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Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425


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Books for Adults - Fiction

A Kiss in the Wind                The Siren's Song

Cover Art: A Kiss in the Wind
A Kiss in the Wind
By Jennifer Bray-Weber
Carina Press, 2012, ISBN 9781426893490, eBook $4.99

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Trouble follows Marisol Castellan like a black cloud. Her father, Alain, is a pirate who brooks no defiance of his orders, a fact she knows only too well since she refuses to heed his command to stay on the ship while in port. When they dock at Puerto Plata, a town on the island of Hispaniola, she just wants to pilfer the secret message that should provide her with needed information to track down her younger brother. But the stupid courier has the audacity to fall on her knife and die. In trying to elude the soldiers searching for the killer, she trips into a dashing rogue with a reputation for pirating and a love for women. He acts the gentleman, but she absconds with his pretty trinket, setting in motion a series of events that will shake Marisol to her very core and from which she may not survive unscathed.

Haunted by a past from which he can never escape, Blade Tyburn tracks down the wench who dared to pocket his prized cameo. Catching the thief proves more dangerous and trickier than he or his men expect, but they succeed and carry her aboard the Rissa. Right after raiders scurry through the town, setting fire to buildings, looting and killing anyone who stands in their way. Blade isnít one to run from a fight, but he has orders to rendezvous with a ship laden with treasure. Only after they leave port, does he discover that Marisol doesnít have the cameo on her. Until she returns it, she will remain his prisoner.

As each day passes and they draw nearer to the rendezvous site, Blade wonders who the real prisoner is Ė Marisol or himself. Then they discover a ghost ship with her cargo of silver missing. Men donít just disappear, so Blade follows a serpentine trail and encounters a mysterious ship, a despicable pirate who just happens to be Marisolís father, a hurricane, and a sly traitor who intends to not only kill Blade, but those who betrayed him or those who interfere with his plans, including Marisol.

A Kiss in the Wind is a heartwarming romance filled with humor and spunk set during the waning days of the Golden Age of Piracy. Bray-Weber cleverly intertwines piratical history and seafaring lore with a fictional tale filled with adventure, deceit, heartache, and passion reminiscent of the swashbuckling movies of the thirties. The physical relationship between Blade and Marisol may, at times, have too much spice, but if you dare to enter the treacherous waters where pirates lurk, you will reap a treasure far greater than all the gold in the Spanish Caribbean.
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Review Copyrighted ©2012 Cindy Vallar

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Cover Art: The
                Siren's Song
The Sirenís Song
Jennifer Bray-Weber
Carina Press, 2012, eISBN 9781426893742, US$5.99
Also available as an audiobook

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Locked in the hold of a sinking ship, Gilly McCoy struggles to get free. She didnít escape from the clutches of a murderer just to die an ignoble death. But once she gains the weather deck, she discovers that everyone else has abandoned the Rowena. Her only option is to gain the attention of a nearby vessel Ė the one to which the Rowenaís crew rows.

When one of his men notices Gillyís frantic waves, Thayer Drake canít believe the newcomers on his deck dared to abandon their ship without her. In spite of the peril, he and his men go to fetch her. But once Gillyís safely in his arms, she jumps overboard to retrieve her purse, which has fallen into the raging sea. Not quite sure why, he follows and saves her from drowning.

Gilly has no money to pay for passage, and her only talent Ė aside from getting into trouble Ė is her sweet voice. His lucrative wrecking business provides more than enough gold to fill his coffers, so Drake seeks a different fare from her. Each night she must sing for him, and each time the bell tolls, she must kiss him. At first, Gilly believes these are simple requests, but as the days pass, the attraction between them grows. So do the confrontations, for both Drake and Gilly have secrets and addictions and neither is willing to let go of them.

After plundering the cargo from the sinking Rowena, Drake discovers much of it belongs to his nemesis. Many years ago, Drake vowed to kill Machete, a corrupt and brutal tyrant who wields much power in Cuba Ė a place Drake once called home. Now, he has the means and the skill to face his nemesis in a final dual that proves far more treacherous and dangerous than expected. To see his plan through, Drake intends to rid himself of Gilly once they dock in Havana. She canít wait to find passage to another destination, one where she will be safe from the murderer and Drake. But treachery awaits them in Cuba and puts them both into perils neither may survive.

The Sirenís Song takes place in 1727, and from first page to last, Bray-Weber hurls readers into a storm-tossed sea and never loosens her clutches until the end. The narrative involves all our senses in such vivid description that we experience what her characters do. Her language is fresh and sometime humorous, but never does the nautical jargon intrude. One of my favorite lines appears while Gilly is attempting to escape from the hold: ďIf she were to get out of this alive, she would need to stop falling down like a soused three-legged mule.Ē Those who have read the authorís previous books will cheer at reuniting with the crew of the Rissa, which in this tale belongs to Thayer Drake. Willie, Henri, and Sam are wonderful characters who sometimes steal the show, but have a way of worming themselves into our hearts as they spring to life before our eyes. For readers seeking adventurous romance with serpentine twists and clashes that flare into passions both amorous and dangerous, The Sirenís Song is a voyage to cherish.
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Review Copyrighted ©2012 Cindy Vallar

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