Continuing on from the Runaway Brides trilogy, it’s 1871 and we’re back in Heartbreak Creek, Colorado Territory as some new residents arrive: Ethan Hardesty, an architect who blames himself for three deaths in San Francisco, and Audra Pearsall, a wannabe author from Baltimore who is caring for her aging father with dementia. Meanwhile, someone is sabotaging the sluice up at the mine and men have been murdered, casting the whole town in danger.
Warner writes superbly (as always) in this Western historical with a bit of a twist: the hero wants marriage and the heroine wants a trial relationship with sleeping privileges. I loved getting to see the old gang again, especially the Scottish earl, Angus Wallace, but you can still enjoy the book if this is your first as Warner explains all the characters. Ethan has a great sense of humor and his teasing of Audra is a hoot. (I loved the analogy of trying to fit “dancing pumps on a cat.”) There are moments that will have you chuckling and moments that will terrorize you as a dark menace sweeps into this sleepy town with the coming of the railroad.
A must read for fans of Heartbreak Creek and another good one from Warner! The next one up is Rafe’s story, Something In His Smile, and I’m thinking at least part of it will take place in Scotland.