Strangers in the Desert (Harlequin Presents)

Strangers in the Desert - Lynn Raye Harris Lounge-singer heroine only agreed to go with sheikh Hero to his country when he informed her they have a 2yo son together. Heroine doesn’t remember being married to him or having a child with him or having left them 2 years ago. Hero wants to get a divorce so he can marry his childhood friend & be crowned king in the next few weeks. But heroine resists their divorce to have access to their son & to solve the mystery of her selective amnesia. Hero gives her 2 weeks before they make a final decision re: their marriage. Their strong attraction to each other, new knowledge of what their marriage was like & who they are now, and their bond towards their son makes their final decision harder to make.

My 1st Harris book & it won’t be my last. Heroine’s post-partum depression was handled well & made her subsequent selective amnesia believable. Pair that with her unrequited love for her husband and we have ourselves an angtsy read. It was dramatic yet the main characters were portrayed as mature & introspective people. We get both their POVs re: their feelings & thoughts about themselves & each other & their marriage. They both had regrets re: how they handled their marriage 3 years ago & we see how they’ve changed since then. We see them struggling with the persons they were in the past & who they were now & the feelings they have for each other now. Heroine especially underwent a huge personality change, going from a passive & no-personality doormat to a more vocal & assertive woman with solid inner strength. Hero falls in love with her as she is now & regretted not being able love her or know her when they 1st got married. He took responsibility for his failures as a husband to her yet he didn’t lose track of his prioritizing his son’s welfare above all else. Heroine also had their son’s welfare as her primary goal despite the complications she was facing re: her amnesia & her r/s with Hero. She was determined to handle her problems much better this time & it showed in her decisions.

I liked that Hero was celibate for 3 years since heroine got pregnant. He admittedly had sexual urges especially during the 2 years since he thought she was dead but his responsibilities as the upcoming king & as a single father to their young son prevented him from dallying with anybody. He hadn’t even kissed his childhood friend & fiancé who he was to be married to in 2 weeks. IMO that makes him a stand-up alpha Hero. He was honest with himself & with her about not being in love with her & neglecting her when they were newlyweds. And I LOVE how he broke down & begged her for a chance to show her that he will be there for her from now on. The epilogue was valuable b/c it showed that years after Hero & heroine are still so much in love with each other & she is very secure in his love for her. It also answered my concerns about her suffering from future post-partum depression. She & Hero have 3 other kids together.