Black Widow Bride

The Untamed Sheik
by Tessa Radley
(Silh. Desire #1933, $4.75, PG-13)  ISBN 0373-76933-4
A few years ago, I reviewed a new author and said she was one to keep an eye on.  Now I see that Tessa Radley has fulfilled that promise and has given us a very good story.   The Untamed Sheik comes with a very high recommendation.

Prince Shafir Al Dhahar is the second in line to the throne of Dhahara and is happy with that role. He is in charge of tourism and business relationships for the small desert kingdom and has a reputation as a loner, yet a charmer. Women seek him out and he often allows them to catch him for a brief interlude, then he disappears into the desert and the woman is left behind.  The heir, Khalid, must marry soon and Shafir’s younger brother is a carefree affianced man who has found the love of his life. Meanwhile their only female cousin Kara is ready to marry a businessman named Jacques Garnier. Just weeks before the wedding, Jacques reports that there is a woman who is stalking him and is coming to Dhahara in hopes of ruining the wedding. The King is determined to protect the bride and sends Shafir to intercept this woman.

Megan Saxon is a successful businesswoman who met Jacques in Paris. There seemed to be a spark and he convinced her that they needed to meet and explore the feelings. He told her she seemed to be his soul mate. Megan had just lost her brother and there was a little scandal in her family involving an illegitimate brother. She had been vulnerable and was ready to find love.  Jacques charmed her and courted her with flowers and candy. He suggested they spend time together and despite his objections she booked time at a desert resort. The story opens as she is flying into Dharhara to meet him.

What she meets instead is a “friend” of Jacques who is very attractive, with his own limousine.  He assures her he is taking her to Jacques and she believes him until they head into the desert, away from the hotel where she is to meet Jacques. Shafir is the friend and he takes Megan to his own villa deep in the desert.  here he keeps her with plans to expose her and then ship her home, all the while protecting Kara from gossip and knowledge of the interloper. But a funny thing happens. Megan seems sincere when she talks about her reason for coming and is truly surprised when she discovers that Jacques is getting married. She and Shafir share stories and Shafir begins to suspect that Megan is not the interloper, but an innocent victim of an unscrupulous man. 

These two bring a lot to the pages with the situation leading to the sharing of information that they might not have shared under normal circumstances. Megan alternates between anger, remorse, concern and finally relief. She is attracted to Shafir and is touched by his gentleness when he starts to believe her. Shafir starts off being rude and sarcastic; only to find that he is drawn to this woman who is unlike any he has ever met.  He reacts to her beauty but also her intelligence and combination of feistiness and vulnerability.

Radley draws the reader into the story, which is actually part of a series about members of the Saxon family, and keeps the story moving. She provides plausible explanations and descriptions of a non-existent country that allows the reader to believe in the story.  There were a few things that seemed a little too convenient, such as when Jacques found another woman to romance right before the wedding, making Megan’s story more convincing, but this was a minor irritation.

I can highly recommend The Untamed Sheik to fans of Tessa Radley and to those who might be new to her talents. 

--Shirley Lyons

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