Author: Leslie North
Series: The Karawi Sheikhs #1
Every time Natalie looks at her beautiful daughter, Iris, she can’t help but think about the passionate night she spent with a prince—and for good reason: Prince Iman Karawi is Iris’s father. Though Natalie longed to tell Iman about their daughter, unknown to her, Iman’s manipulative uncle hid the truth. Even as she goes on with her life, caring for her daughter and her dying mother, she cannot get thoughts of Iman out of her mind. Now, six years later, a chance meeting brings back all the feelings Natalie’s tried to forget. How could one-night haunt her after all this time? It’s clear Iman wants to continue where they left off, and it’s just as clear to Natalie that he might break her heart again. Especially if he ever finds out that little Iris is his.
For Iman, Natalie was always more than a one-night stand. He never understood why she left so abruptly, and even years later during a chance meeting, he’s still drawn to the blonde beauty in a way he can’t explain. Despite being promised to another by his parents, Iman can’t suppress his excitement—or desire—at seeing her again. But this time, Iman is not ready to say good-bye. He makes her a job offer she cannot refuse, and as he and Natalie spend more time together, it’s clear to Iman he cannot marry his fiancé, not when the love he feels for Natalie burns so deep.
As the past threatens to destroy their blossoming romance, it might be too late for either of them to find the happily ever after that has always been just out of reach.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
So, it seems that all the books from the Leslie North factory are going to be about a couple of strangers that doesn’t know how to play Tetris following the basic safety measures. That is just peachy… said the reviewer sarcastically. I have five more!! FIVE!! OK, it is my fault for clicking the Request buttons in NetGalley like a crazy person. Now I need to put on my responsible pants and review the books I was given, no matter how dreadful that task looks like right now.
This time we jump into a plane to meet Natalie, a flight attendant in private flights who desperately needs the money to pay for her mother’s cancer treatment. That’s why she tries to put on a smile to deal with Iman, the Sheikh (a.k.a. Prince) of a small kingdom who is very opinionated about her coffee making skills. In truth she just wants to tell him what is what to his face, but she must control herself. Any pretenses are drop when the plane has an accident and both of them get stranded in a remote hangar. The banter becomes passion, but heavy is the weight of the crown and Natalie has to leave Iman’s kingdom in not the best way possible. Six years later, they meet again…
The length of this book is its main strength. There wasn’t a big story to tell, so more pages would have added more annoyance to the reader isntead of enjoyment. As it is, the size of the book is perfect. Concise, direct, without useless detours and always focus on what it wants to tell. The story itself is rather simple and barely remarkable, so trying to strech it would have been a really bad idea. At least, that length work in favor of the plot thread about Natalie going to Iman’s kingdom to work for him.
Sadly, I can’t say the same for the romance. It lacks development everywhere. Leaving aside the first passionate encounter, where the adrenaline after the accident was high and the good judgement low, the next interactions between Iman and Natalie are surprisingly few. I’m not saying just in the more carnal sense… Any kind of contact between the two of them is drastically cut down due to their jobs. When do they get to know each other? How can they be so sure about their love is they have barely talked to each other? I can’t buy the platonic love that is described in the book. Too much, too soon.
As for the characters… I guess they are both OK, but I don’t really feel that I have got to know them. Iman would be a great characters if he wasn’t royalty. That fact constraints him too much. Always being careful about what he says, what he does… But with Natalie he is more relaxed and we get to read a more enjoyable individual. Too bad the flight attendant is not around that much. Natalie by her own is kind of annoying. I barely understand her. She is miserable for the most part of the book, what adds to the previously mentioned unbelievable love. If you don’t like the life in the palace, just go. You don’t need it! Why do you choose to be constantly worried for a guy you barely know? At least, when they are together she regains some self-esteem and their conversations are rather funny. On her own… it’s a pain to be witness of her rather low morale.
And talking about reading pains… In which mind was a good idea to take your six-year-old daughter to a country that has barely got over traditional values that don’t leave in good light women’s freedoms among other things? For a visit it would have been OK, but liiving there? The first order Natalie gets is: Don’t leave the palace alone! Try to stick to traditions. Do not embarras yourself (a.k.a. embarras Iman and his kingdom…). I can’t believe that any sensible mother would remove her daughter from her school and friends to be privately tutored in a palace of a kingdom whose culture is drastically different from what she knows… In the book Iris adapt pretty well, but that is just ficition… I bet that would be a traumatic experience for a kid that age. So yeah, reading that bugged me badly and I couldn’t shake the absurdity of the whole deal.
With this book, the good and the bad balance each other to make a light reading for a slow afternoon during the summer. As long as you are not looking anything meatier, this story could be a good choice for you. In the following books, we will meet Iman’s brothers who, it seems, will be as sexually reckless as him…