Hide-and-Sheikh by Gail Dayton
(Silh. Desire #1404, $3.99, PG) ISBN 0-373-76404-9
***
Ellen Sheffield finds Rashid ibn Saqr Faruq al Muktar Qarif - Rudi to his friends - at a nightclub. Even though she knows heís a spoiled and wealthy sheikh who gives his family trouble by running away from home, after they chat she starts to think heís actually a nice guy who also has a lot of sex appeal. When they leave the nightclub together he thinks he is going to get to know a beautiful woman better. Instead Ellen returns him to his family. After all thatís her job as a security specialist.

That isnít their last meeting, of course. Rudi whisks her off on a horse - something heís always wanted to do to a lovely woman - and then off to his hideaway in New Mexico. Ellen is worried since terrorists are out to get members of his family. But Rudi soon becomes a bigger security risk to her heart.

Rudi isnít the tradition-bound stereotypical sheikh of most romances. This sheikh is a modern kind of hero. He has a sense of humor, he wants to make a difference with his life and heís genuinely interested in what Ellen wants from her own life. The only major fault with him is that his constant running puts his life and the lives of others in jeopardy. Admittedly his loving family also seems a bit stifling, but Rudi ought to be mature enough to handle them.

While Rudi is a charmingly handsome hero, Ellen is a somewhat shrewish beautiful heroine. When not being suspicious of Rudiís motives, she spends a lot of time laying down the law to him and all the other males in her path. Strong women are one thing - women who are perpetually annoyed by the men around them can be something else. Ellen comes close to being as annoying as she finds some of the men around her, but her innate sense of honesty usually comes to her rescue. She knows when sheís making a hasty judgment even when she makes it.

However, Ellenís main resistance to Rudi comes from one early hasty judgment. Ellen long ago decided all rich men are scum. Her first real love was rich and apparently only wanted her because she was beautiful. Of course thatís unfortunate but even a poor man could have a similar problem. Ellen realizes Rudi may be different but when push comes to shove, she decides he simply would never be serious about her. She disappears and re-appears in his life only when he disappears from his family and, of course, their meeting eventually forces a showdown with the terrorists.

Hide-and-Sheikh is a fun read but even at the end the reader may wonder if Rudi should have held out for a better Princess Charming.

--Irene Williams


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