Aly Percy is her family’s ugly duckling, and she’s never been allowed to forget it. So she knows better than to imagine that Cup Companion Arif al Najimi’s blue gaze holds anything but contempt for her as a woman, or ever will. But if he’s offering to show her just how wild one night with him can be, wouldn’t she be a fool to turn down his charity? She may never get another offer like this one.
Arif al Najimi isn’t sure why he’s dreaming about the little scientist who’s so determined to take crazy risks for the sake of her research into the endangered turtles of his country. But as luck would have it, he’s going to get the chance to do a little research of his own…into the question of why Aly believes her own negative publicity about how desirable she is—and how hard it will be to convince her of the truth.
The story in a nutshell:
Aly Percy was prepared to continue her research on the endangered turtles in the country of Johari alone after her research partners have become indisposed. She didn’t expect to be accompanied by anyone else, most of all not by Arif al Najimi, Cup Companion and one of the closest advisers to the ruler of Johari. Aly may not be confident of her charms and beauty as a woman but she is confident and very invested in her research and cause. It’s a good thing Arif sees through her awkwardness and knows that she’s a bright, can-be-charming, and sexy lady. They grow closer together. But when it seems that barriers might already be falling, danger comes in the form of feelings and in more mortally dangerous enemies.
What worked for me?
I really appreciate that the author took the time to set-up the circumstances of our two main characters. Often times, this is taken for granted and a writer would just put the two main characters together with no explanation whatsoever and expect his or her readers to just take it as face-value. I’m really glad Alexandra Sellers explained the scientific study that Aly plans to undertake and I actually found myself invested on the safety of those endangered turtles as well. She was also able to show details about the country of Johari, its political structures, so that I had the impression of who Arif al Najimi is and where he stands in all of these.
I also love the chemistry between these two. I loved the build-up. I love how they are really getting to know each other as they spend more and more time together. I also appreciate that they are decent people, with good intentions, but as real as real people can get when the readers are shown that they harbor doubts themselves.
What did not work for me?
To be honest, I expected a story to be more on the amorous side. Not in the extreme but enough so that it justifies the tone of the book blurb. I was a little disappointed that the author didn’t even show how the two became lovers for the first time. I think the story as well as the bond between these two characters, especially in the eyes of readers like myself would have benefited greatly with that inclusion.
I was also a little underwhelmed with the ending. I accept it as an okay ending and I am not saying that it was a bad ending because it wasn’t. It’s just that I was expecting more. I expected that with the kind of setting-up that the author did in the beginning, that she would be able to give the ending the same treatment as well.
My over-all take on it?
Despite my small misgiving about the ending, this was an enjoyable read. I am left curious and interested with the fictional country of Johari and I would definitely still be checking out future releases from Alexandra Sellers.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Yes, these are my honest and personal thoughts on this book.
About the Author:
A writer and editor for the past 30 years, Alexandra Sellers has written over two million words for print, both fiction and non-fiction, including articles, reviews, training material, brochures, websites, mini-series ‘bibles’, blurbs, obituaries, short stories, and over 35 books. Her novels have been translated into more than 15 languages. She has also written and produced murder mystery experiences, and for several years taught her own course in How to Write Romance.
Alexandra Sellers has been a full-time writer since the publication of her first novel in 1980, writing novels that are both spiritually and emotionally intense. In 1997, her novel A Nice Girl Like You was nominated by Romantic Times for a Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Silhouette Yours Truly. Three years later she received the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy.
The common theme that runs through her novels is the cosmic union of male and female: the reuniting, through deep romantic love manifested in the sex act, of that universal soul which was divided into male and female at the moment of physical creation, and which has been searching for its other half ever since. Her novels also express a fundamental belief that love conquers all. Sellers is a writer who uses the canvas of romantic novels to present her ideas not only about love, but also about the world.
She was born and raised in Canada and educated there and in Britain. After training in London at RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she spent seven years as an actor on stage, radio, and television. She later attended the School of Oriental and African Studies, or SOAS, a faculty of the University of London that specializes in the cultures of the Middle East and Asia. Sellers was the first student to study for a double degree in Persian and Religious Studies; she was awarded First Class Honours.
Alexandra first started dreaming about exotic locales at the age of 10, when she first cracked the cover of a small collection of tales and pictures called The Arabian Nights. The stories were taken from The Thousand and One Nights, and names like Samarkand, Shiraz, and Baghdad still carry a magic for her which no amount of current history can overshadow.
Her favourite hobby is foreign languages, of which she has studied eight: French, Farsi, German, Arabic, Hebrew, Greek, Italian, and Latin. Her talent for languages (along with her sense of humour) was also expressed in her book Spoken Cat and Relevant Factors in Worldview, a self-teaching language primer of the Cat language.
Other areas of interest for Sellers include: health and alternative medicine; English grammar; linguistics; theatre/arts; Middle Eastern languages, religions, and history; Regency England; Jane Austen; psychology; dreams; storytelling; academic writing.
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