After eight days in a cramped stagecoach, divorcée Marigold Davis already regrets her decision to come to Denver City to marry. She certainly didn’t realize she’d signed up for mosquitoes, mud, and scores of rough men eyeing her like a hot meal on a cold day. But with her life in Kansas all but incinerated, Marigold needs a husband. Even if she’s not the bride that gold prospector Virgil Gardner is expecting…
Virgil Gardner has a reputation as a grumpy hard-ass, and he’s fine with it. He’s also no fool―this is not the woman he agreed to marry. It takes a tough-as-nails woman to survive the harshness of a Rocky Mountain gold claim, and this whiskey-eyed, gentle beauty is certainly not the type. Now it’s just a matter of how quickly she’ll quit so he can find a wife who will stick. Someone who can care for the only thing he values even more than gold–his children.
But Marigold isn’t about to give in. Cramped in a one-room shack. Berry picking turned into a bear escape. Or cooking for an entire crew of bottomless pits. She’s got more grit than most. And just when Virgil starts to realize his replacement bride might be the treasure he’s been looking for, an unannounced guest arrives…to change everything.
“Collins mines the setting for both danger and humor, providing the perfect backdrop to this sensuous romance. Readers won’t want to put this down.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review
I love cowboy romances, and this historical story is a good one. Set in the Kansas territory long before statehood, Virgil Gardner runs a gold mining operation. His wife is gone, leaving him with three children – two of whom are his. He takes care of all of them as best as he can, but he needs a wife, so he advertises for one.
The woman who shows up, Marigold, is actually the sister of the woman he agreed to marry. Virgil is a good man, albeit short-tempered and suspicious of most people, especially women. He cannot abide liars or cheats and feels like he was taken advantage of by this woman. He agrees to allow her to be his housekeeper but takes marriage off the table. Marigold loves children and is educated, so she is happy to take on her new role. She has never lived under such rugged conditions, and there is a definite learning curve. But she enjoys the children and even becomes friendly with the men working for Virgil, much to his displeasure.
Virgil is also surprised to find that he is drawn to the sassy woman and isn’t quite sure what to do about it. Eventually, they realize they have a strong physical attraction, which surprises Marigold – she had a horrible marriage, yet something about Virgil is warming her heart. Virgil and Marigold’s relationship blows hot and cold, and the men are all seeing more to it than they are. Just when you think everything is finally going to work out, there is a wrench thrown in the works that causes a massive setback. But no worries, a happy ending is just around the corner.
The historical aspects of this book were really interesting, and seeing how people lived under such extreme conditions was also fascinating. I liked these characters a lot, and this was a really good story. If you like historical westerns, this is a good one. The romance is just the icing on the cake!
4/2023 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
THE PROSPECTOR’S ONLY PROSPECT by Dani Collins. Entangled: Amara (March 28, 2023). ISBN: 978-1649373410. 352 p.
The truth about a small-town scandal is about to unleash one wildly unexpected romance…
Single dad Joe McCann is focused on running his ranch and raising his daughter. He has no desire to help Millie unearth his late wife’s past, especially if it means revealing painful secrets. Until his daughter teams up with Millie, and the widower cowboy finds himself agreeing to help them with their project—and opening the door to a deep attraction he thought he’d never find again.
Millie Parkman Dayton is still healing from the fatal car accident that claimed her husband and turned her into the focus of local gossip. But when she’s thrown together with the attractive rancher who shares in her tragic past, new rumors begin to fly in Last Ride, Texas.
SPRING AT SADDLE RUN by Delores Fossen. HQN; Original edition (May 25, 2021). ISBN: 978-1335549570. 352p
An unexpected inheritance rekindles a red-hot romance just in time for Christmas…
Janessa Parkman spent one long-ago summer in Last Ride, Texas, trying to bond with her estranged father, Abe. Turns out that was plenty of time to fall hard—and crash badly—for Brody Harrell, who managed Abe’s ranch. Everyone believed Brody would inherit Colts Creek one day, but now, fifteen years on, Abe’s will reveals the shocking truth—Janessa gets everything, and she must agree to stay in town for three months…through Christmas.
Brody’s attraction to Janessa burns hotter than ever. Though he refuses Janessa’s offer to give him the ranch, refusing her is impossible. Misunderstanding drove them apart once before, and secrets and betrayals run through both families. But what starts as a temporary Christmas fling might turn into a love strong enough to last every holiday season yet to come.
CHRISTMAS AT COLTS CREEK by Delores Fossen. HQN; Original edition (October 26, 2021). ISBN: 978-1335454577. 336p
Can two old friends rekindle the spark that brought them together when their pasts are littered with land mines?
