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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Caribbean Dreams of Love

Caribbean Dreams of Love by Bess McBride
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Heat Level: Sensual
Length: Full
Rating: 4 Books
Review by Ivy

Daisy and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Lilly, are embarking on a Caribbean cruise. She isn't looking for anything special on the cruise other than a pleasant break from her humdrum existence as long-time divorced single mother to a busy teenage girl. She certainly isn't prepared for an enigmatic man named Peter whose idiosyncrasies in dress and speech mark him as an eccentric person to avoid. But Daisy can't avoid him. In fact, she begins to obsess about him from the first moment she catches him staring at her in the cruise ship terminal. Peter remains elusive and mysterious throughout the cruise. She catches sight of him occasionally, never often enough to please her, and they connect one wonderful night as he sweeps her into his arms for a waltz. A waltz? On a Caribbean cruise ship? While Daisy's dinner companions share nightly tales of the legends of cursed pirates, Daisy dreams of the mysterious man who has captured her heart.

Any novel that opens with a vacation risks making the reader feel like he's watching Uncle Joe's home movies; Caribbean Dreams of Love, though, opens exactly as it should--right at the ticket counter, and takes you on a relaxing cruise. From the dining room to the island stops, author Bess McBride makes you feel like you're actually aboard, and throws in what every woman would like to take home as a souvenir: a gorgeous pirate who only has eyes for you.

Daisy and her daughter, Lily, hit the decks for a week long cruise to the Caribbean, but Daisy's hopes for relaxation are dashed when they meet life-sucking hillbilly cruisers, Becky and Jim, who turn out to be assigned to their table in the dining room. To make matters worse, Daisy repeatedly runs into a mysterious stranger whom no one else ever seems to see.

Peter Caswell is tall, dark, and gorgeous, and he can play the baby grand. He seems to lurk around every corner and makes Daisy's hair stand up, in a good way. Then Daisy is intrigued to find that their additional table mates, the Danish couple Bjorn and Johana, are intrigued by piracy and the legend of Gentleman Jones, a ghost cursed to wander the Caribbean never knowing the love of a woman.

While Daisy tries to hide her infatuation with the exotic Peter, Bjorn's tales begin to paint a picture that literally materializes before her eyes at a pirating museum in Nassau. Peter Caswell is becoming less of a man that has won her heart, and more of a specter that will steal it.

The story is predictable but pirate legends and cursed ghosts are hard to resist, especially when you can feel that Caribbean wind swirling the skirt about your legs. Simplistic plotting and dialogue won't require undivided attention to soak up the pages, but Caribbean Dreams of Love is a nice pirate fix, and a pleasant way to spend an afternoon if you miss the beach.