Hi Annie and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Inherited for the Royal Bed!
Thank you so much for inviting me! It’s the middle of a chilly winter here in Australia so it’s nice to be talking about a sizzling hot new release.
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
Sayid has inherited a kingdom on the brink of disaster. But that’s not all. When, after days of tense peace negotiations, he finally makes it to the royal bedroom he discovers he’s also inherited a love slave! Lina is beautiful and she’s his. But she’s also just seventeen and an innocent. Determined to do the right thing by this girl whose own family abandoned her, he moves her out of the palace and gives her the education she craves. But four years later she returns, determined to pay him back for his generosity by helping his plans for education reform. But Lina is now more confident and stunningly attractive than before and she doesn’t try to hide the fact she’s attracted to him! He’s not in the market for a wife. Can he keep the distance between them, or will he give in to the deep-running current of desire between them? And if he does, what will be the consequences?
Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:
This is tough. There were several that made me smile. But maybe this at the end of chapter one.
‘I can’t leave, sir. It’s all been arranged.’ She curved her lips in a tentative smile that didn’t show in her eyes. ‘With your uncle’s death I now belong to you.’
From that moment on both Sayid and Lina’s lives are intertwined. For even though Sayid doesn’t approve of how she came to the palace, he can’t just toss her out onto the street.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- Those of you who have read my previous sheikh stories might remember the name of Halarq, which is Sayid’s kingdom. In ‘The Desert King’s Captive Bride’ Sheikh Huseyn seals a peace deal with the new Emir of Halarq. At the time I didn’t know anything about the Emir except that he’d just inherited his kingdom from a very unpleasant uncle. This is his story!
- The idea for this book came from me playing with titles. I came up with ‘Bequeathed to the Sheikh’ which sizzled with promise. That led to two separate story ideas. This is the first of those. However, I don’t get the final say in the titles for my Harlequin stories, which is why it’s now called ‘Inherited for the Royal Bed’.
- In my story Lina missed out on attending school but she became fluent in a couple of languages as a kid after hanging around with foreign archaeologists at a local dig site. I hadn’t realised as I wrote this but I based that aspect of her life on a boy I met years ago in Egypt. He lived on the west bank of the Nile in a village renowned as the home of generations of tomb robbers! He was fluent in English and French because he’d spent so much time at the nearby archaeological site.
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
Ha! I have to admit that initially Sayid is in lust! But soon he’s fascinated by this young woman who, despite her demure appearance, shows flashes of fire and a sense of humour. Initially Lina views him as a hero, a generous man who treats her far better than she expected, freeing her from slavery and giving her the education she wanted. But soon her crush turns into something far stronger as she discovers the real man.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
In this scene Sayid has discovered his good intentions towards Lina are wavering, especially after they shared an incendiary kiss. She’s grown into a sophisticated, intriguing woman, but living in his palace she’s pure temptation, and a complication he doesn’t need. He comes up with an outrageous solution to move her out of the palace. But please don’t be too hard on him. It’s a spur of the moment idea and he’s desperate. The scene is full of repressed and not so repressed emotions. I’d love the see two fine actors performing this.
‘I’ve been thinking about your future, Lina. You can’t stay here indefinitely.’
It was what Lina had wanted, to get on with her life. Yet, rather than rejoicing, pain tore through her. She wasn’t ready to leave him. Especially after last night. It had been like opening a door and stepping into a whole new glorious world. She felt transformed by what she’d experienced in Sayid’s arms.
Pride and sense came to her rescue. ‘Of course not.’
He nodded, yet his dark eyebrows angled down in the centre of his forehead as if he were displeased. Lina kept her gaze on him. He’d been as much a party to what happened last night as she, more so, given her lack of experience. She refused to feel guilty.
‘I’m glad you agree.’ His mouth curved up at the edges, but it wasn’t a real smile, not like she’d seen earlier this morning. ‘Which is why I’ve decided it’s time to find you a husband.’
Lina’s mouth dropped open. Her eyes popped. Her entire body froze, except her fingers clawing at her chair for support.
Finally, as pain filled her chest and her vision misted, she remembered to breathe, her lungs heaving, dragging in oxygen. Even then, she felt like she had on that first ever flight, the day she left Halarq. As the ground dropped and the jet shuddered and dipped before rising into the sky, there was a moment when she seemed completely cut off from every reality she’d ever known.
‘Husband?’ Her voice wasn’t her own and she licked her lips, trying to moisten them.
Sayid’s gaze flicked to her mouth then away. Abruptly he moved to take a seat across from her. ‘Most Halarqi women your age are married.’
Lina slumped back in her chair, hefting another breath. He wanted her married and out of his hair.
Readers should read this book….
If they want a fast-paced, passionate story about duty vs love.
If they like Cinderella stories and heroines who, despite the odds, stand up for themselves, demanding respect as well as love.
