-Review by Letti.
This is a sweet western historical romance that spans from the Fall of 1887 to the Fall of 1888 that mainly deals with a ranching lifestyle. This is the first time that I’ve read any of this author's work, and I must admit I was not disappointed. The plot was engaging even though I figured out whodunnit way in advance, but it did not detract from the story. I wanted to keep on reading to find out if my boys got their shit together, and if the sweet Agnes was ever going to find the one. This story was a bit addicting, who doesn’t like hot cowboys? Especially the ones in the past, just imagine a man with sun kissed skin, a sweaty body and a piece of straw hanging from his mouth. Whew!! Is it getting hot in here or is it just me?Stone has just returned from a cattle drive along the Chisholm Trail to the Circle J. Upon his arrival Little Sam, who is extremely talkative and can ramble on till his little heart's content, informed Stone that he had received a letter, and that it was waiting for him up at the main house. The letter perplexed Stone since he has never received a letter and he thought nothing good could come of it, but curiosity won over.
The letter informed Stone that his Aunt Priscilla had passed away and, since he was the only living relative, he was now sole owner of her ranch. Stone, having never met any of his father’s family, was taken aback. His father was a cowardly man who intimidated his wife and child, and expressed how he felt with his fist. He blamed Stone and his Ma for all his failures and claimed it was due to them being half breeds, he and his mother were part Pawnee. He debated on whether or not he was going to keep the ranch, but since his aunt entrusted him, knowing his father’s worthless capabilities, he was going to attempt to make the ranch as successful as he possibly could.
When he arrives at Copper Lake Ranch and meets Luke for the first time they both feel a jolt of attraction. I’m a sucker for sexual tension and there was a bit going on, believe me when I say I loved every second of it. Luke has a feeling that Stone may be into men, so he tries to pump it out of him discreetly -
“My momma caught me behind the barn with my pants around my ankles, and it weren’t no young lady I was with at the time, if you take my meanin’.”“I sure hope you was with another man. Because if it was a cow or a horse or some other critter, I think we might have us a problem.”
Two shots of whiskey and a nap equal hot sexy cowboys coming out to play. And dang, do those two boys know how to do it right. It was more than sex, or at least that's how it seemed to me. The connection was there, but fear held a higher power for Stone. After the haze of sex and a new morning Stone basically tells Luke that it was a mistake and it shouldn't have happened. Then we get Luke’s reply to Stone -
“I can’t argue with that. I can’t make you choose, either. I know havin’ a home is important to you. It’s important to me too, but not as important as bein’ happy. Just bein’ here ain’t enough to make me happy or make this anything more than a house to live in. Can you tell me it’s enough to make you happy?”
As fast as it begins, it comes to an end. Stone puts a halt to their budding relationship, for a number of reasons - he’s fearful that he’ll be run off by the towns folk, or worse, Luke could end up killed. And so begins the distance between them. Certain words of endearment no longer exist, and the easy companionship and communication turns strictly business. They do finally get to a point of being comfortable, but Luke is still a little heart sore.
It seems that a streak of bad luck has hit the Copper Lake Ranch. Cattle start disappearing, accidents are happening , and now there is talk of Indian curses. Could it simply be sabotage? When they start to unravel the secrets and deceptions, they realize that all they want is to be nestled in each other’s arms.
“Believe me, it’s right here, and I aint about to let you go off and try to find it in someone else’s bed. You’re mine, Luke Reynolds and I’m yours.”
“I love you, Luke. I never said that to any man before, and I ain’t going’ to say it to any man but you. No matter what happens, you’re the only one I want, and I’m goin’ to stick by you. Unless you decide you don’t want me no more, and even then I’m goin’ to do everything I can to change your mind.”
This is a light read and a very romantic story, the sex is minimal but the story line makes up for it. I’m a fan of country living, since I’m a country girl. I love novels that deal with things I know, that I can connect with, that has references to the way I live here at home. 4 Stars.