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    Book Review: The Sheikh’s Secretary Mistress by Lucy Monroe
  • Author:
  • Published: Aug 31st, 2008

monroe_hiredreview.jpgReviewed by Kati Dancy
3.5 out of 5 stars

Harlequin Presents, how I love thee. Featuring overbearing alpha heroes, and demure, virginal heroines, where “Seduction and Passion are guaranteed” or so says the byline, they are magical, fun, passion filled books. The HP line is one where I know I’m guaranteed to find a domineering hero who I’d want to bash in the head in real life and a heroine who is far too meek for my tastes. And yet, I have an undeniable sense of nostalgia and affection for them. So when Marisa sent out a note that Hired: The Sheikh’s Secretary Mistress by Lucy Monroe was available for review, I jumped.

Sheikh Amir bin Faruq al Zorha must marry. A member of Zorha’s Royal Family, he lives in New York, where he runs his family’s international business interests. He is not next in line to inherit the throne, but nevertheless must marry to continue the family dynasty. He’d had an arranged marriage, and was completely at peace about the woman he was to marry, and yet, when she eloped with another man, Amir feels nothing but relief. But knowing his overbearing father, the king, he knows that if he doesn’t act quickly to marry, his father will arrange something for him. He decides that he will ask his personal assistant, Grace Brown, to make his marriage her next project. She’s to research and find suitable choices to be his bride. She will investigate them, and knowing his tastes better than anyone else, she’ll make an informed recommendation about who he should marry. Grace, to no HP veteran reader’s surprise, is outraged. Mostly because she is in love with Amir, and it crushes her to think of him marrying anyone but her, even though she knows she’s not a suitable match. She refuses.

Amir is outraged. How dare Grace refuse him? She’s done everything he’s ever asked her to without complaint. She attends his every need, anticipating most of his wishes before he even asks them. And she has the temerity to say no? Outrageous! Amir is flabbergasted to find that the slow burning attraction he’s had for Grace for years is aroused by her refusal. Grace is strictly off limits to him. He knows she’s innocent and on top of that, he counts on her more than anyone else in the world. So he does what any self respecting sheikh would do when confronted with reluctance – he bribes her. He takes her to see her beloved Red Sox play and buys her a jersey, and shows her a wonderful time. She knows full well what he is doing, and is determined to say no, but finally capitulates and agrees to begin the search. Soon Amir’s business calls him home. As his assistant, Grace travels to Zorha with him and continues to work closely by his side. The more closely they work together, the more Amir’s attraction grows. And the more convinced he becomes that Grace is the woman who should be his wife. But Grace has other ideas and continues to work on the her “project.” Will Amir be able to convince Grace that she is the one for him? Will he have to use underhanded methods to land this intriguing woman who has become everything to him?

What I love about this book is that Monroe “gets it.” She understands the construct of the Harlequin Presents series and adheres to it strictly while infusing a sense of fun and sexiness to the story. Grace is a likeable heroine and Amir, while overbearing in that classic alpha way, comes across as an evolved hero. Even though we know what to expect, Monroe’s writing style is such fun that the book is a delight to read. This was the first Harlequin Presents I’d read in a while, but I can guarantee you, it won’t be the last.

4 Responses to “Book Review: The Sheikh’s Secretary Mistress by Lucy Monroe”

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  1. Gannon
    on Aug 31st, 2008
    @ 9:41 am

    Kati, I recently read an HP that I won over at the Banditas — Caretti’s Forced Bride. I enjoyed it, and it had been a long time since I’d read a Harlequin Presents.

    You’re right about the formula. The alpha heros in these books are the kind of men I would feel the need to hit with the nearest blunt object, and I’d probably need to shake some sense into the meek heroines. But with these books, they just work, and I can’t help but enjoy them. Plus, I can read an HP in a short period of time, which is great when I’m super busy.

    I’ll have to check out Monroe’s book.


  2. MaryKate
    on Aug 31st, 2008
    @ 6:46 pm

    Aren’t they fun, Gannon? I love them. They’re silly and overwrought, and yet, I adore them. They’re just so extreme. I think that should be the tagline for HP: “Extreme Romance”.

    I had such fun reading this one. I read it on vacation, and every once in a while I’d just laugh out loud. I kept having to explain what was so funny. 😉


  3. orannia
    on Aug 31st, 2008
    @ 9:27 pm

    Thank you Kati! I loved your review, especially the following line:

    She attends his every need, anticipating most of his wishes before he even asks them.

    Unfortunately, my mind went in completely the wrong direction upon reading it *grin*

    I haven’t read a lot of Harlequin Presents, but I have picked up a few written by Lucy Monroe and I like that (in the ones I have read) she takes a tricky issue, one often not seen in a romance novel, let alone at Harlequin Presents, and tries to weave it into 180 or so pages that she has to work with. ‘Blackmailed Into Marriage’ is my favourite by far!

    orannia


  4. Marisa
    on Sep 1st, 2008
    @ 9:53 pm

    MaryKate,
    What a great description of the Harlequin Presents line. I love Harlequin Presents- they often give me the pick me up I need. I can always count on this line to take me off to far away places with exotic locales, alpha males and contemporary women. I’m a fan of Lucy Monroe’s Contemporaries for Brava so I’m definitely going to have to check this one out.

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