Guest Blog: The Modern Sheikh
by Tara Quan
I’d like to thank Shiloh for hosting me today. I recently interviewed her about Saltwater Lover (here), and now she’s invited me over to promote my new release. Delicious Delay is a contemporary multicultural romance that takes place entirely in a Middle Eastern airport. If I’ve managed to pique your interest, the blurb, excerpt and buy links are at the end of this post (or here).
I wrote Delicious Delay on a lark—I was stuck in an airport in Abu Dhabi, it was the height of summer, and I had an endless a view of the desert. As I sat there staring at a plane that wasn’t about to take off any time soon, I couldn’t help but wonder what a modern-day Sheikh romance would be like. I’d never tried writing an Arab hero before (living in the UAE for two years might have something to do with it), and giving it a whirl seemed like a fun challenge.
Many of us grew up seeing covers of Sheikh romances line drugstore shelves. Harlequin once (and might still) have an entire line dedicated to modern retellings of Arabian Nights. There’s something intrinsically romantic about rolling sand dunes and a quasi-royal billionaire with long dark eyelashes and midnight eyes. Even though I have come to associate flowing white robes with reckless driving, I must admit to still having a soft spot for them.
As I started writing Delicious Delay, I discovered the line between privileged royal and alpha-hole (yes, romance readers utilize such a term) can be surprisingly thin. While I take certain liberties when writing in the fantasy subgenre, I wouldn’t dream of making my modern-day heroine put up with behavior I would personally deem unacceptable.
Since my hero sees the world through an entirely different filter than a typical American, he’s arrogant, overprotective, accustomed to getting his way. The more I developed his character, the less charming my Sheikh turned out to be. Instead of fighting the inevitable, I embraced his flaws and had my heroine give him hell.
Stranded in a Middle Eastern airport, Michelle Day finds herself the object of interest for an abrasive, but all-too-sexy stranger—a stranger who tempts her with the forbidden in a land where indecency could get her killed. But how does one say no to such a deliciously, relentless pursuit?
Khalid Al Dehri takes one look at the red-headed spitfire in the business class lounge and knew he’d either been transported to heaven—or hell. Her tart response to his surliness intrigues him beyond all propriety and the longer he spends in her company, the more he can’t deny his forbidden attraction. But will she explore the sensuality between them or will society’s rules keep them apart?
He grinned. “So I have a proposal.”
She tried to get her breathing under control, without much success. “Why am I sure it’s an indecent one?”
He motioned his head toward the far end of the lounge. Latticed wooden screens gave that particular section more privacy. In an L-shaped room, the tucked-away location prevented a direct line of sight from the dining or reception areas.
He got up and offered her his hand. She hesitated for a long moment before taking it. With faltering footsteps, she followed him. More private or not, limits on how far this could go existed due to them being in an airport lounge. Since her self-control had chosen today to take a vacation, she appreciated the imposed constraint.
He lowered himself onto a plush leather sofa deep inside the cordoned area. With walls on either side and screens strategically angled, the space seemed to have been designed as a spot for people to nap.
On the brink of crossing a dangerous line, she hesitated. “What exactly do you have in mind?”
“I’m just giving you the opportunity to have your way with me,” he offered, his face the picture of innocence.
She hadn’t expected that answer. “I don’t quite follow.”
He kicked one of his legs out and tangled it with hers. She stumbled and instinctively moved her hands forward to brace herself. Her palms flattened over his hard muscled chest when she landed.
She traced the shape of his pectorals. “What do you do all day? Work out?”
He chuckled, the low rumble all male. “I have access to the best personal trainers money can buy. They help keep me honest.”
She shook her head in disbelief as the man preened. “Have you heard of a concept called humility?”
“It’s not one of my virtues,” he admitted. “I’ve never understood the point.”
She sighed. “It’s the polite thing to do.”
He placed his forefinger under her chin and tipped her head up, his expression playful. “So what is a sweet, polite, goody two shoes doing on top of me?”
Globetrotter, lover of languages, and romance author, Tara Quan has an addiction for crafting tales with a pinch of spice and a smidgen of kink. Inspired by her travels, Tara enjoys tossing her kick-ass heroines and alpha males into exotic contemporary locales, fantasy worlds, and post-apocalyptic futures. Armed with magical powers or conventional weapons, her characters are guaranteed a suspenseful and sensual ride, as well as their own happily ever after. Learn more at www.taraquan.com