Reviewed by JenThe pirate Cain is on a mission of vengeance. After two years of living a respectable life on land, he thought he finally had his disreputable days behind him. But his friend and business partner turned on him when he refused to allow slavery into their shipping business. He framed Cain for a crime he didn't commit, then told the world his true identity. He would have hanged if an old sailing mate had not rescued him.
Now Cain wants Richard dead for his deceit and disloyalty. Unfortunately, his prey went on the run as soon as he escaped the gallows. So Cain kidnaps Richard's fiance, in the hopes she'll tell him where her intended is hiding.
India is nothing like Cain expects. She is bold and full of spirit. And she claims she has no idea where Richard is hiding. While her character is strong, her body isn't quite so tough. She is quickly plagued by seasickness and ends up with a terrible fever that takes her in and out of consciousness. Cain has to nurse her back to health and becomes captivated by her beauty. He gets even more entangled as he listens to her feverish dreams.
It's Cain who India is dreaming about. Well, actually it's Teddy, the alter-ego he took on as Richard's partner. India never wanted Richard, but fantasized about the stalwart gentleman he described Teddy to be. Once she boarded Cain's ship and realized the men were one in the same, her fantasies and dreams finally had a face to go with the name.
After India wakes, she and Cain have a connection. But she fights it, insisting she remain true to her betrothal for honor's sake. This is where the book dragged for me. It seemed to go round and round for some time, with her fighting her feelings and Cain pushing for them to be together, then the other way around. In the meantime, India is learning more about the life of a pirate and all the freedoms it entails. The story follows her and Cain's adventures on the sea, the push and pull of their affections, and of course the search for Richard.
Once they finally get together, the book really gathers steam. After all that waiting, in a way, it made the intensity of their emotional connection more believable. And Lord knows, I was ready for the sex. (It delivers, by the way.) The pacing really picks up here. We meet more pirates. We learn more about Cain's history. Our hero and heroine evolve both as individuals and a couple. In the second half, the book really finds it legs.
I liked India. She was tough and smart... and at the same time, she was human and fallible. She makes mistakes --as does Cain. He was a sexy and good hearted hero, but he did have a bit of emotional baggage.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. I just wish it hadn't taken quite so long to hit its stride.
*ARC provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
Bound by Decencyby Claire AshgroveRelease Date: August 1, 2012