Review: Perilous by Cari Z.

In 1803, England declares war on France, staking the fates of two mighty empires against one another. Thousands of men serve in the British navy, hungry for distinction in the battle against Bonaparte.

One of them, Lieutenant Thomas Williams, thinks he knows what he wants out of life: prize money at sea, a career of decent note, and the means to maintain his independence when he leaves the navy. What he finds is service under Captain Christopher Knightly: a tactical genius, inveterate charmer, and the youngest son of a wealthy noble house.

Their unexpected and perilous love affair is a gamble against the odds, for in a time of war, nothing is sure to last. If the French don’t tear them apart, one slip in front of the wrong eyes or ears might. When the demands of Christopher’s family take him from Thomas’s side, he thinks it might be the best thing for his captain. Little does Tom realize just how far Christopher will go to return to him, and when life takes a turn for the worse, how much further he will go to save him.

Avast ye landlubbers!

Pardon me...I forgot this isn't a pirate book, and I can't pirate speak ye mates and wenches. Maybe I'm in pirate withdrawal? Maybe you are too? Pirates are (if you don't know) one of my favorite heroes to read.

Perilous by Cari Z., might not feature the criminals of the sea, but it was a nautical themed romance that shivered me timbers *ahem* rocked my deck. Set in early 19th century Britain while Napoleon's troops are running amok, Lt. Thomas Williams is a simple, humble man that has been assigned to be second in command on the ship, Perilous. He's already a seasoned Navy sailor whose stoic presence fools most, not noble born Captain Christopher Knightly though. the Captain share a few witty words with the quiet, giant of a man and makes an impression on him. Thomas is gay, hides it due to the time period and his Captain is now the new resident of his erotic fantasies.

This novella is broken into three parts, told in in alternating POV but it's mostly Thomas' book. And let me tell you, he's quite the character. Thomas tries to deny his feelings for the Captain, amid attacking French troops in the town of Brest. His Captain remains jovial and slightly aloof in certain regards, that keep Thomas up at night. He's so sure nothing will come of his feelings. His Captian gives sly hints that Tom doesn't let himself catch. I was amused.

The romance starts in part 1 and gets stronger in parts 2 & 3. And while there is romance, some sweet moments by the way, there is action, war time violence, kidnapping and even a prisoner torture. Slightly trigger-ish for those who find prisoner torture and war time massacring too much.

Oh that action!  The action when it happened was kick-ass - explosions, sword fighting, cannons blasting...beheadings. My lusty self was quite satisfied with the sword swinging. Though, I think it could have been turned up a notch and even more graphic in parts. For those who are sticklers, and enjoy their main characters to be exclusive, that isn't the case in this story. But the author explained why it couldn't be, and with the background and time period, it's more realistic the way it was written. I don't consider it cheating because Chris and Tom know what was in their hearts.

I am in love with the premise. LOVED the setting, the characters, the plot. Christopher's family is evil and grated the nerves. I wanted to sock his mother one in her the face at one point. But as much as I cared just about everything, I can't go all cock out with my rating.

Why this isn't a five? While I went through an array of emotions, and I loved the main characters (Tom especially), the pace of their love was too quick for the pace of emotions in Perilous. Sometimes the transitions were a wee rough, causing me to reread scenes to try and figure out where the story was or what happened.

*holds out hands*

There was chemistry. There were feels. Christopher and Thomas got to that point as fast as they did? I couldn't tell you. A glance and you knew he was the love of a lifetime, you will forsake all others, he's the one? *squints* Something about part 1 didn't make as much of an impact as it could've. Maybe instead of cutting to Brest so fast, an exploration of the men's budding tension, other than sly hints, or maybe two more scenes each from the men's POV could've helped.

Also, the way everyone knew about the secret love affair, especially the key players who help set one of the men's future, didn't show enough for me as to how everyone knew the secret. They weren't parading out in the town square.

Chris and Tom's love is bombastic. And by the time I got into part 2, my quibble didn't ping as much. And part 3 damn near gutted me. Tom is a self sacrificing, damaged soul. Despite his large presence, his is submissive in nature, a well oiled soldier who existed to love Chris. The sex scenes were hot, but I'm not going to lie, I feel a little kink could have happened with the submissive nature to Tom.

*ponders about the kinky hijinks that could've happened*

And Thomas's martyr-ish sacrifices...his torture...his angst of his soul. My eyes got hot and maybe slightly juicy in part 3. I felt his angst. I'm still quietly reeling from the character that is Tom. What is it with Toms who live their life on a ship, that don't know their worth that gets me every time?

Thankfully, there is a HEA, though it didn't seem like it until the very end. Some strings were tied up a bit too neatly. I was happy with the turnout overall.

Recommended? Double fist yes! But this would work well for historical romance lovers, who enjoy sea based settings, forbidden love regard to the time period and a character who sacrifices it all for the love of their life.

Check out on Goodreads or Booklikes!

Purchase Links:
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Author Bio

Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She started writing then, because what else are you going to do for entertainment with no electricity? She writes award-winning LGBTQ fiction featuring aliens, supervillains, soothsayers and even normal people sometimes.

Twitter: @author_cariz

Cari Z © 2016
All Rights Reserved

Just before he went over the side, his captain brought his lips close to his ear. “Good luck, Tom,” he said in a voice that drove the shivers out of Tom’s system. Tom closed his eyes for a moment, savoring their closeness, and then slipped quietly into the black water of the bay.
It was cold, bone-chillingly cold. Tom caught his stuttering breath and then began to swim, slowly and silently, toward the distant guard boat. It hadn’t seemed so far away sitting in the cutter, but now that he was in the water, the distance felt interminable. The frigid water sapped his strength, but Tom was built strong in body and determined in mind, and he ignored it, focusing only on his goal as he edged closer and closer. He was within a few feet when he heard his captain’s voice.
Messieurs! Ici, je suis un ami!” It was soft but carrying.
The guards sat up straight, dropping the bottle they were sharing and staring away into the darkness, away from Tom as he crept to the side of their boat. “Qui est là?” One of them called out. “Qui êtes-vous?
Tom couldn’t allow them to keep calling out; the noise would bring unwanted attention. Grabbing his knife, he lunged out of the water and drew it across the noisier one’s throat even as he fought for a place in the boat. The man he held gargled hideously as he died, but the other had time to draw his knife.


  1. Great review is great! I'm getting my flippie floppies out to get on the motherfucking boat!

    1. Whoop! Flippie floppies on a motherfucking boat is high class bidness!