Genre: historical romance
Widowed by an officer in the English navy, Diana Worthing was tired of self-important men. Then the legendary James Ardmore that the gall to abduct her, to demand information. A champion to some and a villain to others, the rogue sailed the high seas, ruthlessly hunting down pirates. And he claimed Diana’s father was the key to justice.
She refused to tell him what she knew. Too furious to be intimidated, Diana threw a loaf of bread and an entire tureen of soup at him. James retaliated with more persuasive weapons: passionate kisses and seductive caresses. Most potent of all, though, were his honourable intentions, for they made Diana forget reason. They made her long to believe she’d finally found a man she could trust, a man worth loving – a true hero who could rescue her marooned heart.
One year ago, Diana Worthing was married to a louded naval Captain, who hated her. He thinks she sleeps with every man she meets. He hates the fact that their daughter Isabeau is deaf, and blames Diana for it. In short, Diana’s life is miserable, but for her beloved daughter. Then she is abducted by the famous American pirate hunter Captain James Ardmore, who wants to get some information out of her. When she is returned to the house party 2 days later, that was the last straw for her husband, who took steps of legal separation.
Diana is now a widow, living quietly with her little daughter and her retired father, who was a Navy Admiral, on the tiny island of Haven, out of the coast of England. No longer wearing silk gowns, and having servants to do everything for her, she has become self sufficient, and she likes it. Never did she think to see James Ardmore again, though she is still thinking of that one passionate kiss they shared.
Until she sees him lying at her feet on the beach, gravely wounded, alongside an unconscious British lieutenant. Instead of throwing him back into the sea, or into the cellar until he can be collected by the Navy, Diana and her father decide to nurse both men back to health. It takes weeks for James to recover and finally get his bearings again. The young lieutenant has lost his memory completely and was hoping James would know his name. But James was a prisoner on the ship they sailed on, a ship that perished in the storm, leaving them the only survivors.
What Diana did not know, was that James had been looking for the island for a long time, convinced her father can set him on the trail of the one pirate he has been looking for, for over 20 years, Black Jack Mallory. The man who killed his brother Paul’s wife and daughters, and made Paul mad with vengeance. Paul died looking for it, and James swore an oath to continue the search and kill the man. He will find out the secrets the island and the admiral hide, and he will find his prey. But he has also found his match in Diana? Can he convince her this time to go with him?
Diana is a hellcat, and does not intend James Ardmore to get away with whatever he is planning. Yes, she is attracted to him, but she does not want to make love to him. She is terrified of getting pregnant again, as she is convinced she is a bad mother. After all, it is her fault her daughter got so ill and became deaf by the fever. But James won’t give up so easy, and he is equally convinced he cannot have children, so her fears are a moot point. And together, they heat up the island. But James is still a wanted man, and he is not safe in England.
I very much enjoyed this book. Both Diana and James are very complex characters, and I loved their fighting and their making up. James is a man on a mission, but Diana certainly makes him think twice of what is really important in his life.
And Diana has been burned badly by her husband, and is not about to be left behind ever again, waiting for him to come home or not.
Alexandra and her pirate play a nice part in this book as well, and I enjoyed catching up with them. Jennifer Ashley kept throwing plot twists at me, just when I was sure I knew what was to come next. She manages to keep the story fresh and new, and that is mainly because of the great and unique characters she writes. I have not yet come across a book by her hand that I did not love.
© 2012 Reviews by Aurian