Raised on the sea by her pirate father, Sabine Tanner isn’t cut out for a “civilized” life. But now that her father’s been hanged for his supposed crimes, she may not have much of a life at all, not unless she can track down the loot he’s hidden on an island few believe exist. Honoring his last request and determined to secure some kind of future for herself, she sneaks off with his first mate in search of a crew to help with the treasure hunt and share in the spoils. The one thing she can’t bring herself to do, though, is ask for help from the pirate Boone Wilder.
As soon as he boards the ship they’ve captured, he knows there’s something different about the woman standing on the deck. She’s not pale and cowering, not completely out of place among the sailors, and not anything that he expected. Releasing her and her gruff manservant once they reach land is the right thing to have done, but that doesn’t mean he can get her out of his mind. Fortunately he finds her before she trades her safety and her father’s treasure to a man she shouldn’t trust, but when he finds out who she is, he’s not sure he can trust himself. Before long, she’s won over his crew, working alongside the men as they sale for the fabled island her father mapped out
The cover is just all kinds of wrong. The story, the characters, the everything else is so great, but to tell you the truth, I very nearly passed over the chance to read this book simply because of the cover art. The man looks kinda skeevy, and the woman doesn’t look at all like she’s from any time earlier than about five years ago. I’m all for nostalgia, but this really looks like something my first stepmother would have had sitting on her bedside table…circa 1987. I’m glad I took a second look at the tour email and gave the book a chance, but if I were going on cover alone, I never would have cracked it open.
OMG, soooooooooooooooooooooooooo much fun! That nostalgia I mentioned? This book had all the heroics and drama and adventure and excitement and romance of the bodice-rippers I used to sneak from my first stepmother’s nightstand (yes, I’ve had a few stepmothers, so I have to number them). But the story doesn’t fall victim to cheesy lines and cliche damsels in distress or untamed rogues. Okay, so maybe there is this one untamed rogue, but he’s not the least bit like Fabio.
Sabine isn’t some simpering woman foolishly trying to stand up for herself against some rakish guy who’s got better hair than she does. She’s confident, witty, capable, and has no problem getting dirty and pitching in with the rest of the pirate crew. And Boone isn’t some swashbuckling, entitled ship captain with commitment issues or a ridiculous need to show her up at every turn. Sure, his first love is the sea, and he’s not giving up his ways for some woman, but he has a soft spot for Sabine dating back to when she was just a teen, and he’s falling for the very real, very down to earth woman she’s grown into.
Their chemistry together is wonderful, complete with some pretty hot scenes in the captain’s quarters and plenty of misgivings about what the future holds for them. They hold back their words, but their actions are pretty clear when it comes to how they feel about each other, and when the situation demands they choose between whatever else life may bring and each other… Well, things get crazy interesting. What really made the story stand out to me was the complete development of everything from wonderful secondary characters to the mystery and conspiracy that sent our lovebirds out on a treasure hunt. I have no idea if every detail was historically accurate, but I do know that a ton of very accurate details were included. I found myself checking out Wikipedia more than once while reading, learning where old world colonies once were and discovering neat little details particular to sailing at that time. It’s not that the story was hard to follow at all; it’s just that those details were so interesting that I wanted to know more right that second.
If you love historical romance and miss the adventure of now-classic bodice-rippers but don’t want a return to that silly cheesiness they all had, definitely check out Devil’s Island. It’s a sexier Pirates of the Caribbean with fun, danger, intrigue, and all around adventure on the high seas. Oh, and it’s the beginning of an entire series about pirate love, so there’s gonna be more where this came from!