Fox De Vries is a cruise ship captain who spends most of his time out at sea. It makes relationships next to impossible, not that Fox is looking for one. Not many people would put up with his schedule, and as the captain of the ship, Fox wouldn’t even entertain dating a passenger or fellow staff member. So instead, Fox uses his down time on shore to find some anonymous sex to keep him going for the long weeks aboard the ship. When he meets a sexy young man at a club, Bentley seems to be everything Fox could want in a hookup. While the two have amazing sex, they also have a connection Fox doesn’t usually find with a one-night stand. But as much as he might like a repeat performance, Fox knows this one night is all the pair will have together.
Brantley Phipps has worked very hard to get his position as Assistant Hotel Director aboard the cruise line. It is a job few people get at his age and he has worked liked crazy to reach that level. He too has no time for dating with his busy schedule, but like Fox, he does take advantage of his time on shore. When he meets the sexy silver fox at the club, Brantley is totally drawn to the guy. But when he starts his new job aboard the ship, Brantley is shocked to realize his hookup is none other than his new boss.
The men immediately know that while they are very much drawn to one another, they can’t take things further. Brantley is new to the job, Fox is his boss, and any relationship between them is totally out of bounds. But the chemistry between the pair is undeniable and it is all they can do to keep things professional. The men try avoiding one another, they try friendship, they even try more sex, but nothing is putting out the fire that still rages between them. Now Brantley and Fox have to figure out how they can stay apart and keep things professional when everything inside each of them wants nothing more than to be together.
I picked Shipping the Captain as one of my choices for this week’s Older/Younger Hero challenge for our Reading Challenge Month. It was a great choice, both because it features a sexy, older man in Fox, but also because I found it a really engaging story. This book is part of the Valentine’s Inc Cruises series, but each story is a standalone tied together by theme, and so I had no trouble reading this one without having read the others.
This story has one of my favorite set ups with two guys hooking up for some anonymous sex, only to realize the next day that they actually work together (I call it the Grey’s Anatomy trope). Nora Phoenix uses the set up to great success here by giving us a steamy, sexy start to the book as these two men just burn up the sheets during their night together. What makes it work so well is that it is clear that for all the hookup is hot for both men, there is something more there that each man feels. I could believe that they made a connection beyond just sex, one that makes it near impossible to give each other up. And that is where this book really shines, as wow does the chemistry burn off the page here. I could just feel the intensity, the longing, the PINING, as poor Fox and Brantley are desperate for one another and can’t act on it.
I think the pacing here works really well. These guys are doing what they can to be responsible, so after their initial night together, they are trying to keep things professional. So the early parts of the book we see them getting to know each other as friends, even as they are still hot for one another. The tension is prolonged just enough before they snap and can’t stay away from each other. I think the jump to real feelings felt a bit fast, but overall, I think the way Phoenix builds the pace in the story works well. The ending is a bit neat and tidy for all the tension of the conflict with regards to their jobs, but we do get a sweet happy ending.
So overall, I found this one a fun story with a lot of heat and great chemistry. The age difference and Fox’s status as a sexy older man are built nicely into the book and I definitely can recommend it if you are looking for a sexy, fun read with two guys who can’t stay away from each other.
This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for Older/Younger Hero Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win one of FIVE $20 JMS store gift cards from JMS Books! Commenters will also be entered to win one of our three amazing Grand Prize book bundles. You can get more information on our Challenge Month here (including all the contest rules) and more details on Older/Younger Hero Week here.