by Darlene Marshall

November 2001
ISBN: 1-55316-060-6
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Take one unwilling bride, one arrogant groom, one bottle of sleeping potion and mix well with pirate ships and a crew that has definitely come out of the closet and what do you have? This wonderful first novel by Darlene Marshall. Sparkling with fun, sizzling with passion and glittering like the Florida sun off the Atlantic Ocean, Pirate’s Price is a wonderfully entertaining read! Christine Sanders is forced into marriage with Justin, Lord Smithton – it’s either marry him or be committed to an asylum. Her uncle truly defines the term “dysfunctional”! Refusing to accept either option, Christine forms her own plan, escaping after the marriage vows and disappearing into the Florida wilderness. Strong of heart and determined of spirit, Christine remakes herself – with help from her godfather – into Captain Christopher Daniels, pirate. Her rationale is that stealing from Lord Smithton’s ships is simply a matter of reallocating her dowry back to herself. Logical and successful, until the inevitable happens – she captures her husband!!

This is where this book really starts to fly! Christine has become the epitome of the successful young pirate captain – it’s hilarious to watch her as she falls victim to the sensual wiles of her would-be husband! Justin, on the other hand, is everything we want in our heroes! He’s strong when he needs to be, tender and loving when the moment is right, and fantastic in bed!! You can imagine his surprise when he realizes who holds him prisoner – tied to her bunk!!

It’s hard to believe that this is the first book from Darlene Marshall. The plot is very well crafted – simple yet elegant and believable. The characters are all word-perfect; from Christine and Justin to Julian Davies, the pirate with the alternate lifestyle, and the assorted oddities that become the crew of Christine’s ship. The dialogue is fast and furious (one old joke involving a goose had me rolling on the floor with laughter), and always in character! The pace is smooth, and I didn’t realize that I had read over half the book in one sitting – its lure was so seductive!

Pirate’s Price contains every single element that makes romances special! The passion is there, along with the sensuality and a very evident growth of a deep and abiding love between hero and heroine. Their feelings are put to the test, but there’s never any real question about who belongs where and with whom! This book generates as much heat as a Florida afternoon – and leaves the reader feeling pleasantly exhausted after a romp with these two marvelous lovers. A must-read for those who enjoy their romances kissed by tropical sunshine and seasoned with the tang of fresh sea air! Definitely a keeper.

Reviewed in March 2002 by Celia.

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