Kismet by Monica Burns
February 7, 2012 (Reissue)
Reviewed by Mandi
Allegra Synnford is one of the most sought after courtesans in London. Raised in a brothel, she finally broke free and has become an independent courtesan of sorts. She chooses which men will be with her, and that makes her allure that much more in demand to the men of the ton.
Allegra is taking a little vacation however to Morocco to attend her friend’s wedding. It is here she meets Sheikh Shaheen, who has lived among the Amazigh people for the past fifteen years. No one knows he left his British family behind all those years ago. He now has devoted his life to overseeing treaties among these tribes to keep peace and let them prosper. He has earned their trust and respect and must keep his former life a secret.
His world gets turned upside when he meets Allegra. At first experiencing instant lust but then disgust when he finds out she is a courtesan. Having been betrayed by a courtesan years ago, he has no interest in pursing Allegra as he watches all the men fall to her feet. At least that is what he tells himself. But his body might have other plans. When Allegra is kidnapped by an evil Sheikh, Shaheen makes the decision to rescue her, although Allegra sees it as just another prison. But soon, he wears down her defenses.
I loved and adored Pleasure Me by Monica Burns which came out last year, so I was happy to try her previous historical Kismet. I didn’t like this one as much, although it does present a different type of romance, mostly because of the fun setting of the Moroccan desert. The hero is a Sheikh, a very honorable man who works hard for the Amazigh people. But he is also very stubborn and arrogant. He knows Allegra is full of charm and thinks she can lure any man to her bedroom. So once he decides he really wants her, which is definitely a struggle for him, he decides he will be the one that will bring Allegra to his feet. They play a very sensual game with each other and I enjoyed that.
I did have a few problems with Allegra in this one. Sometimes I would forget she is this extremely sought after, elite courtesan. I guess her non-working personality just didn’t mesh with what she is suppose to be. I also wish her past would have been stressed a little more. Sold into a brothel by her mother, now in the present day she has her independence she will do everything to keep it. So when Shaheen rescues her from an evil villain, she is very ungrateful that she is now in his prison (although he means her no harm). I never like an ungrateful heroine, yet I had to remind myself why she was acting this way.
But they both learn from the other, and the two cultures come to find peace with each other. As I said, I would have liked to learn a little more of the hero and heroine’s past – to have more of an impact to understand their actions in present day. But a really fun setting and a very sensual story.