Pros: Memorable setting, wonderful secondary characters
Cons: Pirate nemesis falls a little flat
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review book courtesy of Penguin Group
Samantha Fine lost her family at a young age to a pirate named Dervish. Determined to avenge them, she becomes the pirate captain Sam Steele and sails the Caribbean looking for him with little success. Her luck may soon change, though, because Luke Bradley, a former crew member of Dervish’s, has been imprisoned and Samantha’s breaking him out so that he can lead her to Dervish. But the one thing that Samantha hadn’t counted on was the growing attraction between the two of them, and it’s hard to avoid someone on a ship. As the two of them make their way toward her goal, their passion mounts. What neither of them knows, however, is that a ghost from Samantha’s past is rapidly bearing down on them…
Having never read a pirate romance before, Michelle Beattie’s What a Pirate Desires was a fun read. I really enjoyed the interactions between Sam and Luke. Luke, as a pirate, makes his seductive intentions perfectly clear to Sam, who determines to keep him at a distance. The two are at odds with each other for the beginning of the book, which leads Sam’s parrot (an amusing touch) to learn the phrase “Damn Luke!” Which was funny enough when Luke heard it the first time, but he retaliates by teaching it words to get under Sam’s skin (“Luke is handsome”, or “You want Luke”). I was rolling with laughter. Beattie also gives their attraction plenty of time to develop, so that the attraction reaches a fever pitch before the two finally make love. Their chemistry makes their lovemaking very steamy.
There are also some wonderful secondary characters. Joe, Sam’s first mate, saved her life during Dervish’s attack on her father’s ship. He has stayed with her ever since, helping her escape from a plantation she was enslaved at, get a ship and crew, and find Dervish. He loves her like a daughter, and quickly realizes what is developing between her and Luke. He is very protective of her, and it is amusing to watch him posture in front of Luke. The two are at odds, until Luke finally proves himself.
Luke’s sister Jacqueline is fantastic. No sooner does she see the undercurrents between Sam and Luke then she tries to convince Sam that she can make an honest man out of Luke. Her frankness and openness quickly make the two women friends, and when misunderstandings threaten to tear the couple apart, Jacqueline is there to help. She’s also smarter than her brother realizes, and from Beattie’s description of Luke when he realizes that, I wish I could have seen his face!
The one thing about the book that did bother me a little bit was the encounter with Dervish. When she, Luke and Joe get to see him, he is being treated for a leg wound. Which would take some of the spark out of anyone, given the state of medicine in those days. But I had spent the whole book with an image of a fearsome and bloodthirsty pirate, and so it seemed kind of anticlimactic. His actions prove him to be a pirate, but I was left wanting just a little bit more from him.
This book was a blast to read. I have another book from her ready to be reviewed, and I don’t think it’s going to take me very long to get to it. Other than a slightly lackluster villain, this book was very solidly constructed and gave me a glimpse of a world that I’ve never really seen before. The chemistry between characters, and not just the main ones, was a lot of fun. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to read this book.