Bestselling author Valerie Bowman sets the stage in Regency England for her Playful Brides series, where couples' misadventures on the way to the altar are witty, romantic romps based on some of the world's most beloved plays. The seventh book in the series, Never Trust a Pirate, is inspired by Emma Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel.
The rules of engagement were never so scandalous. . .
A rumored pirate and the scurrilous black sheep of his well-to- do family, Cade Cavendish relishes his world of rebellion, deception, and seduction. Nothing and no one can hold him to be the duty-bound, honorable man he is expected to be. But when an unexpected run-in at his twin brother’s estate with a ravishing, raven-haired maid leads her to believe he’s actually a viscount, Cade’s renegade life is thrown wildly off-kilter. And even though a case of mistaken identity can be quickly set to rights, matters of the heart are quite different…
Miss Danielle LaCrosse is startled to learn that the handsome gentleman who radiates sin and has the devil in his eyes is not her employer the Viscount, but rather his infamous brother. A former heiress, orphaned and left penniless, Danielle has more than a few secrets of her own. Cade may be skilled at coaxing even the most hidden desires out of Danielle but can he earn her trust—and win her heart—as they embark on an adventure to confront a dangerous enemy from both of their pasts . . . and uncover the identity of the so-called Black Fox along the way?
About the Author
Valerie Bowman is an award-winning author who writes Regency-set historical romance novels aka Racy Regency Romps! Since her debut in 2012, Valerie's books have received starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus. She's been an RT Reviewers' Choice nominee for Best First Historical Romance and Best Historical Romance Love and Laughter. Two of her books have been nominated for the Kirkus Prize for fiction and New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas calls them, "Too delightful to miss!"
Valerie has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a minor in history from Smith College. By day, she is a technical editor at a computer software company. By night, she combines her love of writing, history, and romance to craft stories about people falling in love.
Originally from Rantoul, Illinois, Valerie lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her family including her two rascally dogs. When she's not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV or PBS.
Read an Excerpt
Never Trust a Pirate
By Valerie Bowman
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Valerie Bowman
All rights reserved.
Only three steps. Only three steps separated him from the map. It was there, lying on the rickety wooden table in the captain's stateroom aboard a ship aptly named Le Secret Francais. The only sound in the cramped space was his own breathing. Sweat beaded on his brow. He'd come this far. Braved the murky, cold water, swum out to the ship moored at the London docks. Climbed aboard, silent as a wraith, dressed all in black. Wrung out his clothing to keep it from dripping so there wouldn't be a trail. Managed to steal into the captain's quarters as the man slept, and now, now only three steps remained between him and the priceless map.
One water droplet fell to the wooden plank floor like a hammer against steel. The sound of his breath echoed to a crescendo. The blood pounding in his head became a distracting whirring noise.
One step forward. The ball of his foot ground onto the plank. Stealth and silence. Always. The calling cards of the best thief in London.
The captain stirred slightly in his bunk and began to snore.
He froze. One leather-clad foot arrested on the wooden plank. A pistol rested on two nails directly above the captain's bunk. If the man awoke, he might shoot first at any noise. The captain well knew the value of the treasure he carried.
He counted to ten. Once. Twice. He had long since mastered the art of keeping footing on a ship. He waited until his heartbeats became steady again before taking the next step. A slight creak in the wood floor. A hint of movement from the captain. Another endless wait. Impatience was a roiling knot inside his belly.
Out of the shadows now, he stood only one step away from the table bolted to the floor. The moon shone through the window above the captain's bed, shedding light on the man's balding head. The map lay spread out, anchored by pins in the four corners. He would have to remove those pins. Ripping the paper would make too much noise.
Another interminable wait as the captain turned away from him in his sleep. His snores subsided.
He glanced over at the bunk. The pistol shone in the moonlight. One hard swallow. He never carried a pistol. Too loud. Pistols brought the crew, the wharf police, and anyone else interested in such activity. The only weapon he carried was a knife, tucked in the back of his breeches. A weapon of stealth.
Another count to ten before taking the final step. There was no time for an in-depth study of the map now, but a quick glance revealed the destination. The island of St. Helena, off the western coast of Africa, circled in bold scrawl. The map of the route planned for a dangerous man's next escape. That bastard in the bed had been planning it.
All ten fingers itched to snatch the paper and run, but he forced himself to take a deep, silent breath. Carefully, he dislodged the first pin at the top right corner. It popped out easily. The top of the map rolled toward the center, making a slight flapping sound. Breath held, he glanced toward the captain again. No movement.
He stuck the pin back into the table to keep it from rolling, then his hand darted to the next pin at the bottom right corner. It also popped out easily. He quickly stuck it back into the wood. With two sides free, he carefully rolled the map toward the center. Reaching up to the top, he grasped the third pin. No movement. It was lodged deeply into the wood. Must pull harder. With one black-gloved hand, he clasped the pin between a thumb and two fingers, pulling upward with as much strength as he dared. His own breath in his ear was the only sound ... that and the water lapping at the sides of the ship.
