All right. Bonus points for writing a sheikh in the time of corsets and smelling salts and the Little Season. Also bonus points for writing an intrepid code-breaking Egyptian-ologist (is that a word?) heroine. Further bonus points for a smooth, mostly-pleasant read.

Monica Burns wins as usual at writing vivid characters and engaging premises. It's all too easy to fall in love with her hero and heroine and she brings the story to life well.

That said, I did get frustrated by the pacing and the problem with the Too Obvious Villain. I felt like whereas Alexandra did have some cause to be miffed at what Altair kept from her, it really didn't justify the amount of pique that went on. Mountain out of a molehill, I say, especially for a woman who is otherwise brave and rational and intelligent. And there was Altair's blindness about what was going on right under his nose. Then there's the little question about Alexandra's reputation and how respectable she would have been considering that she was, ahem, consorting with Altair.

So definitely some snags were encountered if I thought too hard about it. Regardless, Mirage was a fun read with just enough heat to make things interesting. Recommended, but with reservations. If you're a stickler for what was comme il faut, better reconsider.

Book Blurb for Mirage

A sheikh without a country. A woman without fear. A love hotter than the Sahara.

In his heart, Viscount Blakeney will always be Sheikh Altair Mazir, but a deathbed oath to his English grandfather forces him to divide his time between Britain and his beautiful Sahara. A victim of prejudice from both cultures, he has learned a bitter lesson. Trust no one.

Yet when he witnesses firsthand the British Museum’s rejection of Alexandra Talbot’s request for assistance in finding the lost city of Ramesses II, he finds himself not only compelled to help, but donning his desert robes to hide his identity.

Alexandra is all too familiar with men who equate her sex with a lack of intelligence. But the mysterious Altair isn’t like other men. He never questions her ability to find the lost city, only her resistance to the sinful pleasure of his touch.

Bound by a Pharaoh’s prophecy, desire flares between them under the desert stars. But murder and betrayal turn their quest into a deadly game, pushing their fragile trust to the breaking point. A trust that must be reforged if they are to survive.

This book has been previously published by Samhain Publishing.

Warning: Contains a half-blood prince of the desert whose tortured Bedouin heart beats beneath a proper English cravat. And an American archaeologist who’ll go a long way to fulfil her dreams.

Night Owl Reviews Feb, 2016 3.50