Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (28th December 2012)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 ½ – 4 Hearts
Blurb: After narrowly escaping the sinister plotting of Anthony Arlen’s City Guard and the wrath of the outlawed Sun League, Kit Porter and his friends, Alec Weston and Robert Warren, must flee or risk capture—or worse. With enemies dogging their every move, the friends risk a brief, heartbreaking meeting with Kit’s mother before pushing on to the town of Ludlow. There, they enlist the aid of Jamie McEwen, a rich merchant and old friend of Alec’s, who offers them a way out. But in order to make good their escape, they must first reach Boston, a port city on the other side of the country.
The tense journey across England tests Alec and Kit’s growing feelings for each other, while forcing Robert to confront unresolved guilt over past loyalties and actions. Just when escape seems within reach, the Sun League closes in, and the three friends face a desperate battle to evade the awful fate in store for them.
Review: This story is part of a series and best read in order. Kit and his friends and rescuers Alec and Robert are on the run from two powerful factions, the Lord Chancellor’s City Guard and the criminal Sun League. Staying ahead of them as they flee is difficult and they have to be weary of being sold out, Alec turns to an old friend, Jamie, for aid and he gives them the perfect solution to their immediate problems but first Alec, Robert and Kit must get to Boston and the ship which awaits them. Each man must face the past and resolve their feelings for what has happened in the past and Kit and Alec act on their attraction for each other, but the Sun League close in and they have to act quickly to avoid the fate that awaits them.
This is a really good historical story that pulls you into the fourteenth century and weaves a tale of trust and justice. Kit has placed his life in the hands of the guards that first captured him; he is now on the run with them from both the Lord Chancellor and the Sun League with no idea how the three of them can outrun two powerful factions. Alec has some idea what to do but needs help, he heads to his old friend Jamie for aid, and Jamie helps him as much as he can with his disapproving mother looking over his shoulder. Robert is a loyal man and he sticks with Alec a man he knows to be honorable and honest, having his back and bringing rescue when they are facing death.
This is a chase across the country as Alec and Robert seek to protect a man who has had no say in his own life for three years, a man who was to be sacrificed because of the pride of the Lord Chancellor, a man who can trust no one, and now they seek freedom for all of them. They face opposition from those that were friends, sword fights, and fleas. I really liked that Alec and Kit wait before consummating their relationship, both men understood that the other had scars deeper than those on the surface, all the characters are really well written and I enjoyed getting to know them better.
Following their journey across the country is interesting and not just because of flight but also because of the wealth of history and the world building that was put into this story. It sets the stage perfectly for a hard journey dodging enemies and never knowing who can be trusted, not knowing if family and friends will turn on you, and knowing that running into the wrong person will be the end and that men in power are vindictive and cruel, with very little hope of forgiveness if caught. The Measure of a Man truly shows exactly how these three men measure up and if I ever find myself fleeing across fourteenth century England with enemies nipping at my heels these three are the ones I want at my back.
I recommend this to those who love historicals, men who will do anything for justice, vindictive men who seek revenge, loyalty and hope and a happy for now ending.
Blurb: Ahoy, me proud beauty, shiver me timbers! I ask ye to sail me jollyboat on the high seas, lubber, but will ye dare to accept? On offer be a pirate’s life full of danger and risk, and not just to yer neck, but to yer very virgin heart! There’s many a bodice to be ripped–or perhaps I should say many a codpiece to be snapped–and should ye be graced enough to cross bones with a corsair, don’t be an addlepate! Heave ho, lad, handsomely, and show him how ye bury yer treasure!
Pirates didn’t only sail the high seas in historical times. Modern-day renegades and futuristic rebels are just as ripe for adventure and plunder. No matter the time, place, or circumstances, bad boys steal affection as often as they salvage treasure, and in these stories of romance, a rogue’s black heart always conceals a center of gold.
