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LynneC’s review of The Sheikh’s Last Gamble by Trish Morey
Contemporary Romance published by Harlequin Presents 18 Sep 12

Bahir earns his living by gambling, but he’s fabulously rich, so dropping a bundle at a casino merely irritates him and makes him wonder if his luck has left him. Then he’s contacted by his friends, one who has been in another book already, and another who is sequel-bait, and asked to accompany Marina Peshwah to a social do in the desert. Since he had a passionate affair with Marina in the past, which ended acrimoniously, he’ll do anything to get out of it, but he can’t.

Marina has two children. One of them is Bahir’s, although he doesn’t know it (yes, a secret baby!), and the other is a Big Secret, which you can probably guess as quickly as I did. However, it doesn’t stop Bahir calling her a slut and a party girl and despising her, because, of course, he is Tormented Inside.

In fact, Bahir feels so sorry for himself, there’s not much room left for anyone else, but he deserves Marina. She’s kept him ignorant of the existence of his child, and even though they’re on bad terms, she’s not tried to get in touch. I don’t really like that. I think fathers have rights too and sometimes they’re very hard to enforce. I mean, if you don’t even know you’ve fathered a child, you can’t enforce anything. But Bahir treats Marina with such contempt I almost understand why she’d not bothered. He gambles for a living, and the reason given for that later on is pretty specious and doesn’t work for me, and he treats all women with contempt. He’s pretty dislikable.

Anyway, Bahir recognises his eyes in the child, and the game’s on. I do like that he threatens to take the child away in the courts, and Marina just laughs in his face. About time.

I find the occasion of the first sex scene pretty unbelievable and a tiny bit repulsive. Bahir has just explained why he is so sorry for himself, cold, heartless and so on, and it’s a doozy of an explanation, when they do the deed. No, just no. And where they do it? Even more no. Ick, no.

Marina is your typical doormat. She has Bahir’s child and another, and she doesn’t let anyone know who the fathers are or the circumstances of their births, preferring that people think the worst of her. Martyr material. She lets people walk all over her, basically, and that includes Bahir. Even when he’s been totally beastly to her, she follows him and gives him the perfect understanding he needs to cure his ills. She’s a saint. Marina doesn’t change, not really, just comes to a better understanding of Bahir.

Her best friend is a martyr, too, of the worst kind. Marina’s story is so pathetic, it crosses into laughable.

I can’t believe that these two people fall in love and all that. It’s too generic, and when it’s not being generic, it’s being off-putting. That first sex scene—it would be a big spoiler to discuss details, but honestly, you wouldn’t want to do it there.

So here’s a spoiler in white type. You’ll have to mouse over it to see it.

Bahir visits his family’s graves – 26 of them, and that’s where they do it. He goes from all grief-stricken to passionate and growly in the space of a few minutes. I got the feeling they were doing it over dead bodies. Doesn’t work for me.

The style of the book is basic, with some purple passages that don’t really add to the story. The sex scenes are later in the book and described in a standard way, so this could have been anybody doing anyone. And there are some pretty awful passages that should have been edited better.

“He took her face in his hands, his eyes looking down at her with a mix of helplessness and hope” for instance is sooo wrong. How do you look without your eyes? And are his eyes sitting on his shoulder? The top of his head, maybe? There is more, but that one burst out at me. In fact, in this book faces have lives of their own, seemingly independent of their owners. “his face occupying the space hers had been just a moment before.”

That kind of thing.

I’ve enjoyed books by Trish Morey before, but not this one, I’m afraid. Both characters need to grow up and get a backbone. Preferably one each.

LynneCs iconGrade: D


When infamous billionaire gambler Bahir Al-Qadir is forced to protect his ex-lover, Marina Peshwah, it seems Lady Luck has finally deserted him.… He’s tried to forget the spoiled princess, but even the relentless heat of the desert has failed to burn the intoxicating image of her from his mind. Now he’s about to discover that their passion left them with more than just memories.…

Marina is once again at the mercy of the man she loves to hate. She may hold the winning card, but with such high stakes this proud sheikh will go all in to claim his heir!

Read an excerpt.