AUTHOR: Abigail Barnette
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 42k)
GENRE: Historical paranormal menage erotic romance
On the way to meet her betrothed in Jamaica, Annabelle is kidnapped by pirates. She wakes up to discover the captain is a vampire, and she is now the second human on board he will feed upon…
Part of me is convinced I should’ve just stopped reading after the third chapter, but I wasn’t completely buying the fact that it was actually going to end as a ménage and wanted to read it through it to the end to confirm whether or not I would need to warn other readers. (It is, by the way, though that’s hardly a reason to recommend it.)
The short novel begins with Annabelle on her way to Jamaica to marry the man her father has pretty much sold her off to. She’s not really attracted to the fair good looks of her betrothed, but she’s determined to do what she must to make the best of a bad situation. When the ship she’s on is set upon by pirates, she is knocked out, only to wake up in the captain’s chambers on the pirate ship. Galerius is dark and handsome, and oh yeah, fanged. She discovers he intends to feed from her, but too quickly, dawn arrives and she is left to her own devices. She discovers the crew is glamoured not to see her. They can’t see Galerius’s other human guest, either, the Irishman Drummond. Drummond explains they will be sharing feeding responsibilities from now on, and hints that he looks forward to the reprieve. What Annabelle learns from Galerius exceeds her wildest imagination, though.
It’s obvious in the first chapter that I needed to suspend major disbelief in order to buy into the story. It’s about a vampire pirate on the high seas, after all. But the more I read, the more the prose became mired in melodrama, too much for me to tolerate. Paragraphs like this:
She ran to the railing, gripped the wood so tightly she was sure she would leave marks from her fingernails. There was a monster on board the ship. A demon who would drink her blood, or throw her into the sea. A warlock who had put a spell on the entire crew and rendered her invisible. She could not give him the satisfaction. She would throw herself overboard. She took a breath, willed her foot to raise, to boost herself up against the wood and tumble over. But her body would not listen, and she slumped to the deck, legs shaking.
…proliferate the text. The dialogue isn’t much better, but I might have been able to overlook some of it if I cared for the leads.
I didn’t. Annabelle is a gullible twit who turns into a wanton with absolutely no provocation. There are repeated instances of this:
Galerius released her arm and stepped back, finger to his lips as though having an epiphany. “Perhaps I am driving too hard a bargain. How about this, then? The next time we are to sail across the sea, I will make it my personal mission to find your betrothed and deliver you safely to him. Do you find that fair?”
It was too easy, and very suspicious. “Do you often travel across the sea?”
“Of course. We are pirates, after all.”
“Fine, then.” Her answer was too easy, and very suspicious as well, but she refused to dwell on it. Still, he had not made a move toward her. “I agree. Proceed.”
He chuckled, and a hot blush crept up her face. “It would be easier if you took off your gown.”
“Oh.” She felt foolish and suddenly not as eager to continue with what they had begun. She had supposed she would be naked, but she had imagined it would happen in the heat of passion, as if by magic, so she would not have time to think about it. To remove her clothing now, while he watched her, would be embarrassing and…
This sort of thing never went over well with women. And, true to her sex, Annabelle sat up, clutching the sheet to her bosom and opening her mouth to shriek.
He silenced her with a hand over her mouth. “Hush! I’m supposed to be here. Do you think the captain would just leave you unguarded? Besides, who else can see you?”
She squirmed away from him, practically spitting venom. “I do not think this was the kind of guarding he had in mind!”
“My dear lady, what are you accusing me of?” he asked, blinking in mock surprise.
“Accusing you?” Once again, confusion created the dearest little lines between her eyebrows. Drummond almost wanted to kiss them away, but he was terribly fond of living, so heeded Galerius’s orders. Annabelle shook her head and pressed one palm to her forehead. “You are a madman. You know very well that you were…touching me.”
“Touching?” he sputtered and stood, making a great display of being outraged. “I was doing nothing of the sort!”
She frowned. “I was so sure…”
Astonishing! She actually believed him! “Sweet lady, I assure you, I was merely trying to wake you. I touched your shoulder, and for that I do apologize, but you were sleeping quite soundly, and I worried for your modesty.”
Her face flamed red.
…and I could add more, but really, what’s the point? She has no depth, and I’m expected to believe that she turns from a virgin who’s only sneaked looks at dirty books she wasn’t supposed to see into a voracious wanton with an appetite for threeways with little more than sex scene after sex scene after sex scene to show for it.
None of it’s helped that Galerius suffers from the same problem. I know next to nothing about his extensive history, and see no valid reason for him to fall in love with such an idiot like Annabelle except that she’s female and he hasn’t had a female lover in a very long time. And yet, she seems to have the magical ability to convince him that not only can he love her, but he can also love Drummond (who at least seems a little more interesting than the other two combined, it’s a shame he’s saddled with them for eternity now).
Needless to say, I didn’t buy a second of it, and I definitely won’t be bothering with other titles by this particular author if this is what I can expect.
5/10 – Melodrama, melodrama, melodrama…and not the good kind; the kindest thing I have to say about the prose is that at least it’s technically clean
3/10 – There’s no real depth or reason for the feelings for the heroine, and without the third point of the triangle, the whole thing feels useless
3/10 – Annabelle is a gullible twit, Galerius is every vampire cliché rolled into one, and Drummond is better off without either one of them
2/10 – It would’ve been a waste of my time except by reading through to the end, I discovered the author is the erotic romance pseudonym of another name I recognize from my print TBR and now I can save time by not reading those
4/10 – Except for the fact that it’s on a pirate ship, I had little sense of place and no sense of history