GS vs STA: Pirate Romance Redux

Rudi wrote me and said,

“I’m almost ashamed to say this, I’ve never actually read a pirate romance before so I don’t really know where to start.

I was hoping the Bitchery might be able to help me find some awesome pirate romance novels. Dangerously puffy shirts on the cover are a plus.”

Now, we discussed this back in 2006 but it seemed to me that enough has changed in 5 years that we might be able to add to that list. Got any piratical romances you recommend, from then and now?


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  1. 1
    Janet says:

    Not sure how “pirate” it is, but I thought “The Charm School” by Susan Wiggs was both a fun read and good romance.

    Also, a little on the contemperary side of piracy is “Making Waves” by Tawna Fenske. This book is romance/fun all rolled into one.

  2. 2
    Kara says:

    The Pirate and the Pagan by Virginia Henley is full of romance cliches and smuttastic sex.

    Lady Pirate by Lynsay Sands is one of my favorites- obvie she’s a pirate. It’s not the most well written book, but it’s an easy, almost charming read.

    Gentle Rogue by Johanna Lindsey is one of the strongest of the Mallory novels, IMHO (I would skip A Pirate’s Love, unless you are really into rapey novels)

    Captured by Beverly Jenkins is a great novel, and different in that both main characters are black

    Jennifer Ashley did a pretty decent Pirate trilogy

  3. 3
    Kara says:

    Also, Thief of Hearts by Teresa Medeiros

  4. 4
    Karenmc says:

    There’s Darlene Marshall’s Sea Change, which we discussed here recently on Book Chat. Technically speaking, the hero’s a privateer rather than a pirate, but the heroine is cross-dressing, the wit is enjoyable and the handsome hero can’t see what’s right in front of him.

  5. 5
    Pamelia says:

    “I Kissed an Earl” by Julie Long.  Great shipboard stuff in that one.
    And I love the pirate storyline in “Shanna” by Kathleen Woodiwiss as well.

  6. 6
    Donna says:

    Two words: Valerie Sherwood. Sheer unadultered bodice ripping craptastic pirate books. I believe it’s the “Love” series.
    And there’s a word that can be used loosely in this series.

    Oh, wait, two more words: Fern Michaels. Not the Fern Michaels you know now. The Fern Michaels who wrote the “Captive” books back in the 70’s. All those things they tell you about historical romance back then? I got for you right here.

    And now that I’ve dated myself and proven that I remember books from 30 years ago better than the ones I’ve read in the last year…

  7. 7

    In the futuristic category, here are a few romances featuring space pirates (both male and female):

    Starjacked by Karin Shah (Samhain)
    Unmasked by C.J. Barry (recently re-released through Carina Press)
    Sureblood by Susan Grant (HQN)
    Slip Point by Karalynn Lee (new release; also Carina Press)
    A Pirate’s Passion by KS Augustin (Total E-Bound)
    Thief by Anitra Lynn Mcleod (Samhain)
    Lady Rogue by Cinnamon Burke (old skool title, but the space pirate heroine is pretty cool)
    Once Upon a Time in Space by Heather Massey (Red Sage) (in the interest of full disclosure, that’s me)

  8. 8
    ashley says:

    I generally don’t like piratesea captain books because I find that the hero always seems to love the sea more than the heroine. bu tI do like that travel aspect that we sometimes get, like in Charm School.

  9. 9
    JBHunt says:


    Steampunk pirates!

  10. 10
    Beebs says:

    Katharine Ashe’s Swept Away by a Kiss and Captured by a Rogue Lord are recent and are both good reads.

    I’m sure there are lots more but I can’t think of them right now.

  11. 11
    Merrian says:

    I was thinking of Judith James’ “Broken Wing”  published in 2008 by Medallion Press

    It has a great cover with bloody body, bare chest and ripped shirt on a ship deck; his wounds and bandages held out to the storm. The Hero – Gabriel St Croix was a brothel slave (he is fluent in sex according to the blurb) is rescued and becomes a mercenary pirate and professional gambler. It is set on the Barbery Coast, London, Cornwall and in France.

  12. 12
    bookstorecat says:

    Fire and Ice by Catherine Hart is full of WTF moments of “hero” douchebaggery, but the heroine teaches him a lesson when she takes up piracy. I haven’t read it since I was 15, but much of it’s still burned into my memory. Particularly the dance-off.

  13. 13
    graniagrace says:

    If you really want to go back – way, waaaaay back- try the Angelique novels by Sergeanne Golon.  They take place in the 17th century and they have everything: pirates, harems, royal mistresses, kidnappings…..

