They meet in a clash of swords, drenched in the moonlight of Britain's rugged eastern coast: Captain Jack, his handsome features etched in silver and shadow, his powerful physique compelling "Kit" Cranmer to surrender. He is her dream lover come vividly alive, and his command of the smuggling gang is absolute. His all-knowing gaze penetrates her disguise as the male leader of a rival gang with frightening ease, and his "punishment" with kisses leaves her maidenly modesty in tatters. Suddenly Kit finds she's only too delighted to explore with Jack the pleasures conventionally reserved for married ladies - little knowing what dangerous forces she's unleashing, for even as Kit revels in midnight gallops and cottage rendezvous, Captain Jack is laying a gentle trap that will curtail her freedom and bind her to him with a ring, a promise - and ties of devotion and desire.
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This is a prequel to The Bastion Club stories that I've waited for. It's NOT a Cynster or Bastion story. It has a flavor all it's own. But I have to say that Captain Jack is rather like Devil Cynster in that he's autocratic. Kit might be the standard for the Cynster women in later books. She's fearless and a perfect mate for Captain Jack.
The story has plenty of romance and a LOT of sex in it with a slight mystery. I like that the plot has spies in it--but that's a personal favorite of mine.
If you enjoy Stephanie Laurens stories...the Bastion Club and the Cynsters, you'll enjoy this one, too.
My only complaint is that I never knew that George had an accent. LOL.
This book is such a sumptuous read! It’s like eating your favorite, most exotic fruit one juicy bite at a time! After reading the synopsis of the book, I thought I was in for a story about smuggling gangs in the rookeries of London, or something of that sort…but this fantastic story was far more (and far from that initial image). This story takes place in the beautiful countryside of Norfolk, England during tumultuous times between France & England, as both countries are at war with one another. Yet, the main characters are, in fact, aristocrats involved in underground, clandestine activities during the danger of the night. Both of our leads have gotten involved in managing smuggling gangs for different reasons. I think that’s one of the most interesting aspects of this book---aristocrats by day, and smugglers by night! How exciting is that???
THE HEROINE: Lady Kathryn Cranmer, otherwise known as “Kit” is such a likeable heroine! She is a maverick, and no one knew this better than her manipulative aunt & uncle who tried to marry her off for 6 years in London. After deeming her “unmarriageable,” Kit was returned to live with her beloved grandfather in the country. Yet, Kit has as much fire, curiosity and need for adventure as her beautiful black Arab horse and she’s beckoned into the night. Kit is one amazing woman. She has razor-sharp instincts, is daring, and a thrill-seeker, at heart.
THE HERO: OMG, I loved the hero, Lord Jonathan Henden (aka “Captain Jack)!! As Kit put it, he is “supremely male”…lol. Henden’s reputation precedes him. He is a beautiful specimen of a man with a respected military career, and a “rake” among the ladies. Yes, this man is a master of his own world, until a courageous, beauty with amethyst eyes and red locks of hair, dressed as a boy comes to rock his world. And, yes, this man works hard at keeping his world in check, but he finds himself working harder at unlocking the secrets that await him in discovering love in a woman, who is every bit his counterpart in instincts, stubbornness, ability and drive.
THE ROMANCE: I loved the first time Captain Jack and Kit met. Their chemistry is off the charts and full of this animal attraction. There is a clever parallel between the attraction and unsettling connection that goes on between both of their horses (Jack’s grey stallion & Kit’s black Arab) and the riders….lol Since the initial meeting (which began as a sword fight) Captain Jack knew there was something “off” in the young lad who lead one of the smuggling gangs in the area; and when he finds out she is a woman! --Whoa!!! Talk about seeing sparks fly!! ---The two strike a deal, join forces; but I don’t think either of them were prepared for the powerful force that compels them to each other!
I adored the unveiling that occurred between both Jack and Kit as they learned about each other. Neither shared their true identify and station, with one another, so it was so fun to see the discovery of their secrets peeled off in layers (and much like their clothes…LOL). I also loved their teasing little games, and their relationship blossom in every stage of their commitment to one another. This novel is an absolute indulgence for the “helpless romantic” because the leads fall in love and share a passion with one another that is like molten lava! Yes, this is a steamy, “rock the boat—don’t come-a-knocking” romance without the unhelpful drama and angst that usually plague novels these days. I absolutely LOVED this book!!!
This novel is such a treat! You will feel the exhilaration as Kit and Captain Jack race through the countryside, both escaping and fooling the “Revenue” soldiers. You will be intrigued as they survive multiple dangers from all sides, and uncover a mystery related to top secret, governmental affairs. And, if riding the English countryside at a break neck pace, and engaging in covert governmental operations is not enough, the intertwined romance is another challenge that is sure to dazzle and keep your heart rate up!
NARRATOR: I really enjoyed the narrator. She created such a perfect, crisp and young voice for Kit. I also enjoyed her male voices and ability to tell a story with proper timing and inflections. What can I say?--McCallister Lee was great!
LAST THOUGHTS: This is an ever-moving story with vivid characters, who came across as real, with characteristics and inner challenges that seemed reflective of their time. I loved the supporting characters that moved within Captain Jack and Kit’s precociously, balanced world of the aristocracy by day, and smuggling runs by night. The ending and epilogue were perfect, and I hope this book captures your heart as it has captured mine. This is my first Stephanie Lauren’s book, but definitely not my last!