Nicole Lassiter has been raised aboard her father's ship, her mother having died when she was a toddler. She's just been kicked out of finishing school (again) and comes home intending to aid her father in the global, Great Circle Race. She dresses as a boy and goes to the seedy bar where her father is investigating sabotage of some ships which were preparing for the race.
Captain Derek Sutherland, her father's most bitter enemy, sees her there. He's cruelly handsome, menacing, and looking right through her boyish diguise to the lush young woman beneath. But he has no idea she's Lassiter's daughter.
Soon after, Nicole discovers saboteurs aboard her father's ship, and has to run for her life on the docks. Sutherland, thinking she's a prostitute, decides he'll help her by hiding her on his ship for the night. When she appeals to him for chaste protection, he surprises himself by providing it. Next morning, she sneaks off his ship, but not before making a correction on his navigation charts that will save him days of travel. He starts to wonder just who this woman really is.
When her father is jailed on false charges and will miss the all-important race, she sails in his place, unaware her ship is rigged to destruct in heavy seas. Sutherland rescues Nicole and her crew from the sinking ship, having only just discovered his own ship is sabotaged. But he disbelieves her protest of innocence, and holds her captive.
There are wonderful, spicy love scenes. Sutherland initiates Nicole into the erotic pleasures of foreplay. The virgin later firmly ties the sleeping Sutherland to his own bed, intending to escape, but he wakes before she can. Knowing he is at her mercy arouses him, and he manages to seduce her into letting him deflower her - while still tied.
These two hide indentities from each other, spy on each other, and mistrust one another through most of the book, yet manage to fall in love. Watching the hero and heroine struggle against their love for each other is a fun read. If you want an unusual and sensual love story in a different setting, with honest characters and situations, The Captain of All Pleasures is it.
This report prepared by Kayelle Allen
Pocket, Jul 2003, 6.99
In support of the concept that the “Sun never sets on the English Empire”, in 1854 Queen Victoria sponsors the Great Circle Race, a sailing contest open to all nationalities that will start in London and finish in Sydney. Two years later just before the start of the race, Team Lassiter is struck a terrible blow when its captain Jason Lassiter is incarcerated after a tavern brawl in London. However, his daughter Nicole, raised on the sea, takes over as captain.
Derek Sutherland and his crew are amongst the challengers, but he is more desperate to win than most because victory is the only way to save his tottering shipping line. Derek and Nicole are attracted to one another, but neither trusts the other. Nicole believes that he is sabotaging her family's shipping business. Fate intervenes when Nicole's vessel is damaged in a storm and Derek rescues her. As they become lovers in love, they soon have an epiphany that a third party is behind the troubles destroying both their shipping lines.
Victorian England on the high seas is as vivid as can be pictured in this action-packed historical romance. The lead couple is a delight as they brawl, argue, and fight until they realize that they are in love. Though the intrigue subplot and the “disputes” between her father and her beloved add tension, it seems unnecessary as Jason and Nicole have so much baggage to go through anyway. Still readers will enjoy sailing with Kresley Cole at the helm.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner
The terrible enmity between Captains Jason Lassiter and Derek Sutherland lay just below the surface, seething for years. Now on the cusp of the Great Circle Race of 1858, both their shipping lines are imperiled. Only a win in the prestigious sailing race from London to Sydney can save Lassiter's heavily leveraged company or Sutherland's reputation.
When Sutherland inadvertently prevents Lassiter from sailing, Nicole Lassiter easily assumes her father's half of the embroiled rivalry with Sutherland. A restless young woman with a swaggering confidence, Nicole will not merely vie with him. After he disregards their one misguided night together, she decides humiliating him with an easy win will make a fine revenge.
The weary bitterness Derek Sutherland carries like a mantle has finally been pierced. What has, as his relatives would describe it, "provoked Sutherland to a pulse"? His unsettling attraction to a young woman with the darkest eyes he's ever seen. Unfortunately, she's the daughter of a man he'd like to see dead. Worse, she publicly vows that Derek will memorize the look of her stern during the Great Circle Race. Derek readily accepts the challenge of besting Nicole, and the two become determined to defeat the other at any cost, including trickery, deception, even seduction...
This report prepared by Kresley Cole