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Bad Boys Ahoy! ... Anthology

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bad Boys Ahoy! (Anthology)

Sylvia Day
Historical Romance/Erotica
Published in 2006

Read in Dec, 2011.
My rating:


                                                       [spoiler alert]

Rating based on 3 novellas by Sylvia Day; “Stolen Pleasures” (3.75 stars), “Lucien’s Gamble” (3 stars) and “Her Mad Grace” (2.5 stars).

“Stolen Pleasures”

H/h - Sebastian Blake, the Earl of Merrick/Olivia Lambert
Setting: London, 1813.

In this novella, we met pirate captain Phoenix in the West Indies when he captures a ship and it’s most beautiful occupant, the daughter of the owner, Olivia. Now, Sebastian, who’s the earl of Merrick in truth knows this is his bride, whom he apparently married by proxy. Olivia is vivacious and beautiful and Sebastian can’t be happier. The only problem is, his bride doesn’t recognize him. So she fights him good but there’s no way she could escape.

Olivia’s father, the very wealthy merchant, Jack Lambert married her off by proxy for Sebastian’s title. She knows nothing about her husband or his family but is on her way to England. Now, this pirate captain, whom she’s supposed to hate... umm, she can’t. She’s very attracted to him, apparently he too. Then Sebastian drops the bomb and Olivia doesn’t believe him at first. This was just too much! Even then, this doesn’t stay her when Sebastian makes advances… or rather she encourages him to make advances. She makes it clear that she wants to stay with him and be his wife in every way. Sebastian wants her but he doesn’t like the fact that he’s a wanted criminal and can’t give her anything better. So he decides when they reach England, he’ll take care of the matter by acquiring and annulment and set her free.

They have a hot little interlude, though doesn’t consummate the marriage, even though both wanted it. Sebastian then proceeds to ignore her, sort of. He even tries to take off his edge by going to town and seeking out whores but none interests him as Olivia. In one word, he’s crazy for her. Olivia isn’t happy and is subdued by Sebastian’s behavior. She thinks because of her wanton behavior, he’s ignoring her. But this is resolved soon because they can’t stay away from each-other too long and consummate the marriage. Love scenes in this one were typical SD standard, by which I mean really good. I loved them more because I felt the connection between them all too well. Then Sebastian begins to open up about his life and why he’s a pirate. He was the younger son and the black sheep of the family. His brother died fighting a duel over one of his discretions. His father never cared about him and now that he’s the heir, the man’s all too full of vengeance. This marriage was one of those I guess, to rile Sebastian up, instead worked in a good way for him. Olivia also has some troubles in the past in her season but those weren’t explored well. Since her father’s money is from business, needless to say, the Ton never quite took to her, even though she’s beautiful and all that. She was rejected by one suitor she was genuinely attracted to and that hurt her... something like that, which is why she locked herself away in WI in her father’s plantation and agreed to this proxy marriage.

So they decide to enjoy this journey, buried themselves into each-other and leave the rest when they reach London. All too soon, the journey is over. On the port, Olivia was accosted by Sebastian’s cousin, who presented himself as the earl. Sebastian is angry knowing that this is what his father planned; since he didn’t care for Sebastian, he presented Carr as the earl to Lambert, who’s also in London and waiting for his daughter to arrive. Not knowing her real husband, Olivia would’ve been snared in the trap. Afterwards, it’s would’ve been too late. An angry Sebastian faces his father and things do clear up a lot about their bad relationship. The man is a serpent, to say the least; cold and unfeeling. I wanted to kill him for humiliating Sebastian in front of Lambert and Olivia. But she proved to be a jem by supporting him and even speak on his behalf, being attuned to his hurt. I loved this about her; that she wanted to take care of Sebastian and he was equally starving for Olivia’s love.

Even though she asks him to stay for a while and make her feel at home, Sebastian decides to leave to take care of his business with the French twin brothers, who are notorious criminals. Sebastian knows of their proclivities 1st hand. He was scared for Olivia since those two were interested in her and he refused to hand her over. After a night of hot sex, where Olivia confesses to being in love with him, Sebastian leaves the next day without telling her because otherwise, he won’t be able to. Olivia is angry when she learns of this. Now this made me really angry, his note urged her to trust him; that he’ll return, then why? And when he comes back 4 months later, she’s still angry and says some rude things to him. I didn’t like this. I was willing to give this story 4 stars but she ruined my fun by being a screeching shrew! The sex afterwards was fun and hot. She has no problem in sleeping with him but that doesn’t deter her from reminding him of his ‘shortcomings’! I was so put off by Olivia’s attitude that I lost interest in the ending which inevitably involved the French twins. 3.75 stars because it was quite good, almost. Especially Sebastian, he was adorable.

