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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2011
After revealing a family secret at a Balfour Ball, Bella Balfour is exiled by her father to a desert spa retreat to reflect on her misdeed. At the spa, she is stripped of all comforts that modern society has to offer, including her cell phone, laptop, and iPod. They are replaced with sand, yoga, and herbal tea.

After two weeks at the retreat, Bella decides to escape. She spies a stable across the street from her prison and decides to "borrow" a horse to make her way back to the city of Al-Rafid. She miscalculated at how far away the city was, and quickly finds herself lost in the hot sweltering desert.

Sheikh Zafiq Al-Rashid is ruler of Al-Rashid. He takes his responsibility of providing for his country and his family very serious. Each year, he allows himself one week of peace and tranquility at a remote location in the desert. As he makes his way to his secret oasis, he is shocked to see his favorite horse, Amira, carrying a female rider who is suffering from heat exhaustion.

Zafiq easily captures Amira, and mistakes the rider as a horse thief. When the woman awakes he learns that she was making her way to the city to escape being placed there by her father. He believes her story, but refuses to give into her pleas to escort her back to the city.

Bella is intrigued by the Sheikh, but frustrated that her womanly charms have no effect on him in getting him to take her back to the city. She knows that he will not give into her and escort her back to the city; she prepares to stay with him for the next five days. Not wanting to reveal her real name and identity, she introduces herself as "Kate".

As the desert heats up, so does Zafiq's arousal to "Kate". Their close quarters bring a sizzling flame that refuses to be extinguished. The two give into their baser needs and the days quickly pass by; when they get back to reality Zafiq discovers "Kate's" true identity. Will he forgive her of her betrayal?

BELLA AND THE MERCILESS SHEIKH is one outstanding book! You will quickly get caught up in the passion that radiates from Bella and Zafiq. This is the second Balfour Brides book that I have read; both can be read as standalone novels for they each offer their own unique story. The Balfour Brides series is one series you definitely do not want to miss. I highly recommend it to any true blue romance fan.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2011
The h, rich spoiled Bella, was like a cartoon character. She batted her eyelashes, she cooed and she actually asked for champagne while staying a remote desert dwelling when she was badly dehydrated. 'Cause that's what rich girls do, I guess. I normally like Sarah Morgan's romances but this one was pretty lame.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
For those also reading each Balfour Brides book in the series, this one is probably my favorite. The storyline held my interest from beginning to end, I grew to love the characters, and the twists & turns in the story were varied & interesting. I wasn't finding myself guessing each outcome successfully at every turn. Sarah Morgan is one of my favorite Harlequin Romance authors, and she shows why with this book title. Enjoy your mental vacation ;) and get this book. I'm not giving away the storyline since others have fully reviewed this already; just putting in my .02 cents for what its worth for those wondering if this is a good read. Yes!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2011
Sarah Morgan has yet again provided this reader with a most magnificent read. In fact I personally enjoyed it so much, I read it twice!

Bella Balfour intrigued me as she hid so many hurts. As we've learnerd in previous The Balfour Legacy series, their father Oscar holds a charity ball every year and it seems each one has some sort of press coverage of a new family scandal. Behind the scenes, Bella who is known for her beauty and being a party girl and her Olivia were locked in a battle over a shocking discovery and it was revealed concerning their sister Zoe. So their father like he has done in the past sent Bella away to a quite retreat in the desert to think about her behavior and how she could turn her life around.

Feisty Bella had noticed the stables across from the retreat and slipped away. She found a lovely mare and as she in her youth was an experienced horsewoman, she decided to take the mare to go into the city because she was going crazy at the retreat with no cell phone, internet, etc. Once there she would leave the mare. However, she got lost and thought she would die in desert alone.

Sheikh Zafiq was an amazing man and head of his country, Al-Rafid. He was a strong and proud ruler, loved his country and his journey once a year to find peace and meditation. He was devoted to his siblings and had raised them He at times, felt the burden of raising them plus the burden of his country so he was looking forward to his five days alone in the desert, with no one, not even his guards. You can well imagine when he found his prize mare and a beautiful young Bella lost, dehydrated and sunburned in the desert, he was furious.

Bella and Zafiq's time in the desert began on a extremely rocky note and then after he nursed her back to health, the sparing began and then the sexual tension. They have five days to get to know each other and their time and romancing you absolutely will not want to miss. Their attraction was as intense as the hot desert sun and Bella fell in love. Zafiq, well let's just say duty came first. He was determined not to be like his father and be weak and fall in love with a beautiful, spoilt and pampered woman. Bella shared with him so much of her life in England and her family and he knew he was duty bound to his country to find respectable wife and mother for his heir so he needed to say goodbye upon their return to Al-Rafid and send her home to England.

Bella didn't want to go home because she felt two things; 1) her sisters were still angry with her and 2) every time her father looked at her she reminded him of her mother's betrayal.

She also new the mare she had stolen, his prized mare was the prize in an upcoming race. Zafiq's marvelous horse favored to win. However, if he did not, then the sheikh stood to loose his mare. She begged him to stay and promised if he gave her a chance, she would work in his stables, anything not to have to go home and face her family. I so admired how Bella handled herself with the grooms and horses. How hard and long she worked and because of her love for this proud man she was willing to sacrifice her safety. It was brilliantly written and so many lessons for all reading Bella's Disgrace.

