The Desert King's Captive Bride by Annie West
Fab opening scene compelled me to buy when I read it on the M&B website.
Despite loving the strong heroine and the tension-filled wedding, the beginning is slightly overwritten which slows the pace here. And the hero’s opening point of view made me afraid that he wasn’t going to be alpha enough for me or for the strong heroine.
But the first love scene is wow!
This isn't a skippable love scene. It's a can't look away one.
And the hero’s concern in the emotional aftermath. And how it’s paced…And….
The hero and heroine’s every action took on more importance after this scene, as every look every glance is a facet of their personalities nuanced with their reactions to what’s happened. And how it changes things. And how this emotional turning point revs up the pace.
My concerns about the hero not being alpha enough were soon put to bed, so to speak. He’s exciting and Ghizlan’s behaviour and taunts just bring out his alphaness.
The second love scene is where they are now in their relationship. There’s emotion and character/ relationship development, just not quite as much as I wanted.
The slow climb to the Black Moment *fasten your seatbelts* reinforces the depth of their connection, building to an emotional high. But the speed is a bit too slow for me here too. The Black Moment itself isn’t big and dramatic as you'd expect, but I love it when the turning point is something relatively small and quiet but the responses it triggers threaten the relationship.
And this one is so right for the characters.
If there’d been more heroine character development (this is more about them discovering who each other really is) and drawing out of the barbarian in the sheikh a bit more, then this would have easily been a read-in-one-sitting romance.