Charleston, 1861. Captain Cole McRae has been charged with the task of escorting Englishwoman Devon Blake to Old Capitol Prison where she’s to be hanged as a spy and murderess. The man Devon was accused of spying for is the same man Cole blames for his brother’s death and the loss of his ship, so Devon is #2 on his most hated list. Problem is, despite her somewhat sordid background, Devon swears the charges were trumped-up, and she’s primed and ready to escape at any and every opportunity.

I know this sounds like another rehash of the captor/captive, big-strong-hero/spunky heroine trope you’ve seen a thousand times, but it’s not. This was a lot of fun with surprises on every page, although the escape/capture bits were starting to wear thin about halfway through (especially since every time they were tied together *something* happened to pull her on top of him). Thankfully the story went in another direction in the attempt to trap the evil baddie. Devon’s Uncle Monty was a refreshing addition, he provided plenty of pocket picking and flim-flamming (he was a bit of a show stealer). Does he really have Devon’s best interests at heart, or is he merely out for himself?

Not once have I been shot at, awakened at dawn and tossed on the back of a horse, pushed out of a speeding train, or rolled in slimy goose droppings. Why, compared to a week spent with you, this wretched tavern is the pinnacle of luxury.

OK I know this is fluff, but it was rather entertaining fluff and I was in need of some brain candy and this filled the bill perfectly. Devon is independent and spunky, but she’s not one of those annoying-as-hell-foot-stomping heroines. Cole is definitely all male, yet even though he finds Devon hard to resist you aren’t going to get that forced seduction trope either. Both Devon and Cole carry scars from the past, but believe it or not instead of carrying it all around in a never-ending Big Misunderstanding they actually sat down and talked about them. How refreshing.

This romance was originally published in 1995, but don’t judge it by the older Fabio-like cover. Yikes! Yes there is some sex and yes it is a bit steamy, but there were only two or three and those don’t happen until well into the latter half of the book. Warning: at the very beginning Cole is openly fondling a barmaid and might turn off some readers, but just skip past that and keep on reading.

My Kindle copy had a few formatting errors here and there with odd word placement and the occasional run-on word, but otherwise relatively clean. Favorite quote, although it is slightly spoilerish:

The closest thing he had to a father-in-law was the most outrageous con man he’d ever met in his life. His new bride was a convicted murderess he’d been blackmailed into marrying. He’d never been happier in his life.

3.5/5 stars. Not perfect, but still highly entertaining for a rainy Sunday afternoon and one I’ll likely pick up again someday.

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