Spotlight & Giveaway: Challenging the Doctor Sheikh by Amalie Berlin

Posted August 3rd, 2016 by in Blog, Spotlight / 52 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Amalie Berlin to HJ!

Hi Amalie and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Challenging the Doctor Sheikh!

Hello everyone! Sara, thanks for having me again!

Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:

Challenging-the-Doctor-Sheikh-Desert-Prince-DocsRebellious Dr Sheikh forced home to build new healthcare system, grudgingly falls for quirky, seeking, British-born architect…and fights it.

Please share the opening lines of this book:

The heat Prince Dakan Al Rahal had been used to in his youth blistered the back of his neck as he prowled from the new high-rise apartment building in the heart of his kingdom’s capital. Only a few days as ruler-in-residence since the king had flown to England to attend the impromptu wedding of his eldest son, and already Dakan couldn’t remember ever having a worse mood.
It also made him aware of just how practical the traditional white robes would’ve been to wear, not that practicality would change his mind about wearing them. He liked the clean lines of his dark suits, he just liked them better on soggy winter days in England. What he wouldn’t give for a brittle autumn wind right now.


Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • One of my junior high teachers volunteered to have a book dedicated to him when I was complaining on Facebook that I was running out of dedication people… so I naturally said SURE… and now am fervently hoping he doesn’t read it. I like writing the sexy, but I do my best to pretend that no one I know reads those passages 🙂
  • There’s a tiny trebuchet in this book–sorta–and it’s integral to the story!
  • I may have based Nira’s lust for architecture on myself, in part. My first career was in drafting, and as the daughter of a carpenter, I do love the process of building, and have a fixation with types of ancient architecture. Enough that I had to go back several times to make sure I wasn’t geeking out and overly describing buildings, arches, and domes.


What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?

For them both, there’s a large Forbidden fruit aspect to their attraction.

For Dakan: She’s in the country to work for him–so he should behave a certain way toward her, but she’s also British, which means she’s actually someone he could be himself around while the whole of the country would expect a proper ruler-in-residence/prince, she’s the one person he can be himself around. Her sense of humor, ability to play and flirt, attractiveness, and pale green eyes lending her a touch of the exotic don’t hurt.

For Nira: She’s been kept from everything to do with heritage that should’ve been hers through her father’s line and nationality. Dakan is literally forbidden fruit, but he’s also strikingly attractive to her, and she’s unused to trying to tamp those feelings down as she’s trying to make herself while in Mamlakat Almas. Initially for her, it’s his attractiveness and knowing she really shouldn’t… It gets more potent when she starts to see beyond the beautiful exterior.

Using just 5 words, how would you describe Hero and Heroine’s love affair?

Scandalous, playful, suspenseful, potent, and lusty.

The First Kiss…

Staying away for a week had been hard. Dakan’s mood had been so black prior to today that Bashir—his father’s aide—had constantly sent the attar to him to try and get him to drink a potion to help. It wasn’t until today and hearing his first official patient was returning that he’d found something to smile about. Nira’s call had come right when it could make the day good enough to wash away the previous seven.

He still needed to kiss her and wasn’t keen to examine why just yet. The way she looked at his mouth made the perfect excuse to forget his challenge.

He leaned down to her ear and whispered, “Kiss me, woman, or make a liar of me. I’m pretty damned sure I don’t care any more if you beg or not, just kiss me.”

The breath that stuttered out of her open mouth sounded like a plea and then like a lament.

“I can’t.” She shook her head, stepping away, pausing to judge the distance between them, and then moving another meter away. “I’m not going to sleep with you. I can’t do that and then travel around the country with you. Everyone would be able to look at me and see we were lovers. I want to kiss you. I want more than to kiss you, but…could you stop with a kiss tonight?”

Could he stop at one kiss?

Dakan watched her chest rise and fall far too rapidly for anything but excitement, fear, or both—considering the situation.

His mind was made up before he started moving, “Let’s find out.”

Three short strides and he reached her. She didn’t move away again; she didn’t ask for more assurances or answers. His hand slid into her hair to cradle her head and he pulled her to him.

