by Crystal Jordan, historical/time-travel (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-59998-922-0
Our heroine Rebecca Small ("short, brown-eyed, brown-haired, girl-next-door type") is a history graduate student who has moved on to work in a museum. One day, she is fiddling with the dagger said to belong to a person that she finds most fascinating: the 18th-century privateer Captain James Marrow. No one knows how he died or even when he died, so he's quite an Amelia Earhart in his own way.
That's James Marrow, by the way, not Jack Sparrow. Never let it be said that Treasured is yet another story hoping to cash in on a vast majority of women's fascination with Johnny Depp that I confess to find rather perplexing. I mean, I have watched that guy since his 21 Jump Street days on TV and I have a hard time buying his "I'm too intellectual yet down-to-earth for the fame game thing in Hollywood so you know I'm so much better than that which is why I become the poster boy for Tim Burton movies" shtick.
Oh yes, back to the story. While caressing the dagger in a creepy way that has me wondering whether she will end up doing obscene things with it on her own body even as she drools over his portrait, Rebecca finds herself transported back in time to James' ship The Dark Fortune where she arrives just in time to drive the dagger she is playing with into the chest of a living person. Yikes. It turns out that she has landed right in the middle of a fight. She manages to make her way to James Marrow and even save that fellow from being sneak-attacked in the back.
Puzzlingly, the appropriately grateful James seems to already know who she is. It is soon apparent that Rebecca has somehow "jumped" into the 18th-century Rebecca and this new Rebecca appreciates James' charms while the original Rebecca didn't like being a privateer's wife. Will James ever reconcile the fact that his previously disagreeable Rebecca is now a most agreeable person who agrees to give him unlimited access to every shaggable orifice in her body? Hmm, do you know of any guy who questions why a hot woman will want to sleep with him instead of just, you know, going with the flow?
While I still find Rebecca a rather creepy ghoul of a heroine who seems too unhealthily obsessed with a dead pirate for her own good, she is a more pleasant person once she's back in the 17th century where she can reach out and grab James with both her hands and all her might. She doesn't do anything too stupid here, at the very least. James is a pretty pleasant hero in a rather standard protective gallant pirate way.
However, with this being a short novella, there isn't much room for the characters to display anything more than superficial likability. That and the familiar "my woman used to be a shrew but she's now a most agreeable sex pot - oh, what to do?" plot make Treasured a watered-down retread of a familiar storyline. It's a pleasant read with a few sexually explicit love scenes that involve creative usage of candles and pearls, but that's about it, really.
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