Nice blend of romance, suspense and high seas action

The Notorious Lady Anne - Sharon Cullen

Nicholas Addison, captain in the Royal Navy, has been sidelined for two years recovering from an injury he suffered from an attack at sea when he’s asked to take on as captain for Blackwell Shipping’s merchant ship, the Pride. While he sees this as a way to get back to his career, Blackwell’s ships have been beset by pirates and it’s slim pickings to get a crew together.  Stories of a formidable female pirate called Lady Anne being behind the attacks run rampant and she’s now legend, which Nicholas believes to be a myth.

Emmaline Sutherland makes it her mission to meet Nicholas at a ball given by her aunt as she’s aware he plans to captain Blackwell’s ship back to Boston. She wants to get a read on him and sparks fly between them, but he cools when she tells him she’s married. The day he sets sail, she boards his ship, having arranged passage without his knowledge.  He also doesn’t know that she’s the infamous pirate Lady Anne and she’s definitely no myth.

I’m really not into pirates but was intrigued by the idea of a female one in the Regency period. Emmaline/Lady Anne turns out to be an utterly fascinating character and I fell in love with her.  She’s not only formidable but she commands respect of her crew and is fearless. Nicholas is also perfectly paired for this independent and feisty rogue captain as he respects her skills and doesn’t take her for granted. Both have histories that explain their motivations and peeling back their layers was even more interesting.

What’s really done well here is the romance.  Nicholas and Emmaline have an immediate attraction but they each pull back for good reasons.  What follows is a clever dance, sometimes erotic, always sexy and never annoying, as they fall for each other….the people they really are as opposed to how the world sees them. They are both passionate, driven and strong-willed and Nicholas comes to respect the captain in Emmaline, once he got past her deception.  The action is exciting and when they finally become intimate, their scenes are HOT.  There’s one in particular that was just…well, I’ll call it the waterfall and you’ll have to read it for yourself.

The story is genuinely a good blend of high seas action, romance and suspense, which I enjoyed immensely.  I wasn’t disappointed and this is one pirate story that I’ll remember fondly.

(I received an ARC from NetGalley)