ARC Review: Within a Captain’s Soul by Lisa A. Olech

cover115980-mediumThere’s something very special and romantic about Lisa A. Olech’s Captains of the Scarlet Night series. I didn’t get into it until the fourth story, but when I saw Within a Captain’s Soul I was really excited to read it. Bump, also known as William Quinn, was born deaf and eventually became a pirate captain. His background really intrigued me, and I loved every single heart-wrenching moment of his journey.

Will’s caught in a storm that shipwrecks The Scarlet Night and he ends up ashore alone, disoriented, and before pirate queen, Jian Jun. He thinks he’s done for, but the Jian Jun before him is a quiet soul and her beauty and kindness blow his mind. On guard, Will’s determined to leave and find his fellow crew. If they’re even still alive. Jian Jun has been without a husband for years and takes over his impressive pirate fleet. Her rule is legendary and her punishments brutal. She doesn’t know who Will is or what danger he poses…

What she does know? She hasn’t wanted anyone more since.

This story has so much beauty and depth of feeling to it. It’s not just set in the pirate world, it really uses the setting and allows these particular characters to shine. I have so much respect and admiration for William Quinn. The crew of the Scarlet Night is his family, and there’s nothing worse than them all being cast out to sea with no knowledge of their whereabouts or if they’re alive. There’s also the matter of how Will needs to communicate through signing, and he ends up in a place where no one can understand him. Bump stole my heart in the previous installment to this series, but here? We get a taste of all that he has gone through.

Jian Jun may have a reputation of punishment and pain, but she also has this streak of kindness that washes over Will. She’s reluctant to cast him as an enemy so quickly like her people have, and there’s something about how he stands and his confidence and his actions that enthralls Jian. Her life hasn’t been easy either, and what she needs is someone with Will’s patience. But both of them don’t know if they can trust the other, and communication keeps tearing them apart.

That’s before another part of the plot opens up, and I got caught up in this adventure. It’s thrilling, while still giving us soft and sweet, and there’s so much longing and desperation. The secondary characters rounded everything out, and Qi was my absolute favorite!

Within a Captain’s Soul brings everything I look for in a romance. Characters with high stakes, a blooming romance that at a drop of the hat could shatter, subplots and high-seas mystery. A great final installment in this series, it’s not to be missed.

4 stars!

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