“Stolen Pleasures” has 7 chapters and an epilogue with a few hot hot love scenes. ;)

One of the most outrageous quotes I’ve ever read:
With a perverse need to argue, he spoke harshly. "You know nothing of me. I attacked your ship just for the amusement of it. Perhaps I'd have even raped you if you weren't willing."
Oh, Sebastian." Olivia sighed. "If you wish to argue rather than make love, I suppose I can accommodate you. But at least be honest. You took my ship without the loss of one life. And rape?"
She shot him an amused glance. "A man of your outrageous beauty would have no need. 'Tis lucky for you I am your wife, or I might have raped you ."
I mean, really? *blinks*
***********

“Lucien’s Gamble”

H/h - Lucien Remington/Lady Julienne la Coeur
Setting: London, 1810.

I’m really disappointed in this one. Barely likable H/h and plot, so barely made 3 stars for me. Don’t forget to count all the eye rolling I did while reading this novella. lol :D

Julienne la Coeur was 1st featured in Catching Caroline as the heroine’s friend, a book I haven’t read because I’m not into vampire stuff. But it’s a free novella so you might wanna give that a try. I think it’s available at smashwords. Anyway, she comes to the Remington’s, a big and fashionable gambling house owned by Lucien Remington, in search of her gambler and irresponsible brother Hugh. She has always been attracted to Lucien and his ‘bad boy, f*cks anything in skirt’ image (not my words, his own lol). Lucien’s a bastard; father is a duke, mother a famous courtesan and these two have a long standing relationship. I’ll talk about that a bit later. So when Lucien catches Julienne in a man’s dressing (again, if she has curves, how could no one else but he identified her? Have you ever had a look of those breeches they used to wear back in the 1800s? *eye roll*). He takes her to his office and starts questioning. Julienne is kinda breathless and almost wet seeing Lucien so close. She’d seen him in various balls and very aware of his liaisons. Lucien has taken an interest in her too, but knew she’s out of his reach. But, he’s a scoundrel for naught if he won’t take advantage of the situation. So he cooks up some plan and makes her stay in private rooms of the club, especially the one he always uses when he’s staying overnight. Needless to say, Julienne didn’t put up much objection and she was soooo asking for it, if you know what I mean, by sleeping naked in his bed because apparently it’s better to sleep naked than wearing a negligee *eye roll*. Oh, she might be a virgin but she knows a lot about sex by reading Hugh’s erotica. *eye roll* So Lucien drops in and this leads to that and they kiss and make out, almost. Lucien considers that she’ll have to marry so gives her release without taking her virginity. Apparently, he feels something different for her.

Julienne leaves the next day. Hugh is still absent, gone to some house party by some rakish friend and she, with her Aunt Eugenia, is very concerned about the debt that he’s piling. But she can’t help daydreaming about Lucien and the wicked things he’d done to her. But on the other hand, in 3 days of their meeting, even though he feels something different for Julienne, that doesn’t deter Lucien from shagging left and right. Yukety yuk! All in the name of ‘removing her from his mind’, though it didn’t work. Oh, puh-leeez, speak the truth f*cker! *eye roll* So, 3 days later, he meets her again in some ball... And incidents like this keep happening. They’d try to talk, then quarrel, then Lucien would say some crude thing about his sexual life (like how many he’d f*cked since he met her but how it doesn’t work etc), then he’d pounce on her, she’d give in (not that she ever really objected!) and they’d make out like bunnies, by that I mean oral and fondling, not full sex (except for one almost incident). Boy but Julienne had some love for oral! It was hard to believe that she really was a virgin.

Even though she’s pretty and all that, because of a low dowry it has become hard for Julienne to find a husband. When Lucien investigates her background, he asks his assistant to make a list of eligible bachelors for her. Lord Fontaine tops the list. This guy was already interested in her. He’s rich and very good looking. A womanizer too. But, Julienne knows he’d never be able to make the impression Lucien made, that she’s already in love with him *eye roll*. I have no idea why. When Lucien visits her house with the idea, Julienne is a bit hurt. Lucien doesn’t tell her of his feelings but he’s jealous all the same when he saw Fontaine with Julienne in some ball. When the talks of fidelity comes up, Julienne expresses that she doesn’t care if Fontaine stays true to her or not (which, by his reputation, is a possibility that he won’t). Lucien kinda blurts out, if she doesn’t care about fidelity then why not marry him? But how can she when she loves him but knows he won’t love her back? Oh good lord, someone kill me now! I was losing interest more and more because this novella was one horrid mess from top to bottom!

