Date: 7th October 2023, Posted by mollie
We are heading into Spring in New Zealand. I’m so happy. I’m also happy with my progress on my second Sheikh-inspired romance, Stolen By The Sheikh.
One of my advance readers commented recently, “I often wonder how authors come up with the stories they do. This one has a good premise.”
This reminded me to revisit the inspiration for STOLEN BY THE SHEIKH, and in turn, the third book in the Sheikh Untamed Brides series, Bought by the Sheikh, which I’m currently in the process of writing.
I’ve always been enthralled by art heists, art frauds, and art crimes, and this interest, or obsession, as my partner would say, was heightened by the astronomical sale of Leonardo Da Vinci‘s portrait of Salvator Mundi.
Then I wondered, as authors do, what if my heroine was involved in this sale and somehow implicated in subsequent claims that the painting is an elaborate fraud designed to embarrass a powerful and vengeful sheikh?
Enter Lucy Ford, the former art advisor to renowned art magnate and billionaire Sheikh Anwar na Hassir, who stands falsely accused by his impulsive cousin Hammad, who has acquired the contested painting.
So the story began there. What if Lucy and Anwar had a fling and were very much in love, but Hammad’s claims of fraud detonated their relationship and imploded her art advisory career?
The accusation tests Anwar’s loyalty, but family comes first. Determined to protect his family’s reputation, Anwar tracks runaway Lucy down, discovering she has reestablished herself as a contemporary artist. He arrives unannounced at her solo exhibition in New York and is momentarily distracted from his quest by the artistic talent he never knew she possessed.
When he discovers Lucy is carrying his child, he responds the only way he knows how—abducting his baby’s mother and proclaiming Lucy as his wife. Banished to his desert Kingdom, he tells her that she is free to create, but she may never leave.
I wondered how would a woman react who has been distrusted and abandoned and brutally wounded by the man she loves, feel being imprisoned, valued only to carry his heir, regarded as Anwar’s very, very reluctant bride?
How might enemies turn to lovers, anger turn to forgiveness, hate to love, and what would it take to bride the divide?
As one advance reader commented: ‘There is plenty of conflict…I wonder if they will ever get their happily ever after?”
If you love clean romance with all your favourite tropes, including:
• Enemies to lovers
• Secret babies
• Opposites attract
• Wrong sides of the track
You’ll love Stolen By The Sheikh
I plan to release Stolen By The Sheikh prior to Christmas. In the meanwhile, if you haven’t read Claimed by the Sheikh, you’ll enjoy meeting the characters who also take more of a starring role in the second book in the series.
You’ll find more details here: https://www.molliemathews.com/claimed-by-the-sheikh/
I’ve included a draft excerpt in this blog I hope you’ll enjoy reading the story and meeting some of the characters and images of the beautiful desert settings which inspired this romance.
The exhibition was looming, and Lucy hadn’t begun painting. Ideas were swirling around, diffuse and dissipating, but now it was time to actually start the work. She studied the blank canvases looming large along the walls and sucked in a deep breath.
Just do it! Don’t overthink!
She plunged the floppy mop into the bucket of diluted magenta paint she had prepared. Magenta, the colour of universal harmony and emotional balance. Magenta, containing red’s passion, power and energy, restrained by violet’s introspection and quiet energy. Magenta promoted compassion, kindness and cooperation. Magenta was the colour of cheerfulness, happiness, contentment and appreciation.
She wasn’t seeking Anwar’s approval, but she hoped he would love what she created. She was celebrating their love and the winding journey their hearts had travelled.
“Be fearless,“ she encouraged herself. “Be brave. Fortune favours the bold.” Wrenching the mop from the bucket, dripping with shimmering pigment, she lunged at the canvas, exhaling noisily from deep in her belly.
“Love!” she shouted. “Lock onto love!” She swept the mop with vigorous sweeps along the canvas, then repeated similar movements with each of the 12 canvases lined across the walls of her studio. Her arms tingled with pulsing conviction as her confidence grew bolder with each flourish.
“Love rules. Love matters. Love is the real world.”
Love was no longer a dream. No longer an unanswered prayer. No longer an abstract concept but tangible and real. Because of Anwar and their child. Lucy worked quickly, saturating the canvas with her inspired emotions. She felt free. Happy. In her element. The giant canvases confronted all the small fragmented aspects of her past she no longer wished to carry. Her childhood may have been stolen but the precious riches buried deep in her soul lived.
She stepped back and viewed the paintings from a distance. What do they need?
A good painting is a mix of sameness and contrast. Opposites attract in life and in art. Taking a soft-bristled paintbrush, she layered in subtle strokes of inky-navy within the vibrant jolts of magenta pink. Anwar was navy to her magenta. Strong. Reliable. Safe. His love had bought stability to her life. His love had forged her dreams into reality.
Brush in hand, launching between canvases; Lucy was in her body. She was working with her mind rather than against it. She was in her heart rather than detached from it. She was engaged, present and receptive.
She stood back and saw the potential of the idea unfolding in a kaleidoscope of intuitive, divinely guided inspiration. Throwing caution to the sand dunes swirling outside, she worked rapidly, dancing as she painted.
At last, she was done. Trembling and excited, she knew not to overwork the paintings. They pulsated with life. They held gesture, emotion, and meaning. She had begun with a blank canvas and made something exhilarating.
What reception would they, she, receive when they were unveiled? Their reaction was beyond her control. Anwar and his wealthy collector friends would either love them or detest them.
Her hand trembled slightly as she added a bold signature.
“Come what may,” she said, placing her brushes down.
I hope you enjoyed reading this excerpt and meeting some of the characters and images of the beautiful desert settings which inspired this romance.
If you’ve read Claimed By The Sheikh, you’ll remember Anwar from the first chapters of Claimed by The Sheikh
You’ll also meet Issy Riley, the art therapist who had encouraged Lucy to paint in Stolen By The Sheikh. Read Issy and Massimilliano Balforni’s love story in The Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride
Claimed by The Sheikh, remains one of my favourite love stories. As I shared in the Author’s Note: Claimed by the Sheikh was partly inspired by the tragedy in 2015 that took the lives of former New Zealand sporting star, All Black legend Jerry Collins and his Canadian partner Alana Madill in France.The crash happened at 3:10am along the highway near Béziers on the way to the city of Montpellier. They died instantly, and their baby daughter was taken to Montpellier hospital in a critical condition.
I cried such tears thinking of that baby being left an orphan. It really worried me that she would be left in the world with no parents to love and care for her.
So I wondered―what if her parents weren’t really dead? What if the two people that died were the baby’s adoptive parents? What if her biological parents were very much alive?
And then, as writers are want to do, I thought, what if the biological father was an extraordinarily wealthy sheikh who was unaware that he had fathered a child?
I hope you enjoy the audio excerpt and video:
To enjoy your copy from Amazon: https://mybook.to/ClaimedByTheSheikh
To enjoy your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores:
To enjoy your copy from Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ebook/claimed-by-the-sheikh-8
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