And above all, if they enjoy a sexy, strong hero who (I hope) will steal your heart.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?
‘Burning for the Italian’, book 8 in my Hot Italian Nights Series, comes out on 1 August and is available for preorder now https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CYWTCWY. The logline is It was only an affair – till they broke all the rules. Works for me!
Then in October I’ve got a fabulous Harlequin release called ‘Her Forgotten Lover’s Heir’ which is, you guessed it, an amnesia story with a sexy hero who’s hiding secrets from the heroine. I loved writing Molly’s story. https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Lovers-Harlequin-Presents-Larger/dp/1335504842
After that, watch out for ‘Billionaire’s Prisoner in Paradise’. https://www.amazon.com/Billionaires-Prisoner-Paradise-Annie-West-ebook/dp/B07DGWCPR8
Right now I’m working on another Mediterranean romance, this time set on the gorgeous Greek island of Corfu. Sigh. I’ve been having a wonderful time with these strong, demanding heroes and their lovely locations. The perfect escape!
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: I’ll give three readers each a signed copy of one of my previous sheikh stories (and there are a lot to choose from).
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: For both Sayid and Lina it was attraction at first sight. That grew over time into true love. I’d be interested to hear what sorts of things have attracted you to someone. Is it something physical or a personality trait or the sound of their voice, or their laugh, or…?
Excerpt from Inherited for the Royal Bed:
This is more of the scene I shared earlier, after Sayid has told Lina his (not so) brilliant idea of her marrying someone of his choice. But he’s fighting a losing battle:
Sayid stared down into Lina’s flushed, vibrant face and forced his clenched hands behind his back. All morning he’d been hyper-aware of her, even as he conducted his tour, talking with scores of others. She’d stood silent, a little behind him, but he’d breathed in her light floral scent, been conscious of the stares of others, taking in her beauty. More than once, on turning, his breath had clogged in his lungs as he’d seen her and fought to resist the urge to grab the soft length of her hair, wrap it round his hand and tug her hard against him. He wanted to taste her again, experience the heady combustion of desire when they came together.
But he couldn’t, damn it…because he was doing the decent thing.
And did she thank him for it?
He looked down into flashing violet eyes, the ripe mouth, set in mulish lines, and wondered why even her mutinous attitude was too attractive.
Because he was tired of people deferring?
Or because her fire reminded him of how she’d felt in his arms?
‘While I appreciate your concern for me, it’s unnecessary.’ Her eyes locked with his, no hint of backing down. ‘Halarq is changing. You’ve said it’s good for women to have careers now. That’s what I want.’
Damn her! She had the temerity to quote his own words back at him.
Sayid ground his molars, surprised to discover that while he despised yes-men, he wasn’t keen on disobedience either. ‘There’s no reason you can’t have both a husband and a career.’
‘But I’m not ready for a husband. I want to—’
‘You’re my responsibility. I’ll decide what’s best for you.’
Her head rocked back as if she’d been slapped. Yet he’d said nothing untoward. He had an obligation to see to her security and welfare.
‘I’m twenty-two. Old enough to make decisions about my future.’
She had a point. He’d been treated as an adult since he was fifteen. But then his circumstances were different.
‘Enough!’ Sayid rounded the desk and sat down, occupying the position of power as she stood before him. ‘You can trust me to find you a decent man.’
Instead of assuring her, his words seemed to detonate her intriguingly volatile temper. He’d had hints of it in the past, like when she’d described her undesirable cousins and when she’d boldly met his gaze when so many wouldn’t. Yet he’d had no notion she could be so easily provoked, except in passion. The knowledge was disturbingly…arousing.
She planted her hands on her hips and her eyes flashed amethyst fire. Her cheeks were rose pink, her lips the colour of mountain cherries.
She looked…incendiary and captivatingly sensual.
‘When I want a man I’ll find him for myself, thank you very much.’ Her chin tipped up. ‘For all your talk of modernisation and rights for the disenfranchised, you don’t believe your own rhetoric, do you? You still see women as possessions, unable to make decisions for themselves.’
Sayid was on his feet in a second, palms flat on his desk as he leaned across it towards her. ‘Nothing could be further from the truth.’
‘Then prove it. Don’t dictate to me.’
‘In case you’ve forgotten, Lina, I’m your guardian. It’s my job to make decisions for you.’
If he’d thought his anger would make her back down, he was mistaken. She paled, but instead of subsiding, she paced right up to the other side of his desk, holding his gaze with all the calm composure of a born leader.
Her perfume teased his nostrils. That rich rose scent took him straight back to last night, when the taste of her sweet mouth and the torture of her body against his had driven him to the brink madness. He’d almost taken her right there on the hard flagstones by the pool.
He shook his head, trying to clear the miasma of desire enveloping him.
‘Damn it, Lina. You’ll do as you’re told!’
She didn’t even flinch. Instead she planted her own palms on the desk and leaned into his personal space, as no-one else would dare.