But, can’t blame Lucien since his parents are a veritable example of infidelity. Yes, the Duke has been true to his mistress and so had she after giving up her courtesan life but his wife is still alive and he has an heir. Not much of his married life was mentioned, very conveniently if I might add, so I don’t know how to comment of this situation. But I didn’t like it for sure. These two are actually very proud of their son’s accomplishments and I don’t mean only his vast empire from the gambling den but also his conquests left and right. So how can I expect better from him? Ok, so in the scene when Lucien asks her to marry him, Julienne refused. Lucien is angry and stomps away, doesn’t see her for a few weeks. In the meantime, Fontaine is already making it clear that he wants to make it official. Then, suddenly in one ball, Julienne sees Lucien with some slut. Finally, she’s jealous and feels sick watching those two together. He finds her when she retires to some room, alone. They kiss and so on, and then Julienne decides she won’t let him get the better of her again. After that, there was a hot little scene I liked, before she leaves him.

Afterwards, Julienne finds Hugh who had come back and confronts him. Finally she gives him a piece of her mind, after coddling him for all those years. Their parents died when they were young and their aunt took care of them. Hugh became the earl at 9/10 yrs of age so I got that she was too soft on him. But he’d already gone through the Montrose fortune and almost emptied their coffer. Julienne knew this can’t go on anymore. Hugh meets with Lucien soon, who gives him some advice on how to make money and in return, blackmailed out times with Julienne. Hugh can’t object because Lucien wants to court her. He can strike out a hefty sum from the total debt for each meeting Lucien has with her. His mother also encourages him about Julienne. Lucien begs forgiveness to Julienne in a ball, which was kinda heart tugging. He also informs her of his intentions and dances with her. Julienne is confused but of course, she’s inclined to accept Lucien. But Fontaine has been nice to her and so on, so she hesitates. Lucien plans a picnic with her but she doesn’t show up. He’s angry and goes to his mother, only to find she’d invited Julienne at her home. That scene was annoying, to say the least. I was eye rolling so many times, egh! The things Lucien and Julienne were telling each-other... *eye roll* (not sure if they were whispering). Lucien’s parents were there, couldn’t hide their glee and comments on the sexual heat they were producing… wow, just unbelievably not charming! *eye roll and exasperated sigh* And, Julienne finds this union between Lucien’s parents romantic! Really? By then I was impatient for this novella to end, put me out of my boredom and save my eyes!

The ending was abrupt and unsatisfactory. Fontaine just gave up. Where was ‘the fight for Julienne’s hands’ he mentioned to Lucien? I saw nada. So, drama all over the book, unbelievable ones at that and unimpressive characters. I can say there was a scene or two I might’ve liked and deluded myself that this might get better but sadly, nope. I’ve read far better, impressive and amazing hero in Derek Craven. Lucien would never surpass him in anything.

“Lucien’s Gamble” has 12 chapters in all.
**********

“Her Mad Grace”

H/h - Hugh la Coeur, the Earl of Montrose/Charlotte Riddleton
Setting: Derbyshire, 1814.

This was a waste of my time. I was bored and annoyed. I didn’t like Charlotte, Hugh was hot but sadly, dumb in other areas. Then again, I didn’t expect much from him after reading “Lucien’s Gamble”, so yah... whatever!

Hugh’s carriage wheel broke on his way to Julienne’s estate. The weather was bad so he had to take refuge in a dilapidated estate nearby. I was kinda interested at first because of the mystery surrounding the area, but it went downhill soon. The ancient butler was weird to look at with one bulging eye, doesn’t know anything about his job, so are the other employees with who have one problem or the other. Hugh soon understands that this is the estate of ‘Her Mad Grace’, widow of an elderly duke who died a few years ago. There are loads of rumors about the widow and this place, as her being mad and scary etc. Hugh has a feeling, seeing the bad form of the estate. He enters the house, elbowing the butler who was on the verge of closing the door, denying any help. After waiting, a black clad and shrouded tiny woman comes in. Hugh is amazed to find that her proximity makes him hard *rolls eyes*. The woman wanted to deny help but apparently she loves horses and Hugh’s horse was injured. Two footmen were getting ready with him when a beautiful woman in breeches (I mean was it that usual in the 1800s?) comes to him, astride on a horse. From her body language, it’s very obvious she wants a good shagging from him. Hugh is very interested to give it to her. She tells him she’s some sort of a companion to the duchess and is a healer. She invites Hugh to stay overnight which he happily obliges. At night, they dine. She dresses provocatively. When they were about to retire, one of the maids cut her finger and Charlotte leaves to tend the girl. Hugh retires and falls asleep.

