Expected Release Date: January 31, 2013
Author’s Website: http://www.catherineanderson.com/
My Source for This Book: Amazon.com
Part of a Series: Yes, Book 5, Coulter’s Historical
Series Best Read In Order: Works Well As A Standalone
Steam Level: Steamy
Pet Peeves: Overly-Sacrificing Heroine
Favorite Tropes: Forced Marriage
To support her orphaned niece, impoverished Brianna O’Keefe accepts work with a Colorado rancher. To guard herself from the unwanted attention, she resorts to a harmless little lie: that she’s married to a Denver gold miner named David Paxton. When her boss forces her to write her “husband,” hoping he’ll take Brianna off his hands, she can only pray that there is no real David Paxton who can expose her.
When Colorado marshal David Paxton gets a letter from a stranger claiming to be his wife and pleading with him to come for her and his daughter, he dutifully sets out to find this woman and the child he may have sired. What stuns Brianna is the David is convinced the young girl is, in fact, his. As David and Brianna’s wary attraction blossoms into deeper desire, David warms to the idea of a ready-made family. But can his dream survive Brianna’s lingering distrust — and his own secrets?
What Worked For Me:
- The entire setup sounded so implausible, and yet Ms. Anderson pulled it off so beautifully. I wasn’t sure how on earth she was going to make it convincing that David would believe that he’d fathered a child with a woman he’d clearly never met, but I should never have doubted. Very cleverly done.
- The steam was perfect for the story, and I really appreciated that even though David and Brianna were clearly attracted to each other early on, they waited until there was love declared on both sides before they took further steps.
- I don’t normally enjoy children in my romances, but I couldn’t help but enjoy Daphne. The talk that David gave her in regards to Sam at the train station at the end was simply beautiful, and solidified my love for them as a family.
- I’ve been a fan of the Paxtons and Coulters for a long time, and I really enjoyed seeing them all again, even though many of them played relatively small parts.
- I loved that David was clearly willing to give his life for the family he’d taken on quite early on, even though Brianna still didn’t trust him any further than she could throw him.
- David’s penchant for cursing made me laugh, because I myself have a rather filthy mouth that I have to be careful about when little ears are around, so I could sympathize with his struggle to clean up his language around Daphne.
- I loved the “real” story behind Brianna and Daphne’s origins, and how David refused to believe them.
- I’ve always been a sucker for “forced marriage” style stories, and this was no exception. David was a good and honorable man, and yet I enjoyed his temper as he tried to sort out his ready-made family with a child he was convinced was his and a woman he’d never remembered meeting and certainly never intended to marry. Brianna’s desperation and stubbornness in the situation was enjoyable to read, and I appreciated that while stubborn, she also knew when to give in for the sake of her child.
What Didn’t Work For Me:
- I’m not a big fan of overly selfless heroines, and Brianna toed the line between “good mother” and unrealistic paragon far too often for my tastes.
- I don’t particularly care for vindictive ex’s in my romances, and this was no exception. While I can’t deny that I enjoyed the way the situation was handled, I still didn’t particularly care for the situation in general.
The romance was very slow building, and was far more family-centered than many romances that are popular these days. However, I think this is one of the reasons that it stood out to me amongst the many other books out there featuring marriages of convenience, stubborn heroes, and desperate heroines.
I appreciated that David and Brianna were both honorable people at heart, though I admit at times it bordered on unrealistic, and I truly enjoyed how love came before physical intimacy, despite the fact that they were both clearly attracted to each other.
The tragic story of Brianna’s past and David’s determination to preserve the family he’d grown to love are what really brought this story together, and in the end, I definitely enjoyed it.
Recommended for fans of sacrificing (and headstrong) heroines, stubborn yet good-hearted heroes, and steady, family-centered romance, with just a dash of heat to keep things interesting.