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Captain Jane Avery of the Tantibus has been pirating for more than ten years. With a crew at her command and a ship under her feet, she is a terror to anyone that has the misfortune of crossing her path. Her latest conquest is just one more on the list. When they find a common whore aboard, Jane orders the woman be brought along, never realizing the impact one decision can have, and that even an unstoppable pirate has a weakness…
Open Waters was a delightful surprise with it being from a new to me author and a genre I am dipping my toes into, it was a charming read. When I saw the cover I was curious and then the blurb? A female pirate captain and a whore? It was like my bodice ripping senses tingled and I just had to read it. So, the bodice ripping doesn’t happen but you get a bad ass pirate captain… who’s a girl! Can I get a high five for that alone?
Jane Avery has captained the Tantibus for ten years, with her first mate Worth, she commands her ship and all aboard it. When rumors circle about a new merchant ship with the Royal Navy The Liberty, being full of ammunition, Jane decides the need to pillage it and take it’s booty to prepare for the war.
“There was another ship at port,” she said after a beat. “The Liberty – dreadful name for a ship, honestly – she’s the one we’re after.”
Now, this is a tale of pirates and ships and the sea and while the story goes into minor detail about each of those; it’s enough to bring you aboard the Tantibus with the crew and not lose you in the jargon of sailing. I love details, I love looking up details to learn new things from a well written story but not getting so lost in those details it takes you out of the story. You know what I mean? This had a wonderful balance of both and keeps you intrigued as the story progresses.
She’s a newer model, so she’s lacking the stern-chasers and won’t be able to return fire without a turn. She’s strongest portside, so we’ll match her starboard side. Despite this, she’ll still think she can take us through in just a few shots. What she won’t be expecting is a boarding mid-pass.
Ships and sea aside, what I wanted to see was Jane meeting the whore. It was done well and we get this snark from Jane that I loved. She is a strong and independent woman who quite frankly, takes no shit from anyone let alone men who think she is beneath them due to her sex. Jane knows how to handle herself and when she comes aboard The Liberty and is called to the captain’s quarters and encounters the woman being used as a hostage and a shield; she makes the decision to not give the woman the choice of “join my crew or take an eternal swim” and brings the whore back to the Tantibus.
Being told from Jane’s POV we are privy to her thoughts on the whore, or Cicely as she is named, and the true reason for her being on The Liberty. I adored that Cicely sees right through Jane and not only is honest with her but gives her praise, endearments and then dishes out the sarcasm to make sure the captain’s head doesn’t get to big. The girls share minimal intimacies on page yet there was enough for me to feel the attraction between them.
Oh but… Pirates Ahoy! Don’t forget this takes place on a pirate ship and while it’s not heavy on pirate speak, there are bits that I loved being thrown in to remind me.
If any of you so much as touch her, you will be taking a little trip down to Davy Jones for a permanent stay.
The story takes a few twists that I wasn’t expecting and again, I loved that Jane is so strong to not only threaten her own men if they lay a hand on Cicely but to fight for her life. Yeah, she is crazy strong and a woman like that needs a woman who can give strength right back.
“You don’t seem worried.” Jane remarked after a moment, noticing the relaxed look on Cecily’s face.
“Oh, I’m not,” Cecily assured her, “As long as ya in control, I have nothing’ ta fear.”
Jane just nodded. “As it should be.”
Open Waters is a great debut from a new author. The writing was engaging, the MC’s gave me enough that I was invested in them both… actually, I was so invested that I would love more. I know this was a short story, coming in under 100 pages, but I would love more of both Jane and Cicely. It would be great to see Jane in the past and how she learned to sail, fight and lead. It would be interesting to get Cicely’s POV as she decides her fate/future and it would be amazing to get more intimate time with the girls. Not just sex, but seeing them together and really fall for one another. All in all, I really liked this and look forward to more from the author.