Charlotte has been living in this estate for the last few years, after her marriage to the old duke. Her life story, very conveniently, isn’t known in detail; only that she worked as a whore and then became the old duke’s son and heir’s (who’s now the duke) mistress. It is then she visited this place 1st. She took pity on the ill and frail duke, whom his son saw as a burden and never took proper care of. Then, she broke up with the heir, who stomped off threatening her ruin. She heard of her former protector’s bastard daughter from the old duke. The old duke took the girl in, married Charlotte, gave her this map of a pirate and some clap-traps about a treasure, asked her to make girl her ward, gave her this estate to live and died. Charlotte can’t maintain the whole estate since the new duke is a trouble. So she spread these stories about the mad duchess to keep out of the prying eyes. It was funny, even Hugh comments on that, that why would she hang on to the hope of a treasure in WI which is nothing but a myth? Now, the ward, she’s very interested about Hugh and even though she’s naïve and all that, she gives Charlotte advises to ‘enjoy herself with the handsome earl’ and so on *eye roll*. As I didn’t know at first who it was, I thought it was someone like Charlotte or at least someone not a virgin. She knows in what capacity Charlotte is interested in Hugh and encourages her. Really? To make sure they ‘enjoy each-other’, the ward goes to Hugh’s room at night... Hugh wakes up and discovers the hidden door that leads to Charlotte’s room. *eye roll*

When Hugh is in Charlotte’s room, she lies to her about the old duchess being in his room. And then, Hugh saw the map. She won’t say anything so he proceeded to shag her on the table to bring out information… I was so irritated, to say the least. SD seems to think sex resolves every freakin’ problem in the world! And they f*ck all night... *yawns* Even then, Charlotte won’t come forward with information. Sorry but I forgot about the story continuation here as I was bored and skimming through. I remember they seem to have easy banters, which I would’ve found charming if it was a couple in love. When he proclaimed his love, I felt like Hugh was confusing good sex with love, though he wasn’t inexperienced by any means. Then Charlotte tells him of some of the story but not that she’s the duchess. None of them was interested in marriage, Charlotte was perfectly ok to be Hugh’s mistress for as long as the shagging is good but she has responsibilities now so she can’t leave with him. This triggers a row and the truth of her being the duchess is revealed. Hugh promises her that he’ll sought out the Earl of Merrick (story 1) when they all leave for Julienne’s estate. He stays for a fortnight.

When they reach Julienne’s estate, Lucien welcomes them. I didn’t know that it was perfectly ok for an earl to bring his mistress (everybody understood his relationship with Charlotte) in a gathering like this. Anyway, Julienne not only welcomes Charlotte but gives her her own dresses to wear. *eye roll* The ward is so excited about Hugh and Charlotte’s affair that I wanted to slap her. Then the trouble begins as Hugh finds the duke in the gathering. He’s afraid for Charlotte. For some weird reasons, Hugh was unable to find Charlotte so that he can alert her but of course, the duke meanwhile finds her and threatens her. The guy was a bully and horrible. He’s mad angry at Charlotte to find his bastard loitering about with the quality. Hugh saves Charlotte when the duke was about to strike her. Afterwards, he proposes marriage. Hugh was desperate for her approval. WHY Hugh?! But Charlotte has already heard about Hugh’s irresponsible gambling days so she can’t ‘rely’ on him (though shagging is totally alright). With a lot of tears in her eyes (oh puhleez, spare me the dramatics! *eye roll*) she rejects his offer. B*tch! I felt so bad for him. If he wasn’t so dense, Hugh would’ve seen that Charlotte isn’t worth any trouble at all, no matter how SD tried to portray her because I wasn’t convinced that she was.

After that, I was bored and skimmed and thanked God when it ended. All of it was so unbelievable that... ugh. About the treasure, nothing more was mentioned about it, only that Sebastian or Merrick would take them to WI to look for it. So why was this part inserted in the book? 2.5 stars.

“Her Mad Grace” has 9 chapters and an epilogue.

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I love to read in my spare time and do reviews the books I read. My blog Punya Reviews just turned 6 in 2017 and still going strong. I love music and traveling. Sometimes, I wish I could live inside a book, having my own HEA. :)
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