The pin finally gave way. He pressed a hand to the top of the map, to keep the freed top left corner from curling and making a noise. His chest and torso flattened against the map and the table, he pressed the third pin back into the wood.
Click. An unmistakable sound. One he had heard too often before. Another hard swallow. Damn it. He'd been so preoccupied with keeping quiet, he hadn't realized the captain's snores had subsided.
Half-splayed across the table, he contemplated his options. The door was ten paces to the left, the open window five paces to the right. Would he fit through the window? It'd be a hell of a time to learn the answer was no.
"Step away from zee map, if you don't want a bullet through your back." The captain's voice was harsh and angry.
He slowly rose from his position hunched over the map, arms braced upright at right angles near his head to show the captain he had no weapon. "Ye wouldn't shoot an unarmed man, now would ye, Cap'n?"
"I'd shoot a thief without thinking twice," the captain replied with a sneer, nearly spitting the word thief.
He glanced down at the map. Studying it in case he was forced to leave without it. He had been in worse situations, more times than he could count. He considered the knife in the back of his breeches hidden beneath his shirt. It would be simple and quick to snake it out and whip it into the bastard's throat. But a voice in his head reminded him ... justice must be served in proper course.
"Turn around," the captain ordered. "Slowly."
"Why?" he asked, trying to garner some precious time.
"Because I want to see zee face of zee man who would steal my secrets."
He began his turn. Slowly. So slowly and so quietly that he could have sworn he heard a drop of sweat from his forehead hit the wooden plank of the floor. He finally stood facing the older man.
"Êtes-vous le Renard Noir?" the captain asked.
"Pourquoi veux tu savoir?"
Visible in the light of the moon, the captain narrowed his eyes. "Ah, perfect French? Why do I find zat difficult to believe from an obvious Englishman?"
"Who else would want zis map?"
His fingers ached to choke the bastard. He might not be able to kill him, but he could wound the scoundrel. Nothing wrong with a wound. He whipped his hand behind his back, grabbed the knife, and hurled it at the captain. It hit the arm that held the pistol. The captain howled. The pistol fired. Smoke filled the cabin with its acrid stench. He ripped the map and fourth pin from the table and ran to the door.
Steps sounded on the planks above the captain's cabin. In the pitch black below decks, he forced himself to wait in the shadows under the stairs until the first group of rescuers filed down the steps into the captain's cabin. He flattened the map's scroll and folded it into a six-inch square.
"He's escaped, you idiots! Find him before he jumps from the ship!" the captain yelled in French.
The group dutifully filed back up to spread across the decks. The captain came running out, clutching his injured arm, blood seeping between his fingers, crimson dripping down his nightshirt. He made his way up the stairs and ran off across the deck.
Springing from the shadows, the thief raced back into the empty cabin. He flew over to the window, said a brief prayer to fit through the tight space, hoisted up to the ledge, and pushed his upper body through. He ripped off his black tricorn, stuck the folded map to his head, and pulled down the hat as firmly as possible.
A rope swung outside the captain's window two feet to the right. Thank God for small favors. He lunged at it and grabbed it. Noiselessly, he lowered himself down the rope, bracing both feet against the hull to rappel toward the water. Lowering quietly, he winked back at the figurehead of a saucy French woman carved beneath the captain's cabin. As soon as he made it into the water, he let go of the rope and swam like a mackerel fleeing a shark toward the shore, careful to keep his head out of the foul-smelling drink. He counted on the black of night and the murky Thames to hide him from the searchers on the ship.
As he covered the distance between the French ship and the shore, the Frenchmen's shouts filled the night air. He dared a glance back. Every lantern on the ship appeared to have been lit and the crew was scurrying about like a bevy of ants on an infiltrated hill.
He swam to the darkest spot on the far end of the docks, around the bend from sight of the French ship, and pulled himself ashore beneath a creaky dock using only his forearms. Exhausted, he rolled onto his back and lay breathing heavily in the pitch-black night. One hand went up to clap the top of his tricorn and a wide smile spread across his face.
He'd done it. He'd escaped from a French ship with the map detailing the planned route to rescue Napoleon from St. Helena. Of course he had. He was the Black Fox.CHAPTER 2
The Black Fox Strikes Again!
Cade Cavendish glanced surreptitiously at the headline on the copy of The Times that sat at an angle on the table next to him. His twin brother, Rafe, reclined just across said table at Brooks's, the famous gentlemen's club in the heart of St. James. Cade wanted to crush the headline in his fist. He glanced at Rafe. Had he noticed?
"Did you hear me?"
Cade's blond head snapped around to face his brother. "No. Pardon?" Damn it. He shouldn't have allowed the headline to distract him so much.
