Historical romance takes to the high seas. Famed spy Lady Lisbeth Medford is on a ship bound for the West Indies, and the only thing more dangerous than her mission is the elusive Duke she's trying to capture.
Lady Lisbeth Medford, Countess of Waterstone and famed international spy, is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. She's determined to infiltrate a notorious smuggling ring in the West Indies while on a covert mission as a ship's captain. But even when her identity is compromised and she's forced to flee, the men chasing her are still hot on her heels.
The trouble in front of her, however, might be even worse. Raphael Saint, the Duc de Viel, is her ship's new aggravating and dangerously charming sailing master, who might very well be part of the smuggling ring Lisbeth must bring to justice. But when a new deadly threat on the high seas looms, the only way out of danger is to face it…together.
She had me at high seas romance...then followed up with much, much more. I was ripe for a good high adventure romance and this one ticked my happy reader boxes.
Lisbeth is definitely her own woman: daring, capable, and fierce. She's a respected, and feared, sea captain with a secret identity and a secret mission. Saint's actions show him to be much more than a sailing master but he's keeping secrets too. The sparks fly between them from the get-go and only get hotter. The verbal banter is fast, snappy, and on point. The respect grows slowly but is absolute. The chemistry darn near burns the ship down. And the tender, protective caring within Saint's heart had me ready to follow him anywhere, even if that ended up in the heart of a smuggler's den. The storyline twists and turns through the Caribbean, keeping me on my toes the entire way. I honestly did not know how these two were going to end up together, and at least one of them out of jail, until the very end. I love that!
This book is my favorite of what has been a really good series from Amalie Howard. I read it in one day - these characters refused to let me walk away from them - then went back to the beginning and took the journey all over again, more slowly this time to savor each word and nuance. It's filled with danger, adventure, betrayal, vengeance, secrets, and set-the-sheets-on-fire chemistry. It also has a fair amount of humor. A young island girl with the mouth of a salty sailor, in particular, both had me laughing out loud and wanting to hug her close. I loved the path her journey took and the impact she had on both Lisbeth and Saint.
The characters are diverse, both racially and sexually, with intriguing characteristics (tattoos, piercings, and such) that are backed up with fascinating historical research. Be sure to read the author's notes at the end. I enjoyed their complexity, the many layers that make up the whole of who they are, the journey they traversed, and the love, and happiness, they found. This is a book I'll be revisiting again.