‘Are you saying you’d force me?’ She heaved a breath that made her lush breasts swell against the fitted bodice of her red dress. ‘Are we returning to the days when women were chattels to be bartered between men? I thought you objected to that. Or was all that just fine words?’
Sayid reared back, stunned and furious. Lina couldn’t have got it more wrong. He knew the ugly reality of life for women under his uncle’s outdated regime.
At fifteen Sayid had been all that stood between his beautiful, widowed mother and rape then a forced marriage to one of his uncle’s cronies. Rape then a quick wedding being an easy way to acquire a widow’s wealth.
Sayid had stood up to the man his mother had rejected, sword in hand, and fought for her right to choose. He’d fought for his own life too, for her disgruntled suitor had no qualms about killing those who got in his way.
The ancient knife slash up Sayid’s arm throbbed with a phantom pain at the memory.
‘You dare to question my morals? This is the thanks I receive after all I’ve done for you?’
Lina’s ingratitude stung. Yet at the same time Sayid felt something more. A quickening of dark excitement as she stood up to him.
Heat bloomed anew in her pale face, dark red flagging her high cheekbones. Yet still she didn’t back down. Either she’d completely forgotten whom she was talking to, or she was more recklessly courageous than any adult male in the country. For none would meet him head on like this.
‘You want my gratitude?’ She almost spat the word at him. ‘You have it. You’ve had it for four years. Why do you think I worked so hard at that school, even in the beginning when it was pure torment? Why do you think I stuck it out? To prove your faith in me was justified. That I wouldn’t let you down. Day after day I ignored the ridicule and teasing, the fear that maybe I didn’t have it in me to succeed. Because I wanted you to be proud of me.’
Sayid frowned. This was the first he’d heard of ridicule or teasing. Surely he’d have been informed—
‘Not that you were interested. I never heard from you, not once in all that time.’ She hefted a quick, shuddery breath that did something strange to his internal organs. ‘But that didn’t matter. I kept at it because I was grateful, and because I wanted an education. I’m working with your educators to pay off the debt I owe you, because I’m grateful and—’
‘Enough!’ Sayid put up his hand, horrified at the undercurrent of emotions her words evoked. Emotions he couldn’t, didn’t want to name, but which left him raw and weakened. As if someone had taken a sword to his knees, cutting off the strength in his limbs. ‘There is no debt. You’re free to leave.’
‘With a husband you choose for me?’ She shook her head so violently her ebony hair swung wide, brushing his upraised hand, drawing his body to instant arousal.
Instantly he was back in the courtyard last night, that silky weight caressing his bare skin as he drove his tongue into her mouth, going mad on the taste and feel of her. On the untrammelled hunger he’d never be able to sate.
‘No, thank you.’ She was as proud as an empress, looking down her nose at him, even from her inferior height. ‘I’ll work off my debt as agreed. In the position you created to appease my pride.’ He must have started because she nodded. ‘Even I can see you don’t need me when you’ve got trained professionals to do the job. But I’ll stick at it because I’m grateful and I pay back my debts.’
Fleetingly he thought of telling her those professionals thought she was more effective than the rest of them put together. But that could wait.
Sayid didn’t know if it was the sniping way she said she was grateful, or the thought of her staying in the palace for months, possibly years, till her conscience told her she’d paid off the debt of her education.
Maybe it was the flare of unfamiliar recklessness engendered by her jabs at his conscience.
Or the heady rush of adrenaline from being so close to Lina when she forgot herself and transformed into this magnificent, proud, indomitable, desirable woman.
Suddenly all the leashes, the checks and stays Sayid had placed on his baser impulses snapped. There was a roaring in his ears, a feeling of release as he leaned across the desk so his words feathered her lips.
‘If you’re so determined to pay back your debt to me, Lina, there’s a much better way.’
He saw her eyes widen, a flare of brilliant violet alive with…trepidation or excitement?
There was one way to find out.
‘Come to my bed. Be my lover for a week and the debt is cancelled.’
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
‘I now belong to you.’
He will finally claim his inheritance!
Four years after inheriting—and liberating—a concubine, powerful ruler Sayid is shocked to see the transformation of Lina. No longer shy and naive, she is a feisty, irresistible woman. And Sayid has never wanted anyone more! But, duty-bound to his country, Sayid can only commit to a brief affair. Will Lina accept his outrageous proposal of a week in the royal bed?
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Meet the Author:
USA Today Bestselling author Annie West loves writing passionate, intense love stories. She has devoted her life to an in depth study of tall, dark, charismatic heroes who cause the best kind of trouble in the lives of their heroines. Creating heroines who are a perfect match for those strong, stubborn men is one of her all time favorite things. As a sideline she’s also researched dreamy locations for romance, from vibrant cities to desert encampments and fairytale castles. She leaves on the east coast of Australia and her favourite things are books, good company, good food and travel.
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