His lips touched hers and the fire that had been threatening to eat through his will exploded in his belly, met by an equal hunger in her kiss. She slid her arms free of his waist to wrap them around his shoulders, leaning into him as she held him curled down to meet her, pressing every inch of her body against him that she could.

Her mouth opened and Dakan took the invitation to take the kiss as deep as he’d been dying to since that first day he’d met her.

It wasn’t enough.

He wanted greater contact, to mash himself against her the way her whole body invited him to.

When his lungs began demanding air he still wasn’t ready to stop. Breaking from the sweet mouth that held him captive, he trailed kisses across her cheek and down the side of her neck, letting his hands roam her body to settle beneath the cheeks of the plump swell of flesh that had jiggled so temptingly at him when he’d caught her working in her pajamas. He squeezed, pulling her hips against his.

A stuttering breath and a groan preceded the softly whispered “Stop. We have to stop…”

He stopped kissing, but didn’t release her yet.

The urge was there to convince her otherwise, but she said to stop.

Reluctantly, he let go of her bottom and moved away. The linen trousers, which had seemed to comfortable and casual, now might as well be a spotlight to the effect she had on him.

“I’m sorry,” she said, but made a point of not looking down. “I just can’t.”
“So you said.” Another deep breath and he got his pulse slowed down, then broke away to head for her desk area. She had plans for him, he’d get those at least before leaving.

“Do you want to stay for dinner?”

It was the apology he still heard in her voice that helped his frustration subside somewhat, that and the breathless quality that at least confirmed that she was as affected as he was. “No. I’ll take the plans and go home. Let me know about the private wing, and I’ll call you with our itinerary at the end of the week.”

If he went straight home and into a cold shower, he might be ready to travel by next week. Or he might be wearing the robes for other reasons.


Without revealing too much, what is your favorite scene in the book?

I actually have a number of favorite scenes from this book, but after the actual first kiss, it seems like I should talk about the first ALMOST kiss… it’s actually a long excerpt, so I’ll include the first bit here and then jump to the remainder below.

It’s my favorite because of the chemistry, my heroine getting flustered and saying stupid things, and the sexy gauntlet thrown down by the hero.

Too soon they were back in the car, the soiled shirt now cleared away, and soon the palace stood behind them.

“I hope your perspective changes when the hospital is done. Even if you go back to London. One day, your kids will want to see all this. Trust me.” And what he’d said to her about being destined to be a follower, never able to really help his people, came back to her. “We’re coming at it from two different sides of the same coin.”

“What coin is that?”

“We most want what was kept from us as children.” She reached out and took his hand this time. “I want to know all of this, see all this, experience everything that was denied me. You want to do what you feel has been denied you.”

He listened—that was something else that made the man so attractive to her. He listened to everything she said to him. She’d spent so much of her life having her thoughts silenced, on this matter at least, but Dakan listened and didn’t seem to judge. Granted, she’d been able to get rid of the sneaky tears before he’d got back to witness them, but she’d pretty well bared this weirdness of hers to him and he hadn’t said one single harsh word about it.

“That’s not what I want most right now,” Dakan said, his thumb starting to stroke the side of her hand from wrist to thumbnail, back and forth in a slow, thorough caress that sent a shiver up her arm. Something in the air changed, and the gentle and somewhat companionable way he’d held her hand became something that heated her insides and messed with her breathing.


If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would be absolutely crucial to include?

There’s a building collapse where Nira is trapped in the basement with a baby and a pregnant woman, and Dakan comes to the rescue… Only he can’t rescue without her help–the building is teetering on the edge of collapse and needs her structural mind to make it to her and get them out.


Readers should read this book …

Boy, I stink at this part! 🙂

Readers should read this book if they want to read something frisky, flirty, and fun?

(Also, they should probably start with Carol Marinelli’s first book in the duet because it’s awesome: Seduced By The Sheikh Surgeon!)


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?

I’m currently working on my 10th book for Harlequin Medicals, as well as proposals for a couple of other projects.

My next release is February 2017, the fourth book in an author-led quartet titled: Hot Latin Docs. Four doctor brothers in Miami, from a tragic broken background, and the amazing women who heal them.


Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: 2 copies of the 2n1 Duet paperbacks from the UK which contain both Carol’s book and mine! And some swaggy goodness 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: I’m going to ask a completely unrelated question, because Sara gave me the opportunity by not specifying the question!
I’m always on the look out for new Netflix/Prime/whatever series to binge watch. What’s your favorite, most binge-able series and why? (It doesn’t have to be currently on Netflix or Prime, I keep a list of stuff to look out for 🙂


Excerpt from Challenging the Doctor Sheikh:

(Continued from the almost kiss snippet above!)

He pressed a button and a darkened window slid up between them and the driver, but he never took his eyes off her.

“What do you want?” She asked the question, knowing the answer. He wanted the same damned thing she wanted—to be really, really stupid.

In answer, he released her hand and his arm slid around her until his long fingers wrapped over her hip. Supple black leather caressed her body as he slid her to him.

Her throat went instantly dry, and she couldn’t think of a single thing to say. She couldn’t even figure out whether or not she should kiss the man. This morning, even after the hospital, she’d would’ve been tempted, but she could’ve resisted. But something about his unexpected confession moved her. Something about the way he accepted this feeling she couldn’t name, didn’t comment when it overcame her…moved her.

If she kissed him now, it would be all over. She’d be tearing the man’s clothes off the second they were through the door of the flat.

Leaning back, she blinked up at him, eyes wide, shaking her head. “We can’t. I can’t…”

“You want me to kiss you, Nira.”

“I do,” she admitted, then followed quickly, “And I don’t. I don’t want you to kiss me. We can’t. I can’t.”

“You can. No one will see us.” The hand on her hip firmed up, curling her in against him even as she tilted her head back.

Oh, he smelled good. And after the cold marble floor at her back he felt even better. Warm. Firm. Strong.

“I can’t because I want to. Because it can’t go any further and there’s something really horrible about this level of chemistry. It’s like a trap. And you’ve been…” Less confessing would be good. Playful. Playful flirting was easier to say no to than this intensity threatening to swallow all her good intentions and every shred of reason. “You’re seducing me with your sexy architecture!”

There. That was…well, pretty stupid. Not exactly flirty.

He leaned forward until the tip of his nose touched her cheek, and she could feel his breath fanning her skin, “I thought you said your feelings about architecture weren’t sexually deviant.”

“It’s not…”

“So you mean I’m just here to tempt you like some sexy architecture-owning beast?”

“Yes,” she lied. Going along with his interpretation was pretty much all she had going for her right now.

His lips brushed the sensitive strip where jaw blended to chin. Technically, not a kiss. Just some maddening feather-light caress as he spoke.

“You are temptation personified.” That was the truth at least. She turned her head so they were nose to nose, before he actually kissed her neck or her ear in some dastardly sexy checkmate. That’d be worse than kissing her lips.

“Because you want to be a good girl,” he said, his voice still low, a deep throaty timbre that summoned an ache low in her belly, his lips barely touching hers as he spoke. “You turned your mouth to mine. Does that mean you want me to kiss you now, ya amar?”

Ya amar. Speaking Arabic to her when she could barely think in English.

“No.” Yes.

Her heart hammered in her chest, but she balled her hands into fists so they wouldn’t do anything impetuous, like reach for him.

His words finally translated in the fog of her mind and she asked, “Like the moon?”

“Beautiful.” He whispered the explanation, stroking her ego in one word, but calling her on her lie with his next words. “You want me to kiss you despite all your denials. Take the choice away.”

And it was a strike against her willpower and her devotion to the rights of women that he was right.

Her stay in Mamlakat Almas was supposed to be a guidepost to help her figure herself out, in order to explore what she might’ve been had she been raised here. Even counting out the track record Hathaway women had with Middle Eastern men, she shouldn’t sleep with him—embracing what she might’ve been meant wrestling with the idea of chastity. Even if it was a little late for that, technically. She couldn’t go abandoning her admittedly possibly temporary principles over pure lust.

But in the back of her mind, if he kissed her, as the instigator, he absolved her from blame. Like that was even minutely acceptable!

