Surrender to the Playboy Sheikh

Available in stores

Romantic Times Top Pick

A Waldenbooks top 10 series romance bestseller

Shorlisted for Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, Best Presents 2009

Mills & Boon Modern Heat

To Tame a Playboy duo, book 1

March 2009

ISBN: 9780263872361

 

Harlequin Presents

July 2009

ISBN: 9780373128419

Red-hot nights with a desert prince

Karim al-Hassan can have any woman he wants, and sexy little waitress Lily Finch is in his sights. One glance leads to a searing kiss - and a hunger that Karim plans to satisfy with a temporary fling.

But Lily is more than just a waitress. Successful and career-focused, she is determined never to mix business with pleasure again - until playboy Karim's slow seduction breaks her resistance! Soon Karim is breaking his own rules: he wants Lily in his bed - for ever!

Also released in Australia in paperback May 2009, ISBN: 9780733592454).

 


Behind the Book

This is the first of a duo, To Tame a Playboy, starring two playboy best friends: Karim and Luke.

Karim al-Hassan is the heir to the throne of Harrat Salma; he's in London, sorting out tourism and business development for his country. He's a very modern Sheikh - no robes or desert scenes, here! (Well, actually, there is sort of a desert scene at the end. I sneaked that in. Except, being me, it isn't a desert per se. . .)

Although he's doing his duty, he's secretly missing the job of his dreams.

Then he meets Lily, cook to the rich and famous, who's promised herself she'll never get involved again and repeat the mess of her past. Especially as she's equally attracted to Karim and knows that no way will a Sheikh be able to marry a non-royal divorcee from a different culture.

Watch out for the shower. (I really, really fell in love with Karim's flat. And Lily's kitchen.)

The nerd alert here is Karim's former job. He's a vulcanologist. I managed to sneak that under my ed's radar, as she absolutely loved the scene at the end.

It's dedicated to my dear friend and fellow author Liz Fielding, who writes the most fabulous sheikhs. (She's also written my favourite category novel ever - Gentlemen Prefer Brunettes.)

And the book's recipe - Circassian chicken - is seriously scrummy.

The book's soundtrack

I was listening to a fair bit of Arabic music for this one. I'm going to have to be a tease, though, because the video I saw on YouTube - well, the singer was the spitting image of the guy I had in my head as Karim. And I'm being very, very evil and keeping that to myself. (Note to fellow authors: no, chocolate will not work, this time.)

However, Karim is a man of two cultures, having spent half his life in England. So I also had some very, very English classical music on the turntable: Vaughan Williams' 'Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis'. I heard this while my husband was channel-hopping and made him go back and stay put until the piece had finished, because it blew me away. Two days later, being the wonderful man he is, Gerry came home with the CD - which is utterly fabulous. And this piece of music is quite important in the book.

And the other song - to go with the weepie bit - is Colin Blunstone's 'Miles Away'. One breathy voice, one gorgeous tune and words that sum up how my characters feel during their enforced parting...

Read a Bit

CHAPTER ONE

'Thank you so much for your time, Your Highness.' The journalist was practically curtseying to him. Something Karim really, really hated.

But he managed to stay polite. 'No problem. Nice to meet you.' He was aware that he was wearing just as false a mask as the journalist was.

No doubt she thought she had some great quotes to use in a diary piece. This was the kind of party that always made the gossip columns - high-level people from the business world, politicians and hotshot brokers and a sprinkling of actors and pop stars.

And he knew exactly what the spin was going to be where he was concerned. That His Royal Highness Karim al-Hassan been partying hard, with a champagne reception every day for the last week and languorous lunch engagements that started before midday and never finished before three.

Five years ago, they might've been right. He'd partied with the best of them. Burned the candle at both ends.

But now... it was old news. With the wrong spin. Though in some respects it suited him - people were nowhere near as guarded with him when they thought he was just out for fun, a charming and sophisticated dilettante.

What the newspapers all missed was that Karim's glass usually held sparkling mineral water rather than gin and tonic. That he had a retentive memory and didn't need to make notes - he could recall every detail of a meeting and follow it up with letters or reports as necessary. And none of them had any idea that when he left a lunch meeting or a party, he'd be working on complicated figures or reading reports from focus groups until the early hours.

