Zebra, Nov 1 2010, $6.99
In 1870 in the “Godforsaken” Colorado Territory, Emily Brockinger reflects back on leaving the upper crust Boston home of her sister in order to not to care for her three spoiled nieces and dodge her brother-in-law to live with her brother in Lockbridge. Now she, three year old Thornton Sears and a mule headed mule are the only survivors of an Indian massacre.
Leaving the military hitching post to avoid Sweet Abigail’s clutches and the new officer in charge’s stupidity, one fourth Indian Cloud Ryder watches the woman with the bonnet walking slowly across the harsh land out in the open. He assumes she is a fool and that the child was hers. Cloud joins them and learns she buried the twenty dead before heading west. He offers to escort them to Lockbridge in exchange for her sleeping with him. Shocked by his unkind audacity and abashed that she is attractive to this rogue, she accepts his terms as she fears he will leave her and Thornton, who calls her Mama, behind. As the trio treks to her destination, they begin to fall in love, as his skepticism of women clinging changes with her roll up your sleeves attitude.
This is a reprint of an entertaining western romance starring two wonderful adults and a confused child; although a late suspense in Lockbridge seems unnecessary as the plot is at its best when the trio is traveling the dangerous land. Hannah Howell especially captures the difficulty of trekking with a three years old child made worse as he just lost his family. Americana romance readers will enjoy the exciting Compromised Hearts.