Surrender At Sea by Becca Dale
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Length: Short Story (141 pgs)
Rating: 5 Cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum
Experience has taught forty-year-old Jessica Summers how to manage and diffuse even the toughest situation, but when she’s assigned to protect a multi-millionaire game designer everything changes. The hot, young entrepreneur with sex on his mind becomes the one thing Jess can’t control. Damned irritating brat.
Petite and sassy, Jess teases Sean McCloud’s sense of humor and ignites emotions he’s repressed for too long. He doesn’t see the twelve year age difference as an issue. His heart and body want her plain and simple. Sean just has to get past her hang ups, survive a pirate attack at sea, and convince his sexy bodyguard to surrender. What could be easier?
If a reader is in the mood for a sensual seduction that makes their breath hitch and a story with plenty of hot beach action and bad guys to shake things up, then this book has it all.
Ms. Dale has written a tale that completely enchanted me because her characters are so likable and the romance has such heart. It follows a slightly older woman who has a grown daughter, an idiot of an ex-husband and a really cool career. Jess is capable, has a smart mouth, a sharp sense of humor and underneath all of that toughness and bravado is actually a very insecure woman. She has confidence in her abilities in her job and as a mother but as a woman, it’s a whole other ball of wax. Her ex-husband did a job on her and those lessons haunt her through this story. Jess is vulnerable because she needs and has wants and desires but doesn’t trust that she could possibly instill those same feelings in someone else. I think her character can touch a reader because Ms. Dale uses Jess’ internal dialogue as a way for a reader to get to know the real woman inside. I got a feel for her fears and her tentative reaching out while all the while wondering when, not if, she’ll get burned. When she finally starts to let go, learns to trust and give back to the man who inspires her to reach heights she never dreamed of, it’s really emotional. The relationship is one step forward, two steps back for Jess because she’s not only fighting her internal demons but the overt problem of her being much older than Sean, the hero.
Sean is not a shallow and spoiled rich man. At first I was lead to believe that because first impressions led me there. But as the story unfolds, the hero is revealed as a victim of success. He’s a hard worker and has a great work ethic and makes no apologies for enjoying the fruits of his labor. I adore the fact that he shared it with his mom and treats her with respect and love. That same success cost him his emotional vulnerability making him distrustful especially of women his age or younger. His experience made him grow up fast and even made him a bit jaded. It was a delight to see him open up and find joy and spontaneity when he’s with Jess. He was a bit sensitive in the beginning because for him, it’s not age that is the stumbling block but the money from his success. I got the biggest kick out of how Jess treated him and how he gave it right back. Never in a million years would I have ever believed that being called “grandma” could be so sexy and turn into a cheeky endearment. The verbal dialogue between Sean and Jess produced many giggles or just outright sighs because when he wants to be, Sean is incredibly romantic. Then again, when he wants to be lusty and forceful, Ms. Dale did a great job of making the pages steam. What fun!
The external conflict was light yet serious. It was handled quite well with a good grip on suspense and a trick twist sure to please readers who like a bit of exciting drama to keep the juices flowing. The writing made me believe that Jess is a capable body guard and I enjoyed with relish her take-charge actions – especially her skills with a knife or flipping those guys around. One of the villains was actually foreshadowed in the story and I didn’t pick up on it until after the reveal. It was one of those things I felt I should have figured out but didn’t. Very clever of Ms. Dale.
Surrender at Sea is a wonderful romance that touched my heart, my funny bone and satisfied my need for a happily ever after; one that left me grinning from ear to ear. Leave it to Sean and Jess to end it their way, with sauce and giggles. Ms. Dale has a winner on her hands with this one and it’s a book I can’t wait to tell all my friends about.