Since his father had entrusted him with such an important task - developing tourism and foreign investment in Harrat Salma - Karim had been more businessman than playboy. He'd done the research, met the right people, made the right contacts, written his business plans. And now he needed to make the most of it. He'd set up a series of meetings with people he knew would bring in investment that would help create more jobs, better infrastructures and the chance to develop sustainable energy sources in his country. To put Harrat Salma at the forefront.

Even as he chatted pleasantly among a group of people, smiling and making appropriate comments in the right places to show he'd been listening, Karim's mind was working on his business plan. Though something nagged at him to turn round. Like a whisper in his head that wouldn't go away.

Eventually, he gave in.

Turned round.

The woman across the other side of the room caught his attention immediately, despite the fact that she was clearly dressed to be invisible rather than to shine. Her hair was an ordinary brown, caught back at the nape. Her black shift dress was simple, elegant and very plain. Her shoes were low-heeled, rather than strappy high heels. She wore no jewellery, not even a watch. No make-up, unless she'd gone for the 'barely there' look that he knew from experience was incredibly high maintenance - though, given the rest of her appearance, he didn't think so.

Odd.

She was the complete opposite of the women he usually dated. Given that she’d dressed to be ignored, he shouldn't even have noticed her. But something about her drew him. As if there were some connection between them.

He'd never seen her before. He would've remembered her, he was sure. He had no idea who she was - but right at that moment he really wanted to know. And even though he was supposed to be networking, he could allow himself five minutes off. Just long enough to find out who she was and ask her out to dinner.

From the book Surrender to the Playboy Sheikh by Kate Hardy.

Harlequin Mills & Boon Modern Heat
Publication Date: March 2009
ISBN: 9780263872361
Copyright © 2009 by Pamela Brooks
® and ™ are trademarks of the publisher.
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
For more romance information surf to http://www.eHarlequin.com

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Reviews

From Cataromance:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Kate Hardy's first Sheikh romance: Surrender to the Playboy Sheikh! A tender, poignant and moving tale that tugs at the heartstrings, Surrender to the Playboy Sheikh is an unmissable story of hope, redemption, second chances and destiny from a wonderful writer who never fails to write stories which keep you turning the pages late into the night!

From Romantic Times - 4.5 TOP PICK

When Karim al-Hassan and Lily Finch's eyes meet across the room at a business function, the air sizzles with electricity. But Lily is still smarting over the ugly demise of her marriage and has no interest in men. Karim is a sheikh, the heir to the desert kingdom of Harrat Salma, and will soon be returning home to an arranged marriage. So there's no chance these two will become involved ... but all it takes is one kiss. Surrender yourself to this sexy and romantic attraction-at-first sight story. Every aspect is spot-on, from the smoking-hot pair to the sensual step-by-step buildup as attraction turns to love. This hero is definitely a keeper!

From The Good, The Bad and the Unread - Grade A

If anyone thinks that HMB books are churned out with next to no effort from the writer - this is one of the best examples against this argument that I've read, and certainly the best this year.

This book took the trope of the playboy sheikh and turned him into a real person, one you could like. Karim is a second son, and inherits the responsibilities of the small country when his older brother dies. Part of his playboy reputation comes from the fact that these days a lot of business and networking is done at parties. While he regrets losing his career as a volcanologist he doesn't repine on it but gets on with his new life. I loved that about him, and I adored the way he considered the needs and wants of the woman he falls in love with. He doesn't take for granted that she will fall in with his wishes, he doesn't force her or blackmail her or coerce her, he seduces her. Great big sigh of happiness. His seduction is done with respect and healthy anticipation. I adored that about Karim and I could see exactly why Lily fell for him.

Elizabeth Finch (Lily) owns a catering company, and is a bit of a celebrity, doing recipes for magazines and photoshoots. She's booked up three months in advance. And a warning here-Kate Hardy knows about cooking and if the descriptions of little ice-cream balls and coffee mousse filled choux buns don't make you hungry, ur not doin it rite. She has a quiet dignity, and glory be, she is in her late twenties and she behaves like it, too. She has a brain and while she's independent and proud of it, she's prepared to compromise.

