I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #13.5
on April 25th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Romance
Purchase Links: Amazon
ADD TO GOODREADS:
Kash Kamdar is the king of a peaceful but powerful island nation. As Loa Mali's sovereign, he is always in control, the final authority. Until his mother uses an ancient law to force her son into marriage. His prospective queen is a buttoned-up intellectual, nothing like Kash's usual party girl. Still, from the moment of their forced engagement, he can't stop thinking about her.
Dayita Samar comes from one of Loa Mali's most respected families. The Cambridge-educated scientist has dedicated her life to her country's future. But under her staid and calm exterior, Day hides a few sexy secrets of her own. She is willing to marry her king, but also agrees that they can circumvent the law. Just because they're married doesn't mean they have to change their lives. It certainly doesn't mean they have to fall in love.
After one wild weekend in Dallas, Kash discovers his bride-to-be is more than she seems. Engulfed in a changing world, Kash finds exciting new possibilities for himself. Could Day help him find respite from the crushing responsibility he's carried all his life? This fairy tale could have a happy ending, if only they can escape Kash's past...
Also in this series: For His Eyes Only
Also by this author: Satisfaction, For His Eyes Only
I figured a playboy king in an arranged marriage to a brilliant scientist, with a touch of McKay-Taggert Security antics and some palace intrigue thrown in sounded like a light, albeit sexy, read. I was not prepared for the journey this novella would take me on as it explored ideas of masculinity, femininity, and trust.
Close friends, and possibly more, back at Oxford, Kashmir Kamdar must leave Dayita Samar behind when duty to his kingdom of Loa Mali pulls him away. Even at the age of twenty, Kash wondered if Day might be the one. Fast forward fifteen years and one woman isn’t enough for the debauched Kash, even three in his bed doesn’t help him escape the pressures of the present and the pain of the past. Adding to his list of worries, his mother announces his arranged marriage to a bride of her choosing: Dayita Samar.
Family drama, palace intrigues, and a couple of assassination attempts surround Kash and Day as they reacquaint themselves and try to establish what type of relationship they want to have going forward. Will they be friends and political partners or will they be able to provide each other with the love and trust needed to make a real marriage? The answer to that question lies behind emotional walls and preconceived notions that are tackled with honesty and forthrightness.
Arranged packs a lot of heat, emotion and action into a small novel. But it is Lexi Blake, so what more would you expect? The emotional and physical connection between Kashmir and Dayita was the star of the novella, with perhaps a bit too many subplots to allow it to shine as brightly as it deserved.
I like being surprised and Arranged certainly gave me more than I bargained for – in the best possible way. A great addition to the 1001 Dark Nights series.
Arranged Sneak Peek
“Are we a happy couple?”
“I don’t think we’ve had time enough to be sure of that yet, but I know we were once.” She’d thought it through in a way she never had before. She had a much different view of those months with Kash in England. “You were courting me back then, weren’t you? You wanted me to be your girlfriend.”
He sat down in the plush chair that dominated the sitting area portion of his bedroom. Normally they stayed in the living room, but he’d wanted more privacy. This was the only place in his suite that wasn’t covered by CCTV, the only place where they could truly be alone. Everything about the space was masculine and decadent, including the man himself. With his hair disheveled and his chest on display, it wasn’t hard at all to see him as a primal male.
One she’d dearly enjoy taming.
“I don’t think you realized it at the time.”
She was willing to admit her faults. “I didn’t. I had my nose in a book most of the time back then and I had little experience with men. No, I had no idea you were interested in me beyond copying my notes from class when you slept in.”
“It would surprise you to know that I often thought about sleeping in with you.” His voice had gone low and gentle. “I was crazy about you back then, Day. I find myself in the same position today, but I don’t want to scare you. I know you think we should take this slow and I will honor your wishes, but I want this marriage to work. You see me as a playboy, but I don’t want to be some forty-plus player who trades on his money to keep young girls around him. I think it might be time for me to find out if I can be the king my father would have wanted me to be.”
It was all she needed to hear. If he wanted to try, she was ready. Despite his reputation, she’d fallen right back into a peaceful friendship with him. He’d been the old Kash, supporting her when she needed it. He’d asked her questions about her work with the education department and then gave her ideas on how to handle the parliament. He hadn’t told her what she should do. He’d suggested, debated.
“I think you’ll find me less averse to giving this marriage a real try than you think. I was planning on talking to you about using the Palm Ceremony to begin to explore what we could be as a couple.”
He frowned. “I’m not sure what that means. You want to talk? Or have counseling? Because that sounds terrible.”
“I was talking about sex, Kashmir. I thought we could use this time to see if we’re sexually compatible.”
He popped up out of his chair like an eager puppy. “Yes. I think that is a brilliant idea. We should start now. Don’t worry. I intend to be gentle with you.”
She didn’t move at all. “Like you are with your lovely flowers?”
“Women deserve a man’s care,” he said quietly. “Day, I can’t erase my past.”
“I don’t want you to.” He misunderstood her problems with his statement. “But I do need you to understand that I’m not one of those flowers. I’m not here to sit at your side and bat my eyelashes in the hopes that you’ll buy something for me. I don’t work like that. I don’t care about your money.”
“That is easy for you to say. You’re about to have access to all of it, aren’t you?”
He had a point. “Even if I wasn’t, that wouldn’t be why I would want you, Kash. Sit down. We have some things to talk about before we get started. Come here close to me.”
He moved to the chaise she was sitting on, lowering himself down with a sullen frown. “I knew there would be talking.”
She was fairly certain his lovely flowers did very little talking, but he would get used to it. “Why did you want me back then?”
“I liked you. I liked talking to you. I liked being around you. I rather liked who I was when I was around you.” His expression softened. “I don’t think you knew how alluring you were to someone like me. You didn’t understand how beautiful you were, so you didn’t use it against me. Most women do.”
“Well, that happens when you surround yourself with women who are mostly valued for their looks. I don’t blame them. They’ve been told their beauty is the only thing worthy about them. If you want to meet women who don’t feel that way, you should probably expand out of models and actresses.”
“Well, you would be surprised how many gorgeous, sexy physicists turn me down because I’m not smart enough for them.”