For this humble reader, a pirate without a ship is like the proverbial fish out of water. But the talented Ms. James still manages to make her landlocked hero — a pirate come home at last — leap off the page in her tender and touching novella, a companion tale to The Ugly Duchess. Although the resolution comes a bit too easily for Griffin and his abandoned wife of 14 years (years!), a trio of charming children, an endearingly strong-willed heroine and the sensual banter between the leads will leave readers eager to believe the fairy tale.

Pirate turned privateer Sir Griffin Barry is forced into retirement and back to England by a nasty saber slash to his leg. Unnerved by the thought of facing a wife he hasn’t seen in 14 years, he makes a bet with his cousin, the Duke of Ashbrook — who also left behind an estranged wife when he went to sea — as to who can bed his abandoned bride the fastest. But when Griffin finally arrives at Arbor House, he discovers his wife now has three children, with no father in sight. And she is even more lovely than on their wedding night, when he fled her bed after suffering from a bit of performance anxiety. But Griffin is no longer a skinny 17-year-old; he’s a tattooed former pirate determined to bed his beautiful wife and finally forge a place he can call home forever. (AVON IMPULSE, dl., $0.99)

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Reviewed by: 
Nicole King