Alexandra Alastair, recently widowed (and insincerely mourning her cruel and unpleasant husband), is on the hunt for an eligible bachelor, but bites off more than she can chew when she takes a fancy to her new next-door neighbour, Grayson Finley, Viscount Stoke. Who is every inch a pirate: tanned, haphazard in his dress sense, setting up household with a grimly scarred black valet and a half-caste child who's apparently his daughter.
Everyone (despite his irritating and less-than-credible name) is after Grayson Finley: the Pirate Hunter James Ardmore out to avenge his brother's death; an elegant French spy; the wicked and grudgeful pirate Zechariah Burchard ... and the ones who aren't directly out to get him regard Alexandra as fair game, the Achilles Heel of a ruthless (yet honourable) pirate.
Generic romances tend to have happy endings: and because I'd already read The Pirate Hunter, which features some of the same characters and is set after The Pirate Next Door, I was sure of the Romantic Resolution in this one. Didn't matter. Seeing how they got there was fun.
Fast-moving, pacy, well-plotted and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny. Besides: pirates! Cross-dressing! Naked men with cutlasses! Dashing rescues and shameful behaviour! And a heroine who not only encodes her Sekrit List of Fanciable Men, but has a sharp retort for the man who remarks upon his rating. Great fun, though rather racier (and slightly less convincing, historically) than Georgette Heyer ...