Surrender of a Siren by Tessa Dare
At the end of "Goddess of the Hunt" we learn that Lady Sophia Hathaway has abandoned her sedate life and her fiance, Toby, to find adventure and Surrender picks up with Sophia bargaining her way onto Mr. Grayson's, ship bound for Tortola where she has struck up a correspondence with Lucy's cousins on the island. Giving a false name and claiming to be a governess Gray knows that everything isn't all as it appears with his new passenger but that doesn't stop him from being immediately charmed, among other things, with Ms. Jane Turner. But recognizing her innocence in the ways of the world he is determined to stay away from her and does all he can, including being incredibly blunt/ mean, but Sophia knows that this could be her chance at passion. Seeing as how she ran away from England to escape a passionless union with a man who couldn't see past her virture and purity, she takes things into her own hands to seduce Gray. While doing so she ingratiates herself with his crew by composing beautiful pictures of the sea and portraits for each of them.
Gray is also distracted by his brother Joss who is Captain of the ship Sophia and Gray travel on as Joss is still bitter over several "betrayals" Gray pereptrated against him, how overprotective Gray is and the death of his wife. When Gray learns that Sophia has lied to him more than he expected he is furious but that can't stop him from desiring her. When his crew commandeers a burning ship and places the incompetent captain in the brig he takes her aboard the new ship where he realizes that her lies don't matter and that it's only important that they spend the rest of their lives together. However, Sophia is terrified that when he learns the truth about her he will have no choice but to abandon her. Gray is determined that his sister Bell be given a grand London season but having a completely ruined and ostracized sister-in-law will not stand Bell in good stead. When the two ships land in Tortola everyone is arrested as the 2nd ship's captain has pressed piracy charges and Sophia tells Gray that they have no future even as she plots to save him from a hanging. Said pirate charges and the ensuing drama is the most fun part of the book, but Sophia is still worried that perhaps Gray won't love her once he discovers the truth.
It seems as though Sophia left one man because he couldn't see past her purity, virture, beauty and downright lady-ness for someone who is just as entranced by all those things. Although he briefly is a little freaked out by her virginity he quickly gets over it and into the "you're mine and only mine" stage. The only difference between Gray and Toby is that Gray doesn't stop, as Toby did, but continues on in the seduction. I wouldn't necessarily say that makes Gray better, especially seeing as how Toby planned on marrying her from the beginning and Gray has no such intentions until the end. Sophia has a talent though as she is an exceptionally talented artist and of course our hero is entranced by said talent and the way her drawings "captured the boy Davy was and the man he would become." I do not even understand what that means- literally it just sounds ridiculous. Not being an artist myself a painting is a painting and while movement can be portrayed in a painting his reaction just seems crazy.
This book was much much slower going than "Goddess of the Hunt" and many of the problems other saw in that book I found present here. If Lucy was somewhat of a risk-taker/ denyer of reality than Sophia takes the cake. She laughs after almost being dragged into shark infested waters, she continually teases and flirts with Gray even after he has repeatedly told her he doesn't want her, and she literally waits until the last possible second to tell him the truth when it would have served everyone better if she'd just done it when they admitted their love! As with Goddess this book is extremely hot, even more so than Goddess really with some lovely lovely little bits in there, but all the angst in it is just plain annoying. All the angst and so many of the problems in this book just arise from Sophia being too scared to tell the truth even when she should know that she can. And he gets angry because when she illustrates her very risque novel she uses his likeness for the gentleman! It was just too much for me. Even if the great courtroom pirate scenes were so much fun the book just didn't do it for me.
Rating: So much potential with such great characters behaving so stupidly. It was between a 2 and 3 and I'll give it 3 because, despite my rantings above, the book was not horrible, just had so much misplaced potential.