For the Sheikh's Pleasure (Surrender to the Sheikh) by Annie West
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I put off reading this book for a while, because I didn't like the idea of the hero cold-bloodedly setting out to seduce the heroine because he was bored with his inactivity and seclusion while his broken leg was healing, and he needed a distraction. I started it once, because it's about the sister of the heroine from The Sheikh's Ransomed Bride (Surrender to the Sheikh), a book I loved. But I put it down because I wasn't in the mood for that kind of hero. As I embarked on my Weekend Harlequin Presents Marathon, a tradition I have that I truly enjoy, I picked it up and started reading it again. I am glad I finally did read this book.
How could I have doubted you, Annie West? You know how to write a great, intense romance. The process of showing the courtship and the seduction of Arik by Rosalie (note I didn't say the opposite) was so beautifully executed by you. Arik thought he knew all the moves, had women figured out, and knew how to get his pleasure out of a woman and move on. He saw Rosalie and wanted her body. But when he spent time with her, saw the mix of vulnerability and beauty that was her, not just her body, he wanted more from her. I have trouble with playboy heroes that think all women are the same, just warm bodies for pleasure. So I was predisposed to dislike Arik. He had to work very hard for me to like him. But he succeeded. He succeeded by showing he was a sensitive man. The way he gave Rosalie time, and let her come to him, made allowances for her skittishness, and didn't force the issue, that really helped me to like him. Also how he became obsessed with her, completely drawn in, so that by the time they were actually lovers, it was more than just that. For the short time period that this happened in, I have to give Ms. West some credit. I've read books where the couples have a love affair that spans much longer time periods, and the love aspect, the connection was missing. Not with this book.
Like the other books that I've read by Annie West, the intensity that turns a HP from an enjoyable read to a real pleasure and a favorite, was there in spades with this book. I liked how the struggle within Rosalie to claim back her life, to open her heart to love and a physical relationship with man after she was raped was shown. Even though Arik didn't know she was raped until near the end, he was very caring and considerate to her, and that helped Rosalie get past her fears and her issues. And Arik went from being kind of shallow, a rich playboy (even if he did have a heart for his people and worked hard, his attitude towards women was very shallow) to a deep, caring, loving man who fell truly in love, completely captivated by a woman before my eyes. I think this was done so well.
This was a great book. I'm a big fan of sheikh romances, but I liked that this was one was more intimate. There were hints about Arik's wealthy and powerful identity, but that was in the background. The focus was on the relationship between Rosalie and Arik. How a wary heart found a once shallow man and turned him into a man who was so lovestruck, he wanted nothing more than the one woman he had initially decided to seduce out of boredom. That's the most awesome kind of book that takes a story you're kind of 'meh' about, and completely draws you in.
Overall rating: 4.5/5.0 stars.
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