The chance to be near his young son is the only thing that could entice former SWAT commander Matt Corbin back to his hometown. Matt has only a few happy memories of his tough childhood in Last Ride, Texas, and most of them involve Emory Parkman. Once his teenage crush, she’s now living in a cottage on his late grandfather’s ranch, which seems like a good omen…until Matt learns Emory is looking into his family’s history, a subject he’d prefer remained closed.
Emory’s wedding-gown designs are said to bring luck—to everyone but her. Though twice bitten by romance that went sour, she’s tempted to take a chance on the rancher next door. Emory and Matt’s long-ago attempts at love never got a fair chance, but all these years later, their attraction is stronger than ever. Maybe by unearthing some of his ancestors’ long-buried secrets, she can help him finally cast off the past’s shadows and prove to Matt that the third time’s the charm.
SUMMER AT STALLION RIDGE by Delores Fossen. Entangled: Amara (December 27, 2022). ISBN: 978-1649370952. 448p
This series was my first time reading Delores Fossen. According to Amazon she has written 239 books, and no, that’s not a typo. I think they may be counting each type of publication as a book – so the paperback, the audiobook, and the Kindle version would count as three books. Her author description says she’s sold over 140 novels, so either way, that’s a lot of books! It looks like she wrote a lot of those short Harlequin romances, and I don’t generally read those. I’m just glad I found her now – better late than never!
I actually read this series in order, but there is another book that came out in November that I haven’t found yet; Mornings at River’s End Ranch is book 4 of the Last Ride, Texas series and my library doesn’t have it. Yet. I requested they purchase it though, so hopefully, I’ll get it soon. Then in March, A Texas Kind of Cowboy, book 5, comes out. I already got the review copy, but I’m waiting to read it until I get book 4. There are a few more books coming out in 2023 so even more to look forward to! I do love a good Western/Cowboy/Rancher romance, and this series is terrific. There is a lot of drama with these well-developed characters, so I couldn’t help but care about them.
Even though I read these in order, they can all stand alone pretty much. There is a bit of overlap, it is a series after all, but nothing that can’t be understood. I have read other series out of order, and often you just know there are missing pieces of the story, but happily, that is not the case here.
These books are on the sweet side of romance with a lot of angst until the happy ending, but there is also a bit of heat. If you want a bit of sex rather than the complete lack of it in inspirational type romances, but don’t want tons of graphic sex, these books may be perfect for you. I read all across the heat index, but sometimes when it is one sex scene after another, or extremely graphic sex scenes, I just end up feeling like a voyeur, and I don’t enjoy those books as much. I guess I like a modicum of restraint, but not too much! I think Fossen finds a happy medium, at least in this series.
I am really looking forward to the next book, and I highly recommend this series.
Cimarron County knows the youngest son of the fabled Prince family as a womanizing hell-raiser, but Luca has changed and he intends to prove it. There’s just one problem—a woman with sparkling eyes and more fight than a barnyard cat.
After a childhood of living in foster homes, Ella Kendall has exactly three things to her name: A dog, a pig, and the rundown house she just inherited. Luca may not remember her from high school, but she definitely remembers him. He is as seductive as he was then, but Ella isn’t about to fall for his flirting. She recognizes a playboy cowboy when she sees one.
Luca knows Ella has learned the hard way to trust no one but herself. Yet the closer he gets to Ella, the more he wants to be the only one she leans on. Because Ella is the only woman for him, and he wants to be the man who finally gives her the home she truly deserves.
I do love cowboy romances, and this was a good one that I missed – it came out in 2019. Luca Prince is the second son of a family that owns one of the largest ranches in Texas, near San Antonio. Ella had a big crush on him in high school, but they ran in completely different circles. But at the high school dance, they danced together and he kissed her, and she never forgot. But he did.
Luca has been living the rich playboy life, partying all over the world, and dating supermodels, but never more than twice. His dyslexia causes his mother great disappointment, and instead of getting him help, he was shuffled from school to school with family donations getting him through school. He graduates pretty much illiterate, and very much embarrassed about it himself.
Ella has been in foster care for most of her life, and all she’s ever wanted is a home. When the grandmother she barely knew dies, she leaves her broken-down farmhouse to Ella. It comes with a few wild horses, a pig, and a dog, all of whom adopt Ella. She can barely feed herself but she shares what she can with her menagerie. She’s working part-time as a hostess in a restaurant in this small town and is trying to start up her own accounting business. She has a couple of clients but desperately needs more.
