Author: Elliot Cooper
Publisher: NineStar Press
Rating: 3.5 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Prince Gavin is powerless to refuse when his father demands he secure an alliance with a distant kingdom. At first, he sees the journey as a chance to prove his worth and indulge in the grand adventures of his dreams. Yet nothing seems right about his father’s paranoid insistence he travel by merchant ship while disguised as a diplomat. Once out on the open sea, Gavin learns he’s been tricked into boarding an infamous pirate ship: the Ebon Drake.
Captain Marcas Drake is delighted to discover the courtier he’s kidnapped is really a prince. Acquiring such a hefty ransom will prove once and for all he’s a brilliant pirate in his own right, not riding the coattails of his father’s fame. And using his charms to seduce his prisoner makes for an entertaining pastime. But unfortunate events turn the Ebon Drake’s crew against their captain before the ransom can be carried out.
Marooned, Marcas and Gavin’s new equal footing turns the pirate’s sensual game into something else entirely. However, being stranded on a tiny island becomes the least of their worries when rescue arrives in the form of the bloodthirsty Crimson Queen, a pirate who’s been chasing Marcas for years. Working together to escape the queen is their only hope of freedom and a chance their growing love might outlast their misadventures.
Review: I have loved previous short stories by this author. I can’t say I hate the idea of a pirate and a prince falling in love either so this one had me intrigued. This book was very much a romance that revolves around a forbidden love story. There’s some violence and blood shed. One of the MCs is a pirate after all. I thought the most interesting parts were how the MCs navigated their way through the politics and danger thrown their way. The love story itself was a bit quick and angsty for my personal tastes but it fit the trope of captor and captive falling in love.
Prince Gavin is sent on a voyage to a neighboring land to work out the details of his sister’s potential marriage to their prince. His father who is or has started losing his mind thinks it’s a brilliant idea to send his only son, the heir to the thrown, on a ship by himself under the guise he’s just a normal man working for the king. Despite Gavin’s protests the arrangement is made and he boards the ship. Only to realize he’s been taken captive by the notorious Captain Marcas Drake. Drake thinks he’s kidnapped a normal man. When he realizes he has the Prince he thinks his retirement is near because a Prince brings a hefty ransom. Drake doesn’t particularly want to be a pirate forever. He’s made a name for himself but he wants more out of life. Drake feels an attraction to Gavin that he’s open to giving into. Gavin has more shame when it comes to being with a man. The guys get to know each other under stressful and dangerous situations. They fall in love. If they’re being honest with themselves there’s no chance to escape the danger and get the HEA they wish they could have. Or is there?
I think if you’re fine with the pirate/prince or captive/captor trope you’ll enjoy this story. I thought at times the pace was too fast. Skimming over the build of the guy’s relationship. The moments Drake realizes he wants more than just sex with Gavin were missed. I couldn’t help but question his judgment when handling his crew at times. I saw their issues coming a mile away. I liked the MCs together. Their struggle was a bit too angsty at times for me but I did like how they stuck together through everything. The bad gal was crazy. I can see why people feared her. She wasn’t quite right but an amazing pirate. Gavin’s sister was adorable. I liked that he had her because his father was awful. Basically this was a pretty good read but I can’t say I loved it. It was nice for a change of pace. This author is for sure one to check out.