Returning to her MsAdventures at Sea series, McKellar (A Port of No Return, 2006, etc.) delivers another steamy, if formulaic, romance/adventure, sure to rip a few bodices.
Twentysomething Quinn Anne Carrigan has had it with life on land, especially with her ditzy roommate, Cyndi, and Cyndi's druggie boyfriend. Her loins still aching from her last sea encounter aboard the Zephyr, where she was bedded by the lean and muscled Jamaican Noah, Quinn sets out on yet another adventure on the high seas, this time as the cook aboard the Mexican luxury yacht Vanora. Quinn is teamed with Marcus, a landlubber friend Quinn finagles onto the crew; Marnie, a hard-bodied lesbian; and Hank Somers, a former Zephyr crewmember. Rounding out the team is the Vanora's oversexed and controlling capitan, Diego Reyes. Quinn finds herself constantly sparring with Diego, who, when not making crude overtures, takes great pleasure in demeaning her. On the verge of quitting, Quinn begins an affair with the Vanora's rakish, millionaire owner, Rafael Santiago, which she's determined to hide from Diego, who, Quinn is convinced, is harboring a dark secret. Soon enough, Diego's past catches up with the ship crew, and they are held hostage at sea by drug boss Luiz Montoya. Things go from bad to worse when Diego and Luiz abandon Quinn and the others to drown aboard a scuttled Vanora. Thanks to a radio message, Quinn's old Zephyr friends Dr. Felix Templeton, Chip and Noah, come to the rescue. But this unexpected reunion leads to an unwelcome love triangle and all its emotional turmoil. With drug lords in hot pursuit and the story's heroine forced to choose between two dreamy (and, oh yes, lean and muscled) suitors, McKellar, in true series fashion, concludes with an open-ended finish that feels like a bit of a cheat.
Despite a wishy-washy ending, this has all the requisite angst, heaving chests and body heat to satisfy romance aficionados. McKellar's fans won't be disappointed.