Lust in the Dust

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Lucy Mannion’s troubles begin when she awakes in a dimly lit tent somewhere in the Middle Eastern kingdom of Dahman. The petite English secretary quickly realizes that she’s been drugged and kidnapped by Sheikh Hakim Bin Taimur Al Fulani, a man “so outrageously exotic and arrogantly masculine that his presence seemed to fill the tent and overpower her.”

This sizzling scene is taken from Stolen by the Sheik, one of a subset of romance novels in which Western women find love after being importuned by sexy Arab potentates. While publishers insist that the appeal of sheikh-themed romances (such as Harlequin’s The Sheik Who Loved Me, Expecting the Sheik’s Baby, and Hide-and-Sheikh) has no connection to our current entanglement in the Middle East, the popularity of the genre seems to be growing. For Erika Wittlieb, a Canadian fan who reads all 15 to 30 that are published each year, tales of seduction by oil-drenched oligarchs offer “a pleasant escape for a few hours with a guaranteed happy ending.”

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This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

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