Published by Harlequin Special Releases on February 1st 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
A defiant woman...in a desert king's world!
After inheriting a broken kingdom, Prince Rafiq made a vow--to restore its pride by winning a prestigious horse race. To ensure success, he hires an English expert. But even notoriously controlled Rafiq is shocked when his new employee is introduced...as Miss Stephanie Darvill!
Stephanie is determined to leave her shameful past and broken dreams behind--she will prove to Rafiq she deserves his trust! But this hard-hearted desert sheikh calls to Stephanie in the most primal of ways... Dare she give in to her wildest desires?
~~Reviewed by AnnMarie~~
The Harlot and the Sheikh is the third book in the Hot Arabian Nights series by Marguerite Kaye. I have read the first two books in the series and loved them, but you don’t need to have read them in order to enjoy this one. Each book is easily read as a stand alone although there is mention of the main couples from the other books.
Our couple in this book are Prince Rafiq, and Stephanie Darvill. When Rafiq becomes Prince of his kingdom he wants to restore the pride of the people in their home and their Prince. His late father had become too sure of himself when it came to winning the traditional and very important horse race to win the famed golden cup. To others it might be just a horse race, but to the Arabians it is the ultimate. Since he took on the Kingdom it has become Rafiq’s promise to his people to win the race, and with some of the most sought after horses in the Kingdom coming from his stables, he believes he finally has a good chance to do it. That is until a curse seems to fall upon his stables, a curse he believes is caused by something he did 2 years ago. His horses are falling ill, and within 48 hours at most they die a most terrible death. He is desperate to have the reason for the illness found and cured and decides to hire the most renown veterinarian in the horse field. That man being Stephanie’s father.
English Stephanie is trying to deal with her ruination by an army man, a cad of a man who dupes her into having sex with him thinking they were to marry. As is always the case, his mates were thrilled for him, but she was considered an absolute harlot and a disgrace to her family. She, like her father, thanks to his tutelage, is an expert on horse health. When he receives the request to work for the Prince he has to turn it down because he is needed to help fight in Waterloo. He decides it would be the perfect opportunity for Stephanie though, both to get away from the gossips and what has happened, but also he believes she will be perfectly able to help the Prince. He doesn’t have time to tell the Prince of the change of plans, so it was with quite a shock that Rafiq meets Stephanie and is told that she is his new horse veterinarian.
At first sight Stephanie is struck by Rafiq’s looks and physique. She even has to fight hard to keep her mind on his agreeing to let her work with his horses, rather than think of kissing his very full kissable lips. Thankfully she manages to keep her mind on business and Rafiq allows her the job. He knows his all male staff in the stables will be shocked to have a woman among them, but is determined they will treat her fairly and listen to her. He has to keep his horses from dying.
What follows is the romance building between Stephanie and the Prince. Both of them fighting it every step of the way because of their pasts, pasts that they are trying not to repeat. When they do have passionate moments they are absolutely beautiful. So very well written, so moving and emotional, and even though they don’t realise it, the way in which they are intimate is the way of people in love, not just in lust.
Of course along with the romance there is the very important horse race, and Stephanie’s ability to keep the horses well enough to be able to compete. Not all the horses are for the race, but as a very profitable, world famous horse stud, it won’t do the Kingdom any favours if people find out that there are ill and dying horses in his stables. Can Stephanie do what no other vet has been able to do, and even if she can and Rafiq’s horses are able to take part in the race, will he win it? He promised his people he would, and their respect for themselves, their Kingdom and him depend on it.
As with the other books in this series the story kept you wanting to read the book in one sitting, which I did! You want to know if there can possibly be the happy ending you want. The descriptions of the scenery, the people, the clothes, the climate, everything is so perfectly done that you can picture yourself amongst the scenes. Many times when describing the beautiful clothes I wished the author could have put photos in with the text so that I could see if my imaginings were as correct as I hoped. I can’t recall ever thinking that when reading books before. It’s one of the many reasons that this book, and all in this series are worth 5 stars!
I voluntarily read an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book.