Jessica Thornton is a British lady on the run. Her brother-in-law raped her trying to get her to sign over her ancestral home. Not wanting to endure more or cause her sister any more pain than she has, Jessica took off for New Mexico, the last place she received a letter from her brother. Little did she know that she would find herself pregnant. She also wasn’t ready for the hardships of the west.
Brady Wilkins owns a ranch or maybe the ranch owns him. Brady and his two living brothers run it. Brady was returning home from looking at some livestock when his horse had to be put down. Meeting up with the stagecoach was in his best interest but the information he got at the way station was anything but good. A man, Sancho, who has a vengeance against Brady and his brothers has been released from prison and is heading their way. Brady doesn’t want to bring anything bad to the others riding on the stagecoach but he has to get back to the ranch as soon as possible.
When the stagecoach is involved in an accident, it’s up to Brady to bring help. Can he find it before everyone dies? Will he be able to make it back to his ranch to warn his brothers of a possible attack? Could this accident not be an accident?
I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in this book. Jessica started so prim and proper yet eager to learn and explore. Brady was a man who wanted to do the right thing though he wasn’t always sure what the right thing is. Even the doctor, Dr. O’Grady is a lovable Irishman who drinks a bit too much but wants to give the best care that he is able. Brady’s brothers are unique and have their own distinct personalities. (Their books are to follow as this is the first in a trilogy!)
The hardships that are shared seem to have a realistic edge to them. It’s well known that life in the west was not a piece of cake between renegade Indians, rattle snakes and extreme temperatures and those hazards and more are woven throughout the story giving the reader an idea of what people struggled with on a daily basis.
The love story between Jessica and Brady was very well done. Though there were a few things that were glossed over such as Jessica being able to help with many of the household chores though she grew up with servants who did that kind of thing, the basic falling in love was sweet and natural. Brady wondered how he could have those types of feelings towards a woman expecting another man’s child. Jessica doesn’t trust any man yet she wants so hard to trust Brady. While there isn’t a lot of bedroom games, there is a lot of loving and caring.
I found the substory concerning Sancho unneeded. It felt to me to be drawing away from the fantastic love story that was unfolding between Jessica and Brady. While this part of the book exemplified the brutality that happened during this era, I didn’t think it was necessary to show the hardships or trails that Brady had endured.
Overall, I enjoyed this story and look forward to the rest of the books in this trilogy. The characters are so well done that you can’t wait to read more about them.
Pregnant and burdened with a terrible secret, Jessica has left England for the American West in search of a new life. Brady, a hard-bitten rancher haunted by the violence of his past, is desperate to protect his land and family from a blood feud that has already claimed one brother. She’s fancy hats and pamphlets on deportment. He’s rough manners and twenty years of blood on his hands. An improbable pair. But after their stagecoach crashes and Jessica is stranded at his high mountain ranch until she gives birth, antipathy slowly becomes attraction. He teaches her to trust and laugh again—she helps him find the joy he’d lost. Faced with hard choices and unspeakable loss, they draw strength from each other to overcome the horrors of their pasts, and in the process find redemption, forgiveness, and ultimately love.