Thursday, January 06, 2011

Lost and Found - Sheiks? with Linda Conrad

When I was young, I was absorbed with the stories that might have come straight out of the Arabian Nights. I watched all the Sinbad and Ali Baba movies and loved the adventure stories where a warrior hero rode in on a white horse to rescue the heroine from an evil sultan. I also watched I Dream of Jennie on television and loved their blending of modern with the old fantasy. Wasn’t that series fun?

2011 marks the release dates for the rest of my Desert Sons series for the Silhouette Romantic Suspense line (soon to be known as Harlequin Romantic Suspense) The January book (out now!) called THE SHEIK’S LOST PRINCESS is the second book in the series. This series is a little unconventional as far as sheik stories go. I think of these stories more as international romantic thrillers. Desert Sons revolves around a modern family of Bedouins who have found themselves embroiled in a bitter war of revenge with an ancient enemy. And in THE SHEIK’S LOST PRINCESS, the ancient enemy is about to become a threat to the entire world community.

THE SHEIK’S LOST PRINCESS takes place in the imaginary desert country of the family’s ancient enemy. So it does have that old fashioned Arabian Nights feel. And the hero does ride in (on a helicopter instead of a white horse) to save the heroine. But she’s not quite ready to be rescued, thank you. She is on a mission of her own and means to complete a different kind of rescue before she leaves.

The SHEIK’S LOST PRINCESS is a story of lost love and misunderstanding. Shakir is the middle brother in the Kadir family. He’s the biggest, tallest and had the darkest childhood. I couldn’t wait to find a way to put him back together with his lost love, stir up all their old memories and then see what happens. When his ex-fiancĂ©’s name turns up on a list of women kidnapped and for sale by the Kadir family’s oldest enemies, Shakir is compelled to rush to her rescue. But a lot of time has passed since they’ve last seen each other, and in that time so much has happened. It’s not entirely clear that the two are still suited for each other. The secrets each of them continues to hold may make this rescue much more than either of them bargained for.

Here’s an excerpt to tempt you:

Shakir silently pointed the older woman into a corner, jammed the barrel of his weapon to the base of the young Taj soldier’s skull and ordered the kid to be silent. The soldier kept squirming and moaning on the floor. Pressing his advantage with a knee to the kid’s kidney, Shakir tried to quiet the tango. He growled orders in both the Taj Zabbar language and in the few words of Kasht that he could remember.

“You are making a mistake,” the old woman said in French.

He glared at her, flipped the tango to his back and began a rough pat-down. Sweeping his hands across the kid’s shoulders and down his sides and legs, Shakir checked for more weapons. The sight of that ancient dagger had put him on alert. This young Taj soldier could be as deadly to the mission as a scorpion’s sting.

Temporarily stashing his compact MTAR21 in the pack on his back, Shakir used both hands to search. With his right, he checked between the kid’s legs. While with his left hand, he rolled down under the soldier’s arm pits and around the rib cage.

“Bloody hell.” Shocked, Shakir stepped back and stared down into surprised hazel eyes. “Blast it, who the devil are you?”

“I…I…” The female under his hands was at a loss for words. So was he.

Then it hit him—a few minutes too late. “Nicole?” He reached out to take her by the arm and pulled her to her feet.

“Shakir? Shakir Kadir? Oh my God, what are you doing here? You scared me to death.”

He took a step back and studied the form of the young man standing in front of him. Only now that he knew the truth, the form no longer even vaguely resembled a young man. He should’ve known.

But Nicole’s honey blonde hair had been tucked up entirely under a purple-checked kuffiyah. Her skin beneath the Taj soldier’s garments looked the color of splotchy brown dates. Her tiny feet—the feet should’ve been a dead giveaway, were encased in the smooth leather sandals prevalent in these desert regions.

“What is that ridiculous looking thing you’ve stuck to your lip?”

She reached up, smoothing her finger along what looked like a line of dirt. “Just a bit of Lalla’s hair. Doesn’t it look like a moustache?”

“Not even a little.”

She grimaced, but immediately recovered her composure. “I don’t understand. This is crazy. Like a bad dream. What are you doing here, Shakir?”

His initial flood of relief at finding her alive gave way to irritation and he, too, grimaced. “We’ve come to bring you home.” She didn’t look injured, but what had they done to her mind?

Where was her gratitude? Where were the tears of joy he had expected to see?

Antsy and ready to move out, Shakir fought his annoyance and reached for her arm. “Let’s go.”

Nicole jerked back. “Where?” She fisted her hands on her hips and glared at him. “How did you find me? Why are you really here?”

Stunned, Shakir saw the mistrust in her eyes and it wounded his pride. Never in their entire relationship had he given her reason not to trust him.

And he didn’t have time to deal with it here. “We’ll hash this out later. The choppers won’t wait.”

She stood her ground. Something odd was going on behind those eyes. Something very odd indeed.

I just love reunion stories, don’t you? I especially love ones like this one where so much has happened—where both the hero and the heroine have changed drastically over the lost years. THE SHEIK’S LOST PRINCESS received a 4 ½ star TOP PICK from RTBookreviews magazine, so I guess other people like the way it turned out too.

I have a question for you: Do you love reunion stories as much as I do? Or are you tired of reading about finding lost love? And how about sheik stories? Tired of them yet?