Oscar Balfour had many family rules and I think Bella learned a few under the desert sun which were dignity, courage, loyalty and commitment traits any man could love. However, she most importantly learned about sacrifice because that was what she was willing to do for the man she loved even if it meant sacrificing herself or injury.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2011
I really like this book a lot. Bella is one of the Belfour sisters and like the rest of her sisters she has been sent to find herself in another part of the world no where near her father. She has been sent to the desert and while running away, she steals one of the sheikhs prize horses and almost kills herself and the mare on her quest to escape the sand and herb tea. This book is funny because Bella is funny. The Sheikh handsome, rich, also running runs right into Bella and the sparks fly. I loved this book and recommend it highly. I think of all the sisters Bella is the one I like most.
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Bella and the Merciless Sheikh is the definition of a fun and sigh-inducing romance sure to please readers across the globe. It certainly pushed all of my happy buttons I had the most awesome time reading this tale.

Once I was done reading this book, I wanted to read it again. I felt wonderfully satisfied with the characters, the setting and the plot conflicts.

Bella is one of the Balfour sisters. I've read one other book in the series so it's easy to say that this is a standalone read. It's also easy for me to say that this book kept me engrossed, highly entertained and impressed with the easy nature of the characters.

What I mean is Bella's character is a peach. She has a quirky sense of humor that had me giggling. She thinks the hero is grumpy, way too serious and is determined to get him to smile. She's perky, pert and a bit impulsive. She certainly kept the hero on his toes because he never knew what she was going to say. Neither did I and that was half the fun. Her dialogue was vivacious and clever and it covered a wide range of feelings. The thing is, I believe her way of speaking is part inner passion and part of an art or clever technique to cover her hurt and vulnerable feelings inside. She's been betrayed in the past and injustices keep piling up on her and she can't seem to stop it. She's not a cardboard paper doll. No, Bella has heart and a good dose of stubbornness and really wants to make a difference, if only for a little while -- hence her being with Sheikh Zafiq.

Zafiq is yummy and a dream boat. He also carries the world on his very muscular shoulders. I'd love to see him in person because Ms. Morgan described him in delicious detail especially when Bella sneaks an eyeful at one point. I think the author had a ton of fun imagining those scenes and it's terrific they've come across the written page so well. I enjoyed watching Zafiq fight his attraction to her. And of course he has emotional justification for resisting her unconventional ways. Another thing I noted about the hero is that he's stuck in a rut. He's had to act a certain way for so long, he's not noticed that the people he loves around him have changed, that their needs have changed. I really liked that his knowing Bella actually prodded him to grow and change as a person.

The action and drama is mostly internal but there is this exciting horse race that really had me flipping the pages to keep up with the action. It was amazing and I like how the author justified it, worked out the logistics and threw in some suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat. Of course, the aftermath had some very funny moments and Zafiq had me in stitches. Not so much by what he says but what he did. He was being completely serious but it simultaneously was incredibly romantic and it was one of my favorite parts.

Ms. Morgan has delivered another winner of a story for fans and new readers alike. Bella and the Merciless Sheikh is plain old fashioned fun with a hero and heroine that readers will fall in love with. This is the kind of book that is easy to share among friends but you just have to let go of the book first. As for me, it's going on my keeper shelf. I like to keep books that make me smile, have emotional and tender happily ever after moments and have characters I really liked meeting. This story certainly did that and more.

Originally posted at the Long and Short of It Romance Reviews
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on May 6, 2011
If you hear anything in this review hear this, Sarah Morgan knows how to develop a character.

You will not find a bratty, snobbish, or stupid dynasty daughter in this book. Bleeding through Bella Balfour's bad behavior is sarcasm, wit, and a genuine character. One filled with hidden vulnerabilities that are cleverly used by the author to make the love interested not only everything Bella needs, but also the one who can hurt her the most.

This book gives you a highly relatable woman that will take you through a torturous journey of hidden low self esteem, and the victorious ride of over coming it. We all have what we need within us, but sometimes our environment stifles and prevents us from know what we are made of. You'll find yourself rooting for Bella, wanting her to over come, and find her true place in the world. And, of course, find her happy ending.

I enjoyed the plot, the tension, the conflict, the heated desert scenes. In fact, I really can't find anything to complain about. It's a book that is not only good, it's a book worth re-reading!
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on November 19, 2013
If the stars is more than five, I will rate this book the highest star. Love it, I read it over and over. This showcases Sarah best work ever. The heroin is funny, smart and as the Sheik said in the book, misunderstood. However despite her being corky, she has a distinctive classy personality, I love that in her. The sex story is hot without being overboard, Sarah described their chemistry in a classy way and leaving the level to our imagination. The story flows and makes sense. Bottom line, great book, this is one of my best collection. If there is at all a critic, its so unimportant such as the picture of the Sheik on the cover is too young and doesn't represents the look of an important and mature leader of a Arab State. Bravo Sarah!!
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on December 2, 2013
Bella Balfour, a spoiled socialite heiress, is at a retreat in the desert & is sick of the exclusive resort & leaves but gets lost in the desert. Skeik Zafiq Al-Raschid is really upset that his week of solitude in the desert is interrupted by having to help search for Bella. He finds her at an oasis & before you know it they're lovers. Bella begs him not to send her back to the resort/retreat but help out at his stables as a mere stable hand. In spite of himself, he falls in love with the person she has become regardless of her family's wealth & position in England. First book in the Balfour Brides series.Pretty good read.
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on March 18, 2011
Some of the previous reviewers have told the story so I'm just going to talk about what I liked about the book.

I like the Hero, the Heroine, and Rachid. Loved Zafiq too- he was just this very cool, calm and likable guy. I particularly like Bella's independent spirit, and her sense of humor (lame at times but it felt like she was real). I loved how she tried to prove herself to everyone around her that she wasn't such a bad person behind the facade. However, I wanted a more potent chemistry between, I craved for it :D. 4 stars. More chemistry please, Ms. Morgan!

Still, a great fluffy read.
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