Sunday, February 01, 2015

The Sultan's Harem Bride - Annie West

I didn't mean to but somehow it happened, I found myself writing another desert romance. And I had a BALL! The result, THE SULTAN'S HAREM BRIDE is in stores now. Here's a taste.
North American Cover
WANTED: Desert princess to join harem 

Sultan Asim of Jazeer has hundreds of women at his beck and call. So why does he want the only one who threatens to reveal his family's shameful secrets?

Journalist Jacqui Fletcher jumped at the chance to write a history of the harem—not to become a sultan's plaything! But it's hard to remember her assignment when the sultan's sensuous caresses spark a fire she's never experienced before…

Asim is looking for a pliable princess for a marriage of duty. Brave, beautiful Jacqui couldn't be more wrong for him. So why does holding her feel so right?
I write a variety of contemporary romances but there's a special feeling about writing about a desert prince. Maybe because it taps into old fantasies about an innocent woman, out of her depth, desired by a man used to having everything he wants, and who must learn to give as well as take if he's to win the woman he falls in love with. Maybe it's the fish out of water element when you have one character dealing with another culture and environment.
Could it be the exotic location? The desert, with oasis encampments or ancient fortresses or sprawling palaces? In THE SULTAN'S HAREM BRIDE, Asim lives in a gorgeous old palace with multiple courtyards and colonnades, with a whole wing that once housed a busy harem, yet he lives in a modern suite designed specifically for him. I loved that palace and so wanted to visit it. Plus there was a smaller palace, with old roses growing up the walls and ancient murals that I enjoyed creating for Asim and Jacqui. The North American cover (above) is inspired by a scene in that little summer palace. And, if we're talking palaces, what's not to love about a setting where other people do the cleaning and there are chefs to provide sumptuous meals at the click of a finger? Yet though Asim lives in utter luxury, I was pleased to discover he didn't take it for granted, and that he was a man I could relate to, a man with a strong love for and loyalty to his family. That's what makes him clash with Jacqui - the fact he sees her in the beginning as a threat to them.
I think that's the main reason I love writing desert romances - the heroes. My sultan is strong, determined and incredibly powerful, a real alpha. But he's honourable and intent on doing the right thing, even if he makes mistakes along the way. Above all, he's a one-woman man, who I know will make Jacqui's life as wonderful as he can.
I so enjoyed writing this book that I found myself writing a sequel called THE SHEIKH'S PRINCESS BRIDE - out in April.
The downside if writing books set in the desert? Well, I felt like I was there as I wrote, and the temptation to nibble on sweets like sweet nut pastries or soft, sugary Turkish Delight or even fruit flavoured water ices made me permanently hungry. Sigh.
What's your preferred sweet treat? Or don't you have one? Do you prefer savory?
You can find THE SULTAN'S HAREM BRIDE in all the place Harlequin books are sold. Here are a couple of links to help you:

UK cover



Anna Campbell said...

Annie, I absolutely loved THE SULTAN'S HAREM BRIDE! Asim and Jacqui were such compelling characters and it was wonderful watching them fall in love very much against their better judgment! And the palace was wonderful. I could just picture the elegant sprawl of rooms and courtyards and gardens. Beautifully done. Hmm, sweet treats? I must say I love a good chocolate mousse.

dstoutholcomb said...


Annie West said...

Anna, I'm thrilled that you enjoyed this book so much. I had a wonderful time writing it. Great to hear you liked the palace too - it was very real to me as I wrote and I definitely want to visit.

Hm, I'm a sucker for chocolate mousse too, particularly with orange.

Annie West said...

Hi DS. I can understand that! My son makes the most amazing brownies! So lovely but I have to hope he doesn't make them too often.

Mary Preston said...

I do like ice-cream. You can add to it or enjoy as is.

Laurie G said...

Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven!

salty -I love Cheetos.

Ice cream- I eat it almost everyday