Published on 3 April 2017
Published by Entangled Publishing
Copy for review provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Land. Power. Influence. Mary O'Malley knows these are the only things that matter in her war-torn country. Determined to win back her ancestral home, she must embark on a journey across the Atlantic disguised as a cabin boy. But her ruse brings her under the control of a dangerous sea captain who demands from her the one thing she will never give—complete and total submission.
Captain Richard Grant runs a tight ship, and he didn't claw his way up through the ranks of the Royal Navy to be undone by a headstrong Irish girl hell-bent on jeopardizing his mission and his crew. If she insists on dressing like a man, then she can take his punishments. He demands obedience, but his insatiable need for her leads to a complex game of sex, desire, and dominance not even he can control.
Awakened by the passion Grant stirs in her, Mary finds herself falling for the stern captain. But when her false identity leads to rumors of her spying for the French, she must choose between her love for Ireland and the man who commands her body—and her heart.
The Captain’s Rebel by C.B. Halverson is the first story I’ve read by this author, and being a Scorched title ensures there will be steamy scenes as part of the seafaring voyage taken by the heroine to secure her fortunes. It’s a swashbuckling adventure with a side of kink that leads to a very satisfying happy ever after.
Mary O’Malley is tired of waiting. Determined to secure her rightful place as the Lady of Castle Dunraven which once belonged to her ancestors, she slowly but surely seduces a promise of marriage from Johnny Brighton, son of the current Lord. When Johnny heads off to fight with the English Navy, her plans are thwarted. A scheming and jealous wannabe suitor destroys the papers proving Mary’s claims, leaving her running for her life, determined to find Johnny come hell or high water. Disguised as a cabin boy, Mary finds her way onto the ship that Johnny was last seen upon. The dangerous but very attractive Captain Richard Grant sees through her disguise and soon Mary finds herself embroiled in an affair with the Captain that opens up a whole new world of dominance and submission. Intrigue, passion, and danger court their every move and Mary must make the ultimate choice – her country, or her heart.
I really enjoyed this adventurous and very sexy romance! One must understand that Mary’s situation as a young woman in this time period is one of the limitations and she believes her only way out of poverty is to marry Johnny. It’s her singular goal, and she’ll do anything to achieve it. At the same time, she doesn’t love him, and though they have some sexual encounters at the start of the story before Johnny joins the Navy, she feels no real emotional attachment to him (nor him to her). Thus, the relationship she enters into with the Captain on his ship, where she must pretend to be his cabin boy and cater to him, is purely a sexual one (at least at first) and doesn’t change her goal to find Johnny and marry him. This may make her seem cold-hearted but in her circumstances survival trumps emotions. The story is told in first person point of view, which took a bit to get used to at first, but explains the thoughts behind her actions and makes her a more sympathetic character.
Captain Grant is a respected Navy Officer, used to a well-run ship and having people follow his orders. As Mary is the only woman on board, and one who attends him daily, he finds it hard to fight his attraction to her. A strapping punishment meted out as he would any other under his command leads to some surprising revelations, and starts a sexual relationship between them. Neither is under any illusion that what is happening between them is permanent. But along the way, something changes and their hearts get involved.
Of course, it’s never smooth sailing at sea, and when French enemy ships are spotted, all bets for an easy voyage are off. There are several action-packed scenes that add to the drama and intensity of the story as Mary finds herself embroiled in questions of crown and country. Mary and the Captain eventually get their happy ending but not without testing the limits of their trust and commitment to each other. The Captain’s Rebel is an exciting and lusty adventure on the high seas!