A Pirate's Pleasure
Grade : B+

Ahoy, me hearties! It’s time for a rollocking adventure on the high seas (mostly!) set in the fantasy world of the 13 Kingdoms featuring a nobleman on the run, the most feared magical pirate in all the land, a murderous (and very determined) harpy and many a swash-to-be-buckled! H.L Day’s A Pirate’s Pleasure is an antagonists-to-lovers/second chance romance filled with action, adventure, humour and passion, and you don’t have to have read the other 13 Kingdoms books to enjoy it because it’s a completely self-contained story.

Accused of a murder he didn’t commit and on the run from the authorities, Lord Lief Cooper makes his way to The Black Skull tavern in Glimmerhaven, regular haunt of notorious pirate captain Zephyr Chase, intent on asking for his help. Lief hopes Zephyr will hide him aboard his ship while he works out how to find out who has framed him and prove his innocence. But there’s a snag – a big one. Lief and Zephyr were childhood friends who grew up together and fell in love – but eight years earlier, Lief walked away after he unexpectedly inherited his family property and fortune. He wanted them to make a life together on his estate but Zephyr refused to abandon his dreams of a life at sea. They didn’t part on good terms and haven’t seen each other since; Lief doesn’t expect Zephyr will have forgiven him – but surely he won’t want to see the man he once loved arrested and hanged for murder?

When Zephyr arrives at the inn – three days later than expected and even more drop-dead gorgeous than Lief remembers - Lief begins to realise he’s made a big mistake. Zephyr not being pleased to see him was a given, but he really hadn’t expected that he would be completely indifferent to his plight or that he’d tell Lief to give himself up and let the authorities investigate.

Deflated, Lief goes up to his room but sleep eludes him. He decides to approach another pirate captain – thanks to Zephyr, he knows his way around a ship, so surely he’ll be able to find work elsewhere. But before he can do much more than think about it, he’s hauled out of bed by a group of soldiers who march him down the stairs and are dragging him outside when a familiar figure steps into their path – it’s Dax, the tavern-keeper (another childhood friend) and behind him is Zephyr, lounging nonchalantly against the wall and looking every bit the dangerous pirate he is.

Lief Cooper might be the last person Zephyr wanted or expected to see in The Black Skull, but even though he tries to live up to his reputation for heartlessness, when push comes to shove, he decides he can’t just stand aside while Lief is arrested. After a daring escape in which Zephyr calls upon his magical abilities to manipulate the weather, he and Lief make their way to his ship and set sail.

Zephyr suggests they should return to Lief’s house in Dimhallow and take that as a starting point for working out who is trying to frame him, but as they left Glimmerhaven earlier than planned, they’ll have to stop somewhere along the way for provisions. A remote island where they’ll be able to buy everything they need seems their best option – until it doesn’t, and Zephyr comes face to face with an old flame he’d hoped never to see again and who will stop at nothing to bind Zephyr to his side.

It’s obvious that Lief and Zephyr have never really got over each other, and the chemistry between them zings and crackles right from the start. The author peppers their backstory throughout the novel, showing their friendship growing and turning to love in a series of flashbacks that reveal how their pasts have informed their present, but eight years of heartache is hard to forget or forgive, and they both stubbornly persist in denying their re-kindling attraction. They’re both well-rounded, well-written characters and I liked them both, individually and as a couple. Leif is snarky, smart and brattish (in a fun way), and is obviously still head-over-heels for Zephyr, and while Zephyr’s awesome magic and legendary reputation as a pirate captain make him widely feared, when it comes to Lief, he’s completely smitten and would obviously do anything for him. I loved reading them remembering what they were to each other and bantering their way back to one another – although their romance is far from plain sailing (pun intended!), especially when Lief has to step up and prove himself not only to Zephyr’s sceptical crew, who blame him for the situation they’ve found themselves in, but to Zephyr and to himself, too.

A Pirate’s Pleasure is a fast-paced, funny and magical adventure yarn in which our heroes find themselves up to their necks in danger while they figure out their feelings for one another and realise they’ve never really fallen out of love. It’s one of those books that’s hard to put down because you’re having so much fun, and anyone in the mood for a light-hearted, sexy fantasy romance with plenty of action and snark should definitely check it out.

Reviewed by Caz Owens
Grade : B+
Book Type: Fantasy Romance

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : January 8, 2024

Publication Date: 01/2024

Recent Comments …

Caz Owens

I’m a musician, teacher and mother of two gorgeous young women who are without doubt, my finest achievement :)I’ve gravitated away from my first love – historical romance – over the last few years and now read mostly m/m romances in a variety of sub-genres. I’ve found many fantastic new authors to enjoy courtesy of audiobooks - I probably listen to as many books as I read these days – mostly through glomming favourite narrators and following them into different genres.And when I find books I LOVE, I want to shout about them from the (metaphorical) rooftops to help other readers and listeners to discover them, too.
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