  14. 14
    Dawn says:

    My favorite pirate romance will forever be ‘Windflower’ by Laura London (Tom and Sharon Curtis). As was discussed here recently, it’s one of those books that stays with you long after you’ve finished it.

  15. 15
    Nadia says:

    I adore “Thief of Hearts,” it’s a comfort re-read for me.

    Also, if you can find it, “Chance the Winds of Fortune” by Laurie McBain.  It’s the sequel to “Moonstruck Madness” that was recently re-released (about a daughter).  There’s a third book, “Dark Before the Rising Sun” with the same characters as book two, but that takes place on land, though, LOL.

  16. 16
    Melissandre says:

    I’ll second Broken Wing.  The hero is made of one part Jack Sparrow, one part former sex slave, one part cutter.  It’s awesome!  He’s so cute and broken.  You just want to reach through the book and fix him up.  Or at least change the bloody bandages on the cover.

  17. 17
    Amanda says:

    There will always be a soft spot in my heart for the young adult Jean Ferris novels:  Into the Wind, Song of the Sea, and Weather the Storm.  Admittedly, the characters are privateers, not pirates, and the books might not be very good, but the descriptions of the outfits!  Oh, the outfits are SO glorious!  Plus, Octavia, who is not the main character by ANY means, is still one of my book character role models.  Well, except for that one thing that still makes me scratch my head when I think about it.  I read these books when I came down with a terrible flu at 13, and I’ve been hooked on romance ever since.

  18. 18
    CarrieS says:

    @ Heather Massey – yay, space pirates! 

    captcha:  not35.  Too true, too true.

  19. 19
    Laura says:

    The Windflower x 1000.  So well written that most of the secondary characters needed their own books-sadly, no more books from Laura London/Tom & Sharon Curtis.

  20. 20
    Emily says:

    Two of Kresley Cole’s early, non-paranormal books are piratey- The Captain of all Pleasures and The Price of Pleasure.

  21. 21
    Rose says:

    I see Marsha Canham was mentioned in 2006, and she’s since released most of her backlist as e-books. Try Across a Moonlit Sea, its sequel, The Iron Rose, or one of her older titles, The Wind and the Sea. All should be available on Smashwords and elsewhere.

    Jo Goodman’s first book (later republished as The Captain’s Lady) was set around the time of the War of 1812, and has a pirate heroine; the hero is an American Navy captain.

  22. 22
    Vivienne says:

    I also wanted to recommend Broken WIngs, by Judith James. Even though the second part of the novel is ALL about pirates and sea adventures, lacking a bit in romance. :o)

  23. 23
    JaniceG says:

    In addition to Darlene Marshall’s Sea Change, discussed here recently, her other novels also deal with either pirates or privateers: Pirate’s Price, Captain Sinister’s Lady, and The Bride and the Buccaneer.

  24. 24
    LisaCharlotte says:

    I second Donna for old school piratey goodness with Fern Michaels’ Captive series. I loved those books and learned about limed nutmegs and the Dutch spice trade too.

  25. 25
    Becky-Jo says:

    My favorite pirate novel/ guilty pleasure is Lisa Kleypas’s Only With Your Love. I also enjoyed Johanna Lindsey’s Gentle Rogue.

  26. 26
    cate says:

    Marsha Canham’s pirate books still rock, also Kinley McGregor(aka Sherrilyn Kenyon)  A Pirate of Her Own, & Master of Seduction – and my absolute fave’s Jennifer Ashley’s pirate trilogy The Care & Feeding of Pirates, Perils of the Heart & The Pirate Next Door – chock full of utterly OTT piratey derring do !

  27. 27

    What, no love for The Princess Bride with Wesley as the Dread Pirate Roberts?  :-)  (Granted, not much actual piracy in that one, but still.)

    As regards pirates in spaaaaace (though it’s only semi-romantical and that mostly with the second-leads), there’s The Price of the Stars and its sequels by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald.  Best space opera series I’ve ever read, not excluding Bujold.

    And in YA, do not miss Piratica, by Tanith Lee.

  28. 28
    FD says:

    This discussion was five years ago?! o_0   Sorry, I have no new pirate themed romances to add, although Carrie Vaughn’s YA, Steel was awesome.

  29. 29
    delphia2000 says:

    Love all these suggestions. I’m currently flailing/failing with my NaNoWriMo saga of Space Pirates, but will check out Heather’s in particular next month!

    I have a YA called ‘Bloody Jack” checked out from my library, but haven’t started reading it yet, however, not sure if there is any romance in it or not.

  30. 30
    Karin says:

    Going way back, “Trade Wind”, the hero is more of a smuggler than a pirate, but he does have a ship, and it’s an awesome old-style saga, by M.M. Kaye.

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