"I asked if you were planning to attend the theater with Daphne and myself tonight," Rafe repeated.
The theater? Ah, yes, the pastime of aristocrats like the one his brother had become. Rafe, the white sheep of the family, had been a spy for the War Office during the wars. He'd been made a viscount by the Prince Regent and married the sister of an earl. Meanwhile, Cade had spent the last ten years doing something ... much different.
Cade cleared his throat and steadfastly refused to glance at the paper again. "I suppose the theater wouldn't be the worst idea."
Rafe blinked his crystal-blue eyes slowly. "Don't make me twist your arm. I wouldn't want to bore you."
"Brother o' mine, in our twenty-eight years, you've done many things, but never bored me. Besides, I'm always happy to spend time with my gorgeous new sister-in-law." Cade waggled his eyebrows.
Rafe narrowed his gaze. "Careful there."
"Where is the fair Lady Daphne this afternoon?"
Rafe leaned back in his chair and crossed his booted feet at the ankles. "She's meeting with potential new lady's maids. Hers gave her notice. The woman's moved north to take a position closer to her sister in the country."
"A shame," Cade drawled. Another tedious problem for the poor aristocracy. Finding proper servants.
"It's not so bad, you know," Rafe said.
"Having servants. Money. Power."
"I've no doubt," Cade said. He'd been staying at his brother's new Mayfair town house. Filled with fine furnishings and proper servants, it was a far cry from their childhood home in Seven Dials. "I'm quite enjoying being the recipient of such luxuries."
"While you're here?" Rafe asked, his eyes still fixed on the paper. "How long's it been now?"
Cade hid his smile. "I'd say close to nine months," he replied smoothly. Of course his brother didn't know why he'd come. The man had been shocked when Cade had appeared at the Earl of Swifdon's town house last year, introducing himself as Mr. Daffin Oakleaf, one of his many aliases. Rafe had thought he was dead. Hell, everyone had thought he was dead. That was how Cade liked it. But he'd come back for a specific purpose. One that he had no intention of revealing to his brother.
This also wasn't the first time his brother had hinted at wanting to know how long Cade intended upon staying. It suited his purposes not to tell him. It was downright enjoyable, actually, along with goading Rafe at every turn about his beautiful new wife. Cade might have been known in the past for his seductions and dalliances with women, but he would never attempt to seduce his brother's wife. Luckily, Rafe didn't know that, which meant Cade could continue to goad him.
"Yes, while I'm here," Cade replied with all the nonchalance he could muster.
"And how long will that be?"
"You know me. I tend to stay as long as I have a fancy."
"That's fine. As long as you keep your mistresses out of my house ... and away from my wife," Rafe replied with a smirk.
Cade tugged at his cuff and sighed. "If you're referring to that unfortunate incident with Miss Jones, I've apologized a half dozen times already. How was I to know she would climb into your bed at that inn? Amanda had no idea I was a twin."
"Yes, well, perhaps if you conducted yourself with a bit more, ahem, decorum, neither of us would be subjected to such unfortunate incidents."
"Decorum?" Rafe shook his head. "Such a boring word."
Rafe muttered something unintelligible under his breath and rubbed his nose with the back of his hand. Cade grinned from ear to ear. His brother had been grumbling and rubbing his nose at him since they were lads. It was a sure sign Cade had got under his skin.
"'The Black Fox Strikes Again'?" Rafe's voice was a mixture of suspicion and curiosity.
Cade winced. He should have tossed the paper aside when he'd had the chance.
Rafe's gaze captured Cade's over the top of the page. "Have you heard of him?"
"Who?" Cade asked, picking a nonexistent bit of lint from his coat sleeve. Bloody aristocrats and their bloody fancy clothing. It had nearly become a fulltime occupation tending to his wardrobe since he'd taken up residence in Mayfair.
"The Black Fox," Rafe drawled.
Cade sighed. "Seems I might have heard a mention a time or two." He readjusted his cravat and cleared his throat.
Rafe's brows lifted. "Says here he's a pirate, an Englishman. He stole some valuable cargo from a French ship docked in the harbor last night."
"Is that so?" Cade made a show of looking about for a footman to place another order of brandy. He declined to meet his brother's eyes.
Rafe shook out the paper to see more of the story. "It also says he's a master of disguise."
Having located a footman and placed his order, Cade settled back in his chair and shrugged. He scratched at his eyebrow. "Does it? How interesting. Someone you're looking for?"
"You know I cannot discuss my assignments," Rafe said, still studying the paper.
"Ah yes, the Viscount Spy. Isn't that your new sobriquet? It's all quite clandestine, isn't it?"
