Once upon a time, he was Lord Tristan Easton—now he is Crimson Jack, a notorious privateer beholden to none, whose only mistress is the sea. But all that will change when exquisite Lady Anne Hayworth hires his protection on a trip into danger and seduction. . . Desperation brought Anne to the bronzed, blue-eyed buccaneer. But after the Captain demands a kiss as his payment, desire will keep her at his side. She has never known temptation like this—but to protect her heart, she knows she must leave him behind. Yet Tristan cannot easily forget the beauty—and when they meet again in a London ballroom, he vows he won't lose her a second time, as fiery passion reignited takes them into uncharted waters that could lead the second lost lord home. ..
Lady Anne Hayworth is determined to get to her fiancé in Scutari (what we know as Turkey). Her father and four brothers don’t want her going but she’s been in mourning for far too long over his death and she needs closure. She is given the name of Captain Crimson Jack and told that he is respectable and will get her there safely. When she locates the Captain she’s pretty sure he’s anything but respectable. After some time and some haggling they come to an agreement: Jack will take Anne to Scutari and the fee will be a kiss. Just one kiss at the time of Jack’s choosing.
Captain Crimson Jack was actually born Lord Tristan Easton. He and his two brothers went into hiding when Tristan was just 14 years old to get away from their murderous uncle. Tristan soon came to love the sea and has no plans to leave it any time soon. He HAS to be on the move or he just gets antsy. He is intrigued by Anne and wants her in his bed but he knows she’s a proper lady and won’t agree to that. He plans to seduce her into it anyway. His ploy in using the kiss as payment will, he hopes, reap him the reward of getting her right where he wants her.
Anne and Jack get along well but the attraction, on both sides, is a bit alarming for Anne. She is guilt ridden over how things went with her fiancé before he left to fight and she needs to mend things in her own mind if possible. Jack has no idea that the fiancé is dead and he’s not sure he wants Anne to head into Scutari and ruin all that wonderful sexual tension that has built up between the two of them. When they finally get to Scutari and Anne asks Jack to accompany her he’s surprised but agrees. He’s astonished to find the true reason for Anne’s visit and tries to comfort her in her grief.
On the return to England Anne is melancholy and soon decides that she needs to sleep with Jack for various reasons. They are amazing together and want nothing more than to continue but real life awaits Anne. She must get back to her life as the daughter of an Earl and find a husband. Jack isn’t happy but what can he do? When Jack – now Tristan - shows up at a ball Anne is shocked. She can’t believe that Tristan is a Lord but even as they continue their trysts Anne knows that Tristan will never leave the sea – and she wants a home & children…on land. They want different things in life and therefore must part.
The second book in the Lords of Pembrook series was oh so good. I loved reading about Tristan and Anne’s romance and learning bits and pieces about Tristan’s life after he went to sea. I think what I liked about this was that while Tristan had felt “at sea” emotionally after fleeing his uncle, and it did change who he was, he was still a pretty happy guy. He had learned to live a sea captain and embraced it. It was sad to see that he felt he couldn’t be the Lord that he was born to be, but he dealt nicely with that as well.
Anne was a strong woman in so many different ways. The fact that she was stubborn enough to stand up to her father and brothers and take off for Scutari on her own (with only a maid in tow) was wonderful. It showed a depth to her that I so enjoyed. Her dealings with Tristan were really quite realistic. She so wanted to be with him, and was off and on secretly, but she still had the thought that she needed to be loyal to her father’s wishes. It didn’t make her wishy-washy, which would have been so easy for her to fall into but she handled things with Tristan so well. I could see her angst and the emotional upheaval that was going on inside – wanting one thing but knowing that it’s not good for you. My heart broke for her more than once because of the choices she felt she was forced to make.
Overall the story was really wonderful. It did get a bit sappy at the end but nothing I couldn’t handle. I can’t wait to read about the third brother, Rafe, and see how he deals with falling in love. The man is just so angry at life and his brothers and he’s holding on to so much internally that I think his story will definitely be worth reading.