When Luca sees Ella, he is really drawn to her. She’s no supermodel hidden under a ton of makeup and hair extensions; instead, she is naturally pretty and that is very appealing. Ella knows she isn’t good enough for Luca, and she keeps her heart walled off for sure. But they start dating, even if she won’t call it that, and she falls really hard for him. Determined to keep her distance, she pushes him away as much as she can.
Luca inherited a couple of thousand acres of land that is all used up. His best friend is an environmental lawyer, and together they form a foundation to try and bring the land back to the way it was. Luca and Ella keep non-dating and sleeping together until her best friend (Stacy, of all the names in the world) gets into some trouble and Ella feels like she needs to help her.
This is a small-town romance with interesting characters who have a lot of baggage. It seems almost impossible for them to reach their happily ever after, but they do. This was a quick read with a few steamy scenes and lots of swoony romance, but with some emotional depth, too. Now I’m trying to find the next two books in this trilogy.
9/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
THE CHARMER IN CHAPS by Julia London. Berkley (May 7, 2019). ISBN: 978-0451492357. 368p.
Sometimes you find what you need in the most unlikely places…
Charlie Ryan’s cheating fiancé left her with a broken heart and even broker bank account. She’s hit rock bottom, but everything is about to change. Suddenly, she’s inherited a Montana farm named Tucked Away from a grandmother she never knew existed. A fresh start is just what she needs – and no men in her future this time, even if the local vet is as hot as a Montana summer.
Zack Cooper is content with his simple life. Running his veterinary practice and raising his daughter are enough to keep him busy, and he doesn’t need a high-maintenance city girl like his ex who plans to sell her grandma’s ranch and split faster than a setting sun. So why can’t he stop thinking about Charlie and her hot-pink cowboy boots…and the way her eyes say she wants to stay while her lips tease him with plans of leaving?
Just when both start to believe love might be worth the risk…one night will change everything.
My love affair with Jennie Marts continues with a new-to-me-but-older series, The Hearts of Montana. I found this on Hoopla through my library. Marts has written several series and I’m working my way through them. For a change, I’m starting this series with the first book!
Charlie was brought up by a single mother in New York City. When she catches her boyfriend cheating, she dumps him and crawls home to her mom. Then she finds out she has inherited a farm in Montana from a grandmother she never knew existed. Ready for a change, she rents a car and hits the road.
Her first inkling that she’s no longer in New York City is when her driveway is blocked by an enormous bull, intent on goring her car. Trapped, she is grateful when a cowboy stops and gets the bull out of the way. Her high heels and silk blouse give her away as a newcomer to Montana, but she quickly acclimates to the old farmhouse she’s inherited and the sexy cowboy who’s working there. Cash is a big flirt, but Charlie isn’t going for it. Instead, she runs into the town veterinarian (and single dad,) and finds a serious spark. Turns out every unattached woman in town has her eye on the hunky vet, but he only has eyes for Charlie.
This is a small town romance with a hot cowboy, always a good combination! Charlie acclimated much more quickly to the small town than I certainly would have expected, but I went along for the ride and it was sexy, funny, and heartwarming. (I would read the rest of this series, but it’s not available through my library or Kindle Unlimited.)
The Hearts of Montana series This western romance series is about three tough but tender cowboys who find love under the big Montana sky. 1 – Tucked Away (Zack & Charlie) 2 – Hidden Away (Taylor & Cherry) 3 – Stolen Away (Cash & Emma)
Mason James is the responsible one who stayed behind to run the ranch while his brother, Rock, took off to play professional hockey. Women have used him before to get to his brother―and Mason intends never to get burned again. But after he meets quirky Tessa Kane at his brother’s wedding, Mason discovers he’s ready to take a chance on love.
Tessa Kane is a reporter on the verge of losing a job she desperately needs―unless she’s clever enough to snag a story on the famous Rockford James. But when she falls for her subject’s brother, she’s caught between a rock and a hard-muscled cowboy. What will happen when Mason finds out who she really is?
Cowboys of Creedence Series: Caught Up in a Cowboy (Book 1) You Had Me at Cowboy (Book 2) It Started With a Cowboy (Book 3)
This is such an enjoyable series, especially if you like cowboy romance as much as I do. These books are set in Creedence, Colorado, outside of Denver. Creedence is a small, ranching town and I like small town romances, too, so these books are a win-win for me.
Mason is the middle brother and the one that stepped up to run the ranch when his older brother, Rock, followed his love of hockey to the NHL. Rock is home now and getting ready to marry his childhood sweetheart, Quinn, and their romance was in the first book of this series. Even though these books do stand alone, I think this series may be best read in order.
