A few times lately I’ve asked myself if I would still enjoy reading those books I cut my romance teeth on back in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. I remember the early bodice rippers and I also remember devouring them as a teenager. This is mainly why I don’t usually reread any books that I really liked from way back then, the thought that it’s not going to be quite what I recall. Or that my tastes have changed so much since those years that many of those books just may not be my cuppa any longer. Desert Eden was originally published in 1993…
Lady Heather is the typical spoiled brat of a nobleman, on her way to her betrothed when the ship she’s on is hijacked by pirates. She’s taken hostage by a friend of a prince of the Ottoman Empire, Khalid, to whom she will be given for an act of revenge. Heather’s betrothed is one who Khalid is determined to wipe out due to the man’s acts against the prince’s family. Heather, however, has pluck and she tries to escape time and again, but she’s always thwarted by Khalid. She’s dreamed of adventure, and now she has more than she knows what to do with.
It’s a cat-and-mouse game between Khalid and Heather as he tries to draw his enemy out into the open by dangling Heather on a string, but the coward never answers the ransom, thus giving these two more time to get to know one another. Their banter at times is fun, but it’s canceled out by Khalid’s behavior toward a mere woman and slave. Yes, I realize this is a brutal and violent time, and I went with the flow for a while. Heather is the one who has to grow up fast – she’s only seventeen and has been thrust into this brutality and violence.
At this point I’m going to say it’s a bit of both reasons I gave earlier concerning my enjoyment of a story from 1993. Though I didn’t read Desert Eden back then, I’m willing to bet any story similar would not work for me today. My tastes have changed and bodice rippers wouldn’t keep me turning the pages anymore. So when Khalid decides his feelings for Heather have grown and he no longer wants to ship her off to her betrothed to slake his revenge thirst, his love does shine through – to a point. When he still becomes rough with her, bending her to his will at every turn – even when an issue is truly important to her – his sexiness and love diminished in my eyes. He lives by the sword and honor, thus his honor should now extend to his beloved. I wanted him to be more like his best friend and his treatment of Heather’s cousin, who was also taken hostage along with Heather.
Therefore, Heather is the bright spot in this book for me. You see her growth and her convictions and hope perhaps what she pleases will make a difference in the future. I’m sorry I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the other two in the series I’ve read so far. As a romance reader, I want that romance to win out no matter what – even against historical accuracy or anything else. I know I’m in the minority on that issue, but that’s why I read romance, along with a handsome, sexy hero, a sassy and smart heroine, and a relationship that pulls me in from the beginning and never lets go. Unfortunately, I got only one out of three in this story.
She yearns for adventure
On her way to France to marry the Comte de Beaulieu, Lady Heather Devereux is abducted by pirates and given to the Ottoman prince, Khalid. Although the red-haired beauty has no desire to marry the odious comte, she certainly doesn’t want to belong to a notorious warrior prince either. But as Heather gets to know Khalid, she can’t help but enjoy matching wits with the handsome warrior. Has fate brought her a grand adventure after all?
He plans his revenge
When his best friend delivers a red-headed spitfire to him, Prince Khalid vows to use her as a pawn to draw out the Comte de Beaulieu—the villain who killed his brother and sister. But Khalid can’t help but be enchanted by Heather’s fiery spirit, beauty, and courage. Is there more to life than his vow for revenge?
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Other books in this series: