Maxime is a duke. He loves Imena, but she has been refusing his advances. She is a half-breed and feels she wouldn't fit in his world. She is captain of her own ship and works for Maxime, bringing products for sale in his country. One night, Imena overhears two men plotting to kill Maxime. She immediately has two of her crew help her kidnap Maxime and take him onto her ship for safety. She immediately leaves port. While at sea, Imena's ship is searched, they are attacked by pirates, and Imena and Maxime are taken prisoner by some islanders. Meanwhile one of Maxime's friends, Sylvie, is investigating to learn who is behind the plot.
Give this a pass. It was tedious. I wanted it to be over. Some parts were told and not shown. I didn't like the way Imena treated Maxime on her ship. He had no idea there was a plot against him. And he had no idea why he was kept locked in a room for hours. When she finally comes to him, she ties him up and still doesn't tell him anything. She had no reason to tie him up. I think the author was suggesting she tied him up so he wouldn't tempt her with sex. But that didn't make sense. She said no to sex before. She could say no again. This didn't feel right. It felt contrived for conflict. Earlier when they first had sex, he pleased her and then she left without reciprocating. She came off as inconsiderate and selfish.
Some of the plot elements weren't developed enough. The plot wandered. The characters felt thrown in, rather than using their personalities to do something interesting. Toward the end Maxime uses his powers of persuasion to convince Captain Litvinova to do something. I wanted to hear that conversation. It was told, not shown. When the conspiracy is uncovered, it too was told, not shown. There is no conversation with the bad guy. I wanted to know more about his motives, methods, and punishment. I had unanswered questions about Raoul. I was not engaged or excited to read this. There was one long sex scene (17 pages) between Sylvie and someone she was questioning. It wasn't exciting or passionate. She gave him orders throughout and asked him questions. Other sex scenes were ok, but nothing really moved me.
I was unhappy with the cover picture being wrong. Imena is dark skinned, cover girl is not. Maxime has shoulder length hair, a beard and chest hair. Cover guy has a short haircut, no beard, and no chest hair.
CAUTION MINOR SPOILERS:
When the pirates attack Imena's ship, she loses the battle. But later, one of her crew shoots some arrows to start a fire on the pirate's ship. This allows Imena and Maxime to jump back over to her ship and sail off. They are faster sailors and get away. Why didn't they do this before they were caught?
When Imena and Maxime are caught by the islanders. They are told they must have sex in front of the islanders. Another couple is also having sex at the same time. The first couple to have orgasm wins. If they win, Imena and Maxime will be set free. The performance was not exciting. It could have been done better.
Story length: 353 pages. Swearing language: strong. Sexual language: strong. Number of sex scenes: 11. Estimated number of sex scene pages: 44. Setting: unknown time in the Horizon Empire and on the sea. The time and place sound similar to England in the early 1800s. Copyright: 2010. Genre: erotic historical high seas romance.