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Sold at a young age by her own mother, Allegra Synnford refuses to be a commodity. A renowned courtesan, she has achieved her success by valuing herself and choosing her lovers carefully. Ruin lies in loving a man and relinquishing her power. That is something she has vowed never to do.

Shaheen is in actuality Viscount Newcastle. Turning his back on a life in England that only brought him pain, his new life with the Amazigh is everything he thinks he needs. Sheikh and protector of the next ruler of the Amazigh, he is respected and revered as he never was in England. And he intends to keep his true identity a secret. When he first sees Allegra she overwhelms him. Not just her beauty, but the essence of the woman herself. While he is determined to possess her, he must never love her. His life is in the desert now, no matter that his remaining family is searching for him.

With over a decade of denial and revenge making itself known, Allegra and Shaheen are in a dangerous situation. Drawn irresistibly to one another, they play a game in which to lose may be more than a simple forfeit.

Written with attention to detail, this was a rich visual read. I was easily able to visualize the surroundings in which the characters found themselves in, and the use of dialect enforced the exotic locale. The strong wills of both Allegra and Shaheen made for some predictable clashes, but ultimately they were fighting themselves, not one another. The nemesis of the story proved pretty is as pretty does. Even though the villain was attractive, his true nature made him hideous. While I thought Allegra’s character mature, I sometimes found Shaheen a bit juvenile in his reactions. Epic in its scope, this was a romantic tale that also had a dark side that the author didn’t try to hide. While Shaheen started out as an emotional child, he matured as the story progressed and redeemed himself, in my eyes, at the end.

Book Blurb for Kismet

In the heat of the desert night, passion rises like a flame...

Raised in a brothel, Allegra Synnford quickly learned that survival meant taking charge of her destiny. Now, as a renowned courtesan skilled in the pleasures of the flesh, she vows she will never be vulnerable to any one man...

Sheikh Shaheen of the Amazigh has been hiding from his past for a long time, but not enough to forget how another courtesan made him abandon his life as the Viscount Newcastle. When Allegra ignites his desire, his need threatens to undermine his cover.

With old enemies circling, experience tells him he must resist her charms at all costs. But Allegra has her own game to play...with a man who can't afford to lose.

Night Owl Reviews Feb, 2010 4.50