Mason has been burned more than once by women who pretended to be interested in him to get to his older, celebrity hockey player brother. But this whole week of wedding fun is becoming painful for him as he feels like everyone is pitying him for being alone, not to mention pointing it out to him. So not fun. So when he has to go to the supply closet at the welcome dinner, he gets quite an eyeful. Tessa is in there trying to button a clean shirt that isn’t quite fitting across her chest. Mason gets an eyeful and she is embarrassed, but being the nice guy he is, he gets her a shirt that will button. Their chemistry is palpable, and when she tells him she was invited to this dinner by a blind date who has stood her up, he asks her to be his date – for all the wedding festivities.
Tessa has had the day from hell. She just found out her grandmother who raised her after her parents were killed in an accident has fallen for the Nigerian prince scam and is flat broke. That prince hacked into her bank accounts and wiped her out, and now their home is in foreclosure. She’s a writer for a Denver magazine, and her boss just fired her unless she can get him all the dirt on the quickie wedding she’s now attending. She reluctantly agrees.
The more time they spend together, the more they fall in love. Tessa’s guilt is eating at her, and Mason can’t quite believe his feelings. But when he finds out she is a reporter, all hell breaks loose. No worries, they find their happy ending but so much angst before they get there! These were wonderful characters and I loved their story. Can’t wait to get into the next book!
8/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
YOU HAD ME AT COWBOY by Jennie Marts. Sourcebooks Casablanca (November 27, 2018). ISBN: 978-1492655725. 352p.
This Cowboy Turned Hockey Player Needs to Bring His Game to Win Back the Heart of His High School Sweetheart
Welcome to Creedence, Colorado―where the gossip flows, the chicken is fried, and the cowboys are hotter than a Colorado chili pepper.How do you heal a broken heart?
I play to win…
Raised as a tried-and-true cowboy in a town obsessed with hockey, I’ve always been competitive, whether on a horse or on the ice. I thought my cowboy days were over when the NHL snapped me up, but now injuries have me heading home with a bruised ego to match the damage to my body.
One problem―when I joined the NHL, I left my high school sweetheart behind with a broken heart and not much else. Now, when I finally “cowboy up” and go to ask for a second chance, I’m shocked as hell to find her with a baby and no man around. She thinks she can forget about what we had together, but I’m bound and determined to get her caught up in us once again.
I loved the Creedence Horse Rescue series so much that I went looking for more books by this author and found this series that precedes the one I just finished. Luckily, all the books stand alone so I’m good with that.
I was assigned a book to review for Library Journal, and I’m really not enjoying it so I read a few chapters, then put it down to read something I like. Like Jennie Marts. She is getting me through the book I have to read by giving me a break from it. When I was reviewing for Booklist, I liked that they don’t publish negative book reviews (for the most part) so if I got halfway through a book and didn’t like it enough to finish it, I could tell my editor that and get a different book to review. Library Journal doesn’t work that way; they want all the books reviewed, good or bad. Happily, this book I am reviewing for my blog is a good one!
So cowboys and NHL players? Yes, please! Rock grew up on his family’s ranch with his two brothers. They lost their father when they were pretty young, but his mom is a strong woman and she kept the ranch and family going strong. But Rock’s true love is hockey. And Quinn. They grew up together as best friends, then fell in love and were high school sweethearts. But when Rock left home for the NHL, he also left Quinn and broke her heart. He became known as a playboy and life was great, until he got a serious injury.
Rock is sent home to recuperate, and while he’s at home he sees Quinn again. He quickly realizes that he is still in love with her, but she wants nothing to do with him. Unfortunately, their families live on adjoining ranches and do a lot of work together, so they are constantly thrown together.
Quinn had a one night stand with a real jerk after Rock left, and she ended up pregnant. Luckily, her dad and brother stepped up and she has been raising Max for eight years on her family’s ranch. When Rock meets Max, he falls in love with the little guy, too. But how to get Quinn on board is the real dilemma here.
This is a sweet and occasionally sexy romance, and I loved these characters. My only complaint about this author is her endings always feel rather abrupt. I guess the idea is to leave the reader wanting more, and it works for sure! If you like cowboy romance or sports romance, this is a winner. Moving on to the next book in the series!
8/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
CAUGHT UP IN A COWBOY by Jennie Marts. Sourcebooks Casablanca (May 1, 2018). ISBN: 978-1492655695. 352p.
For fans of Carolyn Brown, Maisey Yates, and Jennifer Ryan, this steamy, emotional cowboy romance has all your favorites:
A hunky single dad showing his daughter the ropes
A heroine looking for a fresh start
Leaning on each other through hard times
Rescue horses and ranch animals with lots of personality
How do you heal a broken heart?