Leave me a comment and I’ll pick a winner from all the comments on Friday morning to win an autographed copy of THE SHEIK’S LOST PRINCESS or HER SHEIK PROTECTOR (the first book in the Desert Sons series)

And don't forget to drop by Linda's website to find out more about the series, sign up for her newsletter and enter her contest!


Laney4 said...

Hi, Linda!

Don't bother putting me in your draw. I have HER SHEIK PROTECTOR in my TBR pile (oops) and just read THE SHEIK'S LOST PRINCESS (where I was riveted to my chair throughout the entire book, thank you very much!).

Yes, I enjoy reunion stories ... yes, I enjoy sheik stories ... and I love all sorts of other stories too! Medicals are always lovely, although not as easy to find in Canada. I like millionaires/billionaires, cowboys/cowgirls, virgins, bad boys, pregnant heroines, amnesia victims, and the list goes on and on. A book I appreciated having been written and then published (!!!) was one about a 40+ woman with teenagers (Claire Baxter's HER MEDITERRANEAN MAKEOVER), and I wish more were written about "older" women (jeepers, I can't believe I called us/them that!).

EllenToo said...

I really enjoy reunion stories. There's just something hopeful and uplifting about two people who have lost sight of each other finding each other and realizing there's still that special something that made them friends in the past.
As for sheik stories~~well I am not a fan of them and seldom read them but.....I read The Sheik's Lost Princess and really enjoyed it.

Linda Conrad said...

Hi Laney!
So glad you liked the first two stories in Desert Sons! IMO, the next two are pretty good too. :))

Always good to hear what readers like in the way of stories. I'd like more about 'women of a certain age' too. But so far the publishers have been hesitant to let us try them. However, the demographics are changing fast. Maybe we'll see more soon.

Linda Conrad said...

Hi Ellen! (waving to Texas)
So glad you enjoyed THE SHEIK'S LOST PRINCESS! The rest of the Desert Sons books are more covert agent and adventure books rather than like most sheik books.

I agree about reunion stories, too. Finding a lost love and finding new ways to relate is uplifting.

greenduckie13 said...

I love sheik stories. I don't think I'll ever get sick of them. Reunion stories depend on the story. It always make me sad that that were seprated.

Linda Conrad said...

Right, greenduckie13, it always depends on the story. I like when one of the couple has learned something about themselves and thinks they are too different now -- only to find out the other one changed too. :)

Linda Henderson said...

I have always been partial to reunion stories. There is something so romantic about finding a lost love. I'm also a big fan of sheikh books, if it's got a sheikh in the title, I'll be reading it.

seriousreader at live dot com

CrystalGB said...

Hi Linda. I love reunion stories and sheik stories. I don't think I will ever get tired of them.

Caroline said...

Great excerpt Linda! I love reunion stories especially if they parted on bad terms! It always make for a sizzling "first meet". Caroline x

Linda Conrad said...

Hi Linda H! Glad you like reunion stories. This one is a doozy. :)

Linda Conrad said...

Well, I guess I got you twice then, huh, Crystalgb? Sheiks and reunion romance. Yum.

Linda Conrad said...

Hi Caroline, so glad you liked the excerpt. This was such a fun, adventure story for me to write.

desere_steenberg said...

Thank you for the great excerpt I definitely want to read this is sounds so good. I adore reunion stories,it is always so intriguing to see how much has changed in both hero and heroine's live, what have they had to face and why are they where they are now. Why did they split up the first time and how have they been thrown back together now, always gripping till the end !And sometimes who is hiding a secret !And a Sheik all I have to say about those is yummy !
Keep up the terrific work this book really does sound wonderfull!
All the best

chey said...

Hi Linda,
Great excerpt!
I like reunion stories. It's always interesting finding out what happened before and how they get back together. I also like sheik stories. Especially when they take place where it doesn't snow!

Estella said...

Reunion stories are one of my favorite themes. I don't think I will ever tire of sheik stories.

Linda Conrad said...

You're welcome for the excerpt, desere! I think I like Shakir best of all the brothers and part of it because of the reunion.

Linda Conrad said...

Hey Chey! Getting tired of the snow up there? Come on down to Florida! Eighty degrees here today.

Linda Conrad said...

Me too, estella!

Lois said...

Hi and Happy 2011! :) Oh, plotwise, I'll take anything, reunion stories included. Now sheiks, I have limited experience with them (hmm, that sounds like I totally mean something else! LOL), with Annie West's Presents books as my first, but I sure liked them. It's something different yet familiar. So I definitely could use some more!


Pat Cochran said...

I have deep affection for sheik
stories, they were among my early
reads way back in the days of yore.
Also greatly enjoy reunion tales,
mostly because there's a fellow or two whom I would love to see again.
(Just to visit with, you know, my
Honey would be with me!) Will be
looking for your books on my next
bookstore run!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Linda,

I love reunion stories. To have lost and gone through the traumatic grief of loss only to find again!

ANd Sheiks...bring them over!
There's a certain something to a rough, rugged, desert sheik.

Thanks for the excerpt, it sounds very intriguing.

desere_steenberg said...

I fully agree with you Linda !

Linda Conrad said...

Hi all, Thanks so much for blogging with me. Glad to know I'm on the right track with reunion stories and sheiks!

I just drew names and Caroline won the books today! Congratulations! Please email me with your mailing address:

Thanks again!