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James Harkow has his worries—as first mate on the corsair ship Morag Rose, he carries the weight of the crew and a drunkard captain to boot. But when his ship makes port in Rodaley, an unexpected diversion awaits him. A mysterious stranger by the name of Castor captures his eye, then his heart as a single tryst becomes a lasting friendship.
But there’s more to Castor than meets the eye. He pulls Harkow deeper with every kiss, all the while denying the end he knows must come—the true reason he lures his lover out beyond prying eyes to the shore of sea. Torn between his growing love for Harkow and hunger for the soul he must take, Castor risks all to reveal the truth. In that moment, a deal is struck: nine years together as comrades and lovers, before the sea takes the soul it’s owed.
Nine years later, the debt comes due. And if Harkow wants to keep the love he has found in his siren’s arms, he must fight the sea itself.
Pirates, it turns out, make for fun reading. Sprinkle in some mystery, action and a sexy stud from the sea, and you’re ready to set sail on an awesome adventure.
MC James Harkow is a rough and tumble corsair (<—that’s fancy for pirate). As first mate, he’s responsible for making sure everything from pillaging to prisoners goes smoothly. Even though he’s seen and done a lot in his first 28 years, he’s not fond of being unnecessarily brutal. I’d classify him as a lover, not a fighter—but he’ll get things done as needed, no worries.
Harkow’s big secret (we’ve all got one, eh?) is that he’s attracted to men. One day, after a particularly successful, um…robbery, Harkow is strolling along the beach and comes across the very mysterious Castor, and they make plans to rendezvous, yesssss.
MC Castor’s big secret (yep, he’s got one too) is that he’s not what he appears to be, and time’s running out for him to make a sacrifice to the sea. Could Harkow be his victim? Dun dun duuuuun!
I so enjoyed the action and mystery that followed Harkow and Castor’s initial meeting. Their story was action-packed and interesting, and I liked the way they took care of business tag-team style. Oh, and did I mention the bad guys? Every good pirate story needs an evil villain, and Death By Water included several goodies, from the captain to a conniving gal who wanted to swindle both goods and loot from our guys.
There are three time jumps in the book (now, then, now), and they’re drawn perfectly. There were a couple things that niggled, though, a big one being the chemistry between the MCs. Don’t get me wrong—they were well matched, but their sexy time was a little mechanical and didn’t feel as genuine as I would have liked.
My second issue nearly drove me MAD (gross understatement), and it’s a crying shame this wasn’t identified and corrected in the editing process: ellipses overuse. I counted one page alone where the dialogue included seven ellipses. Seven! The totally head-scratching part was they were placed at the beginning of dialogue between various characters. It got to a point where it was taking me out of the story every time I came across one of those boogers, but thankfully I managed to get over the issue and make it to the end.
Speaking of which… ;-D
That ending! It was explosive and heart-pounding and super satisfying. The mystery of who and what Castor truly is was revealed, and yet there’s still just enough hanging threads for a series. Argh, matey! Sign me up!