Power, Passion and Misunderstandings - the Perfect Desert Romances

It’s no secret that after my years of living in the Middle East, I’m a sucker for a desert hero – so how delighted am to be showcasing the fabulous anthology Taken by the Desert Sheikh, by Christina Phillips, Mel Teshco and Cathleen Ross? Three great authors, three sexy stories, three alpha heroes, three virgin brides – swoon-er-ama.

Meet the authors... 
Christina, Cathleen and Mel first met through the Romance Writers of Australia about seven years ago, and when they discovered they shared an obsession for Henry Cavill, dark and brooding heroes and writing across genres from smoldering Highlanders to sizzling hot vampires, it was a triple sign they were destined to become good friends. Not to mention their shared passion for coffee, of course…

Cathleen Ross
Mel Teshco
Christina Phillips

Contact Cathleen via her Website or Facebook 
Sign up for Mel's Newsletter or contact her via her Website, Facebook or Twitter  
Sign up for Christina's Newsletter, or contact her via Facebook or Twitter

Three Sheikh brothers, three virgin brides…
The Grand Vizier has a plan to save Qutum…
To prevent a war…three royal brothers must wed

*Stolen by the Sheikh by Cathleen Ross* 
London interior designer, Lilly Jones has the perfect job. When she lands an account to do up a mansion in Kensington and an old fort in Qutum, she can’t believe her luck. What she doesn’t know is that she is the piece of the puzzle that will prevent a war. When the commanding and sexy Sheikh Jamal El-Amin pays her bridal price, Lilly refuses to believe it means they are married, but it is legal in Qutum. Lilly must decide to escape or stay.  

*The Sheikh’s Rebel by Mel Teshco* 
As the daughter of an indulgent sheikh, Amber Al-Fayed has had everything her heart desires, including a western education. But her perfect life is shattered when insurgents try to overthrow her country, killing Amber’s mother in a mortar attack and forcing Amber and her father into battle. Now Amber will do anything she can to reclaim control…even if that means marrying Zafar El-Amin, a wealthy and formidable neighboring sheikh. Except Zafar isn’t quite as separated from the conflict as she believes. 

*The Sheikh’s Reluctant Princess by Christina Phillips* 
He claimed her body, but can he capture her heart?
The last thing Tariq El-Amin wants to do is marry, but duty is everything and his country requires an heir. A political marriage is all he expects–until he hunts down his unwilling bride and duty becomes pleasure. But he soon discovers Princess Sofia has no intention of being a meek and obedient wife, and Tariq must make a tough choice if he wants to win the heart of his reluctant princess.

Read a little...
[From The Sheikh’s Reluctant Princess] 

Back in his bedroom Tariq tossed back a brandy and stared moodily at the doors that separated him from Sofia. He was edgy from the excess of diplomacy he’d needed to convince his advisers on the clause amendment, and fired up from the evening spent with Sofia so close to him, and yet so far.

Had she gone to sleep yet? Or was she still awake, lying alone in that big bed, waiting for him to claim her?

He tugged off his tie and flung it on top of his jacket, swiftly followed by his shirt. Tomorrow he returned to Zanzar and another round of diplomatic maneuverings and he needed to be fully alert. But he baulked at the thought of sleeping alone tonight.

The vision of Sofia’s wet, naked body as she’d risen from the tub flooded his mind. Her soft curves and the tantalizing glimpse of her pussy had haunted him throughout the evening.

He strode to the doors that separated them before common sense kicked in and he came to an abrupt halt. He never begged for a woman’s favors. Barely even had to ask. He wasn’t going to start now, but that didn’t mean he should avoid her. Hell, if he wanted her to fall in love with him, what better way than to go to her tonight and charm her until she was mad with desire?

She was made for pleasure and damn it—she was his.

He pulled open one of the doors—and Sofia stood there in a virginal white negligee, her hand raised, as though she had been about to do the very same thing.

Sofia froze, and her heart banged against her ribs at the sudden appearance of Tariq. He stood in the doorway and the light from his room spilled through, illuminating and enhancing his tough warrior body and casting his face in mysterious shadows.

For a long moment he didn’t move, as though he was savoring this moment. Slowly she dropped her arm back to her side. Even now she wasn’t sure whether or not she would’ve actually knocked on his door. For the last hour she’d tossed and turned in bed as sleep eluded her, her mind filled with Tariq, her body hot and needy for his touch. 

I wasn’t going to him for sex. Of course not. Her face heated, regardless, and for the life of her she couldn’t think of a thing to say.

“Sofia.” His voice was deep and husky and caused sensuous shivers to race over her flesh. “Do you want me?”

She licked her lips, and slid her ravenous glance over his impressive chest. His muscles were chiseled and perfectly defined, like a bronze sculpture.

The raw truth was she did want him. Was that such a terrible thing, given they were to be married in three days time?

“I…” The words dried in her throat as he stepped into her room. His feet were bare and he towered over her, an irresistible combination of naked warrior in tailored designer pants, and his evocative cologne teased her senses like a feather light caress.

He took her hand and pressed a kiss against her knuckles. “Sweet Sofia. You’ve bewitched me. All evening I’ve thought of nothing but you.”

Her pulses hammered and breath caught in her throat. He was only spinning her a line, trying to lower her defenses. She knew it, and didn’t care. His words were drops of aphrodisiac and she lapped them up.

“I can’t get you out of my mind, either.” Her words were breathless and she blushed at her daring. Thank goodness the lighting was too dim for him to notice. This marriage might go against everything she believed in, but there was no denying that her body ached for him. With Tariq, she was a more than willing virginal sacrifice. 

He doesn’t know… 

She tensed, suddenly unsure, and her bravado shriveled. Was he expecting her to…do something? If so, what?