"I suppose so." Rafe nodded toward the paper again. "Know anyone who's a master of disguise, Mr. Oakleaf?"CHAPTER 3
Danielle LaCrosse smoothed the skirts of her simple white gown as she waited in the viscountess's fancy drawing room. Gowns were highly overrated. Managing the skirts alone was a chore. She'd nearly tripped half a score of times today. She studied the gilt portraits, the sterling silver candlesticks, and the wallpaper that no doubt cost more than the entire little cottage near the shore she'd been saving for for so long.
She'd never seen anything so fine as the contents of this room. Tiny porcelain figures of birds that seemed to have no purpose other than to be pretty. An ornate gilded box resting on a nearby table that Danielle had been unable to keep herself from peeking into (it contained dried rose petals of all things). And carpet so rich and thick she'd momentarily indulged in the ridiculous desire to slip off her shoe and plunge her stocking-covered toes into the deep weave. And yes, it was every bit as soft as she'd imagined. She was exceedingly grateful no one had witnessed that particular behavior, however. No doubt it was conduct unbecoming of a proper English lady's maid, but for a French girl who had spent far too long in uncomfortable accommodations, the viscountess's house was luxurious indeed.
Danielle wasn't usually nervous, but she desperately needed this position. Being the maid to a fine lady like Lady Daphne Cavendish would not only provide her with more money in a week than a regular maid saw in a month's time, it would allow her to stay in London. At the moment, that was priceless.
The drawing room door opened and a diminutive woman with shining honey-blond hair and watchful gray eyes came gliding into the room. She couldn't have been more than twenty years of age. "Please forgive my tardiness," she said, her dark pink skirts sweeping across the top of the rug as she made her way over to where Danielle sat.
Danielle hopped from her seat and executed her best curtsy, the one she'd been practicing for days. "My lady."
"Oh, please," the slightly shorter woman said in a friendly, happy tone. "Do take a seat."
"Thank you," Danielle replied, already worrying that her French accent would be looked upon with distaste by her very English potential employer. The wars had been over for two years now, but Danielle knew well there was still a great deal of animosity between the English and the French.
The blond woman smiled at her with kind eyes. "I am Lady Daphne Cavendish," she announced. Her English accent reminded Danielle of her mother. A sharp pain throbbed in Danielle's chest.
"Pleased to make your acquaintance, my lady," Danielle replied, biting her lip and watching the lady for any signs of disapproval.
"The agency tells me you come with excellent references," Lady Daphne said.
Excerpted from Never Trust a Pirate by Valerie Bowman. Copyright © 2017 Valerie Bowman. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A fun and suspenseful historical read. Cade is the black sheep of the family and is rumored to be a pirate. Danielle is working as a lady’s maid and after a steamy encounter is relieved to learn her employer has a twin brother. These two both have lots of secrets to hide, can they work together against a common enemy? Entertaining story and great chemistry. I really liked it!
Valerie Bowman has done it again! She has written a light, fun and sexy Regency romance with just enough intrigue and natural humor to move the adventure along. I love a story with pirates or spies and this has both! I scored this a 4 out of 5 stars because some of the French sayings were used too much and became trite. But soon, my eyes just skimmed over them and they didn't distract from the fun. Mrs. Bowman has continued her Playful Brides writing style. If you enjoyed her other books, you'll definitely want to check out Pirate. If you're new to Valerie's novels, they are fun, quick reading on the train or just a lazy afternoon.
A nice pleasant surprise! Found a new favourite author and new series! YAY! Want to know more about Mark Grimaldi and Delilah and Thomas!!
I had been waiting to read Cafe's story and was not disappointed.
