*This is just my opinion, my personal take on any given book, use as a reference. I will not be overly gushing. I will also endeavor not to give too much of the plot away.
I will not hand out 4 star ratings for every book, or try not to.*
Berkley Historical Romance
336 pages October 2009
By Jodi Thomas
Visit Jodi's website HERE
BLURB ON BACK OF BOOK:
Three days after arriving in Galveston, newly widowed Sage McMurray is furious. She'd been gone from Texas long enough to forget what it takes to survive on the frontier, and finds herself taken hostage in a robbery. Sage fears if the outlaws discover who Are is, she may never see Whispering Mountain again.
Her fears are about to come true when the outlaws decide to auction off their pretty captive to the highest bidder, and a tall stranger offers twice the highest bid.
Drummond Roak has grown up in the years since Sage left. He now makes his living as a gunfighter, but his love for her has never changed. While fighting to keep her alive, he is also determined to convince the Texas beauty that beneath his wild ways is a man worth loving...
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I really enjoy a good western historical, they are getting harder and harder to find. Back in the 1990's there were a lot of western historicals, now they are as rare as hen's teeth. Harlequin used to have 2 western titles in their historical monthly offering, now it is down to one. Too bad, really.
But on to this book, I have a few Jodi Thomas titles in my boxes of used books, some were really good, a few were so-so. This book comes under the 'really good' section. Just about all of Jodi's books have either Texas or Texan in the title, she is from there, and write about what you know, I always say.
The hero in this is very young, at 20, Drummond 'Drum' Roak has had a hard-scrabble life. This book is part of Jodi's 'Whispering Mountain' series, and in those, Drum was apparently some dirty, orphan kid hanging around the McMurray ranch. I haven't read the other books, but after reading this, I am inclined to check them out.
The heroine Sage McMurray, is 23, arrives back home after years away training to be a Doctor and now a widow from a brief, loveless marriage to an older man, a mentor and fellow doctor.
She is shocked when she sees Drum, as he has grown up into a tall, handsome gunfighter, who helps out the Texas Rangers when needed. But their prickly relationship remains, Drum had a crush on Sage when he was a gangly 15 and she 18, he even stole a kiss. All his thoughts have been of her as he grew up. He is determined to make Sage his.
However, she still sees him as a kid, and often refers to him as one much to his chagrin. Also Sage is kind of prickly, fighting Drum on everything, it did start to wear. However, Drum is so thoroughly engaging and charming in his earthy way, you can overlook Sage's shortcomings.
I love Jodi's turn of phrase, so steeped in western vernacular. "Folks are moving to Texas faster than sugar ants move into a molasses pantry." Wonderful.
But I suppose some of Sage's behavior can be explained that she was not happy in her short marriage. It was never consummated, as Jodi put it, 'A widow without being a wife is doubly lost'. And I think Sage felt a little lost. And she has closed herself off from emotion and love, determined never to marry again.
Drum keeps at her, managing to steal a few kisses, soon, those kisses grew more passionate, and has Sage rethinking her opinion on both love and Drum.
There is a rollicking adventure and some great secondary characters to round out this rich, satisfying read.
Arriving with Sage is a 6 foot, thin spinster nurse, Bonnie Pierce. She is decribed as plain, but is so wonderfully outspoken and with a dry wit, you immediately take to her.
She is given a wonderful story. There is nothing I like better than strong secondary characters that could carry their own book.
When Sage is taken by the villain of the book, Bonnie is kidnapped/rescued by the one cowboy in the territory taller than her. His looks are not really described at all, Brad Summerfield is very tall, leanly muscled, a loner who cannot read and write and talks very little. But he thoroughly romances Bonnie, leading to a night of passion and an awakening that is achingly and tenderly described. I loved the relationship between Bonnie and Brad. However, with dawn, comes cold, hard reality, and Bonnie returns to her spinster life, as Brad has issues of his own, like finding his brother who may have been involved in the kidnapping of Sage.
The villain Count Hanover is creepy and sick. Its 1859, Texas was a rough place, and Jodi does not pull any punches here. Hanover's gang are brutal and murderous.
Drum rides in alone to rescue Sage. Pretending to be a gambler, he is there when Sage is 'auctioned off' as the virgin captive. He buys her, and they manage to get away. For now.
Count Hanover is relentless, he wants the pretty Doctor back, not only to treat whatever ails him, but for his own plaything. More adventures ensues, it is a real action packed read, I loved it.
But what is the core of this book is Drum, the wild and woolly gunfighter that eventually becomes a Texas Ranger. He is so young, but shows a depth of maturity and understanding, and with dealing with Sage, a ton of patience. He will steal your heart. And he does Sage's...finally. I think it was page 224 before Sage finally realized, 'he's not a kid anymore, he's a man!" DUH!
His masculinity was oozing from every page, LOL! Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a rollicking historical western romance.
3 and 1/2 stars out of 4.
KOVER KUDOS: The male model on the cover looks as much as Drum is described, even down to the tilt of his hat, and a very Drum-type pose. Love the horse in the background.
3 and 1/2 stars out of 4 for the cover
REMINDER: I am blogging at True Romance blog this Saturday, do swing by and say hello! Please! LOL!