* Note, this may have been the short included in the print version of The Ugly Duchess. I'm so annoyed by the prospect of buyers getting even less value in an ebook that I can't be bothered to ascertain exactly which title they tossed in the MMP. Either way, it's now for sale as a short.
Eloisa and I are breaking up. I probably have one or two books left in me, but the writing on the wall seems pretty clear now. Everything I disliked about The Ugly Duchess is magnified in Seduced By A Pirate. (More than a sister story, Seduced By A Pirate could almost be a synopsis.) Where Sir Griffin Barry was a thug for most of The Ugly Duchess, here he was always a pirate with a heart of gold. Pity the poor press ganged boy who sees no way out but to rebel against his moral father by embracing immorality.
Let's pause for a second. Griffin is a 17 year old member of the landed gentry (Or is it nobility? Griffin seems to have gotten a title upgrade.) when he is taken by a press gang. Right. Assuming Griffin keeps silent about his identity, he then becomes a pirate because his dad spent too much time at work. Griffin doesn't want to be a servant of the people, he wants to rape, rob and pillage. (If you only read the short, you'll think Griffin was freeing slave ships and changing lives his whole career. Not so much.) We will give James her Hollywood Pirate and move on.
Griffin returns home with a full pardon and a wife he married through parental arrangement. His wife has spent the last 14 years denying her sexuality, so she's a virgin. (Hermetically Sealed Heroine alert!) When Griffin returns she sensibly explains to him that she's economically sound and interested in dissolving their marriage. She's failed to do so over the last decade and a half under the assumption that he'd get himself killed and there'd be no need to bother. Griffin says he'd rather get laid and five sentences later she's up for that too. Seriously. "I want a divorce. / I want you. / Ok, then." Apparently one look at Griffin's super muscled pirate build is all she needs to go from frigid to frothing. Phoebe (whose name he doesn't even know) instantly switches to concerns that she's not enough for her recently returned spouse. Will he desire her? Is she still pretty? Can they do it on the floor right by the front door as soon as he gets home?
By the end of the day they're pledging their love for each other. Approximately 10 hours from "Who are you?" to devoted beloved. (It takes Insta-love to new levels.) Along the way Griffin finds out he actually likes his dad and his dad arranges for him to become a judge, or a magistrate or some sort of thing. Because when your son has been a pirate for 14 years with nary a letter home of course your first thought is handing him a gavel. Wait, did I forget to mention his sisters? Yes, Griffin also has sisters that he has ignored. He tells himself that sending his pirate money home was buying their freedom from the sort of arranged marriage he suffered. I'm sure, given a few more pages, they'd have been just as forgiving as Phoebe and Griffin's dad. It's that kind of tale.
Closing out this short novella are not one but two epilogues, each with a baby nicely tucked inside. So you get a baby. And YOU get a baby. And Griffin gets his virgin wife. Let the HEA'ers abound.