by Sarah Morgan, contemporary (2008)
Harlequin Mills & Boon, £2.99, ISBN 978-0-263-86404-5
The Sheikh's Virgin Princess is one of those rare category romances where the heroine doesn't make me want to take an ax to the book. However, Ms Morgan endeavors to make up for that oversight by instead having the hero do his best to bug the hell out of me with his impersonation of a jackass.
Karim is a Sultan rather than a sheikh, but hey, we shouldn't let accuracy stop the people in Harlequin Mills & Boon from pegging the most embarrassing titles onto their books. Karim rules Zangrar, which turns out to be a country in the Middle-East rather than a minotaur stronghold in Cormyr. He is not happy that he is contracted to marry Princess Alexandra from the European kingdom of Rovina. You see, there are all kinds of rumors about Alexandra giving Lindsay Lohan a run for her money and Karim, despite being a hotshot playboy himself, has enough Madonna/Whore issues to know that you don't marry the kind of women you have a good time with.
This is what confuses me. You see, Karim at first says that he doesn't want to marry a stupid slut. Then, when he learns that Alexandra is a pretty smart woman - in a way - he still insists that Alexandra is not a suitable wife. I don't know why. I don't think this man knows what he wants in a wife. This man is a complete asshole who keeps finding all kinds of often contradictory reasons to think the worst of Alexandra that he is not just an ass, he's a complete ass. He keeps saying that he doesn't want a slutty woman like his mother to get married to, but at the same time he keeps trying to shove his hands down Alexandra's pants and rants that many women would be honored to be where she is. And when she succumbs, then she's a whore. Really, Alexandra cannot win where this moron is concerned.
Oh, and I forget. He meets up with Alexandra while pretending to be her bodyguard, hoping that he will drive her away from fulfilling the marriage contract. After all, a big and brave man like him cannot be seen breaking a marriage contract, oh no, so let's have a woman do it instead! Karim says that his concern for his country is his utmost priority... so he runs away and plays at being bodyguard because that is indeed a serious matter of national security.
Alexandra is not the sharpest tool in the shed. Her insistence on not needing a bodyguard when traveling to the Middle-East because she thinks she'd better off traveling alone marks her as a woman on borrowed time because a fatal accident is no doubt inevitable one of these days. But at least she can put two and two together and give Karim a big dressing down for playing her for a fool, so she's not exactly a lost cause. Unfortunately, Ms Morgan doesn't believe that a hero admitting that he is wrong is "manly", so Alexandra gets a happy ending with Karim anyway when Karim doesn't grovel or stop being an asshole.
It's hard for me to say that I appreciate this book when I end up feeling so sorry for poor Alexandra. I don't think the poor stupid girl knows what she is getting into by marrying that jackass, but then again, they sure breed really dumb romance heroines by the busload where category romances are concerned, no? I suppose I should be grateful that there is just one character here, instead of two, that makes me want to vomit blood.
This book at Amazon UK
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