This is the first time reading this author and I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I love the twists, mysteries and romance,
This is my first Valerie Bowman novel so I really didn’t know what to expect, but I have to say that I enjoyed not only the storyline and characters, but also her wit and charming narrative. This story has so much to offer. Not only will the story keep you on the edge of your seat, but the chemistry between the hero and heroine will leave you mesmerised and in anticipation of what’s to come. You definitely won’t be disappointed with what’s in store as you won’t be able to but this novel down once you start! Cade Cavendish has always been the black sheep of his family. While his twin Rafe is the responsible one, Cade is the one who always finds himself in danger and trouble. It has been years since he last saw his brother and when he returns he is in disguise, using an alias. It seems that no one knows for sure what he has been up to all this time and what he’s doing when he’s not home. And with an infamous thief called the “Black Fox” on the lose and being wanted not only in England but also in France, it seems that all fingers are pointing to Cade. But with so many secrets and suspicious acts all around, does anyone really know anyone’s true identity? Danielle LaCrosse has been taking care of herself and her ailing mother since she was thirteen years old. She has found employment as a lady’s maid to Lady Daphne. Having a French father and an English mother, she is fluent in both languages and, like Cade, is also a master of disguise. She is on a mission to get revenge on the man that killed her father and changed her life forever. All she has to do is complete one last mission and then retire to live by the seaside with her mother. If only this last mission didn’t include the dashing and daring Cade Cavendish! A witty and highly entertaining story filled with intrigue and constant heat! Can’t wait to read more from Valerie Bowman! Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Never Trust a Pirate is full of action, adventure, intrigue and romance all rolled into one! It is quite an amazing book that I enjoyed every minute of. I was constantly wondering what was going to happen next and I love that. I love Cade and Danielle I think they are perfect and can’t think of anything negative to say about them! I dislike the fact that I haven’t read anything by Valerie Bowman before and even though this is book #7 it felt like it could be a standalone. So even though this review is short and sweet, I did enjoy this book immensely and can’t wait to read more from Ms. Bowman. * I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from Netgalley. I was not compensated for my review, and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.*
Give me pirates, give me spies, give me ALL the deception and romance. This wasn't like most of the historical romances I've read, involving a lady who's not all that she seems and a pirate of sorts who has quite a share of secrets himself. I liked that Danielle held her own as the leading lady. She has a lot of secrets herself that really turn the story around. She challenges Cade who isn't used to having that in his life. Her history is both sad but amazing in how far she has progressed and what she has made of herself. Danielle has such a strong personality and it really comes through. Cade has a lot of mystery surrounding his character and at every turn something new is being revealed. He's a twin with a past of criminal activity, believed to be dead by everyone but suddenly reappearing as a surprise to everyone. I loved that despite the act he put on, the man beneath was more than just the pirate everyone believed him to be. With these two characters combined, the story never lagged or grew boring and though I read this book as more of a standalone, I have every intention of reading the others in the series. At first I wasn't really sure about Never Trust a Pirate because it came off as a bit cliche. Which, I don't necessarily mind in a romance because I tend to read them for a bit of light entertainment, but I would have liked to see more. Which I did, thankfully. These characters have a lot more to them than the base pirate and lady's maid that are introduced. What sold me, first and foremost, was the banter. I am such a sucker for wit and charm and these two have both in excess. It ensured the story as a whole kept on moving even if the story slowed for a bit while the characters caught their breaths. The story itself was fun. I'm all for pirates and seafaring adventures. I worried a bit over the romance as it started with raw chemistry and didn't progress much farther for a while. Much like the story, the romance showed signs of every other historical romance out there. But soon it progressed into something deeper that had me shipping Danielle and Cade like no other. There's so much intrigue and mystery in this story that it set it apart from other romances I've read in the genre. I definitely need to know about some of the other characters mentioned as I'm sure they appear in previous stories because these two were so much fun that I can't imagine the others being anything less than enjoyable.
This was a fun tale with a few twists that I hadn't seen coming! I liked Danielle and Cade, and enjoyed their banter and the way they were mirrors of one another (troubled as teenagers that pushed them to do some questionable things - like becoming "pirates"). It was fun to see them both realize the same things about one another and themselves, separately. I was a bit surprised at how this built up slowly and then burst ahead at about 70%. It wasn't slow exactly, since the build up of their relationship had a nice burn going, but I wouldn't have minded a bit more earlier on. That goes for the action and suspense, as well. The suspense was there but not exactly gripping. I still had a great time with this one and thought this was a lighter adventure and a very enjoyable read.
LOVED this story!! I've been a fan of Bowman's Playful Brides series since it started and she didn't disappoint with the latest installment. Spys and Pirates in the same story? What can be better than that? Not much, in my opinion! I loved both Cade and Danielle. They were everything that I like in my H/H. The bantering between them was superb and had me laughing out loud. I didn't want the story to end!! I can't wait for the next book in the series, The Right Kind of Rogue, to come out in October!
What’s more exciting than a handsome pirate, a former-royal spy, a royal spy, and a house full of happy servants? When you find out, let me know, Cade is not the one for balls, soirees, and afternoon calls. He prefers a dangerous life on the rough seas with drinkers and foul-mouthed, loyal swindlers. He gets plenty of female attention without all the match-making mamas, and he doesn’t give a coin about propriety. Danielle was set to have the life Cade avoids. But thanks to the animosity between the French and English (and she just happens to have been conceived by a member of each side) she wound up being a spy. And not just any spy, one who spends a lot of time on ships…pretending to be a lad. You see where I’m going with this? Oh how much fun it was reading about Cade. He’s beyond charming, and perhaps the funniest non-aristocrat I’ve ever read about. He’s also very smart, loyal, and trustworthy (to some, that is). He has his reasons, so don’t judge too quickly. Danielle is just as funny and smart. She and Cade had their own style of flirting, and I enjoyed their exchanges. The household staff even grabbed my heart. I actually wished for a full story centered around two of the servants. Now, what an interesting historical that would be. There’s mystery and a dash of intrigue. I went back and forth on who I thought did what, and everything made sense in the end. There was no easy fix to the happy ending. Kudos to Bowman.
