Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Heir to a Desert Legacy by Maisey Yates

Image of Maisey Yates

Sayid al Kadar was trained from childhood to be a warrior. He's fought, he's conquered-but was never meant to rule... 

Thrust reluctantly to the throne, Sheikh Sayid is shocked to discover a child who is his country's true heir, and he'll do anything to protect him, even if it means taking on the child's aunt! 
Chloe James might behave like a tigress protecting her cub, but this trained soldier can see her weak spot. Taking Chloe as his bride would appease the people of his kingdom, and provide the perfect outlet for the blistering chemistry between them....
Maisey Yates

Maisey Yates started writing stories from the moment she first learned how to form words with a pen. But she never had any idea what to write, and most stories sat started, half formed and half finished, but never completed.

During her high school and college years she spent a lot of time dreaming about holding a book in her hands that had her name emblazoned across the front, but she did a lot more dreaming than actual writing.

At her very first job she was fortunate enough to meet her very own tall, dark and handsome hero, who happened to be her boss, and promptly married him and started a family. It wasn't until she was pregnant with her second child that she found her very first Harlequin Presents in a local thrift store. She'd never read a Harlequin romance before, and by the time she'd reached the happily ever after she had fallen in love. She devoured as many as she could get her hands on after that, and she knew that these were the books she wanted to write!

Soon after that she saw online that Harlequin was running a competition to win an editor for a year. She decided that was her sign to get in gear and start writing again. So she wrote her chapter and synopsis and hit send with trembling hands. She didn't get any feedback from the contest, but it was the boost she needed to get her first full manuscript finished and submitted to Presents.

Nearly two years later, while pregnant with her third child, she received The Call from her editor, informing her they wanted to buy that manuscript. She was very glad that the good news didn't send her promptly into labor!

She still can't quite believe she's blessed enough to see her name on, not just any book, but her favorite books.

Excerpt reprinted from Amazon:

Sayid al Kadar scanned the empty street and tugged the collar of his coat up, shielding the back of his neck from the raindrops that were threatening to infiltrate. The Portland drizzle was intolerable in his opinion.

Even in this more desirable part of the city, everything seemed locked together. Stone on the road, the walk, the buildings that stretched up into the sky. It all felt closed in. A glass-and-steel prison. It was no place for a man like him.

No place for the heir to the throne of Attar. And yet, according to every piece of data he'd gathered over the past twenty-four hours, this is where the heir to the throne of Attar was.

The moment he'd found the paperwork in his brother's secret vault, he'd been driven to find out if there was a chance that the heir had survived. Alik had confirmed not only the child's survival, but his whereabouts, in record time. Not that his friend's speed and efficiency should surprise Sayid at this point. Alik never failed.

Sayid shoved his hands into his pockets and crossed the street, just as a woman was approaching the same apartment building he was intent on.

He smiled at her, reaching for the kind of charm he'd buried long ago, if he'd ever truly possessed it. A kind of charm he rarely bothered to feign anymore. It worked. She keyed in her code and then held the door open for him, her smile wide and inviting.

He wasn't looking for that kind of invitation.

He went into a different elevator than she'd chosen and waited for it to carry him to the top floor. He felt out of place here, and yet, being away from the palace brought its own relief.
His jaw tightened as the lift rose, tension bunching his muscles to the point of pain by the time the doors slid open. The hallway was narrow, the building broadcasting its age with each creak of the floorboards. Dampness hung in the air, clung to his clothes, his skin, another side effect of the unpleasant climate.

It reminded him of a jail cell. He had never had a reason to come to the United States before. His place was in Attar, in the broad expanse of the desert. Though, now that his duties kept him close to the palace, it felt nearly as foreign as this cold, damp place.

Since his plane had touched down, he'd been struck by the constant wetness. A chill that soaked through everything, wrapped itself around his bones.

Or maybe the chill wasn't something that could be blamed on the weather. If he were honest, he would admit that he'd been cold for more than six weeks now. Ever since the word had come about the death of his brother and sister-in-law.

And now there was this.

The child. He made it a goal of his to avoid children, babies in particular. But there would be no avoiding this.

He paused at the door that had a thirteen bolted to it and knocked. He could not remember the last time he'd knocked.

"Just a second." There was a crashing noise, a loud curse and the wail of a baby, then footsteps. He could hear someone leaning against the door. Checking the peephole most likely.

In which case he doubted he would be given admittance. Something else he could not remember facing at any time in his recent memory, at least outside of a combat situation.

He heard a shuffling noise and imagined that the woman who was behind the door was now leaning against it, not opening it, as she'd just seen who was on the other side.

But there was no benefit to Chloe James hiding from him. None at all.

"Chloe James?" he said.

"What?" Her response was muffled by the heavy door between them.

"I am Sheikh Sayid al Kadar, regent of Attar."

"Regent, you say? Interesting. Attar. Nice country I hear. In northern Africa right near—"

"I am aware of the geography of my country, as are you, in ways that go beyond textbook knowledge. You and I both know this."

"Do we?"

There was a sharp spike in the crying, the volume rising, the tone growing more shrill. Loud in the contained environment. Louder behind the apartment door, he imagined.

