When Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston from an eastern finishing school, she's stunned to find her father in ill health. Though she loves him, he's only ever focused on what she's "not." Not male. Not married. Not able to run their family business, Renard Shipping.
Vowing to secure a suitable marriage partner, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure: a dagger personally gifted to Nicole's father by the pirate Jean Lafitte. Many believe the legend that the dagger is the source of all Renard Shipping's good fortune, though Nicole is sure her father's work ethic and honorable business practices are the keys to their success. Before she can board the steamer to New Orleans, Nicole finds her father's rivals—the Jenkins brothers—on either side of the gangplank, ready to grab her and steal the dagger. Quickly, she decides to instead travel north, to Liberty, Texas, where she can decide what to do next.
Darius Thornton needs a secretary—someone to help him get his notes in order. Ever since the boiler explosion aboard the "Louisiana," Darius has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. The pretty young socialite who applies for the job baffles him with her knowledge of mathematics and steamships. He decides to take a risk and hire her, but he's determined her attractive face and fancy clothes won't distract him from his important research.
The job offer comes at exactly the right time for Nicole. With what Darius is paying her, she'll be able to afford passage to New Orleans in mere weeks. But Mr. Thornton is so reclusive, so distant, so unusual. He can create complex scientific equations but can't remember to comb his hair. And his experiments are growing more and more dangerous. Still, there are undeniable sparks of attraction between them. But Nicole is leaving soon, and if she marries, it must be to a man who can manage a shipping empire. Darius certainly doesn't fit that description. And the Jenkins brothers have not given up on kidnapping Nicole and seizing the Lafitte dagger for themselves
This is one of Witemeyer's better books. I was a little disappointed with Stealing the Preacher so I wasn't sure what to expect with this one, but when it was over and I had happy sighs, I knew it was a good one :)
Sometimes Christian Fiction can get a little preachy (that's one reason Stealing the Preacher bugged me...although, it is about a preacher, what do you expect?) but this book wasn't over the top like some other books. It's about letting things go, but there was more to the story than that.
I liked Darius character (don't love his name though). I thought his eccentricities were great and fun to read about. Nicole wasn't bad either. She was definitely a strong character. You have to love the butler and the housekeeper. They keep things fun as they try to throw Darius and Nicole together.
I admit that I was hoping for a little more from Darius's family at the end, but I'm glad we got Nicole's family at least.
I'm also going to throw out there that I didn't love the cover. I know, it is just the cover, but it's true. It looks kind of goofy to me, and I would have loved to have seen her wearing the red dress he notices in the book. But that is neither here nor there.
I'm already re-reading it, so it's a book that would buy for myself and recommend to others. Content wise it is clean with some kissing and some death and a little violence.
Title: Full Steam Ahead
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House
Published: June 2014
Source: I received an eCopy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.