I loved this historical romance by Valerie Bowman! Cade Cavendish's rebellious life is history in the making since he's been at it since he was only 13 years of age. Most recently there are those that believe that he is the notorious pirate the Black Fox including his family and as of yet he has done nothing to dissuade them. Finding himself in a compromising situation with his sister-in-law's lady's maid after a night of drinking and fist fighting in the back alley is nothing new except for the promise he had made to his brother to be on his best behavior just hours before. For the first time in his life Cade felt guilt for letting his family down and possibly harming this young woman's reputation. Danielle LaCrosse hasn't had it easy since her father was murdered, but she has done what needed to be done in order to survive including taking jobs that no young woman should have ever been privy to. Stumbling across a drunk and hurt Cade after just starting her new job could find her jobless and unable to care for her sick mother. What she doesn't plan on is the intense attraction that she and Cade soon develop for one another. This is a major complication because they both have more secrets than truths going into this and that is no way to have any kind of relationship. I was given an ARC from the author/publisher. All conclusions are mine and mine alone.
Spies, pirates, and the elusive Black Fox. Cade and Danielle are both clever spies, and each have secrets, but somehow they're following the same trail and are looking to seek revenge and catch Baptiste for different reasons. Along the way, desire and and attraction throw these two together, but will their goals keep them apart. This is a fun and smexy romance! and remember: never trust a pirate! **I was provided a copy through netgalley
I really thought this was a very good story. I enjoyed the comedy that was in the story. The characters were fun. This was the second book in the series but you don't need to read the first to enjoy this book. Just remember that this us historical fiction and not Christian fiction. I received this ebook through Netgalley via St Martins Press for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
I really thought this was a very good story. I enjoyed the comedy that was in the story. The characters were fun. This was the second book in the series but you don't need to read the first to enjoy this book. Just remember that this us historical fiction and not Christian fiction. I received this ebook through Netgalley via St Martins Press for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
I loved this book! When a story makes me literally laugh out loud I'm hooked. This is the story of Danielle and Cade, who both have secrets they don't want revealed. Their attraction to each other leads to twists and suspenseful turns, some that took me by surprise. I enjoyed this book very much. It has intrigue, romance and wit, a combination that makes for a great read.
Never Trust a Pirate by Valerie Bowman Playful Brides #7 Had me from the first page and did not let me go till the last…and then…I wanted to keep reading to know more about the wonderful characters in this book! Who is the Black Fox…this stealthy stealer of items and perhaps hearts? What mission is the Fox bent on in this story and will it be a success? Spies aplenty abound in this story with nobody quite sure who is spying on whom and who said spies work for. Throw in a pirate or two and a bit of time on a ship (just a bit) and you end up with a wonderful story waiting to be read. I loved Danielle! She was strong, resilient, resourceful, intelligent, charming and humorous. Cade was the perfect person for Danielle with his roguish ways, quick wit, charm, humor, skills, intelligence and so much more. The two brought out the best in one another and had so much fun doing so! I smiled, laughed, rooted for them to get a HEA and loved every moment reading this book. I was glad to hear the villain was thwarted and left curious about the puppet master of spies wondering if someday Grimaldi’s story will be shared. I have not read all of the books in this series but would love to at some point in time. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars
This was an entertaining, well-written Regency romance. Miss Danielle LaCrosse has been hired as a lady's maid, and she is surprised to find out her employer, the Viscount, has a twin brother, Cade Cavendish. He's rebellious and rumored to be a pirate... and fascinating! They both have secrets to keep but find themselves wanting to trust each other... This book can be read as a standalone story, though it is part of a series with related characters. This book was fun to read and I look forward to reading other books by this author.
