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The Sheik's Secret Bride by Susan Mallery
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The Sheik's Secret Bride

by Susan Mallery

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Oldie but goodie. Besides the fact that Susan Mallery is one of my favorite authors, I discovered that the little girl in this book grows up to be the main character in A Very Merry Princess, one of the Happily Inc. series of books. This book starts out with a bang, as Liana and Bethany witnessed a staged romantic desert kidnapping, though they didn't know it was staged at the time. One of the participants was Crown Prince Malik Khan, who made quite an impression on both Liana and Bethany. Unbeknownst to them, they also had quite an effect on him, to the point where he practically kidnapped them and brought them to his palace.

Liana is in El Bahar under a two-year contract to teach math at the American school there. The job will help her provide the future she wants to give her daughter. Though life has made her very practical, she also has a romantic side that is fascinated by the handsome prince. However, her very practical self tells her that there is no way that he could return that interest, in spite of the attention that he pays her.

Malik is a man who has been raised to be the next king. He lives his life for the benefit of his country and feels his responsibility very deeply. He is intrigued by the woman who doesn't seem at all intimidated by his royal consequence. He is determined to get to know her better and rolls right over any of her objections. He is also captivated by Liana's daughter and spends a lot of time with her.

I enjoyed the development of Liana and Malik's relationship. From the moment they met the attraction between them was intense. That intensity freaks Liana out and she resists giving in to it. Malik doesn't know quite why he is so determined to keep her with him, but he doesn't want to let her go. When Malik invites Liana to a ceremony with one of the desert tribes, she is intrigued and excited. Upon arrival, Malik is dismayed to discover that the nature of the ceremony has been changed and there is nothing he can do about it. But he makes the mistake of not telling Liana until after they've given in to the passion that built between them. To say that she was angry that she and Malik were married without her knowledge or consent would be putting it mildly. I thoroughly enjoyed Malik's confusion when she wasn't honored by his having married her, and his dismay at her determination to leave at the end of the required thirty days. I also ached for him because he had no idea what was wrong. Because he was put in training to be king when he was four years old, he had no experience in relationships or love. He saw what his brothers have and envied it, but believes that love is something he doesn't need.

Malik knew that to get Liana to stay, he had to get her to love him. It was funny to see him take advice from Bethany on how to do it. His efforts were pretty amusing, especially the parts about her ankles. And though she was willing to wait and see if he could return her love, she could not accept it when his inability to express his love hurt Bethany. I ached for all of them when Liana told him they were leaving, but especially for Malik who could see the emptiness of his life looming before him but didn't know what to do about it. It takes both his grandmother and his father to make him see the truth. I loved his big moment at the end, as he made his peace with both Liana and Bethany, and opened his heart to both of them, in a very impressive way.

I enjoyed the relationship between Malik and Bethany. She is a sweetheart of a little girl, with just as big a heart as her mother has. Like her mother, Bethany isn't overawed by Malik's title; she accepts him for the man he is. I loved seeing her wrap him around her fingers, and he had no way to resist her. Though Malik believes that he cannot and will not love, it's very obvious that he loves Bethany. I loved the way that she confided in him about her father and the fierce protectiveness that Malik felt at the way she had been hurt. This made his later actions that much more painful, though, in the end, I believe it was Bethany who taught Malik what love means.

I liked the secondary characters of Malik's family also. His brothers were just as handsome and full of themselves, but their wives kept them from being too obnoxious about it. I loved their wives who, like Liana, were Americans. They understood what she was going through and made her feel welcome. Malik's grandmother was an interesting woman. There were times I disliked her a lot, such as when she tried to tell Liana how to feel, and for her part in taking Malik from his mother so young. But she redeemed herself quite well at the end when she tried to make Malik see what an idiot he was being. Malik's father was another one that had his good and bad sides, though the good outweighed the bad. I loved the talk he had with Malik at the end when he confessed his sorrow about what he had done, and also told Malik about his love for his wife. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Aug 2, 2018 |
Lianna Archer and her daughter landed in El Bahar looking forward to their new life and home. Lianna's looking forward to her new job as teacher at one of the schools, getting away from bad memories and saving some money for the future. However, just as they're ready to disembark, a band of men board, among them Crown Prince Malik Khan. This handsome prince spies Lianna and decides he wants this pretty teacher and daughter to stay with him at the Royal palace. He will not take "no" for an answer and whisks them away. The sexual attraction between them was so strong it was frightening. It's a constant battle between them for her to stay in the palace. However, Lianna demands to move to her own quarters the school provided for them.

Days later, the Prince arrives to extend an invitation that Lianna join him in the desert to attend a dinner with a nomad tribe. She is requested to dress appropriately so as not to offend the tribesmen. Little does she know that a marriage ceremony between them has been planned, he requests she stay overnight in the desert and she agrees. The next morning when she finds out they are married, she goes ballistic.

So many questions, she's attracted, can she trust her heart, and can she trust her daughter and her heart to this Crown Prince? What so moved me was Malik's story, his childhood, his first marriage, his inability to trust and feel and when he finally realizes what's it's all about, well it's tender, sweet and a great love story with a Cinderella ending. ( )
  MarilynS | Jun 17, 2006 |
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Desert Rogues: The Secret Bride originally published as The Sheik’s Secret Bride.
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Book description
Liana and the King

Single mom Liana Archer had read her share of romance novels featuring dashing, passionate sheiks. Still, she was astonished when sinfully handsome Malik Khan, Crown Prince of exotic El Bahar, hijacked her and her little girl off an airliner and into his lavish palace. Why would the sexy desert prince want a passably pretty schoolteacher from San Bernardino?
Dazed, breathless and mesmerized with desire, Liana quickly became Malik's royal bride. But dare she entrust her daughter - or her heart - to a man who would give them anything but his love? Or might a caring American mother and a child finally move this proud, imperious monarch and make his kingdom complete?

Desert Rogues: Will passions flare for these brothers under the hot desert sun?
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Single mum Liana Archer had read her share of romance novels featuring dashing, passionate sheikhs. Still, she was astonished when sinfully handsome Malik Khan, Crown prince of exotic El Bahar, hijacked her and her little girl off an airliner and into his lavish palace. Why would the sexy desert prince want a passably pretty schoolteacher?… (more)

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