admittedly it’s not full of nubile young women, in fact it’s empty, but it’s a harem nevertheless. Instead of tribal tents or a small desert fortress, I discovered the setting was an ancient sprawling palace, rather like Topkapi in Istanbul. Think acres of land, interconnected courtyards full of riches, gardens, pavilions and kiosks, a labyrinth of beautiful old rooms.
A palace that magnificent demanded a sultan rather than a sheikh, and a powerful, charismatic one at that. Enter Sultan Asim of Jazeer, striding through his palace late at night, fuming that his plans to select a suitable wife have been leaked. He has high expectations of the woman he’ll marry, a formidable checklist she’ll have to meet, and he prefers to do the choosing, not have hopeful women chase him.
Asim is an absolute ruler. Fair and hardworking, he’s nonetheless used to calling the shots. No-one disagrees with him. Everyone obeys. Everything is as he commands it.
Until he walks into the royal harem late at night and discovers a naked woman. Not one he invited. One of my favourite lines in the book comes at the end of chapter one:
What he’s discovered is a whole lot of trouble, in the form of Jacqui Fletcher. An outsider and worse, a journalist – that breed he’s learned not to trust. Dealing with her should be easy but he hadn’t reckoned on meeting a woman every bit as determined as he is. Or as infuriatingly enticing.
I won’t tell you any more as I’d love you to discover what happens for yourself. If you do, I’d love to hear what you think of The Sultan’s Harem Bride.
In the meantime, take a look at these covers (I’ve included the British cover too as both are great representations of Asim). My sexy, uptight sultan makes Jacqui tingle with anticipation right to the soles of her feet.
Who would you cast in in the role of Asim?
About The Sultan’s Harem Bride:
WANTED: Desert princess to join harem
Sultan Asim of Jazeer has hundreds of women at his beck and call. So why does he want the only one who threatens to reveal his family’s shameful secrets?
Journalist Jacqui Fletcher jumped at the chance to write a history of the harem—not to become a sultan’s plaything! But it’s hard to remember her assignment when the sultan’s sensuous caresses spark a fire she’s never experienced before…
Asim is looking for a pliable princess for a marriage of duty. Brave, beautiful Jacqui couldn’t be more wrong for him. So why does holding her feel so right?