Whoops, went to a foreign country and the sexiest prince in existence ravished me in the back of a limo. Rascally Prince. What can you do?

“That’s unfortunate,” he said, letting go of her abruptly as he drew back. “Because I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to kiss you until you’re begging for it.” The car rolled to a stop and she realized only when he opened the door and got out that they’d arrived. Her workspace waited for her.

On quivering legs, she managed to crawl out behind him and stand, but Dakan blocked her in against the car, holding the door with one hand as the other went to her hip. Still with that low seductive purr, he whispered at her ear.

“And you will beg me for it, habibi. Because you’re not going to be able to think of anything but the way my mouth would feel on yours, on your skin, at your breast. You want me as much as I want you. The sooner you come around to admitting it, the happier we’ll both be.”

He squeezed her hip and let go of her, stepping back so that the door was clear.

She searched for something to say—anything to say—but came up blank. A girl could fantasize her whole life about someone throwing down such a sexy gauntlet, and in every fantasy she’d have a saucy comeback.

Nira had no saucy comeback.

All she managed to do was nod, and mutter, “Okay.”

Walking took almost as much concentration, and she was glad he got back into the car and it pulled away so he wouldn’t see her wobbling her way into the building.

Him leaving was probably all that saved her from begging right then.

Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Book Info:

A desert seduction

After years of freedom, the last thing Prince Dakan Al Rahal wants is to return home to remodel his kingdom’s healthcare system. But his sense of duty prevails, and he’s rewarded with sultry Nira Hathaway—the architect overseeing the project!

British-born Nira is not what the doctor prince expects. Her every word speaks of defiance—which proves even more satisfying than the capitulation he’s used to! Nira is in Mamlakat Almas to trace her past, but suddenly Dakan is determined to show her why he should be her future…
Book Links:

Meet the Author:

Amalie BerlinAmalie lives with her family and critters in Southern Ohio, and she writes quirky, independent characters for Harlequin Medical Romance. Her favorite stories buck expectations with unusual settings and situations, and the belief that humor can powerfully illuminate truth—especially when juxtaposed against intense emotions. And that love is stronger and more satisfying when your partner can make you laugh through the times you don’t have the luxury of tears.
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52 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Challenging the Doctor Sheikh by Amalie Berlin”

    • AmalieB

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen Perry Mason, but I know vaguely it’s about like… detectives and courtrooms? But I’ll try anything once. Almost 🙂

    • AmalieB

      OMG I lovvvved Justified. I did that binge. Of course, I live in Appalachia, so sometimes it was like pretending that sexy marshal might be driving around my neck of the woods 😀

      Good one! (I really might have to binge that series again…)

    • AmalieB

      I haven’t tried this one either, and I honestly couldn’t say why. Who doesn’t like firemen? Putting it on the list!

    • AmalieB

      I haven’t watched Nashville, but sometimes I question my decision not to. The lead(Hayden P) kind of annoys me. I think I have some kind of Heroes hangover that’s refusing to budge(Her character drove me nuts on that show. I kind of wanted to drown her over and over again, since she was all immortal and whatever… UNLIMITED DROWNINGS!) SO… my psychopathy aside, I have avoided Nashville because I don’t want to dislike her in something else hahaha. How’s that for a dumb reason?

      But Heartland also looks really good. I’m getting a pretty good list going already! I asked for some reccs on FB the other day and it looks like I may never write another book at this point… You know, if I manage to narrow down the choices and decide what to watch next at any point.


    • AmalieB

      This comment might not appear in the right place, it’s saying “reply to Teresa” every time I click reply, but this is to Debby236!

      Haven’t heard of this one either. But those two words are good and definitely worth checking out. Pretty much anything with Murder or Forensics in the title is an auto YES from me.

    • AmalieB

      Not binging is probably healthier…

      For me, I don’t really do TV. I watch like… 3 shows on tv, and DVR all those so I can catch up 2-3 weeks at once. Walking Dead, Preacher, and Outcast. Basically the weird/scary ones that are super intense. And the rest of the time it’s Netflix and Amazon.