After one injury too many, Cade Callahan gave up the rodeo for a simpler life working at his cousin’s horse rescue ranch. But his life turns upside down when his estranged daughter is placed in his custody after a tragic car accident. Wanting nothing to do with her father, thirteen-year-old Allie struggles to adjust to her new life.
Newly single and living out of her mother’s basement, physical therapist Nora Fisher doesn’t think twice about taking a job as a traveling therapist for Cade’s daughter. The trouble is, she doesn’t know anything about horses, or hunky cowboys. Now both in way over their heads, can Cade and Nora find a way to help Allie, and trust in the attraction building between them?
I’ve read three books in this series, but somehow missed this one. As soon as I realized that, I hustled over to the library (ok, to the library website!) and found this book on Hoopla. As I’ve pointed out in my reviews of the other books in the series, it is terrific and each book stands alone, so no worries if you can’t get them in order.
Cade chased his rodeo dreams for years until injuries finally forced him to retire. Meanwhile, he had a daughter. He was around for her first few years, but her mother pushed him away and they’ve been out of touch for years as Allie is now a teenager. When her mother dies, Cade is there for her but she doesn’t really want anything to do with him. Forced into the situation is a grieving teenager with a bad injury from the accident that killed her mother, and a whole lot of attitude.
Cade hires Nora Fisher, a physical therapist, to help his daughter. She recently quit her job and is available to move to the ranch to take care of Allie. The three of them grow close just by being in that proximity, but Cade quickly realizes his feelings for Nora go way beyond the professional relationship – and she feels the same. Meanwhile, Allie’s aunt is trying to get custody and of course, there is money involved from a life insurance policy.
This story was compelling between the budding romance and the father-daughter relationship. I liked it so much that I started looking at more Jennie Marts books and found another of her cowboy series that also features hockey players. It’s a win-win for me; reviews to follow.
8/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
HOW TO COWBOY by Jennie Marts. Sourcebooks Casablanca (December 28, 2021). ISBN: 978-1492689706. 336p.
Fans of Carolyn Brown, Maisey Yates, and Jennifer Ryan will fall head over cowboy boots for this second-chance romance from USA Today bestseller Jennie Marts.
A heartwarming cowboy romance on the ranch…
This lighthearted second-chance romance is filled with:
An independent single mom who’d do anything for her son
The handsome Sheriff’s deputy who can’t stop thinking about her
The undeniable attraction between them
Characters who must learn to trust in love again
Rescue animals who deserve their own second chances
Single mom Jillian Bennett barely has a moment to herself between raising her ten-year old son, volunteering at the horse rescue ranch, and her new job as head librarian of Creedence, Colorado. She doesn’t have the time or inclination for romance, even though she and the cute deputy, Ethan Rayburn, have been doing a little flirting the last few weeks. Still, when Ethan puts out a call out to all the horse rescues to help with a large rescue operation, Jillian jumps in to help.
Ethan doesn’t consider himself the impulsive type, but there’s something about Jillian that calls to him. When he also forms a bond with her son, Milo, Ethan soon realizes that there isn’t anything he wouldn’t do for the feisty librarian who’s won his heart.
I read the first two books in this series (not in order, of course!) but somehow missed the third, which I will be rectifying shortly. I really like this series. The romances are sweet and not too sexy, the characters are interesting and I can’t help but root for them to find their happily ever after. And they do. Throw in animal rescue, in this case horses, and I’m a happy reader.
Jillian reminded me of my mom – single and putting her child first. She is not interested in dating at all, except Deputy Ethan is super hot and even better, super kind. He falls hard and fast for the fiery, gutsy mom but she remains cautious – for a little while, at least. But he is so good with her son that he quickly wins her over.
This was a fun read, but the animal abuse may be difficult for some readers, even though they are rescued. On the other hand, there are a pig, goat, and a miniature horse that absolutely steal the show! This was a quick read for me; I got totally involved with these characters and was so sorry to turn the last page. This is a terrific series, and the books each stand alone so no worries if you can’t get them in order.
8/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
NEVER ENOUGH COWBOY by Jennie Marts. Sourcebooks Casablanca (July 26, 2022). ISBN: 978-1728226132. 336p.
At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, desperate-to-retire gunslinger Adam Brady has exactly two rules. And one of them is never, ever get married. So he’ll be danged when his dreams of permanently avoiding the bounty hunter on his tail in Desolation, the only town where notorious men like him can find respite, comes with one helluva string attached. The town has a new rule: gunslingers welcome―if they get a job…or marry.
Without realizing it, Adam stumbles into a big town wedding and accidentally marries Nora Schumacher, a sassy-mouthed mountain of a woman with legs as long as his wanted poster. So what’s a gunslinger to do but get himself unhitched and find a job. Any job. Except Adam keeps getting fired, one odd circumstance after another. And he’s running out of options.
