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The Sheik and the Bought Bride by Susan Mallery

There is just something about a sexy man of the desert that gets me going. Kateb of Susan Mallery’s The Sheik and the Bought Bride is no disappointment.

Victoria, the heroine, however, is disappointing at times. Though she clearly is a strong and motivated character, Victoria just wasn’t convincing for me. Perhaps it was because she developed feelings for Kateb after he offered her an electric outlet to curl her hair.

But I digress – let me start at the beginning. In The Sheik and the Bought Bride, Texan Victoria McCallan is roused from her sleep in the middle of a desert palace after her father has cheated in a game of cards with Prince Kateb. Being the scoundrel that he is, Victoria’s father didn’t have the money to pay up on his wagers, so he offered his daughter, currently an assistant to Prince Nadim, in exchange.

Instead, Kateb plans to throw Victoria’s father in jail. That is, until he learns that Victoria is willing to offer herself in exchange for her father’s freedom. Although Kateb is uncomfortable with the exchange, he feels it is necessary to recognize and honor such a selfless compromise.

Except, Kateb isn’t really interested in Victoria. He doesn’t trust her and believes she’s simply out to marry for money, as she openly admits to trying to attract Prince Nadim for the financial security he would be able to provide. When Kateb discovers that Victoria is not as shallow as he believed, however, he begins to think twice about the arrangement…

As mentioned, Kateb is an awesome character. He’s brooding, dark, handsome, has a strong back-story and is well developed. I love him and instantly felt a connection with him.

My feelings toward Victoria, on the other hand, aren’t quite so cut-and-dry. On one hand, she’s shallow, as her feelings about Kateb her curling iron show. On the other hand, she, too, has a strong and interesting back-story, is multi-dimensional, and in the end, turns out to be the character that, as a reader, I wanted her to be.

I just felt a little bit like Mallery used her along the way to insult the reader somewhat. I mean, really, she recognizes her feelings for Kateb because he offers her electricity to curl her hair? And then to mention it several times throughout the novel? It’s just a little to thin to be believable.

Though I won’t go into detail, the ending of the story is a little unbelievable, as well, but I think it works. I was pleasantly surprised by the twist the ending took. It’s different from typical romance novels, and I kind of enjoyed the additional action. I definitely think it’s worth hanging on for.

So, while I undoubtedly have mixed feelings for Victoria, I still would highly recommend this book. It’s short — 210 pages — and a quick and easy read, but the pacing is great and the depth of the story is enough to keep the reader moving along. The story will be over before you know it!

Title: The Sheik and the Bought Bride | By: Susan Mallery | Series: Desert Rogues, Book 14 | Publisher: Harlequin, 2009 | ISBN: 9780373654819 | RLB Grade: B | Amazon: The Sheik and the Bought Bride (Harlequin Special Edition)

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