What a Pirate Desires

A Pirateís Possession
by Michelle Beattie
(Berkley Sensation, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0-425-23820-2
A pirate hero is always a yummy treat, and Michelle Beattie delivers in mouthwatering fashion with A Pirateís Possession.

Nate Carter is taking his turn as Sam Steele, the notorious pirate hero. He has a shadowy past, and heís tight-lipped about his childhood, even when he met his first love Claire Gentry, back at the orphanage where they met as teenagers. Though he wouldnít tell Claire much about himself, they fell head over heels for each other, sharing the uncertain days. Claire is very open and honest with Nate, telling him all about her fatherís treasure map and his hunt for a cache of jewels that will save her from the life heís left her in while he searches.

After a couple of years at the orphanage, Claire realizes that her fatherís probably not coming back for her, and she and Nate plan to escape when they are of age to find the treasure, build their dream house and live happily ever after.

Nate is older and is discharged from the orphanage before Claire, and he heads out determined to make their dreams come true. He does his best, and comes back to find Claire, certain that she is waiting for him. But she isnít, and Nate is heartbroken. Eventually, he toughens up and becomes Sam Steele, content to loot and plunder while searching for something that feels like happiness.

Disguised as a man, a destitute and hardened Claire Gentry walks into a poker game to play for part of a treasure map that belonged to her father, Claire loses to the man she recognizes as the one she once loved, and believes that he has betrayed her again. Claire has no choice but to follow Nate on his quest, not knowing that he is now Sam Steele, or that he even came back for her, or that he thinks that his feelings for her are long dead and buried. Shortly, Nate figures out who Claire is and thinks that there is nothing better than having the woman who could have given him everything stuck on his ship with him while he finally uncovers the truth.

Nate Carter is just as dashing, loyal and tough as you would expect from a perfect hero, and his pirate side just helps him be extra sexy. If you are a fan of the alpha male with a heart type, get ready to fall in love. Nate has just enough painful past to make a girlís heart soften, but heís not the doormat type who whines and panders about his tough life. I loved that he kept his secrets until the right moment and that the reader was gradually able to get to know him. He felt real in a way that most heroes donít, and I loved him.

Claire Gentry was gently painted as the bad guy from the beginning of the tale, which I loved as it was unique. Though most of her seemingly bad choices were coerced, she never misses a chance to fight physically or verbally, and she is a tough lady, a perfect match for Nateís towering stance in the book. Claire manages to eventually pull on the readerís heartstrings without being a poor me type.

A notable mention must be made of Nateís friend and crewmate Vincent, a dwarf who befriends the nail-spitting Claire from the beginning of her journey on the pirate ship. Vincent was a great foil of friendship, kindness and tough love for both Nate and Claire as he sees the tension between them. Vincentís also just gleeful to find out any little tidbit of Nateís past, as he has been as close mouthed with the gossipy Vincent as he was at the orphanage with Claire.

A Pirateís Possession has it all: danger, intrigue, mystery, love, passion and friendship. The poker game that opens the tale caught my attention immediately, and the wonderfully penned ending had me closing the last page on a sigh. The middle did have a slight lag with not much happening, which is the only reason that this book is a four heart instead of a five heart read. That being said, you owe it to yourself to read A Pirateís Possession, and make room on your keeper shelf for the works of Michelle Beattie.

-- Amy Wroblewsky

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