Her Wicked Captain (The River Rogues #1)
Author: Sandra Jones
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: 4 November 2014
She played right into his hands.
The River Rogues, Book 1
Possessing uncanny people-reading skills like her mama, Philadelphia “Dell” Samuels has spent thirteen years in her aunt’s rustic Ozarks home, telling fortunes over playing cards and trying to pass as white. But the treacherous Mississippi River childhood her mama dragged her away from finally catches up to her on a steamboat captained by her old friend Rory Campbell.
Known to his crew as the Devil’s Henchman, Rory is a gambler in need of a miracle. Following the cold trail of his boss’s wife and bastard daughter, Dell, Rory has only one goal in mind: saving his crew from the boss’s cruelty by ruining him. The only one who can defeat the Monster of the Mississippi is the man trained to take his place. Rory’s convinced he can lure his boss into a high-stakes game against a rival, and with Dell’s people-reading skills, the monster will lose everything.
Under Rory’s tutelage and protection, Dell agrees to the tortured captain’s plan. Passion and peril quickly bring them together as lovers. But when Rory’s plan goes awry, the lives of the innocent depend on Dell’s ability to read the situation correctly—and hopefully save them all.
Warning: There’s not enough moonshine on the Mississippi to keep this fortuneteller from saving The Devil’s Henchman, a high-stakes gambler—and her childhood friend—from his boss’s cruel attentions. Touches upon issues of child abuse, revenge, and redemption.
I'll admit that this took a while for me to get into. I found that the first half of the book just dragged a bit and I was finding it hard to stay interested. It's a shame, because I enjoyed the second half of the story much more as the plot really got under way.
Anyway, let's talk characters. Rory is our hero of the story and he's certainly a different one that I'm used to reading in historicals. He's the right hand man of a cruel gambler who runs the Mississippi river, and Quintus Moreaux is trying to shape Rory in his image. Rory knows time is running out to put his plans into action and stop Moreaux when he's given the perfect weapon against him- Dell. Rory has a heart-breaking past that he's ashamed of but it drives his ambition to stop Moreaux at any and all costs. Rory comes across as a smooth-talking gambler, but he certainly has unexpected depths.
Philadelphia, Dell, lives with her Uncle, Aunt and cousins in a small town helping them run a moonshine operation. Her mother was married to Moreaux and gave it all up to get her and Dell away. Dell has inherited her mother's talent at reading people, which she uses to save money so she can leave and become a school teacher, but it's also what makes her so valuable to Rory's plans. Dell has an independent and feisty soul, that makes her a fun heroine who isn't afraid to stand up for herself and those she loves.
Rory and Dell have a great chemistry, but trust is definitely an issue between them. Rory doesn't want to tell Dell everything, and she can tell that there's something he's not saying. But once these two give in to each other, it certainly steams up the pages.
If you're looking for a historical that's different than your standard regency England novel, then this might be for you. Set on the Mississippi River, with gun duels, gambling, cheating and life or death stakes it's certainly got enough plot to keep your interest!
*I received a review copy form the author, for my honest opinion. Thank you!