Review of KING OF THE DESERT, CAPTIVE BRIDE by Jane Porter (see her website)
Harlequin Presents #2725, May 2008
Since the death of his sisters, Sheikh Kalid Fehr has had a soft spot for young women in trouble--and for the brothers who want to help them. When he finds an urgent on-line message about a missing American woman, lost somewhere in the Middle East. With his power, money, and connections (he's the brother of the King of Sarq), he finally tracks down the missing Olivia (Liv) Morse--in the worst prison in the middle east. Worst, she was found smuggling drugs and the local authorities are intent on making an example of her.
Money and power does its job, and Kalid springs Liv from the notorious Ozr prison--but before he can reach the border, government officials from Jabal stop his car. Olivia will be returned to prison unless he can come up with a convincing story, so he claims she is his fiancee. Once he's told the lie, though, it's up to him to make it come true--because the alternatives are for Olivia to be returned to a prison that few ever leave--or for his word to be disgraced forever.
Olivia wants only to return home to America. She doesn't understand why she was arrested, why she was held in prison, or why it matters so much to Kalid that she be freed. Still, she can't help enjoying his attention, wishing the huge yellow diamond engagement ring he buys her meant he loved her rather than was trapped into marrying her, and savoring the first-class accomodations, private jet travel, private Nile River cruises, and extensive shopping alternatives that being the fiancee of one of the world's richest men provide.
Jabal insists that Olivia really was a drug smuggler and continues to push for her return--and Kalid insists on moving forward with the wedding--while fearing he might have made a horrible mistake. Still, as the two spend time together, each learns that the two can uniquely fill empty spots in the other's life.
Author Jane Porter (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Porter) keeps the story moving forward, her smooth writing encouraging the reader to gloss over the unreality of the situation (even in Sarq, surely some engagements end before marriage--does he really have to go through with the entire process?), but the fantasy of being forced to marry a super-handsome, super-rich, super-generous, super-kind sex-god is one that certainly appeals to many readers and Porter taps into this fantasy. KING OF THE DESERT, CAPTIVE BRIDE makes a fun escapist read.
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