Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Surprise for the Sheikh - Sarah M. Anderson (HD #2439 - Apr 2016)

Series: Texas Cattleman's Club: Lies and Lullabies (Book 6)

One night with a sheikh leads to a secret baby surprise!

Billionaire sheikh Rafiq "Rafe" bin Saleed has come to Royal, Texas, to buy the town -- and get even with his former best friend. But Rafe's plans are pushed aside for one amazing night with a stranger -- and then nearly derailed when he discovers the identity of his mystery woman. For not only is Violet McCallum his enemy's cherished little sister, she's now pregnant with Rafe's child! Rafe knows he has the upper hand; all he has to do is walk away. But there's something about Violet that won't let him leave without her…

Very good book. Violet has had enough of her brother's overprotectiveness, and needs to get away for an evening. So she dresses up and heads to the next town, where she meets a super sexy guy named Ben. Sparks fly immediately and they spend an incredible night together, agreeing to keep it simple and anonymous. A few months later she's dismayed to discover she's pregnant, with no idea how to find the father.

Rafe, aka "Ben" has come to Texas to carry out the revenge he has spent years planning. While in college, his best friend Mac had slept with Rafe's sister, causing dishonor to her and Rafe's entire family. Rafe's father held him responsible and put Rafe through years of unimaginable horror in retaliation. All that kept him going was his plans for revenge. His brief encounter with the mysterious woman is a distraction he can't allow, but getting her off his mind is difficult.

Then Violet's brother Mac brings home his old college friend, who has come to repair their relationship. Both Violet and Rafe are stunned to see each other, Rafe even more so when she gets him alone to tell him of her pregnancy. Rafe is conflicted, because he is happy to see her again, but what will that mean for his plans?

I was torn about Rafe. He first appeared in Lone Star Holiday Proposal as the person behind the land purchases. His plan is revealed, but not the reason. Here we finally learn  why, but it doesn't really show him in a good light. I liked the fact that he was happy about the baby and wanted to take care of Violet, but he also was thinking of the ways that he could use the situation toward his revenge. As I learned more about what had happened to him after the college incident, I ached for the way it had affected him.

I liked Violet. She loves her brother, but is incredibly frustrated by the way he treats her. She is smart and does a fantastic job as ranch manager, but Mac still sees her as the young girl devastated by their parents' deaths. Though stunned by her pregnancy, she is completely capable of raising the child on her own. When she sees Rafe again, she is happy to tell him of the baby, but also wary of him. For all that he says the right things, she gets the feeling that he's keeping something from her.

I enjoyed the development of the relationship. The sparks are still there and stronger than ever. Violet accepts that Rafe wants to be involved, but insists that she is capable of doing it on her own if necessary. Rafe's initial plan is to woo her and make her fall in love with him, causing her to choose him over her brother. But the more time he spends with her, the more conflicted he is. He realizes that his plans will hurt her, but he can't give up the revenge he has waited so long for. Meanwhile, Violet is falling deeper for Rafe. He listens to her and sees how good she is at what she does. From things he has said, she senses that there hasn't been much love in his life, and is determined to show him what could be. Violet is the first to suspect the truth of what he is doing, and the knowledge devastates her. Her confrontation with him is heartbreaking. I loved seeing how Rafe suffers, torn between his anguish at hurting her and satisfaction at his success.

Enter a surprise player, who lays some truth in front of Rafe that makes him realize how wrong he has been. What he goes through as he looks at the past through new eyes is a life changing moment. I loved his big moment at the end, as he has to face both Mac and Violet. There were definitely some tense moments there. What followed was very emotional, as Rafe experienced something he never had before. I loved Violet's reaction to some of the things he said. It made me laugh, as the independent Texas cowgirl really came out at those moments.

There are a couple more stories to come in the series, including Mac's, which I am really looking forward to. I do wonder what Rafe is going to do with all that land he bought.

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