The stumbling blocks in the romance are believable and are dealt with in a great way. There is little heavy drama and savage declarations, but Kate Hardy uses proper words like "penis" and "come" and her sex scenes are erotic. Not erotic because of the frequency or the heat, but because you can see the couple falling in love, and even before they fall they care about each other, so the sex scenes are about connection and pleasure, not about athletics or marathons.

I spent a lovely morning with this book, and I'd advise you to do likewise. I read the UK version, but the US version is one of the July Harlequin Presents offerings. Get it. You'll love it. An unrestrained...Grade: A

From The Pink Heart Society Reviews

  • You can never go wrong with a Kate Hardy novel and Surrender to the Playboy Sheikh is certainly one of her best! Realistic characters, heartwarming drama, passionate emotion, tender love scenes and wonderful romance combine to make Kate Hardy's first Sheikh novel a book that will fly straight to your keeper shelves!
  • Kate Hardy has penned another winner with this book. Karim was easy to love while remaining alpha not only as the future ruler of his nation but as a man. He saw what he wanted and pursued it with a single minded relentlessness that can only be admired - Lily... I truly could not see how I was going to get my Happy Ever After with this book. However, with masterful writing and skillful insight, Kate Hardy managed to pull this off. And then some. The end had me crying - which, to me, is always the sign of a fantastic read.

From Amazon - 5 stars

Romantic and sensual would be two adjectives to describe Kate Hardy's wonderful Surrender to the Playboy Sheikh... This love story is so breathtaking and romantic you'll want this for one of your summer reads!

What they're saying on e-Harlequin:

  • This is the first part of Kate Hardy's To Tame a Playboy duo. It is also Kate's first sheikh. The question is what took Kate so long? As Karim is lovely. Okay more than lovely, melt in the mouth. A really good escapist read. Be sure to watch out for the very lovely bathtub scene - bubbles, champagne and...
  • Another luscious, emotional read from Kate Hardy who has ventured for the first time into "sheikh" country. No sand, no robes in this one. The book is set in London where Karim falls for a sexy, gorgeous caterer the first moment he sets eyes on her. The final scene is just lovely.
  • I LOVED Karim. He is not your typical Sheikh. When Kate says in the dear reader that she said no sand and no robes, I had a feeling it would be different. Karim was Sexy with a capital S. I believed his conflict. He was dead sexy, did I mention that? And he is a leader. After recent discussions about alphas, I realized that while it was with some reluctance, Karim would be the best leader of his country that he possibly could be. It isn't in him to be second best. Or to not get what he wants. The other thing I absolutely adored was the food. I was so hungry reading this book. And I kept thinking, does Kate actually taste test all the foods she puts in her books? Because if she does, I'm coming for dinner.
  • This is a wonderful story - loved it! Hardy's alpha male is a hunky, sexy, nice guy. She writes believable romances between well-balanced heroes and heroines. No super young naive females pairing up with older sophisticated control freaks in this book. I love books that show me what is in the heads of both the heroine and hero and this is a strength in Hardy's writing.
  • I enjoyed this book very much. I like books in which the heroine is just as strong minded as the hero and refuses to let him overpower her.
  • I love how Karim saw what he wanted and went after it. He did it respectfully though. He didn't go in and demand that she do as he wanted because of his title. I also love how they had ground rules set but yet they both broke them.
  • Karim always gets what he wants and in the end he even gets Lily, the divorcee. I like how Lily came to be such a strong person with a great work ethic and wonderful business. Her taste/choice is men sure changed with the intro of Karim. He has such a sad background and yet he is so willing to do what must be done for the family. This book made me hungry though! They make a wonderful pair and their backgrounds actually complement each other well.
  • I'm always hungry when I read Kate Hardy's books! Ms. Hardy creates a wild fantasy in Surrender to the Playboy Sheikh. Her heroes always seem to step right out of a dream, a decidedly female kind of dream. : ) If the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, the way to a woman's heart is through her kitchen and that's exactly what Karim does, he invades Lily's life and kitchen and he does it with panache and loads of sex appeal. Poor Lily doesn't stand a chance.
  • Really interesting and entertaining story. This story had a nice flow, the romance was really present and the conclusion was really natural. Good book.

 

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