Friday, May 14, 2010
'Lucky Jack' Burrell's quest for revenge against Sophia Deford will have to wait until he discharges a debt. He has to help her find the fabled pirate treasure Garvey's Gold, then he can wring her dainty neck. Sophia has no intention of sharing anything with anyone. She will have all of Garvey's Gold, no matter how much Jack's lean-muscled body makes her want to get to know him just a little bit better before she gets rid of him. As the two adversaries squabble their way across Territorial Florida following the clues on their treasure map, they know that before they're through they're either going to kiss each other, kill each other, or both...
This was a cute and amusing pirate historical romance set in early 1800's Florida before it becomes a part of the United States. I love forced marriage scenarios and this one was full of humor and not a little hotness! Our hero, Jack Burrell and heroine, Sophia Deford are forced to marry, although they have a dubious past together - one in which Jack has vowed to get revenge on her if it's the last thing he ever does. Years before in England, while Jack was playing highwayman he is fooled by Sophia's damsel in distress act when he stops her coach to steal her lecherous guardian's gold. Due to an unforseen happenstance, Jack unexpectedly rescues her from her guardian's clutches and brings her to his cave. She wastes no time in knocking him out from behind, stealing his clothes and leaving him trussed up and naked absconding with the money!
Now five years later, they meet again face to face. He a pirate, she a passenger on a ship he takes by force in the middle of the Caribbean. Sophia is fulfilling her good friend's last dying wish to find a fortune in gold - "Garvey's Gold". But the catch is, she needs Lucky Jack Burrell to help her find it. He's now a pirate - or a privateer - and she's determined to get the gold. They strike a bargain and he agrees to help for half the gold. But then fate steps in, in the form of Captain Sinister (from one of Marshall's previous books), another pirate who forces them to marry on board his pirate ship. They're married now, but in name only, despite how handsome he his and how cute she looks crawling into his hammock at night in her nightie - alone. The constant banter and dialogue between these two was amusing and delightful, one of the best features of the book! There was a lot of chemistry between the two and the sensual moments between them were memorable and well done as well.
There were loads of funny little details in this story that cracked me up. The budding romance between Jack and Sophia was great, they're constantly throwing barbs at one another with a fast paced repartee. She is singleminded and determined to find this gold and she's not going to let anything get in her way - namely her attractive pirate husband who has a penchant for sleeping in the nude and wearing an eye patch that he doesn't really need. He wants the gold too, but he also wants Sophia! He is determined to seduce her any way he can, but he finds himself developing stronger feelings for her than just lust. How long can Sophia hold out before she succumbs to his charm and 'monstrous engine of delight?' Despite the way he makes her feel when she's in his arms - and bed, will our heroine double cross her handsome pirate husband in order to get it all for herself - or does she fall for him instead?
I really enjoyed the story, Jack and Sophia make a great team together. They have interesting friends too who make colorful characters, such as Reuben and his wife Betsey. It was good plot with the treasure hunt for the gold and wondering if Sophia is going to realize she can do a lot worse than a man like Jack. Will she ever thaw towards him and drop this pursuit of the gold that seems to be the only thing on her mind? Some parts of the story dragged a bit or were a bit too coincidental or perfect, but not much, there is a great deal of slogging through jungle and woods with mosquitoes and other bugs, I presume. I was tired out from all the walking and climbing and riding they had to undertake to find the gold, but for the most part I enjoyed most everything about this book. The ending was exciting to find out if they're able to find the gold or not and I was on the edge of my seat all the way up to the surprising - but not too suprising - finish.
Sophia is a force to be reckoned with. She's quick on her feet, brave, smart, pretty and knows how to get her way and achieve it by any means. But I wish she had been kinder to Jack when it was obvious he had tender feelings for her. Jack is a great guy to have around. He strong, able, resourceful, smart - yet, Sophia puts him off his pace, he's less of a pirate around her and he has a tendency to fall for her wiles and allurements so that he doesn't realize what a schemer she really is. This was my main problem with these two. She was too absorbed with getting the gold to realize what a great guy Jack was, and he walked right into her deceptions because he was falling for her - and her pretty face. Despite their flaws, they brought out the best in each other by the end and I was glad to see that she learned a thing or two from him and grew to appreciate her dashing - and loving husband.
I've read all of Darlene Marshall's pirate romances, and I highly recommend this one, it was a lot of fun and one of her best to date.