by Lisa A. Olech
Series: Captains of the Scarlet Night #1
Pub. Date: Nov. 24, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Captain Jaxon Steele is a tall, sun-bronzed, fierce-fighting Pirate King. He and the notorious crew of the Scarlet Night are both feared and respected for their ruthless reputation. The Captain’s only love is the open sea and the ship he calls home. When it comes to women, he has three rules: never sleep with another’s wife, don’t take virgins into bed, and most importantly, never bring a woman aboard—that brings the worst luck of all.
Annalise Gatherone has to leave London—tonight! Usually her only concern is the color of her latest gown, but now she’s choosing between life and death. Desperate to escape the clutches of an evil Duke, she stows away aboard the Scarlet Night, hoping she’s bound for Port St. Maria. Winning Captain Steele's affections, she just might sneak by unharmed. But when her plans are altered in ways she never imagined, she must batten down the hatches for a journey into unknown waters…
So there's this evil duke, more like a batshit crazy duke if you ask me. The evil duke is sadistic and likes to hurt women and the sight of blood stirs him, particularly in the nether region. He was a great villain, a somewhat schizo Jack the Ripper type character. You don't see many of those in modern historical romances. So the evil duke has set his sights on the virginal Lady Annalise with the fiery red hair, and he won't take no for an answer.
In a last ditch attempt to keep out of the evil duke's clutches, Annalise stows away aboard a privateering vessel, the Scarlet Night. Things go awry for Anna fairly quickly, starting with rough seas, an injury, and being discovered by the pirate captain, Jaxon Steele. Anna was a good, solid, likable heroine. She was genuine in all her interactions with people, and her love and feelings toward Jackson were open and encouraging. I usually don't connect well with the sweetly naive heroine, but Anna's character didn't push that annoying heroine button for me.
Captain Jaxon Steele has fought for his position tooth and nail, ever since he was fished out of the drink at the young age of 14. Jaxon's life definitely has not been easy, but he seems to be the honorable sort of pirate. He was a big ol' softie when it came to Anna, and he was fair and jovial when interacting with his crew. For all the danger the couple faced from pirates and the evil duke alike, the romance was more on the sweet side with a few steamy moments thrown in. There was some hot and cold relationship drama, mostly on Jaxon's part, but he always had Anna's best interests at heart.
The story had some great secondary characters, particularly Cookie (Sam-u-el) and Sarah. Cookie was the lovable pirate and our comedic relief. He was the stereotypical peg leg grandfatherly type. Cookie's wife, Sarah, was a soft Caribbean woman in bright colors with a touch of mysticism. I think she was my favorite secondary character - I had a great picture of her in my head.
I recommend this book for those who want to dabble in pirates but may not care for the old school bodice rippers. If you tend to be a fan of the bodice rippers, this one may be a little too sweet for you. I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.