Recently, whilst trying to block a vast incoming email which was messing with my tiny computer, I accidentally wiped out 1,500 saved email messages from my mailboxes! Amongst various other problems, this has meant that I no longer have the name or email address of a lady who wrote to me a few weeks ago, asking whether my mother had ever used an Arab hero in her novels. I have been racking my brain for the answer since then and have finally came up with Desert Barbarian.
Desert Barbarian is a quirky Charlotte Lamb romance from 1978, which was just edging into the Wonder Years where my mother's production level was concerned, so a book that may have been eclipsed by the torrent of her later titles, Lamb producing as many as twelve books a year around that time.
This M&B romance features a mysterious and brooding half-Arab hero who literally sweeps jaded tourist Marie Brinton off her feet and rides away with her into the desert for a spine-tingling adventure of dangerous kisses beside a camp fire. The hero calls himself Khalid in that romantic setting, but his real name turns out to be Stonor Grey, a ruthless business tycoon with a penchant for beautiful women and a healthy respect for his cultural background. In some respects a trickster figure, straight out of myth and fable, but a sexy and unforgettable one as Marie Brinton is uncomfortably aware.
Here's a slightly edited excerpt from the book, where 'Khalid' has snatched Marie from the grounds of her hotel and carried her to a house near the bazaar, from where he intends to take her into the desert. She tries to escape but is quickly recaptured, finding no help from curious onlookers in the bazaar.
'I told them you were my woman who had run away from me. They advised me to beat you and then make violent love to you. They assured me that such treatment would be certain to make you more malleable in the future.' He gave her a taunting glance. 'I've followed one half of the advice. Perhaps I should now follow the other?'
'If you touch me I shall scream!'
He laughed. 'Empty threats, Miss Brinton.'
'How long are you going to keep me here?' she asked, trying to distract him. 'There'll be a reward. Someone will inform the police ...'
'By then we will be safely miles from here in the heart of the desert,' he said coolly.
Her heart sank. 'In the desert?'
'I thought you longed to see the desert. Aren't you eager to ride across the empty sands with me, lie beneath the stars, wrapped in my burnous, with only the wind for company? I will show you the great wastes of sand and sky, teach you to appreciate the beauty of the emptiness ...'
'Oh, shut up!' she said bitterly, seeing that his smile was full of wry mockery.
So, if the lady who asked about an Arab hero is ever back on this site, I do apologise for not replying to you individually but I have accidentally deleted your address. Hopefully this little snippet about Desert Barbarian will make up for the long delay in replying.
Any other books along those lines that fans can remember? Perhaps by other romantic novelists whose books you have been hoarding? I seem to recall my sister Sarah writing a similar novel for M&B at one point, possibly also with an Arab hero, but can't remember the title.