Review: Daniel is a captain in the Royal Navy when his crew forms a mutiny against him and finds himself adrift in a small boat and then picked up by pirates. James is the pirate Captain Merric. His crew fish out a Navy captain from the sea who turns out to be a childhood sweetheart.
This is a cute read where two childhood sweethearts are reunited after 16 years apart; only for one to be a Navy captain and the other a pirate captain. Daniel tries to fight his renewed feelings for James knowing he has to return to England and James decides that Daniel is his and will do anything to have him. An enjoyable short story.
Ellen Holiday – Touched by the West Wind Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3, Genre: Historical, Pirate Length: Short (16pgs)
Review: Tom and Bren are part of a pirate crew. These two young men have been best friends for years when they realize that the way they feel has changed.
This is a sweet romance of two young men who discover their feelings have changed and what they feel for their friend is love. It is a sweet exploration of their feelings as they embark on an innocent physical exploration of each other. A sweet romantic story.
K.R. Foster – The Golden Galleon Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4, Genre: Contemporary Length: Short (12pgs)
Review: Flynn and Jason own the Golden Galleon restaurant together, as well as being life partners. Flynn is having a nice relaxing day off reading his favorite author’s latest novel when he gets a phone call from a desperate Jason begging him to come in on his day off.
Flynn is unhappy to arrive at the restaurant only to find that Jason lied to him, Jason asks him to go to the office where he makes it up to him in a hot and horny manner. A sweet, hot and sexy short.
Emily Moreton – My Hand in Yours Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥3 ½, Genre: Fantasy, Pirate Length: Short (10pgs)
Review: Jack is a peace keeper for a coastal town. Robert is a pirate. They come together for primal needs and continue to do so for over five years whenever Robert is in town.
For over five years Robert comes to Jack whenever he is in town, when he is offered work on the Nether Shore, he asks Jack to make a huge decision. This is a nice sweet short.
Jana Denardo – Ghost of Jupiter Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Science Fiction, Inter-species Length: Short (35pgs)
Review: Telek is a Chimera (genetically engineered species) having been sold to the highest bidder he is now being transported. Al is a privateer who has raided a space craft, what he finds on board is more than he could have ever expected.
Telek has been bred to fight and kill. Chimera’s are feared as many have no control over themselves; a few can control themselves. Telek is one of the few. He begins to trust the privateer captain and wants more from him. Al trusts Telek not to hurt or kill him but he doesn’t want Telek thinking that he has to offer himself up to stay safe. Between them is a want to protect the other and a relationship based on trust. A great read I would love to see more from this writer.
E.S. Douglas – Officer and a Gentleman Pirate Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4, Genre: Historical, Pirate Length: Short (16pgs)
Review: Geoffrey is a lieutenant in a British Colony; Captain Jones is a pirate he captured after bumping into him outside a tavern.
Jones uses his wiles to try to seduce the lieutenant so he can escape. Geoffrey tries to deny himself but fails; leading to the pirate escaping, but with instructions on how to contact him again. What will happen to these two men when they meet up again? A charming story which shows opposites attract.
K.J. Johnson – Objectivity Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3, Genre: Modern Pirate, Interracial Length: Short (27pgs)
Review: Matthew is a photo-journalist on assignment to get the dirt on African pirates. Achmed is the pirate leader who is trying to show Matthew why they have resorted to piracy.
Matthew battles his attraction to the pirate leader who has made it clear that he could kill him at any time. He also struggles to understand why these men have resorted to piracy. Meanwhile, Achmed is trying to make the photo-journalist understand why they rob the rich. When Matthew is injured on Achmed’s boat by an American soldier they both give in to the attraction. A nice story that could be built on for a future novella.
Cornelia Grey – Worth the Price Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Historical, Pirate Length: Short (31pgs)
Review: Edward is a lieutenant in the Royal Navy who has been captured by pirate Captain James O’Shea. When the pirate captain visits him he attacks him with a passion which surprises even him.