Review: NEVER TRUST A PIRATE (Playful Brides) by Valerie Bowman Publication Date: May 2, 2017 Genre: Historical Romance Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Cori Rated 4 Stars I really enjoyed this one! I was in the mood for a good historical romance and Valerie Bowman's NEVER TRUST A PIRATE fit the bill. It was fun and sexy, with a bit of mystery that added to the story. It satisfied my historical romance craving and had me craving more. I'll be checking out Valerie Bowman's previous books and I look froward to the next book in her Playful Brides series. NEVER TRUST A PIRATE is part of a series, but can be read as a standalone. I recommend this book for historical romance lovers looking for a good book to curl up with. *Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ~*~*~*~
Never trust a Pirate by Valerie Bowman is another exciting Regency Historical Romance in her "Playful Brides" series. While #7, it can be read as a stand alone. It does have re-appearing characters from previous books. This does not distract nor interfere in enjoying "Never Trust a Pirate". Refreshing and intriguing story! This is the story of Cade Cavendish and Miss Danielle LaCrosse. Cade is the "black sheep of the Cavendish family, with secrets. He is the twin brother to Rafe from a previous story. Danielle, is Rafe's wife Daphne's, lady's maid. Ah, there is so much more to her than meets the eye. Is Cade the so called pirate "Black Fox", a famous spy for the Crown? Afterall, he's very good at deception, seduction, secretive and is very rebellious. Let's not forget he's devilishly handsome, with a devil may care care attitude. But lay all aside, he's out for revenge, on the man who hurt his brother, Rafe. Ah, he's also a spy. Danielle, is more than a French maid, she's beautiful, sensual, and drives Cade mad with desire. It's hard to decide which side she's on at first, or rather who's she working for, the Crown or the bad people. As she seems to be spying on Cade. "Never Trust a Pirate" is not your everyday spy adventure. There are many twists and turns, surprises, witty banter, danger and adventure. Let's not forget who was the "Black Fox", I was totally shocked and surprised by who it was. Brilliant!! I enjoyed the way Ms. Bowman mixed the spying with the interaction between the characters, and the true intend of the story. I enjoyed the witty banter between Cade and Danielle, their interaction was brilliantly written. They didn't forget their responsibilities, for their own desires nor do they forget what their goals are, but intend to carry them through to the finish. They completed their mission, although, Cade and Danielle faced the ruthless French spy. Will one of them lose they life? Brilliantly executed, with an easy to follow plot, that flowed smoothly and continously throughout the story. The characters were enduring, engaging and easily capture your heart. I personally was glued to this story from the first page forward. A very captivating, intriguing and suspensive story. Unique in many ways, not just a predictable spy story. The suspense and mystery with the romantic interest was enough to keep the reader intrigued throughout "Never Trust a Pirate". A great read for fans of mystery, suspense, intruigue, romance, spies, and an overall splendid read. Very well done, Valerie Bowman !!! I can't wait to read the next "Playful Brides" story. I received a complimentary copy. Rating: 4.5 Heat rating: Mild Reviewed by: AprilR
Cade Cavendish left home as a boy and made his way in the world with hard work, albeit mostly on the wrong side of the law. Since he reunited with his twin brother, a newly minted Viscount, he’s been working toward only one goal. Find the man who ordered his brother tortured and an Earl killed. Danielle LeCrosse wants to take care of her dying mother in a small cottage by the sea after finding the man who killed her father. She’s worked unofficially for years as a young spy for England. Her latest assignment places her as a ladies maid to the new Countess, Cade’s sister-in-law, Daphne. The reason behind the mission? Spy on Cade Cavendish. The pair are taken with each other upon their very first strange meeting. Both have suspicious natures when it comes to life, but affairs of the heart have them falling hopelessly in love just like the other lovers of the Playful Brides series. This was actually the first book of Bowman’s that I’ve read. I was so intrigued with her writing and the world of characters she developed, I have now read the rest of the series. That’s six additional novels and a novella. Each book was charming and delightful in it’s own way. I loved this novel for many reasons, one large one being it made me love pirates! I’d never been truly enamored with the idea of men pillaging at sea, but Cade’s story tugged hard at my strong heartstrings. I can’t even imagine the process Bowman has gone through to create so many different characters, with complex backstories and adventures waiting to be had. Now that I’ve read the other novels, I realize there were clues peppered in about Cade from his very first appearance in the series. I loved the ultimate twist Bowman throws that caught me completely of guard. Never Trust a Pirate is an adventure in romance and intrigue on land and by sea. This can be read as a stand-alone, but I highly recommend reading the rest of the series for all historical romance lovers. There are more characters that have yet to find their true love, so I hope Bowman has a few more playful brides to write about in this fantastic series! I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
"The Black Fox Strikes Again" FINAL DECISION: Twisty with lots of secrets and strong independent characters but not too dark, I loved this one! The story didn't go where I expected it to from the title. The characters were slowly revealed both to the reader and to one another. The story was so fun but with some depth and purpose. THE STORY: Danielle LaCross seeking work as a lady's maid for a viscountess. She mistakes Cade Cavendish for his twin brother the viscount. Cade is a known rogue and the black sheep of the family. Rumored to be a rake and perhaps a pirate, Cade has a lot of secrets that he is keeping. Danielle has secrets as well. Once she realizes that Cade is not who she thought he was, she still cannot seem to resist the intriguing man. Soon they realize that they have a common purpose and join forces to resolve the shadows that still haunt them. OPINION: This one hit all the right notes with me. The book jumps immediately into the action and a lot is happening here. The characters have secrets and these was plenty to keep me intellectually interested in the plot even as I emotionally fell for these characters. A great part of this story is the twists along the way, so I recommend staying away from spoilers to maintain the suspense in the story. Cade's role as the black sheep of the family is important to him. A twin, he has made a role for himself as the irresponsible rake...but there is much more going on with him. I loved his personality which keeps a lightness even as the drama is ratcheted up in the story. Because although readers might not know what Cade is doing, there is never any question that he is on the right side. Danielle is strong and independent (and perhaps a little too assertive for a true lady's maid). Normally the lack of class distinctions between them would seem false in the story, but Cade did not grow up part of the aristocracy and (along with some secrets to be revealed) thus the ultimate reason for how these two interact with one another works. Fans of witty banter between the characters will like this one. Cade and Danielle circle around one another as each is trying to figure out the other without giving away their own secrets. One of my favorite parts of this book is that I actually was surprised by the resolution of the mystery and yet it made perfect sense. The mystery has a real purpose here and is well integrated into the romance. The suspense and mystery of the story worked really well here and felt totally natural for the times. Yet the story never veers into angst and darkness. There is a brightness to the story that I really enjoyed (even though I'm generally a bigger fan of the dark romances). WORTH MENTIONING: Fans of the series will get some glimpses of favorite characters. CONNECTED BOOKS: NEVER TRUST A PIRATE is the seventh book in the Playful Brides series. While it is certainly possible to read this book as a standalone, it is so much better having the backstory of the characters. STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.
