Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer
Bethany House Publishers, 27th May 2014

When love simmers between a reclusive scientist and a wealthy debutante, will they abandon ship or is it full steam ahead?

Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole’s father has always focused on what she’s not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.

Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it’s too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family’s greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father’s rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole’s plans.

After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world.

Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father’s rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family’s legacy?

I always look forward to a Karen Witemeyer book and this one sounded interesting. It’s the story of a lost soul searching for answers and a woman trying to prove her worth – they collide with fireworks.

Nicole Renard is a strong woman – like many in Witemyer’s books. She is assertive and determined to prove her worth to her loving father by protecting them the way a son would his family. This lands her in some hot water, running from her father’s enemies. She lands a job transcribing her employer’s notes and ends up with more than she bargained for.

Darius Thornton is a tortured man. He’s left society life behind to pursue his impossible goal of amending for past incidents that were not his fault and were out of his control. What’s also out of his control is his growing feelings for Nicole, who is not all she appears to be. They both keep secrets from each other – to be fair, the secrets if revealed sooner would have made things much smoother. But this is a book, I choose to suspend realty when I read one for the most part.

Overall I enjoyed this book, but I did feel that the relationship between them progressed very quickly. Too quickly for it to be really realistic. Thus making the overall relationship feel a but rushed. I did like Darius and felt him to be the more well rounded of the two main characters. I could empathize with him and liked how he moved through his issues.

A solid read from Witemeyer.

Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this novel for review.  I was in no way obliged to give a positive review.