      I’ve been spoiled by the ability to watch a whole season in a weekend and not have to wait for another week to see what happens next. Blaming ADD on that one! (Even though it’s probably not to blame for my need for instant gratification.)

      • janinecatmom

        The reason i don’t watch a lot of tv is because my husband is always watching his shows. I record a soap opera and watch a couple different things. But most of my time is spent away from tv.

    • AmalieB

      I just realized that I also binge read. I don’t like to wait for the next installment of a series, so don’t tend to start on them when they come out–even if I’ve heard awesome things–because I want to be able to inhale the subsequent books if I love book1.

      There should probably be some kind of Official Syndrome named for this. I’m gonna ask Uncle Google!

        • AmalieB

          When you love a book, it’s terrible to have to wait for the next! I guess it’s the same for series, but it’s probably only because I am now spoiled by show-binging.

      • lindamoffitt02

        Me Too I hate having to wait for the NEXT book Tick Tock Tick Tock
        Fern Michaels has a Good Series with about 20 books in it The Sisterhood Series about Vigilantes IDK what kind you like though

        • AmalieB

          I should probably be ashamed to admit this, but at a certain # of books, I get intimidated. I can go all in and wait for an 8 book series, but after that, I start getting antsy. This is probably to do with my dyslexia, as much as I love to read, the prospect of too much ahead of me does make me a … LOT intimidated!

          • lindamoffitt02

            Yeah there is no way I’d buy them but I used to get them from the library and I would get a couple at a time same for the stephanie plum series by Janet Evanovich

          • Evelyn Nathalia

            I did a seven-book series and I love like 5 of them but I enjoyed reading all of them. There is this one time that I want to start and I saw there are more than 10, I was scared to read it. 😀
            It got annoying though that some of the series that I want to read got into the 15th book and it seems there is no ending in sight. That series might even go to 20th book and at that time I will give up on trying to wait. =D

  1. Kate Sparks

    Not a Netflix member…. we watch the NCIS on all channels… does that count??

    • AmalieB

      I’ve not even attempted Pretty Little Liars, but I will give it a gander!

      Grey’s Anatomy is a shoo-in. And I love-love-loved Revenge. I think I binged it twice… which seems super gluttonous to admit somehow.

  2. glam009

    I not a netflix member but I Like GOT, Outlander and The Last Kingdom

  3. Meredith Miller

    I don’t know if it’s on Netflix or Prime, but the Outlander series has been great!

  4. Patricia B.

    I don’t bing watch, but if I were to do so, it would be Starz’s OUTLANDER. My husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. We did sort of binge watch before the finale of this season. We had missed two episodes and wanted to make sure we caught up. They ran the complete second season up to the finale on the Saturday prior to the last episode.

  5. Tanja Dancy

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was such a fun show, lots of action, teen angst, surprises. I loved this show and also its spinoff Angel.

  6. Audrey Stewart

    I recently binge watched, BADLANDS on National Geographic. I was so shocked at the end. This is documentary of a small town murder in Texas. All true.

  7. kermitsgirl

    Leverage is one of my favs, Eureka was a fun one, and I love BBC’s Sherlock. Also, if you’re into ridiculous humor, Bob’s Burgers was something I hated the first time my husband made me sit through the series….and now I love it.

  8. Amy Rickman

    I don’t watch much tv, mainly Fixer Upper on HGTV and Pioneer Woman on Food Network.

  9. Cynthia P

    If you like history with your mystery, these were all on PBS at one time or another: Foyle’s War (WWII), Miss Fisher’s Mysteries (1920s), Murdoch Mysteries (1890s), and this one I got on dvd, Tommy & Tuppence: Partners in Crime, the older ones, with Francesca Annis (1920s).

  10. Nancy Luebke

    For something fun, I watch old Golden Girls series. I also like the the CSI series or the NCIS that has several. There is Ncis, Ncis Los Angelas, and NCIS New Orleans.

  11. Jen B

    Doctor Who and Statgate SG-1 are the only programs I’ve ever binged watched – aparently I like sci-fi.

  12. Banana cake

    Gilmore girls, and Netflix is doing four episodes that will be out in November