Chocked full of intrigue, secrets and adventures Author Valerie Bowman draws in the reader with this fully developed romantic storyline. One of the things I highly respect is how the author runs us on a merry chase in this book trying to solve the mystery behind who Cade Cavendish and Danielle LaCrosse really are behind their cool facades. The addition of the steamy sexual tension between these two make this a hot romance as well. The hero of this book, Cade, will cause any woman's heart to beat quickly as his character comes across as the bad boy type. His constant evasion of speaking the truth was frustrating for everyone who cared for him but it really adds to the story by causing the reader to wonder who he really is and is he really as bad as we think. Danielle, the heroine, is the perfect person to foil and mess with Cade's cool reserve which she does quite often. Her character drew me in because she is not a helpless female in spite of her hard times. I love her "take no prisoner" philosophy as well as her softer side towards her ill mother and the others in the Cavendish household. I'd like to think that if I was in her position I would be just like her.... strong and not a victim. I give this book 4.5 STARS for creating characters that are hard to pinpoint and neatly categorize. Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
I very much enjoyed Cade and Danielle’s story.I liked how independent and caring Danielle’s personality compared to Cades’. Even though they have a very tragic up bringing they are pulled together. I like how Cade is unnerved by Danielle because she understands him when he closes himself to others. I liked seeing Rafe and Daphne again. Hopefully there is more coming from this series. I received a review copy of this title courtesy fro the publisher via NetGalley for a honest review.
Author Valerie Bowman runs a tight ship in this action-packed story of characters filled with secrets. She, herself, keeps secrets so well, that at the time I hear the truth, it is hard to believe! There are spies aplenty in this read. We know Cade is a pirate and spy. But whose side is he on? His twin brother Rafe spies for England. But does he? Rafe hasn’t seen his brother for ten years and suddenly he presents himself at his home. Highly suspicious movements, particularly when he keeps late hours, comes back to the townhouse battered and drunk. Whatever happened to the brother Rafe thought he knew? Some point out Rafe is the while sheep of the family while Cade is the black one. Cade is but covering the man he is, where neither Rafe nor the reader knows, at least, not entirely. Cade covers his activities by playing the gad about rogue. He’s more, much more than that as we become privy to his activities. Lady Daphne, Rafe’s wife, is not a snob like much of the ton. She is sweet, considerate of her staff and friendly. Humorously, she, too, is a spy, half French, half English. I’m sure her story is in the previous books of this series. A new Lady’s Maid comes to work for Lady Daphne, as her previous one leaves her service quite suddenly. Danielle is a spy, usually impersonating a cabin’s boy on a ship. She’s been doing that for years. She spies for General Grimaldi who has now set her up to spy on Cade. With a crash course on what a Lady’s maid does, she does an admiral job for Lady Daphne. Never having a friend before in her life, she warms to the lady of the house, Mary, one of the serving maids and the housekeeper. I think this is the most heart-warming part of the story. Danielle uses the money she makes at the Cavendish home to pay rent and supply her mum with medication. She has consumption. General Grimaldi has taken care of Danielle’s mum ensuring Danielle will continue spying for him. Where else would she get the money? Lafayette Baptiste is a man Danielle would like to kill. Apparently, Baptiste has lots of enemies because Cade is after him, too. Cade and Danielle are so well matched in disposition. Their banter is a bit crude, however entertaining and witty. But let’s not stop at that comment. Danielle discovers what passion is all about in Cade’s arms. She feels bad about being at the Cavendish home under false pretenses, when suddenly she’s called away by the General. She must step away from her own personal feelings about her new-found friends and her interest in Cade. After all, he is just a mark and she a spy. But still... The plot, itself, has lots of merit. Bowman builds an intriguing, quick-paced, tension-filled story evoking various emotions, some with laughter, others with fear and still others which make you believe in happy ever after--that good people find happiness. ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher for a review. All my comments are my own and freely given.