Lady Ruth Adams has inherited a share in a Texas horse ranch from her absent husband. Who abandoned her on their wedding night, leaving Ruth feeling it was all her fault that she couldn't keep her husband happy.
Thinking the move to this Texas ranch could be the beginning of a new life for her away from her family, who she is currently dependent on for everything and they don't let her forget it, and from continuing as gossip fuel for the London social set.
After a long journey to America Lady Ruth meets a friendly soul in town who has designs on her new ranch. Leaving town she travels further out to the Wakefield Ranch where her first meeting with her new business partner, Sam Wakefield, is anything from cordial. Tired, travel dirty, alone and surrounded by strange customs Ruth is a lost soul wondering how she will make it through the day and left with a short temper she let it all out when facing a rude Sam.
But ever the lady, Ruth calms herself after a goods night sleep and tries very hard to make her new life in a strange land work.
Sam is not keen for another business partner after her late husband almost bankrupt him and his family had some past issues that didn't help, but he might be keen for the firebrand he met the first time he laid eyes on Lady Ruth, and not this timid creature she was trying to be. If he could just antagonize her enough for that Ruth to come back then maybe, just maybe this partnership could work.
Just as Ruth, who is trying so hard to remember how to behave like a lady should, is about to give up this idea of working a horse ranch, her beloved horse, Angel, arrives from his trip across country. Angel is a thoroughbred and everything in a horse that Sam needs to save his ranch. Angel is also the only possession Ruth has left that she cares about more than herself. Will she give him over to Sam for the ranch or will they both leave and return to England?
In the midst of learning about ranch life, and the feelings growing for Sam, the "friendly soul", Tobias, from town is also offering himself as her possible salvation.
I really enjoyed the way Catherine Winchester wrote this story and transported me right back to Texas in the 1800's, the year 1882 to be exact. I felt the dust under my feet and the heat from the relentless sun as Lady Ruth, a newcomer to this environment, must have felt upon arriving.
The drama between her and her new business partner Sam Wakefield built slowly around events involving family, ranch workers and attacks on her life. They both have hurt and embarrassing events from their past they finally share with each other and this sharing helps them grow closer together. Their passion and trust in each other came quickly, but was believable. It was this trust that helped them win against the evil that stalked them and, of course, the interesting sex scenes took me by surprise. For the time period I was expecting something more reserved, but was happily surprised at the way the author wrote these encounters into the story and I became a believer in their relationship as two characters who know their own mind and have the strength of character to follow through with their convictions.
I also felt repulsed by Tobias whenever he came near Ruth, just as she must have felt too. I really enjoy when a story captures my whole attention into caring about the emotional ups and downs of the characters. Catherine Winchester definatley takes you on a journey with this read. I was engrossed with the story from beginning to end.
If you enjoy a historical western romance, you should give this a try.
"I have one hand in a splint and one holding the ice, how exactly am I supposed to steer the horse?"
"I'll lead Angel." He sounded a little exasperated. "Just relax for a change and let me look after you."
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