Desolation was supposed to be his safe haven. Except, he’s not only running from his past but from the irresistible woman he married. And worse, he’s finding that he rather likes the enticing, if damnably independent, wife of his. But some men just aren’t the marrying kind. Only, if he leaves, his own life won’t be worth living. If he stays, he puts the lives of his newfound family and the woman he loves on the line. So much for Desolation being the answer to all his problems.
This is a very funny book that is sort of anomaly, at least in my reading experience; it’s an historical cowboy romance. All the other cowboy romances I’ve read are contemporary, featuring a lot of rodeo stars or ranch hands or ranch owners. This book is set in the Wild West, and features gunslingers, which you don’t hear much about anymore.
Adam is on the move, trying to escape his past. He’s quick with a gun, so successful at his past occupation, but he’s tired of it. All he wants to do is settle down somewhere and feel safe. When he stumbles into the small town of Desolation, he starts to think he found his place. Much to his surprise, the sheriff is a former gunslinger himself, and he has instituted some rules for the people in his town. They need to either be married or find a job within the first thirty days of arrival, or they need to go.
Adam doesn’t want a wife. He’s had some bad experiences and with the wanted posted hanging over his head, he doesn’t want to endanger any woman. But when he arrives in town, he finds himself in the midst of a crowd, and somehow he ends up married to Nora, the tall, good looking woman standing next to him. He refuses to sign the marriage certificate though, but the preacher says he’s married in the eyes of God, and isn’t sure how to go about ending things.
Nora needs a husband, although just temporarily. Ever since her mother passed away, her father has become a drunk. He takes all the money that Nora earns and drinks it away. He’s sold off part of the farm they live on, and she is afraid he will lose it all in a poker game or sell it off. She inherits the farm but not until she turns thirty, several years off, or gets married. Hence her need for a husband.
Meanwhile, Adam tries very hard to find a job. But the townspeople are all about helping Nora, so every job he gets turns into a disaster and that is the basis of all the humor in this book, and it’s pretty funny. But the more time he spends with Nora, the more his feelings for her grow stronger, and for her as well. But when his nemesis, a marshall, shows up, Adam knows he needs to get away but before he can, Nora is captured.
There is some suspense here, but mostly a lot of laughs and a bit of sex. This is a really fun read and a fast moving story. I did read the first book in the series, Hitched to the Gunslinger, but it is not necessary. These books stand alone and can be read in any order. I enjoyed them both, and hope another book is in the works.
7/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
THE GUNSLINGER’S GUIDE TO AVOIDING MATRIMONY by Michelle McLean. Entangled: Amara (July 26, 2022). ISBN: 978-1649372123. 368p.
I started reading this series in the middle, as I often do, back in 2018. The first book I read was SURRENDER TO THE HIGHLANDER, and I wasn’t thrilled with it. I picked it up during a Droughtlander (the years between the books in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and/or the eponymous TV series.) But when the next book, THE HIGHLANDER’S PROMISE, came out, I read it and liked it a lot. I read the next couple, then somehow forgot about this series.
The most recent book is HIGHLAND WOLF, which I read a few weeks ago and really enjoyed. So I started looking around at the series and realized what I had done, reading those four books in the middle. I found the rest of the series through my library. I received egalleys, advanced review copies, from the publisher for the other books in the series that I read.
These books are historical romance but also romantic suspense. There is some element of danger in all of them, and there is graphic sex in all of them as well. Mostly the same sex scenes, in fact. Only the names are changed, or at least that’s how it appeared to me. I probably wouldn’t have noticed except I read five books over the past week, one after another, so it was quite obvious. There are some gruesome descriptions of torture and murder in some of the books as well, but not overly long and usually just once in each book, if that.
These do not have to be read in order. Like many romance series, each book centers on two characters, at least one of whom we have met or heard about in a previous book. So if you haven’t read the books in order, you may not get the reference but it makes no difference to the plot or understanding the characters, who are all well developed. The later books have a few more references to previous ones, but again, not that you’d notice if you haven’t read them. All that said, they are probably best read in order.
There aren’t a whole lot of historical references other than the fact that Edward III is on the British throne, which puts these books in the 1300’s, and the English and Scots hate each other. Oh, if you didn’t get it from the titles or the book covers, these are all Scottish romances set in the Highlands of Scotland, with occasional forays into England. Amazon calls them “Medieval romances” and I guess that’s true. I did learn a lot about how people lived in that time period: what they ate, how they dressed, how they shopped, their morals and beliefs, all of which I found fascinating.
