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The Sheikh's Bargain Bride by Diana Fraser
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The Sheikh's Bargain Bride

by Diana Fraser

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This review can also be found on my blog.

My first read by Diana Fraser, and I definitely want more. This story easily swept me off my feet and tumbled me around a little before setting me down gently. Exotic locations, exotic characters, love, revenge, secrets, and heartache all come together perfectly to create an emotional yet romantic tale.

When we first meet Anna, we see her as a frantic mother trying to get her son back from her brother-in-law, Zahir. When they come face to face, their chemistry is sizzling, with an underlying current of anger and hatred. The story moves swiftly to divulge a few secrets as the plot unfolds little by little, and with each new revelation, I began to see the characters differently. They were constantly changing. Anna could have easily come across as selfish or deceitful, but it turns out she was trying to keep the peace and save her dead husband’s family, particularly his brother, from a shameful truth. Even when she was faced with Zahir’s proposition to agree to a marriage just so that she could continue to see her son, she put her son first. Her feelings and her yearning to be free were put on the back burner.

Zahir was a hero one would love to hate, but he was dark, seductive, charming – he was intoxicating. He didn’t have all the facts, not about Anna or her marriage, so his actions were fueled by anger and revenge. I loved them as a couple because as time went on, they discovered things about themselves as well as each other. Despite not knowing the whole truth, Zahir made huge strides in becoming a different person, to the point of loving Anna and wanting her for the right reasons instead of the wrong ones. Once they ceased to pass judgement on each other, their feelings really blossomed.

The emotional turmoil came when Zahir tried to make her dreams come true and give her what she wanted the most – to be free. Not necessarily to be free of him, but to do the things she always wanted to do before getting married and pregnant. But then the truth eventually surfaced and threatened to tear them apart for good. Misunderstandings on both sides and the failure to communicate with each other had me in tears until one of them was brave enough to lay everything on the line for a HEA.

This author’s writing is lush, sensual, and flowing. There was never a moment of boredom with this story. I couldn’t stop flipping the pages, wanting, no, desperate to know more. There were some memorable moments that stood out to me, for instance when Anna watches Zahir with his falcon and has an epiphany, or when Zahir realized that he loved her enough to let her spread her wings and fly.

He felt his light dim. Perhaps he would never be enough for her to wipe out her past, to believe that they had everything together, that she didn’t need to keep on looking for that elusive something that led her on and on to the goal of freedom.

Their conversation at the end was one of the loveliest I’ve read in a long time. Speaking in metaphors, they finally came to an understanding.

If you’re a hopeless romantic like myself, you will want to pick up this book. ( )
  MsRomanticReads | Apr 12, 2013 |
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A Devil's Bargain... Anna Whitman has yearned for freedom and independence her whole life but she's forced to accept a marriage of convenience so she can live with her son. Sheikh Zahir Al-Zaman is a ruthless desert warrior who believes the only way he can control his obsession with Anna is to possess her. And he'll do almost anything--even kidnap her son--to have her. But Zahir will not force her into his bed. He has his strategies for seduction--strategies Anna finds increasingly hard to resist. But she won't have a relationship based on lies. And how can she reveal her secrets when they will shatter the beliefs he holds most dear? *******Reviews******* "...powerful and unadulterated romance leaps off of the page and transports the reader to a different world. The chemistry between Anna and Zahir is exquisite and the descriptions of the scenery and settings are breathtaking. A must for fans of classic, passionate true romance." (coffeetimeromance.com) "Zahir is definitely all alpha male and will have your heart beating a little faster... I like a character with depth, and Zahir fits this description perfectly." (bookwenches.com) *******Excerpt******* Chapter One. Sheikh Zahir al-Zaman narrowed his eyes against the glare of the sun-bleached stony plains and focussed on the slowly materializing dark speck. Within minutes the helicopter's low rhythmic thrum filled the overcast spring sky like an angry locust intent on devastation. She hadn't wasted any time. But then he'd made sure she couldn't refuse his invitation. He banished a flicker of discomfort with practiced ease. Sometimes you had to lure the prey to you. Sometimes, in a way that wasn't palatable. But the ends always justified the means. She would be his and he was prepared to do whatever it took to make it happen. He watched the helicopter alight in a cloud of dust before the palace. The pilot lifted out a small case and began to open the door before it was pushed open abruptly from within and two long, jean-clad legs emerged. A tall blonde jumped down and looked around the palace, her head twisting and turning impatiently. She'd changed. She was thinner, her hair longer, her face no longer sun-kissed but as pale as the desert under moonlight. Still, his body responded the same to her now, as it did when she visited him in his dreams. He'd lived with his obsession with her for four long years: cursing and nurturing the anger at her deceit and betrayal while still longing to relive the passion of their one night together. But his brother's death meant he no longer had to live with the madness. Then, with an imperceptible movement of her head, she looked up and caught his gaze. Zahir frowned and his breath caught unexpectedly in his chest. Ice blue eyes stared at him, challenging him, demanding an explanation from him. How could eyes so cool and northern spark such fire? She turned away suddenly and slid the door of the helicopter shut with a force that belied her fragility. The metallic crash echoed around the palace, destroying its peace and order. He'd get what he wanted but he knew, without a doubt, that it wasn't going to be easy.… (more)

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