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Duty, Desire and
the Desert King

Book 3 of The Desert Kings series
(Book 1 is The Sheikh's Chosen Queen, Book 2 is King of the Desert, Captive Bride)

As the black sheep of the Fehrs, a powerful desert family, middle son Zayed has sworn off love and marriage. This playboy prince is happiest when cruising the casinos of Monte Carlo. But then family tragedy leaves him as heir to his kingdom's throne. Custom dictates that a wife must be seated beside him, and he's got just the bride in mind...

Rou Tournell is a feisty, independent woman — and if she won't marry Zayed for duty, maybe desire will help persuade her...


RITA finalist for Contemporary Series Romance


Order It
» Amazon.com
» Barnes+Noble
» Amazon.co.uk

Additional editions:
» Large Print


Duty, Desire and the Desert King
North American Edition
December 2009 - Harlequin
isbn: 0373128800

Duty, Desire and the Desert King
UK Edition
October 2009 - Mills&Boon
isbn: 0263874478

"This tale has wonderful characters and a journey that's saturated in sensual and passionate romance."

~ Romantic Times BOOKreviews awarding Duty, Desire and the Desert King FOUR STARS!
(posted November 2009)


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» Duty, Desire and the Desert King is a RITA finalist in the Contemporary Series Romance category. Romance Writers of America's annual RITA Awards are the highest honor in romance. Details about this great news and info on the other finalists here! (posted March 2010)




Japanese edition
Japanese Edition

Brazilian edition
Brazilian Edition

French edition
French Edition

Lithuanian edition
Lithuanian Edition

Portuguese edition
Portuguese Edition







Every time I write a Sheikh book for the Presents line, my favorite part is the time spent researching the Arab culture, their countries and their traditions. When I wrote Zayed's book, I spent a long time learning a lot about the souqs.

Souqs are concentrated, traditional arab markets selling indigenous products and a huge tourist attraction. They've been around for centuries and are more often than not, very crowded. They can be outdoor markets or housed indoors but they are equally fascinating. Rents for a souq stall/shop are much lower and a customer always gets a lot more variety and value for their money. My favorites include the gold souq and the spice souq.

The Gold Souq - It's hard not to be fascinated by the allure of the gold souq. Unlike US jewelry stores, the gold souqs of the Middle East specialize in 22 karat gold. 18 karat gold, which is the norm here, is not as popular overseas. Most of the gold jewelry is all hand-made and each piece is intricate and unique. A patron can also order a custom piece with their choice of precious stones and pearls and can even elect to 'watch' which they design it in front of you.

The glamour of the 22 karat jewelry lies not only in the customized and ethnic designs but also in the rich matte gold color. Each piece has a beautiful warmth and the variety of options is almost endless. The only drawback - if you want to call it that - for the non-ethnic population that shops for 22 karat jewelry in a gold souk is that this jewelry is heavier, softer and more malleable. Which means it can be dented or damaged more easily. Pierced earrings are made with a thicker stalk which makes them a little difficult to wear. But if gold is your passion, it's a small price to pay!

The Spice Souq - Just as fascinating as the gold souq, the spice market of the Middle East has its own pull for the tourist. Almost every kind of spice imaginable is available for sale in large sacks at wholesale prices. It's a visually stunning sight! Fragrant seasonings available include cumin, paprika, saffron, sumach, thyme and frankincense. One can even buy 'oud', a fragrant type of wood. There are herbs and spices, dried lemons and chillies and nuts and pulses galore.

You'll find shelves full of henna powder, incense and burners, rose water, charcoal, pumice stones and sandalwood. Most exotic spices are available are very reasonable prices. The ethnic flavor is strongly evident in local color and customs. Women draped in Arab garb and western dress mingling easily and bargaining for a good deal is the norm.

Arabs are also keen on dry fruit and you're likely to see sacks or buckets full of almonds, walnuts, apricots, pistachios and sultanas for sale too. It's not uncommon to find sweets and local delicacies for sale.

Here's a short Arabic recipe I've found easy to pull together for a yummy treat for my family:

Umm Ali

1/2 cup powdered milk
2 cups water
1 sheet puff pastry
1/4 cup mixed nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts etc.)
1/8 sultanas and or chopped dry apricot
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh whipping cream

1. Bake the puff pastry in a hot oven till done.
2. When it's cooled, cut into big pieces and crush in a large bowl.
3. Chop the nuts and mix with the puff pastry.
4. Add the sultanas and (or) apricots.
5. Boil the water and add the powdered milk and sugar to it.
6. Pour hot milk over the puff pastry. Let it soak for a few minutes.
7. Whip fresh cream and decorate the top.
8. Grill in a pre-heated oven for just 30 seconds to brown slightly.


