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the inspiration for my heroine

Date: 2nd June 2023, Posted by mollie

Dear friends,

Zaha Hadid was the inspiration for my feisty heroine in Claimed By the Sheikh, a world-renowned architect known for her innovative designs and groundbreaking approach to architecture. Born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1950, Hadid became one of the most influential architects of the 21st century, with her work being recognized around the world. In this blog post, let’s take a closer look at her life and her remarkable career.

the inspiration for my heroine

Early Life and Education

Hadid was born to an upper-class family in Baghdad in 1950. Her father was a wealthy industrialist and politician, and her mother was an artist. Hadid’s early exposure to art and architecture would have a profound impact on her later career.

In 1972, Hadid graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. She then worked for several years as an architect in London before establishing her own firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, in 1980.

Career and Innovation

Hadid’s work was characterized by its bold and innovative designs, which challenged traditional notions of architecture. She was known for her use of geometric shapes, curves, and asymmetry, and her buildings often seemed to defy gravity.

Some of Hadid’s most famous works include the MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome, the London Aquatics Centre for the 2012 Olympics, and the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Throughout her career, Hadid was a trailblazer for women in architecture. She was the first woman to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the field, and was also awarded the Stirling Prize, the UK’s top architecture award, twice.


Hadid passed away in 2016 at the age of 65, leaving behind a legacy of innovative and groundbreaking work. Her impact on the field of architecture cannot be overstated, and her designs continue to inspire architects and artists around the world.

Today, Zaha Hadid Architects is one of the most respected and innovative firms in the field of architecture, carrying on Hadid’s legacy of pushing the boundaries of what is possible in design.

In conclusion, Zaha Hadid was a remarkable architect whose influence on the field of architecture will be felt for generations to come. Her innovative designs, bold use of form and space, and commitment to pushing the boundaries of what is possible have inspired countless architects and designers around the world.

No wonder my hero, Sheikh Tariq na Hassir fell in love with my heroine, Melanie Jones.

Claimed by the Sheikh

Passionate Hearts: A Sensual and Compelling Romance Novel of Forbidden Love and Second Chances

Here’s the blurb:

A grief-stricken Sheikh Tariq na Hassir, the formidable ruler of the Kingdom of Avana, arrives in Paris to claim his brother’s child after a car crash killed his parents–only to find out from the hospital that the child isn’t their biological son. Salim is Tariq’s son, with his former lover, a renowned architect.

Three years ago, after being banished by Tariq from his desert kingdom, Melanie Jones secretly gave her baby to Tariq’s childless brother and his wife, in a swap the world was never supposed to discover. 

The tragedy pulls her back to the world that rejected her and the man who abandoned her—the only man capable of tuning her carefully controlled world upside down.

Tariq will do whatever it takes to protect his legacy, including claiming Melanie as his bride and his son as heir before scandals ensue. But Melanie has other plans for her future—a westernized life where she’s free to operate her own business, control her life, and hold onto her wish that one day she’ll meet a man who loves her for who she truly is. 

If you love beautiful stories, set against a sensuous backdrop of the sensuous desert, art and innovative architecture you’ll love Claimed by The Sheikh.

testimonial Claimed by the Sheikh

Enjoy the first 6 chapters for free here:

To enjoy your copy from Amazon:

I’ve included a draft excerpt, of the second book in their series, Stolen By The Sheikh 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. 

Stolen By the Sheikh…

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:

To enjoy your copy from iBooks, Barnes & Noble and other great bookstores:

To enjoy your copy from Kobo:








Claimed by teh Sheikh audio, e, and paperback

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