"Um, I'm busy," Chloe said. "You've woken up the baby now and I have to get him back to sleep so…"

"That is what I'm here about, Chloe. The baby."

"He's cranky right now. But I'll see if I can fit you into his diary."

"Ms. James," he said, aiming for civility. He could push the door in with relative ease, but he doubted that was the right way to go for this. He didn't usually care. But not causing an international incident was a high priority to him at the moment, and he imagined breaking in and simply taking the child might create one. "If you will let me in we can discuss the circumstances of the situation we find ourselves in."

"What situation?"

"The baby."

"What do you want with him?"

"Exactly what my brother wanted with him. A legal agreement has been signed, and you should know exactly what it says, as yours was one of the signatures. I have it in my possession. Either I go through the court system, or we discuss it now."

He didn't want to involve the courts of either the United States or Attar. He wanted this to go smoothly, silently, to not make a ripple until he and his advisers were able to devise a story about how the child had survived, and why the child had been kept from the public in the weeks since the sheikh had died.

Before he did any of that, he had to find out just what the situation was. If the papers that had been drawn up were reflective of the truth, or if there had been more to his brother's relationship with Chloe James than was documented anywhere.

That could complicate things. Could prevent him from taking the child with him. And that was not acceptable.

The door opened a crack, a chain keeping it from swinging open all the way, and one wide blue eye, fringed with long dark lashes, peered at him through the opening. "ID?"

He released a frustrated sigh and reached into the inside of his coat, pulling out his wallet and producing his passport, showing it to the eye that was staring at him with distrust.


"Not in the least." The door shut and he heard the jingle of the chain, then it opened. "Come in."
He stepped into the room, the cramped feeling of it squeezing down on him. Bookshelves lined the walls, pushing them in, heightening the feeling of tightness. There was a laptop on the coffee table, more books in a stack to the right of it and a whiteboard on a stand in the corner with another stack of books placed next to it. There was a logic to the placement of everything, and yet the lack of space gave it all a feeling of barely organized chaos. Nothing like the military precision with which he ordered his life.

He let his eyes fall to Chloe next. She was small, her hair a deep, unusual shade of red, her skin pale and freckled. Her breasts were generous, her waist a bit thick. She looked very much like a woman who had just given birth and who had spent the weeks since in a state of sleep deprivation.

She shifted and her hair caught the light, a shock of red-gold burning bright beneath the lamp. If the child was hers genetically, there would be some sign, of that he was certain. She was very unlike his olive-skinned brother and his beautiful, dark-haired bride.

"You realize that you have no security to speak of here," he said. The crying had ceased, everything in the tiny apartment calm now. "If I had wanted to force my way in, I could have done so. And anyone seeking to harm the child could have done so, as well. You do him no favors by keeping him here."

"I didn't have anywhere else to take him," she said.

"And where is the child now?"

"Aden?" she responded, a chill in her tone. "You don't need to see him now, do you?"

"I would like to," he said.

"Why?" She edged around the front of the sofa, as if she meant to block his way. Laughable. She was so petite, and he was a highly trained soldier who could remove a man twice his size without feeling any sort of exertion. He could break her easily if he had a mind to, and she just stood there, a small, flame-haired tigress.

"He is my nephew. My blood," he said.

"I.I didn't think you would feel any connection to him."

"Why not?" It was true that his was not a heart connection, not the sort of family connection she might mean. His was a blood bond, a sworn oath to protect the ruler of his country with his very life if it came to it. It was a connection that he felt in his veins, one he couldn't change or deny. Only death could break it. And in that scenario, the death had better be his own.
She blinked rapidly. "You've never been…close to the family. I mean, Rashid said."

"Ah. Rashid." Her use of his brother's first name was telling. And not in a good way. In a way that might complicate things. If she was the mother of the child, the biological mother, it would be much more difficult to use the legal documents against her. Difficult, though, not impossible.
And failing that, he would simply create an international incident and bring the child back with him. By force if necessary.

"Yes, Rashid. Why did you say it like that?"

"I'm trying to ascertain the nature of your relationship with my brother."

She crossed her arms beneath her breasts. "Well, I gave birth to his child."

A cold, calm sort of fury washed through him, the ice in his veins chilling the rage as it ran through him. If his brother had done anything to compromise the future of the country…

But his brother was dead. There would be no consequence for Rashid, no matter the circumstances. He was finished now, with this life. And Sayid was left to ensure that Attar did not crumble. That life went on, as smoothly as possible, for the millions of people who called the desert nation home.

"And you drew up this agreement—" he produced a folded stack of papers from the in...

My Review:

I absolutely love Harlequin Romances. They always take the unlikeliness of people and put them together and there is always a happy after after. The happy ever after did take a while in this book.

The reader was first introduced to a selfless young woman carrying her sister's baby when the sister and husband are killed in an auto crash. We then find out that the baby is heir to a throne of a far away country and the uncle has no intention of leaving the child behind in the US. We also meet a sheikh who has been scarred in romance and trained as a warrior.

Ms. Yates did a wonderful job depicting a foreign country and their customs and how those customs are being changed by the next generation. The book was well written with deeply developed characters that held their own. The author took two characters, flawed and abused in their past lives and brought them together to heal each other.

To all those fans of Harlequin Romances, you will definitely enjoy this one. 

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