Published by Entangled: Select Suspense on March 7th 2016
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Working as part of a yacht crew sounded like the perfect escape for senator's daughter Val Ferrell. Glorious Caribbean beaches, turquoise seas, and freedom from her overbearing father? Heaven. But when the ship is hijacked by violent men—who want to use Val to get to her father—Val's fantasy turns into a nightmare. Now her only hope is the ship's captain, who happens to be her ex-lover.
After disobeying an order, covert operative Nick O'Shea's been assigned yacht captain duty. Working side-by-side with the tiny blonde who makes him crazy—and keeping his hands off her—was definitely punishment. But when Val's life is endangered, Nick must choose between staying aboard and fighting to retake the boat or risking their lives by attempting an escape to an isolated Caribbean island. With the ransom deadline rapidly approaching, he's running out of time...
Val Ferrell’s year aboard a luxury yacht crew is an escape to be the woman she wants to be, out of the controlling hand of her famous senator father. The last person she expects to see again is covert operative Nick O’Shea with whom she’d had a brief fling 6 months ago. But if Nick is only there as a punishment, he soon becomes a lifeline when kidnappers storm the yacht and demand a ransom for Val.
The whole story unfortunately, feels like a missed opportunity. As a very extended narrative of two people fleeing kidnappers who are trying to hold Val’s father for ransom by taking his daughter, there’s a lot of action that seems to sacrifice raw character depth for easy sentimentalism. Val’s good-hearted naïveté – seen in her act of rebellion and her behaviour on the island – made the gulf in maturity levels seemed impossibly wide in contrast to Nick’s jaded mental state and made me question their compatibility numerous times. There’s a huge amount of prevarication about making sure that the sex between them is merely fling material – Nick is unrealistically held back by his own nihilistic view on ‘living’ – and even if you can see the nature of their conflict coming from a mile away, their reconciliation at the end felt ritualistic and way too easy, given only because a HEA is required of this genre.
I wish the book could have delved more deeply into Val’s and Nick’s past but it’s merely written about baldly and matter-of-factly. Without their previous connection made more explicit, Val/Nick made as much sense to me as a forced couple turning to each other out of convenience only because they were stuck together for survival on the island. Sadly, I couldn’t quite see the story as anything more than a survival reality series, fumbling for grips on its main characters and becoming a little contrived as a result.