I generally enjoy Olivia Gates’s books. A couple haven’t resonated with me but the ones she’s written for the Silhouette Desire line are treats. Lush treats.
This book starts more like a romantic suspense. The hero, Harres, is head of security. He’s discovered the situation of a sensitive hostage, someone who calls himself TJ Burke, although the real TJ is in jail. But this TJ has sensitive information that could bring his family down, and since his family rules the country, it’s important.
So there he is, muffled against the sand, watching the kidnappers and waiting for his chance.Of course he rescues TJ, and of course he gets the shock of his life. The rescue is described well, though not brilliantly. Where Gates excels is describing the attraction Harres feels for the person he rescues. Parts of that made me smile.
After they escape in a helo, Harres finds himself stuck with a bewitching female called Talia, crashed in the middle of the desert in a no-signal zone, at least three days walk away from the nearest oasis. They can’t be rescued by modern tracking devices. Talia is a doctor, and since Harres has been shot in the rescue, she sets about fixing his wound. Beautifully and precisely described, but since Olivia Gates is a doctor in real life, I can believe her description. (At this point I felt slightly uncomfortable, because, not to put too fine a point on it, fiction and fact might be very similar here).
They have to get to a place of safety. They only have enough water for a couple of days.
We know they do, because Gates mentions it in her introduction, and hey, this is a romance, right? So it’s how they do it that we’re interested in. Without spoilers, suffice it to say that Harres and Talia connect very strongly, and are then driven apart by circumstances when they return to civilisation.
So we have the desert romance, and we have the sheikh fantasy. Prepare to wallow.
I wallowed. We get to the part that Olivia Gates excels at – the sensuality. She builds the sexual tension right up, so high you don’t think she’s going to fulfill it. And then she does. There are long scenes of lovemaking, but described in lush, sensual terms that occasionally slips into the purple. But I loved it, because by then I was rooting for Talia and Harres. I wanted them to find happiness together.
Harres is a real alpha male. He won’t let any harm come to Talia, even when he believes she is his enemy. His protection of her as they trek through the desert is lovely. He is steadfast and true.
Talia is worthy of him. As a doctor who has worked in some of the world’s trouble spots, she has strengths of her own that go beyond the medical. She can look after herself, and she does her best to hold her own against the stronger Harres. He loves her for it.
My only problem came with the end. It was awfully rushed. I’m guessing that it was shortened to meet the word count, and I’m glad they went with that, rather than the lovemaking or the trek description. But I might have skipped a few scenes with the happy villagers instead, and concentrated on the main plot, perhaps developing the character of Talia’s brother, or making the black moment more credible. So I have to take a small point of for that, but don’t let that stop you buying the book.
It was a really great read and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Definitely a guilty pleasure, and one I’ll be returning to in the future.
He rescued hostage Talia Burke from his royal family’s rival tribe and swept her into his strong embrace. But Prince Harres Aal Shalaan soon discovered there was more to the brave beauty than he knew. Talia held information vital to protecting his beloved kingdom…and she had every reason not to trust him.
Marooned together at a desert oasis, Talia couldn’t resist Harres. Yet even as his sizzling seduction entranced her, his loyalty to his family and country would always make them enemies. Falling for the sheikh would be her heart’s greatest mistake…but she feared it was already too late….
Read an excerpt.