Black Jack by Mari Carr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was not the pirate story I was expecting. Black Jack tells two different stories, sort of. It features Jack and Emma.....two lifelong best friends. Emma manages a fetish club, called Scoundrels. The third guy in their BFF trio, Travis, owns the club. So Emma calls in Jack to fill in as an actor in a pirate fantasy show they're doing at the club. The male actor called in sick - and as Emma is helping Jack through the scene, they find out that the female lead has also called in sick - forcing Emma to take over that role. As the two best friends are rehearsing the scene, some of their not-so-well-hidden feelings for each other come to the forefront and their rehearsal leads to some hot dry humping and fondling and eventually Emma has a powerful orgasm. Naturally, this could be a somewhat awkward situation for two lifelong BFFs who have never gone past the "just friends" stage.
After their performance in the pirate fantasy, it become clear that they can't be "just friends" anymore. Both confess that they've always had feelings for each other - and actually - that they are in love with each other - and they move quite smoothly into the girlfriend/boyfriend roles.
The pirate part of the story is told as a fantasy in each of their minds - a fantasy that was inspired by their fantasy play at the club. It seems like both stories wouldn't work together, but they do.....so effortlessly. And really, who hasn't had a pirate fantasy? Geez. H.O.T.
But there's more to it than that. Jack is into some kinky stuff - sex in public (which is why he agreed to sub for the actor in the first place), whips, chains, wax play....all kinds of stuff. Stuff he didn't think that Vanilla Emma would be down with. Oh, but was he wrong. But he has a thick skull....and it takes him a while to believe that Emma really is into it all.
I know this story is the first of a two part series - and thank goodness, because I need for Travis (the 3rd BFF) to find his HEA. He prefers to shy away from the crowd and he likes to watch the activities in his club from the two way mirror in his top floor office. He also like to get off while he watches, so his story should be quite interesting.
I loved everything about Black Jack. I thought it was sweet without being sugary and incredibly hot without being unrealistic. And besides that, who hasn't had the fantasy that their perfect mate and the love of their life will turn out to be a best friend who has been there all along and who knows you better than anyone. Throw in pirates - and good Lord - it's kind of the perfect scenario.
My only complaint (sort of) is that the story is just too short. But I always say that with any novella that I love. I always want more; I'm selfish like that. The thing I love about Mari Carr's stories is that the characters are always fully fleshed out, despite the fact that the story is novella-length. You know who these people are and you care about them, and really, if wanting to know more about these people because I find them so compelling is the only thing I have to complain about, well, then, I think that's OK.