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Title: The Ocean Between
Author: Lynda Coker

Published in August 2009 by The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance

“Victoria locked her eyes on the purple flush streaking up her father’s neck. She recognized the stubborn tightening of his jaw, and her mind thrashed about looking for clarification to this bizarre situation.
The papers slid from her hand and scattered about her feet…”

Victoria Chantal Ballard wanted to be her own woman. She blamed herself for a tragedy not her fault. Still, she stood strong, independent, wealthy, and not, at least to her way of thinking, by any means on the marriage market. She’d spent her life so far, trying to be the son her father lost, the partner to ease his way. Betrayal was not a new concept to her either. She had felt it often on her way to the top of her father’s company, and no doubt would feel it a lot more before her life was through. The man with the enigmatic smile, was a dark and dangerous person, yet even in her anger, she had sensed his presence. She was a practical person, and powerful in her own right, but she loved her father more than life itself, and she sensed something was wrong. Nothing in her life up till now had prepared her for this feeling of tension radiating between the two men, and yet she turned and faced the source of the energy that left her feeling itchy and nervous. This was a being who screamed “POWER” and “DANGER,” and the kind of man she avoided at all costs. The man was tall, dark, and definitely handsome, and yet she sensed he was a threat to her more so than to her father. He was like a predator, his gaze constant, measuring, and for Victoria’s suddenly skittish and unusually frayed nerves, a bit too interested, too proprietary.

She is devastated to find this threat, introduced to her as Rashid Davar, is a very good friend of her father’s as well as a business associate. In spite of her self-sufficiency, this man scared her to death, scared her soul deep. He reeked of a danger Victoria was unused to dealing with, and one with which she was definitely not anxious to become familiar either. It was very unsettling to come face to face with fear, and Rashid defined fear in all its glory. She wanted no part of him, and the sooner he left, the safer she would feel. A man like that was a true threat to all Victoria was, all she aspired to be, and to all she wanted in her life. She worked hard to get where she was, a vice president in her father’s corporation, a power in her own right, and a man like that could and would take it all away. He would strip her down to where she would no longer recognize herself, take away everything she was and that would destroy her. What Victoria is totally unprepared for the betrayal by the one person she thought loved her. Finding her father promised, then married her to the man was more cruel an act than anything she had ever experienced. With the taste of that horrendous betrayal still on her tongue, Victoria has one recourse, and that is to run for her life.

Prince Alif Benhamin Rashid Davar considered himself as a man of exquisite taste in all things. He was also ruthless in business, and willing to take calculated risks. An American, one whom he considered a friend, made him a proposition he dismissed at first. On second thought, he was intrigued when the very object of their discussion made an untimely entrance. The petite blonde whirlwind dismissed him, and sent him a challenge he was not loath to take up. The price he would pay didn’t matter at the time, and Rashid was more than willing to take up the gauntlet. He felt it was a win-win situation for him and for Jacob. He got a wife, the land, and even greater influence in his world. Jacob got his daughter’s safety and care assured, his business interests protected, and peace of mind in his final days. The last part bothered him a bit, but Rashid understood. He could sympathize with a father wanting to be assured his daughter would be in good hands. Jacob was a good father, and upon his death, Victoria would need and have someone to turn to for comfort. She would have Rashid.

What neither man could be prepared for was Victoria to run, but that is exactly what she did when she discovered her father’s deception. Plans had to be made quickly, and then, when Victoria assumed she was safe, the trap would be sprung. Now Rashid understood that there was more than just a mild challenge to the woman he called “wife.” His very future now lay in the balance. He is the ruler of his people, he has the respect of the men, the love of the women, and he was not used to the disrespect or the defiance of his orders or his rule shown by Victoria. In his world, women were gentle, respectful, quiet and demure. Victoria was none of these things, and yet Rashid did not want to break her spirit, only hold the reins. There was only one way to assure him of her safety, so Rashid did the only thing he could. The papers were signed. Legally, she was his wife, so he took her. He resorted to kidnapping his own wife, bundling her aboard his jet, and taking her home. Little did he know of the events he set into motion. Now he is faced with the consequences of his actions, and Kismet being what it is, Rashid has some hard lessons to learn concerning life, love, and western women. If he truly desires Victoria to come to him, he will have to listen to her wants, needs, and concerns instead of dismissing them and “claiming his property.” Unfortunately for Rashid, he has more patience and takes more care with his horses than with his new bride. However, to receive what others see as his birthright, and IF he wants Victoria’s respect, he will have to work hard for it. IF he wants her love, he will have to prove himself worthy. He will also have to understand Victoria is not an animal, she is an equal. She will not be owned…

Lynda Coker has given us a powerfully written book filled with love, betrayal, and redemption. The Ocean Between is exactly that when it comes to the story of Rashid and Victoria. The attempts at blending two cultures could end up destroying two lives, The man, who is tall, dark, and handsome, and is almost too arrogant in his belief he has to do little to win a challenge put to him by a mere woman. The woman, small, blonde, petite, and set on a determined course of action, is a believer in independence, and the only men who will get her respect must earn the privilege. As the cultures clash, Rashid learns the hard lesson that what he wants may not be good for him, his pride, or his future. Victoria is more than a challenge, she has her own life, her own loves, wants, and desires, and she is not willing to give up everything for him. She understands men like him, and she doesn’t like them either. Even as her body betrays her, her heart and her soul are withering in the arid environment of the forced and loveless marriage. His power means nothing to her, especially if she has to leave her children, the very heart and her soul of her existence, behind.

Unwilling to listen, and unable to understand, Rashid embarks on a course of action that could destroy both of them. The result of his actions force a frantic Victoria into making decisions she might not make under other circumstances. Lynda’s characters are alive, real, and heartbreakingly troubled by the karma which continually threatens any happiness they might think to gain. The Ocean Between is a story showing the true depths of the cultural differences both have to overcome if they are to find happiness, and it could be far beyond their reach. Told with a discerning eye as to culture, time, and place, Ms Coker has provided a tale any reader can enjoy, and not only that, but she has set The Ocean Between in the heart of a truly current conflict, and with a pair of exceptional characters in Rashid and Victoria. This is a book coming available in the late summer or early fall of 2009, and for those of you who enjoy a contentious and adventurous romance, this is a must buy. There is also room left open for the possibilities of a sequel, and I have fervent hopes it comes into being, and that I have the opportunity to review it as well. The Ocean Between by Lynda Coker will be available from the Wild Rose Press late summer, so keep your eyes open. It truly has something for everyone.

Yours in good reading,

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