Authors: Olivia Gates
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #Fiction
The marriage seduction
He has found his destiny. But to claim the throne of Azmahar, Rashid Aal Munsoori needs Laylah Aal Shalaan. Seducing her into marriage will defeat his rivals—and if she becomes pregnant with his heir, his hold on his homeland will be complete.
Laylah has always secretly loved Rashid. Her sexy sheikh might be scarred inside and out, but that only makes her love him more…until she discovers his true motives. She may never again trust her lover, but how can she walk away from the father of her unborn child—a baby destined to ally their two desert kingdoms forever?
“Marriage!” The Word Rang Out Again Before She Could Hold It Back.
But who could blame her? Last morning, she’d woken up never expecting to see Rashid again. This morning, she woke up in his bed.
“Of course. I took your innocence.”
“You didn’t ‘take my innocence,’ I gave it to you. And will you stop being so archaic and so—so…Azmaharian?”
“You’re refusing to marry me?”
Her heartstrings shook at the darkness in his rumble. “I’m refusing to introduce the concept of ‘marriage’ at this point.”
And if displeasure could take form, it would wear just that face. “Marriage between us now is not a concept, it’s a necessity.”
When Rashid Aal Munsoori walked into the Desert Knights trilogy’s first book,
The Sheikh’s Redemption,
and hijacked the spotlight during his scenes, he intrigued me the most of all my Harlequin Desire heroes to date. With each glimpse he revealed of himself, I knew I had my darkest, most tormented, most ruthless Desire hero yet. I couldn’t wait for him to tell me his whole story. And for a heroine to undertake the seemingly impossible task of soothing this scarred beast and laying his demons to rest.
But I knew I had my work cut out for me. For what woman could see through his armor of disfigurement and distance, let alone persevere until she’d uncovered the passionate, forever-man he could be?
Then I discovered I had already created that heroine. Laylah Aal Shalaan had appeared in
To Tame a Sheikh,
the first book of my previous trilogy, Pride of Zohayd. And she told me she’d loved Rashid all her life. Did
turn the unapproachable Rashid inside out!
What followed was a roller coaster of emotions as Laylah unraveled the bonds around Rashid’s soul and replaced them with those of her love, only to discover at her happiest that their relationship had all been a lie. Or was it?
Read on and learn the truth behind the secrets that wrap up
among the upheavals that the lovers have to survive to reach their happy ending. I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I did writing it.
Thanks for reading!
The Sheikh’s Destiny
Books by Olivia Gates
The Sarantos Secret Baby
**To Touch a Sheikh
A Secret Birthright
††The Sheikh’s Redemption
††The Sheikh’s Claim
††The Sheikh’s Destiny
The Desert Lord’s Baby
The Desert Lord’s Bride
The Desert King
†The Once and Future Prince
†The Prodigal Prince’s Seduction
†The Illegitimate King
In Too Deep
“The Sheikh’s Bargained Bride”
To Tame a Sheikh
To Tempt a Sheikh
*Throne of Judar
†The Castaldini Crown
**Pride of Zohayd
Other titles by this author available in ebook format.
has always pursued creative passions such as singing and handicrafts. She still does, but only one of her passions grew gratifying enough, consuming enough, to become an ongoing career—writing.
She is most fulfilled when she is creating worlds and conflicts for her characters, then exploring and untangling them bit by bit, sharing her protagonists’ every heart-wrenching heartache and hope, their every heart-pounding doubt and trial, until she leads them to an indisputably earned and gloriously satisfying happy ending.
When she’s not writing, she is a doctor, a wife to her own alpha male and a mother to one brilliant girl and one demanding Angora cat. Visit Olivia at
To the one who inspires all those powerful, ultra-romantic, luscious heroes.
Thank you for being you.
aylah Aal Shalaan felt a shiver burn down her spine.
It wasn’t the below-zero Chicago December evening. That would have caused ice, not fire, to shudder through her veins.
