Never Resist A Sheikh (International Bad Boys) by Jackie Ashenden
Overview by Amazon:
Felicity Cartwright is ambitious, fierce, and has everything to prove. But when she arrives in Al-Harah on business for her new tech start-up, she’s mistaken for the future queen and taken against her will.
Zakir ibn Rashiq Al-Nazari, ruling sheikh of Al-Shakhra, needs of a wife. Inheriting the throne after tragedy strikes his family, his government and people demand heirs, and hope for the future…
Once Zakir chooses Felicity as his bride prize, she is told she cannot resist… and when the unexpected chemistry burns between her and the sheikh, she learns she doesn’t want to. Will Felicity, this western stranger who has an inexplicable hold over Zakir, be just what he and his country needs to heal?
The first book I read that featured an Arabic theme was Johanna Lindsey’s Captive Bride. It features a young woman who is kidnapped and kept as a sexual slave. As a teenager, I didn’t really understand that ‘rape culture’ was not appropriate for building up feminist ideals. This book by Jackie Ashenden is what Johanna Lindsey could have made her story into.
When Felicity was kidnapped by Zakir, I was worried that this book was taking the route of Captive Bride. There is indeed a culture of stealing a bride in this book, and while Felicity is captive, she is not raped or coerced into sex.
The author Connie Mason has written a lot of books that feature the desert and the Arabic culture. Her books also feature a lot of sex. But one thing she does really well is use the beautiful and lush setting to bring life to the stories. Jackie Ashenden has used the setting almost as a secondary character. Because this story takes place in a place that is foreign to most readers, her descriptions of the mosaic tiles, the flowing tents of the desert and the dusty roads all bring this world to life. The clothes that Felicity wears, from her headdress to her robes are described perfectly so that you can imagine them flowing behind her as she strolls through the palace.
The relationship between Zakir and Felicity could have almost been set in a historical romance at first. She’s been kidnapped, drugged and told she is to marry. Things like this don’t happen in the modern world. It was very believable when Felicity pleaded, reasoned, argued and attacked to gain her freedom. I had to laugh when she actually wonders if she has Stockholm Syndrome. Zakir thinks that Felicity is weak when he first sees her, but he comes to realize that she has so much to offer – she is brilliant, strong and compassionate. If her efforts were to make him see her as unworthy, she fails and Zakir becomes enchanted with her.
I was really getting worried when I read this book. How could it have a happily ever after if Felicity stays? That would mean she would have to give up her company that she has fought so hard to build. Zakir can’t leave his Kingdom to come be with her. All of this was playing in my mind as I read the book, so I was extremely relieved with the resolution to the story – it was the best situation I could have envisioned.
The passion and romance between Zakir and Felicity was very hot. I loved the Zakir was so strong of mind and body except when it came to Felicity. Zakir was kind of the ultimate alpha male. He was a soldier, a King and feriously sexual man. Felicity was a lovely young sprite and I enjoyed her spunk. They make a great couple together.
This is the third book in the series from Jackie Ashenden.