I really enjoyed this series and I’m sorry I didn’t read them in order. But I am very glad I read them all. And I hope there are more books coming!
Finally, I wanted to add that I read the first four books on Hoopla, and book 9 on Cloud Library, apps that are available through libraries. If your library doesn’t offer these options, ask for them! I don’t love reading in these apps, it’s not nearly as seamless as my Kindle but it works and I read these all on my iPad. Hoopla offers ebooks, audiobooks, comics (graphic novels,) movies, TV series, and music; pretty much any kind of streaming material. Cloud Library has ebooks and streaming audiobooks. My library allows patrons to borrow twenty items per month from Hoopla and seven items from Cloud Library, but your mileage may vary. Oh, just FYI, Hoopla changes their content at their whim; libraries have no say in it beyond making suggestions. So just because I found all these books there now, they may not be there next month or next year. What I like best about Hoopla is that whatever they have is always available. If you are used to borrowing ebooks through Cloud Library or Overdrive, you know you have to reserve popular items and wait. That doesn’t happen on Hoopla – what you see is what you get. All of these books are also available as audiobooks.
From New York Times bestselling author of The Husband Hunt, The Heiress, and other beloved historical romances, comes Lynsay Sands’s An English Bride in Scotland, the first book in a new series set in the wilds of the Highlands.
Annabel had planned to become a nun. But when her mother arrives at the Abbey to bring her home to marry a Scottish laird—her runaway sister’s intended husband—her life takes a decidedly different turn.
And though Annabel isn’t the wife he’d planned for, strong, sexy Ross McKay is taken with his shy, sweet bride.
Annabel knows nothing about being a wife, running a castle—or the marriage bed. But her handsome new husband makes her want to learn. When Annabel’s life is threatened, Ross vows to move the highlands itself to save her and preserve the passion that’s only beginning to bloom.
New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands returns to the Highlands of Scotland in her hottest new historical romance yet!
Highlander Campbell Sinclair is no stranger to battle, so when he sees a lad attacked by bandits, he jumps into the fray. He didn’t count on being stabbed. Grateful to the boy for nursing him back to health, Cam offers to accompany Jo safely to his destination. But when he accidentally comes across the lad bathing in the river, Cam discovers that Jo is actually Joan . . . with the most sinful of curves.
Joan promised her mother that she would deliver a scroll to the clan MacKay. But traveling alone is dangerous, even disguised as a boy. When a Scottish warrior lends his aid, she is more than relieved . . . until he surprises her with lingering kisses and caresses that prove her disguise hasn’t fooled him. As their passion ignites, will the secrets of the scroll force a wedding . . . and lead to a love she’s never known?
A bold, seductive laird meets his passionate match in a scintillating Highland romance from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands
Sword fighting, swearing, and riding astride come naturally to Saidh Buchanan. Simpering and holding her tongue— definitely not. Raised alongside seven boisterous brothers, Saidh has little interest in saddling herself with a husband . . . until she glimpses the new Laird MacDonnell bathing naked in the loch. Though she’s far from a proper lady, the brawny Highlander makes Saidh feel every inch a woman.
She has an angel’s looks, a warrior’s temper, and seeks out his kisses with wanton eagerness. Little wonder that Greer is intrigued by his comely guest. When reckless desire overtakes them, he’s more than willing to make an honest woman of her. But Saidh is the target of a hidden enemy, and Greer faces the battle of his life to safeguard the woman he wants above all others.
New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands welcomes readers back to the Scottish Highlands, where a gallant warrior vows to protect a beautiful runaway . . .
Lady Murine Carmichael has known her share of bad luck. But when her debt-ridden half brother tries to sell her off in exchange for a few Scottish horses, it’s the final straw. If keeping her freedom means escaping through harsh countryside alone, so be it. She has barely begun her journey when she lands an unlikely escort—the brawny Highlander who just refused to buy her virtue.
Dougall Buchanan was disgusted by Lord Danvries’ shameful offer, but Murine tempts him beyond measure. Even bedraggled and dusty, the lass glows with beauty and bravery. Dougall wants to do more than just help her flee. He wants to protect her—with his life and his heart—if she’ll only let him. For Murine may be pursued by a powerful foe, but nothing compares to the fiery courage of a Highlander in love.
In New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands’ captivating romance, a lass targeted by an unknown foe is saved—and seduced—by a bold Highlander
Edith Drummond owes her life to Niels Buchanan and his brothers. Waking after an illness to a castle overrun by rugged Highlanders is disconcerting, but so is learning that she’s slowly being poisoned. Niels insists on staying by her side, and Edith soon discovers that even more dangerous is her wild attraction to the fierce warrior.