This sensation had scalded through her so many times during the past few weeks, it was as if she were having hot flashes. Which would be some record at age twenty-seven. But then she held other unwelcome records. Like being the only female born to her family in forty years. Why not throw in premature menopause, too?
Not that she really thought abnormal hormones were at work here. An outside influence was. One she couldn’t detect when she’d tried to investigate it, though she’d been certain of its cause for some time.
Someone was watching her.
This felt nothing like having the security detail she’d once had breathing down her neck. Those men had never tried to hide themselves, and to hell with her personal space. Though she shouldn’t have resented them. They’d been doing their job. Of course, with her safety no longer among anyone’s priorities for the past two years, there were no more guards dogging her steps.
Not that she thought that she needed protection. She observed normal safety protocols, like anyone who lived in Chicago did. And since she’d exiled herself from Zohayd and come to live in the Windy City, she always had.
Usually she would go home with Mira, her business partner and roommate. But Mira had left to see her father, who had been taken to the E.R. in another state. So here she was, alone at night for the first time in more than two years, leaving the deserted building from the back exit that opened onto an equally empty back street.
had anything to do with what she now felt.
She’d entered the building accompanied by the sensation of being enveloped in that watchful force field. She’d stepped out only to be caught in its electrifying embrace again.
Strangest part was, she didn’t feel threatened by that unwavering intent. Just burning with curiosity and...excitement?
She looked across the street at three parked cars. The nearest had a man slamming the hood, getting inside and driving away with the exhaust firing. The next one, also nondescript, was pulling away from the curb, too. The farthest one, a late-model Mercedes with dark windows, looked empty.
Before she could decide where the influence was radiating from, the second car suddenly floored its engine.
Before she could draw another breath, the car screeched to a halt beside her and its doors burst open. Four men exploded out. She’d barely taken two running steps when they swarmed her.
Hulking bodies and coarse faces, distorted with vile intent, filled her vision. Blood and time thickened, hindering her heartbeat and reactions as hands sank into her flesh, each dig creating a bolt of outrage and terror.
Dread exploded in her chest, fury in her skull as she lashed out with everything she had, even as shards of dialogue lodged into her brain.
“Iz only one, man.”
“Tom said there’d be two. You better not pay half now.”
“Iz the one we want. Ye’ll get yer dough.”
“You said she’d fall at ’ur feet sniveling but she ain’t no pushover. She almost kneed me.”
“An’ she might’ve scratched m’eye out!”
quit snivelin’ an’ stuff ’er in the car.”
Each word sank a talon of realization into Laylah’s brain. This wasn’t a random attack. They knew her routine.
They couldn’t be the presence she’d been sensing!
They dragged her closer to the car. Once they shoved her inside, it would be over.
She exploded in another manic struggle, drawing blood and shouts of pain and rage until a jackhammer collided with her jaw. Agony turned her brain into shrapnel.
Suddenly, through the vortex of crimson-blotched darkness, one of her attackers seemed to be sucked away as if into a black hole. He slammed into the side of the building with a sickening crunch.
A second assailant turned away, but a hair-raising crack sent his blood arcing inches from her face. His terrified gaze bored into hers before his body slammed into her as if from the impact of a speeding car. He took her down with him.
She struggled under his dead weight, fear pulsing through her disorientation. Who had come to her rescue? Would they turn on her once they had finished off her attackers?
The body pinning her down was heaved away. She wriggled up frantically on the freezing sidewalk and saw...saw...
A fallen angel. Huge, dark, ominous. Frightening in his beauty, radiating power and menace. Almost impossible to bear looking at, yet equally impossible to look away from.
And she knew him. She’d known him all her life.
But it couldn’t be him. Not only had he changed almost beyond recognition, but what would he be doing here? Now? When she’d been certain she’d never see him again?
Was her jolted brain conjuring up an imaginary savior?
If so, why not one of her cousins who were as well equipped to fill the role? Why him?
Why Rashid Aal Munsoori?
But with her senses stabilizing, no doubt remained. It
Rashid. A remote, if steady, presence in her life during her first seventeen years. The man she’d had a crush on since before she could remember.