Thursday, January 2, 2014
Delicious Delay by Tara Quan
Khalid Al Dehri takes one look at the red-headed spitfire in the business class lounge and knew he’d either been transported to heaven—or hell. Her tart response to his surliness intrigues him beyond all propriety and the longer he spends in her company, the more he can’t deny his forbidden attraction. But will she explore the sensuality between them or will society’s rules keep them apart?
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While the premise for this novella was intriguing enough, when I found out from the author that a conversation we'd had on Twitter months ago provided much of her inspiration for this piece I simply had to read it. I expected good things from it since I have enjoyed Ms. Quan's other works, and I wasn't disappointed. This one is sizzling hot from start to finish as what starts out as a semi-casual tryst between two people that meet by chance slowly develops into something that hints at an HEA for them in the future.
Michelle Day is a young, independent American woman who is on her way back to the United States after having spent the last 3.5 years working abroad in the Middle East and China. While she does pay heed to what is and is not considered acceptable attire for women in the countries she's passing through, she only bothers to adhere to the most essential points while on the ground. Once on the plane, she changes to shorts and a lightweight top to be more comfortable but her new attire soon attracts more attention than she had planned on when she's forced to ask Kal, a Middle Eastern gentleman who is the only other occupant of the business class cabin, for a translation of the captain's latest announcement. Sparks begin to fly between them from the moment they first lay eyes on one another, though to their credit they don't allow them to truly ignite into flames until several hours have gone by.
Kal initially tries to resist his attraction to Michelle, sensing that it will likely lead to more complications that he wants if he gives into it. Try as he might, however, he's unable to fight it for more than a handful of hours before he finally approaches her and invites her to share a proper meal with him while they wait. From that point onward the sparks slowly begin to ignite a slow burn of desire between them that eventually leads to a few sizzling, semi-public, highly inappropriate and likely illegal kisses accompanied by at bit of dry humping, and then finally bursts into full flame in a smoking hot scene in the women's shower. Though he had only intended to seek a casual one night stand sort of encounter with her, Kal soon finds himself wanting more than just that from her.
Exploring themes of instant attraction that leads to a not-so-casual tryst and of a confirmed bachelor playboy type who finds himself wanting something more than transitory pleasure for the first time in his life, this one is a delightful and steamy read from start to finish. Kal quickly proves that he doesn't really fit the stereotype of the wealthy, arrogant, misogynistic sheik and that adds greatly to his allure. He treats Michelle as his equal and voices his respect of her intelligence and opinions at the same time that he makes it patently clear that he intends to seduce her. Things move quickly between them, but not so quickly as to be unbelievable, and while there are indications that this will likely develop into an HEA for them in the future, it ends with a "let's just see where this leads" attitude. I can respect that kind of ending for such a short work, though I really wish we'd been able to read more about these two for I was thoroughly enjoying the interplay between them.
I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a steamy, romantic short story to pass an hour or so with. It's pretty much guaranteed to have you fanning yourself at the heat generated between them, and likely squirming in your seat from the erotic imagery created by Ms. Quan's descriptions. 4.5 stars (rounded up for Goodreads) to this outstanding short by a highly talented author.
Note: I received a free copy of this story from the author in exchange for an honest review.