Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Treasure of Love by Scotty Cade
Treasure of Love by Scotty Cade
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 214 pages
Summary: Hunky Alaskan dive master and charter boat captain Jackson Cameron is absolutely sure he’s straight until openly gay treasure hunter Dax Powers calls him and offers him the adventure of a lifetime: Dax and his sister Donatella have found the Anna Wyoming, a ship that went down during the 1889 gold rush on return from Skagway Island—very possibly carrying a fortune in gold.
But real treasure is never free, and this one comes with some heavily armed strings attached. Jack and Dax struggle to keep their small crew safe from a powerful threat while they fight against the attraction they feel for each other. Between the danger of the hunt, the risks in the dive, and the thrill of being lost in passion, Dax and Jack are going to have a hard time holding on to their treasure... and to each other!
Treasure hunters need good maps, good hunches, and a lot of determination to find their booty, and Dax Powers has both when he charters Jack Cameron's dive boat. In Treasure of Love by Scotty Cade, Dax starts by looking for gold but finds a great deal more.
Both Dax and Jack are alpha kinds of guys, who start out with friction. The back and forth over the treasure diving trip makes for some great reading; they growl at each other to cover up the attraction, which is mutual, to Jack's great surprise. Poor Jack gets a lot of flak from his crew/friends Mac and Brad about this – paybacks are hell, but such fun for the reader. The relationship unfolds more gently than it starts out, and kudos to Dax for not pushing too hard. He pushes just hard enough:
"―If all I need to do is go on a tirade to get you to kiss me, look out, Jack. Your life is about to become very confrontational."
They do find their treasure ship, too, using seriously unsafe diving practices – twice they nearly run out of air, no one thinks to leave spare tanks below, and the words "safety line" or similar do not appear anywhere -- and salvaging the valuables is suddenly the least of their dangers. The shadowy danger materializes with explanations – a LOT of them, that seem reasonable for modern day and really weird for 120 years ago. The day is saved though, through an outside agency that had not previously appeared in the story and seemed tacked on.
The style of the book, unfortunately, doesn't flow very well: there are huge chunks of exposition, some unnatural sounding dialog, and a lot of explanations of the "as you know, Jack" variety to convey information that could have been worked in more naturally. The POV is not stable – it can go for pages in one person's POV, only to flip for a sentence or two and then back. The occasional forays into a true omniscient POV worked to convey menace, and I don't consider those a problem, but really didn't like the dizzy-making quick trips through other heads. The heads all had similar names: Jackson/Daxton/Dax/Jack/Mac/Brad.
The love story was the best part here; Cade writes good relationships, not only between lovers, but with friends. I wish the adventure had matched. 3 Marbles