He came closer until there was barely a hairsbreadth between them. “Why do you gaze at me with such trepidation?” There was a faint note of amusement in his voice. “I’m not going to eat you.” He leaned forward and brushed his lips against her ear. “Not unless you want me to.”

Buy it on:  Amazon, iBooks, B&N, Kobo

Let's Talk... 

Avril: Tell us how the anthology came about…

Cathleen: I have always been of fan of Mel and Christina's writing. Although I was published with Harlequin I sometimes write stories that don't suit Harlequin's lines, so I approached Christina and Mel to ask would they like to do a boxed set on the Sheikh fantasy. Luckily they said yes and it's been all upwards since then. 

Avril: What’s the particular appeal of Sheikhs as heroes?

Christina: For me, the appeal lies in the fact that I can push my personal boundaries when it comes to the Alpha male. The sheikh is royal, used to being obeyed, and a ruler in his own right, and so he can get away with more than another of my contemporary heroes might.  I also love his reaction when his heroine doesn’t fall at his feet and instantly obey his every command. Ha ha! 

Mel: I just love how dangerous, alpha and dominant these men are. They can quite literally get away with murder, so having them fall hard for their heroine brings them back to Earth that much quicker! 

Cathleen: I like writing the ultimate alpha hero, one who is very wealthy and has real power. A sheikh who rules his own country can do anything. It makes it difficult for the heroine to challenge the hero. She has to step up and it sends the relationship to the edge.

Avril: And virgin heroines? 

Christina: One of the reasons I adore writing our sheikh books is the virgin heroine! In my other contemporaries (and in my historical romances) the heroines have varying degrees of experience (as do my heroes). Our sheikh romances are pure fantasy, and part of that fantasy is the young, inexperienced heroine paired with the powerful, somewhat jaded, hero. 

Mel: I rarely write virgin heroines so having them in the sheikh books where the hero is so very opposite, brings with it a lot of extra tension – it’s perfect for these stories! 😊

Cathleen: I love writing virgin heroines. For a heroine who has never made love, she is more at risk due to her lack of experience. A virgin heroine means the stakes are higher. It also allows the author to show the hero being tender and loving the heroine.

Avril: Is there a shared vibe for the three stories? 

Mel: Power, passion and misunderstandings. 

Cathleen: We have certain tropes that we like to write, so it's always three brothers, three heroines and the heroines are virgins. 

Avril: What are technical challenges of putting together an anthology as opposed to writing an individual novel? 

Mel: ensuring we don’t tangle up our plots and timelines. Actually quite a bit more challenging than what it sounds. But we’ve learned to keep things simple and our stories as individual as we can. 

Cathleen: I think the reason this has worked so well is that we really like each other. If we can't come to a decision, we vote on it. Mel loves pale-faced heroes who always look like they need a good steak. I like dark swarthy men and Christina is perpetually in love with Henry Cavill, so we had to vote on the look for our first cover, which was a great success.

There also has to be trust as we had to set up a joint bank account with equal access. With the actual writing of the story we change roles, so if Christina starts the boxed set, she will go last on the next boxed set. The person who goes first usually names the country, we brainstorm the theme/conflict and the reason the sheikhs have to marry. We then work on our individual stories and don't read each other's until they are all done. It's amazing how well the stories come together and read as one. 

Avril: What’s next for all of you? 

Christina: I’m currently writing a sexy New Adult series with hot British guys set in London, for Entangled Publishing. From Publishers Marketplace: “a studious nineteen-year-old agrees to a fake date with her secret crush, who also happens to be her boss, but things get complicated when their kiss goes viral.” 

Mel: I’m working on the last two books in my VIP Desire Agency series (call girls) for Tule Publishing, as well as my Riddich Dragon series. Also working on Defective, an erotic sci-fi/fantasy novel in my not very secret project for another publisher 😊 

Cathleen: I'm waiting to hear from two different publishers who have my work. I know one of the editors from one of the publishing houses has recommended the Editorial Director buy my next book. The other single title has been assigned to an in house editor to read.

From the authors...

Thanks so much for having us here at Get Lost in a Story, Avril! 

For all the readers - we'd  love to know who's your favorite kind of hero? We have one Kindle copy of our first boxed set, Taken by the Desert Sheikh, to give away to one commenter! 

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  1. I am a sucker for Sheikh stories! As for fav type of hero... it varies... love them all!

    1. Yes - variety is definitely the spice of life.

    2. Hi Colleen! I'm the same, it depends on my mood as to which type of hero I want to fall in love with!

    3. I love them all too! Well written multi-dimensional heroes esp :)

    4. ditto Cathleen's comment lol

  2. Replies
    1. Alphas tend to be the preferred, I think.

    2. Hi BN100! I love Alphas too, and I especially love seeing them brought to their knees! Mwahahaha!!!

    3. Alphas, the best type to have fall for the heroine! :)

  3. I love a strong guy who thinks he's an alpha, but has a vulnerable side he keeps hidden.

    1. Ah yes, I love a damaged hero.

    2. Hi! Yes I have a soft spot for the damaged hero, and one of my all time fav heroes I've written is Bren, in my historical romance, CAPTIVE. I was so relieved when he finally got his HEA :-)

    3. I agree with this, an alpha who isn't the brute everyone imagines. YUM

  4. My only real stipulation for a hero is that he treat the heroine with respect. Extra points if he's got a creative streak.

    1. Respect - I absolutely agree with that!

    2. Hi Melinda, I totally agree. Even in the enemies to lovers trope (one of my personal favs) the respect still has to be there, otherwise *I* lose respect for the hero :-)

    3. Even better when that alpha hero (with the vulnerable side) treats the heroine like a princess. LOVE that!

  5. Avril, thank you so much for having us on Get Lost in a Story this week!