A French privateer’s daughter. A marquess’s son.
And a chance encounter on the high seas.
VIOLET WINTERS, a French privateer’s daughter who fled England with her mother when she was a little girl, takes the chance to return to her home country unrecognized when fate delivers an English lord into her hands. OLIVER CORNELL, EARL OF CULLINGWOOD, fascinated by the adventurous gleam in her eyes, does not hesitate to offer his assistance…and pose as her husband.
Can a privateer’s daughter and a marquess’s son ever have a happily-ever-after?
Answer this question in the comments section below to be eligible to win one of five copies of Condemned & Admired
Giveaway question: Have you ever asked for a kiss?
Surprised by the sudden vulnerability in her voice, Oliver watched her.
Her fingers seemed to tremble ever so slightly as she drew one shaky breath after another into her body. Her eyes were still downcast as though to avoid looking at him, and he could see that she was groping for something to say.
“Are you frightened?” he asked, his eyes narrowed as he tried to make sense of the contradicting woman before him.
At his question, her head snapped up and she forced courage back into her eyes. “No.”
“Then why did you avert your eyes?”
For a second, he thought she would do so again, but then she squared her shoulders and her chin lifted a fraction. “Because I don’t like to be kept waiting.
A small smile came to his lips, and he could see that his reaction annoyed her. “Waiting? For what?”
“For you to kiss me,” Violet huffed as though he were daft for not seeing that. “Don’t pretend it hasn’t been the one thing on your mind since you came to stand in the door!”
“It has,” he admitted, crossing the remaining distance between them with one large stride.
At his sudden proximity, her courage seemed to waver for a split second before steel returned to her eyes. “Good,” she said, her fingers curling into the fabric of her dress. “Then why do you hesitate?”
“Because…,” Oliver whispered, catching her chin between two fingers, “you seem frightened.”
“I’m not,” came her quick reply, and he could see that she forced herself to relax her tense muscles.
“You’re trembling,” he observed, sliding his other hand over the side of her waist and around to the small of her back. Keeping his touch light, he watched her as she sucked in a slow breath, her eyes remaining fixed on his.
“No one can be strong all the time,” she endeavored to explain, her voice unsteady. “That doesn’t mean I’m frightened. That doesn’t mean I don’t want you to kiss me.”
She rolled her eyes at him. “Would I have asked if I didn’t?”
Oliver chuckled. Even now, in this moment, she could be annoyed with him. “Well, then I guess I should not keep you waiting.”
She swallowed. “I guess not.”
Watching her face, Oliver tightened his hold on her, drawing her against him. Then his hand slid from her chin along the side of her jaw and into her hair. All the while, he watched how her eyelids began to flutter, how her breathing quickened and how her body came to lean into his.
When he lowered his head down to hers, she closed her eyes, and for a moment, Oliver marveled at how vulnerable she allowed herself to be in his arms. Had she come to trust him?
Then, however, he felt her lips brush against his own, and all rational thought left.
This is a new-to-me author and I could easily become a regular reader. The story is well written, well-plotted and well-paced. If you love a swashbuckling sea adventure with a bit of fancy balls, kidnappings, and rescues thrown in – this book might just be for you.
Twelve years earlier, in 1796, Alexandra Winters, Viscountess Silcox, fled her home on the coast of England. She was in a loveless, cold, uncaring marriage and her husband had just betrothed their six-year-old daughter, Violet to his best friend – another cold and uncaring man who would be ancient by the time Violet was old enough to marry. She loved her daughter beyond measure and absolutely could not allow the same fate to befall her. So, she left a suicide note – and escaped to France with Violet.
Violet Winters has spent twelve gloriously wonderful years in France as the daughter of a privateer. Yes, she knows he isn’t her birth father, but he is her father in all but that – and now she has several brothers and sisters to love. Her first love, however, is the sea and the freedom it gives. She has persuaded her father to let her be a full-fledged member of the crew. She dresses in men’s clothes, carries a sword and fully carries her weight as a member of the crew. For her – it is family above all – no matter where that family comes from.
Oliver Cornell, Earl of Cullingwood, son, and heir of the Marquess of Northey longs for a different life. He can never please his father – and he’s not sure he wants to. He longs for adventure and continually spends his nights at the docks talking to the sailors and listening longingly to their stories. So, when he awakens from a drunken stupor and finds himself in a storeroom aboard a merchant ship, he’s not sure it is an entirely bad thing. At least at first – then – they are captured by a French privateer and as the son of an English peer, Oliver is a prime candidate to be ransomed back to his father. Oh, great! Yet another proof to his father that he is a worthless son. He’d really rather not be ransomed.
When Violet wants to go to England to ‘rescue’ the young woman who is now being forced to marry the man that was supposed to marry Violet – Oliver volunteers to take her. They hatch a plan to pose as husband and wife and the adventure begins. You’ll find betrayal, kidnapping, chases and – well — love in this fast-paced story.
So, why didn’t I give it 5-stars? Well – for a number of reasons – and here are a few. First, there is no way I could believe that a strong, heroic, very loving father would EVER allow his young, unmarried daughter to take off with a virtual stranger – to go to England and pretend to be his wife. Second, it feels much too modern. Everybody was constantly giving Violet her ‘choice’. It was all about her – nobody else got a choice. While some men were much more tolerant than others in that time period, it was still a man’s world and they would have been in charge and not giving her all of those choices when they disagreed with them so strongly. Third, I found Violet to be a bit on the selfish side. I like a strong female, but it really was all about her and she never gave a thought about what her ‘choice’ (read that demand) did to others, what effect it had on them or how much it might hurt them. Fourth, Oliver appeared pretty spineless – just too good to be true. Whatever Violet wanted, Violet got. He wouldn’t stand up to her nor would he stand up to his father. I loved that he grew and got better – but for most of the book he’s pretty spineless. Fifth, Oliver’s father didn’t get his comeuppance. I really, really, really wanted him to pay for the way he treated Oliver (and even Violet). Maybe he could have had apoplexy and been unable to speak and then have to watch Oliver and Violet be happy and never see his grandchildren, etc. Just something! Sixth is that I found it very hard to believe that Violet would risk so much to go to England to rescue someone she’d never even heard of. She didn’t know that the young woman was unwilling – she didn’t even know that it was a young woman. I just couldn’t buy that – no matter how hard I tried.
Please check out my reviews at:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages…
“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”
USA Today bestselling author Bree Wolf has always been a language enthusiast (though not a grammarian!) and is rarely found without a book in her hand or her fingers glued to a keyboard. Trying to find her way, she has taught English as a second language, traveled abroad and worked at a translation agency as well as a law firm in Ireland. She also spent loooong years obtaining a BA in English and Education and an MA in Specialized Translation while wishing she could simply be a writer. Although there is nothing simple about being a writer, her dreams have finally come true.
“A big thanks to my fairy godmother!”
Currently, Bree has found her new home in the historical romance genre, writing Regency novels and novellas. Enjoying the mix of fact and fiction, she occasionally feels like a puppet master (or mistress? Although that sounds weird!), forcing her characters into ever-new situations that will put their strength, their beliefs, their love to the test, hoping that in the end they will triumph and get the happily-ever-after we are all looking for.
If you’re an avid reader, sign up for Bree’s newsletter at http://www.breewolf.com as she has the tendency to simply give books away. Find out about freebies, giveaways as well as occasional advance reader copies and read before the book is even on the shelves!