Author: Deanna Wadsworth
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Rating: 4 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Off the Key West coast, Rief Lawson works as a wrecker, salvaging ships and their cargo. Exiled to the outskirts of society because of his mysterious gift of sight, Rief’s only respite from his loneliness is painting an unknown blond man. When a merchant ship wrecks during a violent storm, Rief rescues a drowning victim and comes face-to-face with his destiny.
It is the man from his art!
Heir to an English barony, Mathew Weston entered the merchant trade with his greedy father and soon-to-be father-in-law. Dominated by his father and smothered by the people around him—including his sweet but tiresome fiancée—Mathew is terrified to follow his true desires. Marriage and obedience seem safer than a life of secrecy and possible prison.
After the daring rescue, a fire ignites between the two men. Powerless to resist his desire, Mathew learns what it means to be a man in Rief’s arms. With this newfound confidence, Mathew teaches Rief through gentle touch that he deserves the affection he’s long been denied. Yet their affair is doomed from the start. Two desperate men, wrecked in heart and mind, must find a way to salvage the chance at love fate has given them.
Review: Old school romance lovers will enjoy this one. The story is told in a time where men loving men is taboo and punishable by imprisonment or worse. One of the MCs Rief has a curse of sight. He sees and paints tragic events that will happen in the future. As if this wasn’t enough to make him an outcast he’s also hiding his attraction to men. Rief dreams of specific man and all the things he’d long to do with him but isn’t allowed by society’s rules. One day Rief saves a young lord to be at sea after his ship is wrecked. He’s shocked to find it’s the man he’s been fantasizing about all these years. Not that he can act on his impulse to be excited to see him alive and in person. The young man he learns is named Matthew is engaged to be married to a woman with a good social standing and money so he can’t possibly want someone like Rief even if being a man wasn’t an issue.
Matthew is very greatful to Rief for saving him. He’s also very attracted to him. With so many eyes on him and his dreadful father waiting for him to fail once again, he has to keep his focus on salvaging the shipment and the business. Rief however proves too tempting to ignore.
I liked this story. It was kind of historical and very angsty. I’ll admit to not generally liking Historicals so that’s saying something. The MCs were so lonely when they found each other it was the most accepted and loved they’d ever felt. Inside the walls of Rief’s flat they were able to be together physically and make an emotional connection. Friends and lovers. Outside they had to hide and pretend to be something they weren’t. Matthew is to marry his best friend from childhood. His soon to be father in law is his partner in the venture that brought them to Key West. Matthew’s father is a dreadful man. He’s shown nothing but disdain for Matthew his entire life and has absolutely no morals. Nothing is beyond the man but Matthew can’t help but crave his approval. Which leads to many disappointments. Rief’s brother is running the salvage company who is helping Matthew and company salvage their wrecked ship. So Rief’s and Matthew’s family businesses are now intertwined. Thanks to some shady dealings of the holding house, there’s some bad blood and it leaves Rief and Matthew on opposite sides of the settlement Neither man really cares since they’re so wrapped up in enjoying every last second they’re able to spend together before Matthew has to return to his society life.
I think people who enjoy men from different social standings falling in love will enjoy this one. There’s certainly enough intrigue beyond the relationship to have kept me interested. I felt the very real struggle of not having the freedom to love whom you want was well done in this story. My heart ached for them. Particularly Rief who was so lonely he took whatever he could get from any person willing to show him the smallest amount of affection. Or even use him if they were willing. There’s pirates or pirate-like characters, arranged marriages, gypsy curses and less than scrupulous men. The MCs are from very different worlds but share the same desire. To find someone to love that just happens to also be a man. To be accepted for who they are. Based on the times they live in, they aren’t able to profess their love to the world by the end of the book but they do find acceptance in those who matter most to them. Both for whom they choose to love but also for the men they truly are.