What a delightful book! It wasn't anything like I expected, and I found myself unable to stop reading it last night.
This book was recommended to me by Goodreads because I added Concubine and Gaven to my shelves. So I was expecting a story similar to those. I was delighted to find that in many ways it was very different.
Tristan wasn't a happy man unwillingly kidnapped and forced to be a slave. Tristan was unhappy in his life before the pirates. He even says at one point that he's a submissive who was forced into dominance by his position as the captain of the prince's guards. He fully expects (maybe even wants?) Valero to force him, but Valero refuses to do anything until Tristan is willing.
I think watching Tristan's metamorphosis from unhappy soldier to happy prisoner to willing partner to courageous rescuer was what made the book such a joy to read. And the fact that it was decisions that Tristan made that helped him through each step of growth, rather than anything that anyone forced on him. Yes, Valero was a catalyst for many of Tristan's decisions, but he still forced Tristan to be the one to make those decisions. Which I also totally loved.
I also found the idea of falling in love with someone you've never actually seen before intriguing.