Harlequin Blaze Historical September 2010
217 pages By Patricia Potter
BLURB ON BACK OF BOOK:
1876 Colorado is home to some wild characters. And Samantha Blair is one of them. After all, how many girls find themselves being raised by outlaws? But she's happy…until U.S. Marshal Jared Evans comes to town. He's got one thing on his mind—revenge. And unfortunately, it's Sam's adoptive father he's after.
Luckily, Samantha's a crack shot. The good thing? She only hits Jared's leg. The bad thing? He makes her insides quiver and melt like she never knew was possible….
Still, Jared's out for her family's blood. She has to stop him. And if it means keeping the good marshal on his back—and in her bed—well then, Sam will just have to do what needs to be done.
Even if she loses her heart in the process…
THIS REVIEW WAS PUBLISHED IN THE SEPT NEWSLETTER AT "THE SEASON"
For a Harlequin Blaze, the love scenes in this story were fairly tame, but that does not detract from the heated attraction between the hero and heroine.
U.S. Marshall Jared Evans is on a personal mission, to avenge the senseless death of his sister-in-law, the only member of his family left after the Civil War
left his brother, wife and child dead at the hands of raiders.
He has one name from that stagecoach robbery/murder of his sister-in-law, Thornton, Cal Thornton. Jared tracks the man down to a ghost town, Gideon's Hope. As the book begins, Jared finds himself staring down a gun in the street. About to draw his gun, he realized the young lad in front of him is not a lad at all, but a woman. He hesitates, long enough to get shot in the leg.
The young lad is really 21 year old Samantha Blair, she will do anything to protect a man that brought her up, protected her, all these years. Jared's wound is serious, but between Sam's administering and that of one of her three 'godfathers', grizzled old ex-miner Archie (visions of Walter Brennan from those old movies westerns floated through my head) they manage to stem the bleeding and keep infection away.
The attraction between Sam and Jared is immediate, with a lot of sizzling touches as she tries to nurse him or feed him. Sam fights it, for upstairs is her beloved Mac, injured himself from being jumped by some bounty hunters. He is the 'Thornton' in question, and Sam will not believe the man that was as a father to her, was capable of murder. She keeps his location secret from Jared.
As she keeps Jared's location secret from Mac. The touches between Jared and Sam soon turn into heated gropings and passionate kisses, as the two grow closer.
Jared, who's heart has been all but locked away since his family was wiped out, also fights the attraction.
There is some great characterization here, from Archie, Reese (shows up later, another 'godfather', 3rd son of British aristocracy) And Mac himself. Mac and Reese both loved Sam's mother, and when she died, they promised to care for her little girl. I would have loved to know more about Reese, described as a rake and gambler in his early forties, handsome with auburn hair with a touch of gray at the temples. These three godfathers are all flawed, but there is no mistaking the love they have for Sam, and vice-versa.
I felt as if I was caught up in a really good episode of Bonanza. But since it is a Blaze, I would have liked a little more fuel on that fire. In fact this really was too tame for a Blaze, in my opinion. The action all culminates in a show down with a posse, to a satisfactory conclusion. The hero and heroine were likable as were the 'godfathers'. An overall enjoyable read.
3 stars out of 4 for the book
KOVER KUDOS: Meh, Not quite how I personally pictured Jared, but it has all the elements of a sexy old west lawman, love the open shirt and the badge, the horse isn't bad either.
2 and 3/4 stars out of 4 for the cover