Niels has never met a more courageous—or enticing—woman than Lady Edith. The idea of such a bonny lass being forced to enter a nunnery is more than any red-blooded Scotsman could bear. He’ll gladly marry her himself. But while sweeping her off her feet is easy, it’ll take all his skill to defeat her family’s relentless enemies, and convince her to surrender to his sweet embrace. . . .
In a spellbinding new Highlands story from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands, the laird of the Buchanans finds the one woman who is his equal in passion and courage
Aulay Buchanan has retreated to his clan’s hunting lodge for a few days of relaxation. But the raven-haired beauty he pulls from the ocean puts an end to any chance of rest. Though he christens her Jetta, she knows nothing of her real identity, save that someone is trying to kill her. As she recovers, it will not be easy for Aulay to protect her and keep her honor intact when she mistakenly believes they are man and wife…
Jetta sees beyond Aulay’s scars to the brave, loyal warrior she’s proud to call her own. But as the attempts on her life grow more brazen, Jetta realizes that not all is as she believes. And if Aulay is not her husband, can she trust the desire flaring in his eyes, or his promise to defend her with his life?
A laird’s daughter kidnaps a Highlander—and loses her heart… in New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands’ new historical romance
Lady Evina Maclean has heard much about Rory Buchanan’s skill as a healer. What she hasn’t heard is how good the brawny Highlander looks bathing in a waterfall. But Evina can’t afford the distraction, for her ailing father urgently needs care. Only when she’s rendered Buchanan unconscious and dragged him back to her family’s castle does the truth emerge—it’s not Rory she’s kidnapped but his brother Conran.
Other ladies try to ensnare Conran with flattery. Evina hits him over the head with the hilt of her sword to save her kin—and Conran likes the spirited redhead all the more for it. He’s learned enough from his brother to heal Evina’s father, but there are other dangers swirling around the Maclean clan. And while the beautiful, independent lady has sworn not to marry, this wrong Highlander may be just the right man for her.
Four Buchanan brothers have found their brides…only three more to go in this scintillating romance from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands…
Lady Dwyn Innes feels utterly out of place among the eligible women who’ve descended on Buchanan Keep, vying for the attention of the last unmarried brothers. She isn’t long-legged and slender like her sisters, or flirtatious and wily like other lasses. Since her betrothed died, Dwyn has resigned herself to becoming an old maid. Yet a chance encounter with a stranger in the orchard awakens her to a new world of sensation and possibility…
After weeks away, Geordie Buchanan returns to find his home swarming with potential brides, thanks to his loving but interfering family. But one lass in particular draws his attention from the moment he spies her climbing a tree. Lady Dwyn is not nearly as plain as she thinks. Her lush figure and eager kisses delight him, as does her honesty. But the real test lies ahead: eliminating a hidden enemy, so that he and Dwyn can seal their Highland passion with a vow.
A Buchanan brother finds a love to treasure in this scintillating historical romance from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands…
After escaping from the English soldiers who attacked her home and imprisoned her in a dungeon, Lady Elysande de Valance is grateful for the rugged Scots who are escorting her to safety in the Highlands. Even with danger dogging their every step, she hadn’t expected to welcome the strong comforting embrace of their leader, Rory Buchanan. They say he’s a healer, but she finds the heat of his touch does so much more…
Let his brothers get married—Rory is too busy tending to the sick to be bothered with wooing a bride. But when he is tasked with accompanying a family friend’s “treasure” to the Highlands, he is surprised to learn the treasure is a beautiful woman on the run—and even more surprised to discover bruises hidden by her veil. Rory makes it his mission to tend to her injuries and protect her, but the thought of losing her makes him realize that perhaps it is his heart that is most in need of healing…
New York Times Bestselling Author Lynsay Sands delivers another sexy historical romance set in the wilds of the Highlands
In all her daydreams about her wedding day, Lady Claray MacFarlane never once imagined being dragged to the altar by her greedy uncle and forced to marry a man she didn’t know. But that’s what happened, or would have, had a Highland warrior not snatched her up at the last minute and ridden off with her in his arms.
They call him the Wolf. The mercenary’s courage and prowess in battle are known throughout the Highlands, and with his handsome face and black-as-sin hair, he is as intelligent and deadly as the wolf he was named for…
But the Wolf is also Claray’s betrothed. Thought to have been killed as a child, he’s been in hiding all these years. Now he’s determined to earn enough coin to rebuild his home, reclaim his birthright, and honor his marriage contract to Claray. For he’s fallen for the tender-hearted lass…and he will do anything to protect her and their future together.