Edward ends up risking his life to save James. James ends up giving himself up to save his crew but what will Edward do when his Commodore tries to go back on his word and just how far will Edward go to rescue his pirate. A great short with some intense passion and it was really well written.
Juan Kenobi – Peter and the Lost Boys Heart Rating: ♥1, Genre: ???? Length: Short (15pgs)
Review: Peter is approached in a bar by Kap. Kap takes him to his home to discuss a job and Peter meets the lost boys.
Well there is no sex, no kissing, no nothing; just some sexual innuendo and a job offer. This short story felt more like a small clip from a much longer book.
M.J. O’Shea – Irish Red Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4, Genre: Historical 1713 Length: Short (11pgs)
Review: Chris is a tavern owner and Brian is the pirate captain, Irish Red. they have to keep their love a secret and Brian has promised that this will be his last trip.
Chris is waiting for Brian to return. He’s been waiting months and months when he hears the rumor that Irish Red has been killed. He struggles to go on with his life after that; until one night when an intruder enters the tavern. A wonderful short story that has a lot of emotion.
Piper Vaughn – Black John Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4,Genre: Historical 1715 Length: Short (15pgs)
Review: Juan thought the love of his life had died 5 years before. That is until he is washed up on the beach. He thinks this is his second chance, but Jacob has other ideas.
Jacob can’t believe that there are men living and loving openly together on this Island and even though he has found Juan again the fear is too deep. He will be leaving on the next cargo ship. It isn’t until Juan suffers a life threatening injury that Jacob realizes just what he could have lost.
Cooper West –Rough Trade Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Science Fiction, Pirates Length: Short (29pgs)
Review: Audacity is kinda like the captain of the Helos A.I. Battleship Carthage which turned to piracy before Audacity joined her. He’s trying to bail out one of his crew when he bumps into a desperate doctor who needs to get off the space port fast. Sag is a doctor and is pretty shocked that the space craft he is on is a pirate ship but he’s so glad to be off the space port.
This is a great read, I loved the story-line and plot and thought Audacity and Sag were great together.
B. Snow – From a Simmer to a Burn Heart Rating: ♥♥♥3, Genre: Historical, Interracial Length: Short (31pgs)
Review: Sule was a slave who escaped his Dutch owners. He has an anger that is so great that it burns constantly no matter how many fights he’s in and he hates all things Dutch. Olaf is Norwegian but can only communicate with the other crew in Dutch. Sule hates him for reminding him of the Dutch.
This is a good story about overcoming your anger to accept something that much better; if only you can accept what is offered and stop fighting the present and to start forgetting the past.
Riley Shane – On the Wings of Lir Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Steam punk, Pirate Length: Short (17pgs)
Review: Hugh is determined to capture the pirate Patrick Kelly. Kelly is raiding air-ships that are carrying children that are heading for the whore houses. When Hugh finds this out he has a choice to make.
This is a great story that I would really love to see made into a much, much longer story. Hugh is shocked when he finds out the truth behind the raids and he also finds Kelly to be extremely attractive. Kelly thinks Hugh looks like an angel and goes about persuading Hugh to look deeper.
Maggie Lee – The Winds of Change Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5, Genre: Historical 1717, Pirates Length: Short (33pgs)
Review: Cook and Seb have been friends for a year; Cook is firm in his belief that Seb will remain faithful even when Cook sleeps around. That conviction is shaken when they find berth on Edward Teach’s ships.
I found this to be a great story, where one man finally realizes that he can’t have his cake and eat it, too.
Overall Review: I have to say that I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, as always with an anthology you have your gems and then you have the plastic beads. I have to say that the gems are definitely worth reading in this anthology. There is some hot sex in some of the stories but in quite a few there are other sex acts and sometimes it’s just thoughts of sex. A lot of the pairings are good and quite a few of the stories are well written. So I would recommend this if you love pirates…or not.