|Les Steward: Ransomed Hearts|
Awe-Struck E-Books (Ebook), ISBN: 1-928670-32-6 Rich, handsome, Chamberlain (Lane) Richards III rides into Fort Pierre, Dakota Territory one sunny hot day in 1876. He came to change the mind of his runaway brother and wound up changing spinster Valerie Gallagher's life forever.
Over the hill at 24, Valerie missed her prime courting years caring for her dying father. So when banker Hank Sommers came a-calling she settled for friendship rather than the sizzle of a real love match. She soon regrets her decision. Hank treats her as another of his possessions. He makes it clear he will head the household and control her substantial bank account, not to mention the steady income from her store and boarding house.
Valerie vows to grant Hank his rights as a husband -- how else would she get those babies she dearly wants? But she has no idea of the perversions the unlovely Hank has in mind for her, let alone his plans for her money or Lane's brother.
Cupid's arrow gets two for the price of one when Lane meets Valerie. It's flash fire, and Hank sees it happen. They can't keep their minds off each other or, it turns out, their hands. Discovered inflagrante, Lane's challenged to a shoot-out not by sweaty Hank but by one of Valerie's elderly boarders.
Steward writes a first rate story and knows how to make characters appealing or repulsive as needed. My only quibble was a modern phrase that slipped in and socked me in the eyeballs, yanking me back to reality -- which I resented. But it's a quibble and once past, forgiven.
If romance, westerns or period pieces aren't your cup of tea, take a chance -- this one's good.
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