Date Cakes

1 1/3 cups snipped and pitted dates
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 chopped walnuts

1. Grease and lightly flour a 13x9x2 inch baking pan.
2. Combine dates and boiling water; cool to room temperature.
3. Stir together the flour, baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
4. In a large mixer bowl, beat shortening for about 30 seconds.
5. Add sugar and vanilla and beat till fluffy.
6. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 1 minute after each.
7. Add dry ingredients and cooled un-drained date mixture, beating after each addition.
8. Stir in nuts.
9. Spread in pan.
10. Bake at 350* for 30 to 35 minutes. If desired, serve with whipped cream.


Mouhalabiye with Pistachios

8 cups milk
3 cups sugar
1 cup rice flour
1/4 cup rose water
1/4 cup orange blossom water
1/2 cup crushed pistachios

1. Bring the milk to a boil. Remove from heat.
2. Dissolve the rice flour in 1 1/2 cup of cold water, and then add this to the hot milk, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon.
3. Place the mixture back on the heat and keep stirring until it begins to thicken.
4. Add sugar and keep stirring until the rice looks cooked. (To test, put a small spoon full on a cold plate. If it retains the shape as it cools, it's cooked.)
5. Add rose water and orange blossom water and stir for another 2 minutes.
6. Pour into a shallow dish and decorate with crushed pistachios. Serve cold.




Duty, Desire and the Desert King

Excerpted from Chapter Five

Rou blushed wildly. “I’m not your type. I’ll never be your type. It has to do with laws of attraction.”

He could still feel the warmth and softness of her mouth beneath his fingertip. “Laws of attraction?”

“It’s my field of study.” She pushed a long, silvery tendril of hair behind her ear. “The science and chemistry of romantic love. It’s an unconscious drive, something the brain controls through chemicals and hormones.”

“And you don’t think my brain could find you attractive?”


The edge of his mouth lifted, quirking. “You know an awful lot about my brain.”

“I know men are prone to impulse, particularly the sexual impulse, but that doesn’t mean true attraction, or compatibility. And that, Sheikh Fehr, is what we’re interested in. Compatibility, synergy, marriage.”

He nodded when she finished, but he wasn’t actually listening anymore. She’d lost him about the time she mentioned sexual impulse because sex was on his mind, and to his way of thinking, she was a woman in desperate need of proper lovemaking. He couldn’t imagine the last time she’d been bedded, and yet that’s exactly what she needed. After a couple hours between the sheets, after a couple orgasms, she’d look entirely different. Her blue gaze would be softer. Her color would be high. And that mouth, that sweet, full mouth, would be swollen form kisses.

If he weren’t in such a bind, if he didn’t need a wife, he’d enjoy teaching Dr. Rou Tornell about the side of love she didn’t lecture on… and that was the physical. Love was more than textbook science. It was also skill, patience and desire.

“I’m here to find you a wife,” she added shortly. “That is it.”

“Right.” He cocked his head, considered her legs, her silken tumble of hair, the dark pink staining her cheeks and smiled wickedly.

“So we’re in perfect understanding? We will keep our relationship professional. We won’t indulge in any more touches, kisses, flirtations. This is business, and there’s a science to the business—“

“I was wrong about you, you know. You’re very interesting. And very appealing, especially when you’re in a righteous mood.” He smiled. “A man likes a proper challenge. And you, my buttoned-down, uptight, prudish Dr. Tornell, are a proper challenge.” With a last smile in her direction, he left.

Rou tumbled into the living room and down onto the white couch the moment Zayed disappeared and reached for a ruby pillow to squeeze against her chest. Buttoned-down. Uptight. Prudish?

How dare he? How crass. How arrogant. How perfectly Zayed Fehr!

There was no way she could find a good wife for him. No decent woman would ever take him. He was horrible. Arrogant. Sexual.

Sexual. And then she bit her lip and closed her eyes and cried to block out the way he’d kissed her and the way her body had responded and the way she imagined making love would be.

It’d be good.

Maybe even great.

Oh, God. She had to get out of here.


End of Excerpt.

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