Duke by Day, Rogue by Night (The Nelson Tea Series #1) by Katherine Bone
Overview by Amazon:
Constance Danbury is desperate to escape an arranged marriage to a man nearly twice her age. Her only hope is to board a merchantman bound for Spain to enlist her aunt’s help. Her plans go awry when she’s captured by pirates. Even more alarming, her traitorous body longs for the man who’s returning her to England! Pushed into a marriage of convenience, she’s caught between two men—one owns her heart, the other is bent on stealing it.
Percival Avery is a member of Nelson’s Tea, an elite group assigned to protect England’s shores at any cost. On a mission to avenge his sister’s death, Percy infiltrates the gang of cutthroats responsible. When his vessel attacks a merchantman, Percy must choose between vengeance and saving the life of his commander’s niece. His only choice is to mutiny, but mutiny obliterates his well-laid plans. Forced on a new course that leads straight back to Constance Danbury, Percy has to make a decision—chase revenge or allow himself to love again.
I love books with pirates and adventures at sea. There is just something about the hero and heroine being trapped together at sea. I recently went to Boston and ventured onto the Constitution aka Ironsides. It was tight and dark and cramped and to be honest kind of ruined my fantasies of what a ship was like in the 1900th century. However, that is the magic of books; you can imagine anything you want. This book is full of lavish and elaborate descriptions that made me feel like I was actually on the Striker and locked in the captain’s quarters.
Nelson Tea is the name given to men who work for the crown and infiltrate the seas to do the deeds that must be done. The work is dangerous and a life time commitment. We get a glimpse of a few of the twenty members in this book and a hearty dose of the dangerous work they do. This book was at times very graphic and realistic and occasionally a little farfetched. I really enjoyed this book though and I have already purchased the next book in the series and will start it as soon as I finish this review.
I loved Percy/Thomas. Thomas is the quintessential swashbuckling pirate. He wears all black and a bandana. His shirt is open to reveal his broad chest. Yum. This is just the way I like my pirates. Full of swagger and arrogance. We meet him as Thomas Sexton, but it is an elaborate ruse to hunt down unscrupulous men who stole his young sister and raped her, turned her into a prostitute and then died of syphilis. The alter ego is the dashing pirate who sails the seas, but his real identity is the Marquis of Stanford, Percy Avery. He acts as a fop for the ton, obsessed with fashion and fripperies. It is an effective guise as no one would imagine the Marquis is really a stone cold killer and spy. There was a compelling sensuality that oozed off of Percy in whatever role he was playing. I found myself deeply attracted to the man on the pages. His lust and vengeance were a heady mix and I liked that it took him time to reconcile himself with doing the right thing for reasons of his heart rather than propriety.
Constance is a beautiful woman who has been bartered away in marriage to a horrible man, Lord Burton. She is desperate to avoid the marriage and sails to Spain to plead her case with her aunt. Her father and uncle (Simon is the leader of Nelson Tea) have had unbelievable bad luck with their finances of late and are about to enter dun territory. The match to Burton will save the family name and future. She shows great spunk and determination when pirates attack her ship. In the heat of the battle, Thomas asks her to trust him with her life and he saves her repeatedly. Although grateful, she engages in a battle of wits with him, but her body deceives her. He is irrestible to her and she can’t deny her attraction to him any longer. For much of the book, Constance is a pawn in men’s games of war. She is tugged in different directions to suit the needs of the men in her life. She was definitely not ‘too stupid to live’, but trapped in the farces of financial need and desires of men. At the end of the story, it was a showdown by all the men who wanted to capture her for a variety of reasons. She isn’t Helen of Troy, but a woman who has been lied to, mistreated and left with many secrets to burden her. I felt sorry for Constance, but also relieved that she had Percy/Thomas to take care of her.
Recently I have been reading a lot of books, but they have all lacked great action in the bedroom. It’s hard to get totally immersed in a book and the characters if you are shut out of the intimacy they are developing. That’s why the bedroom scenes are so vital to romance novels. This book gets the action started pretty early on and it continues throughout the book. The sex scenes are hot and steamy and you almost feel like you are there in the humid cabin with Thomas and Constance.
This story was well developed with intricate details and a lot of back story to flesh out the characters. I really enjoyed the adventure on the high seas, the ball with the ton and the quiet sanctuary of the character’s homes. A great pirate adventure has heroes, villains and intrigue. This book had all of those elements and is really well done. I’m very glad I picked up this book and am so looking forward to the next in the series!
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