Title: A Bed of Sand
Original Story by Laura Wright
Manga by Kyoko Sagara
Available at eManga
Despite a contrived plot and a sadly immature hero, I enjoyed A Bed of Sand. It’s another marriage of convenience story, and the love-struck Rita is only too ready to play along with Sakir’s scheme. He wants desperately to win a contract for work in his home country, which he left years ago and doesn’t really want to return to. He just wants to take advantage of a business opportunity that has come his way, even if it means using Rita to get it.
The start of the story was a little confusing, and it took a bit to get past the convoluted introduction. It wasn’t logical, but I bought because I liked the art. Rita has staged a fake wedding to get her sister back together with her boyfriend, and now all she has to do is pretend that the groom jilted her at the altar. There are a couple of problems with this, and the major one is that her made up fiancé is her boss, Sakir. Why anyone would pick a real person for a partner in a fake wedding is beyond me, especially one who happens to be responsible for your paycheck. It was a rather elaborate wedding, too, with lots of guests to witness the would-be-groom’s defection. Surely that would have gotten back to Sakir, and made things uncomfortable for Rita when she returned to work?
Naw, as things turn out, Sakir does show up, and he makes a business deal with Rita; if she’ll marry him for a few weeks, travel to his desert homeland, and help him land a big business deal, he’ll make her a partner in his company. Heck, I might even take that deal! A paid vacation and a huge raise on top of it? That would be like winning the lottery.
Rita jets off to Emand on Sakir’s luxurious private plane and settles in at his family’s spacious palace. Oh, it seems that Sakir forgot to mention that his older brother was the king! Score! Rita is in for a pampered stay with the man she loves! She quickly gets caught up in the feud that has simmered between the brothers for years, and she isn’t content to just stand by and watch them continue to hurt each other. Instead, she has to meddle in their manly bickering, which doesn’t endear her to Sakir.
Did I mention that I liked the art? The illustrations are detailed and elegant, and captured the exotic location with crisp and precise line work. The plot is pure escapist fluff, which moved along at a steady clip after the uncertain beginning. Rita is very likable, but Sakir was too prone to run away from his problems, instead of facing them like an adult, and that trait irritated me. It was a very annoying plot device, and I don’t feel that it added any tension. Instead, it just made Sakir look immature and unable to express his feelings. Still, the one grating characteristic wasn’t enough to dampen my enjoyment of the story.