I was a very lucky duck and won this book from Dear Author in their giveaway, and I wasn’t actually planning on reviewing it. But when I started reading the book and found myself literally trying to pry it out of my hands at night, just to go to sleep, I knew it was a winner.
Never Love a Lawman is a western romance, and I don’t read many of those. My only experience is Linda Howard’s A Lady of the West and Angels Creek. The other is Sarah McCarty’s Promise series. So, I’m extremely happy to have this book added to my very meagre collection. **grins**
Never Love a Lawman is set in the late 1800’s in the mining town of Reidsville, Colorado. The heroine, Rachel Bailey, had moved there just a little over a year ago. Nobody in the town knows much about Rachel, and that’s how she likes it. While she is never rude, in fact, she is quite polite, she does guard and value her privacy, and goes out of her way to assure no one comes into her home. That is until the very handsome Sheriff Wyatt Cooper comes knocking on her door with two very big surprises. The first surprise that Rachel learns is that she has inherited the railway line that connects the mining town to the outside world. The other surprise, much to her disbelief, is the stipulation that comes with it. Rachel is to marry Wyatt, otherwise the railway will be handed back to the very man she had fled before arriving in Reidsville. Rachel, to her extreme reluctance, knows she doesn’t have a choice as she fears what will happen to the townsfolk if the railway belongs to an outsider. One that she fears greatly. Rachel reluctantly marries Wyatt, and throughout the story finds herself becoming more attracted to her husband, which results in something deeper. All that is threatened though, when her dangerous past arrives in Reidsville, which could result in deadly consequences for everyone.
I.adored.this.book. I did! I’m not going to curb my enthusiasm for it since everyone needs to go out and get a copy. What are you waiting for? Dooooooooooooo it! I bookpush thee!
Ok, jokes aside I shall explain why I loved Never Love a Lawman, muchly.
The heroine ticks all the right boxes that I like. Smart, self-reliant, stubborn, kind and has a very smart mouth on her which she knows how to use. She never backs down when pushed, but when she does go too far, she apologises. Even though Wyatt himself calls her a prickly hedgehog, you can see those spikes smooth out throughout the book and that’s due to Wyatt. Their relationship was a pleasure to read about, especially seeing Rachel embrace her sexuality that Wyatt brings out. It’s not a book full of sexual need between the two. The love scenes, when they do happen, are intense, emotional and just downright smoking hot. One of my favourite scenes in the book, is when Rachel tells Wyatt, he can have her now. And boy, does he indeed.
I made myself space this book and it lasted three nights. Yes, I know! It took me three nights when usually I would devour a book within two hours. I wanted to pace myself with Never Love a Lawman to make sure I didn’t miss the details of the special journey Rachel and Wyatt go on.
Wyatt, I found to be even more vulnerable in a way than Rachel was. While he is humorous and has this façade he keeps as the watchful Sheriff, who seems to know everyone and everything, he keeps his deepest and innermost feelings tightly locked up. And it’s Rachel who manages to heal Wyatt in a way that not may free all the guilt he has of the past, but makes Wyatt understand and has a degree of acceptance of what happened. Their relationship, which started out as a convenience, turns into something so much deeper that neither of them expected. While Wyatt embraces it more easily than Rachel, it’s the things he does for Rachel that make her lose that strict independence. Rachel comes to accept Wyatt’s affections and tenderness equally with her own. It doesn’t happen straight away, as Rachel and Wyatt learn to live with one another and in the process learn about each other.
There is a nice dollop of humour in this book, and one thing that tickled me pink was that no-account Beaty boy, the deputy. His character was so darn nice and dorky, that I did feel he perhaps could have had more on page time, as there was a small secondary storyline with LaRosa, the madam of the bordello house in the town. On the other hand it was simply nice having the book solely concentrate on the main protagonists. Also, I do admit, I don’t enjoy reading about heroines in books who were and are prostitutes, as for me personally, as a reader, I just don’t find it very romantic.
The villain in this piece was written very well and I liked that he made his entrance towards the latter part of the book, which enabled me to concentrate on Rachel and Wyatt. While he did appear in the later portion, his character wasn’t rushed. He was smart, cunning and brutal and I could see why Rachel had no choice but to flee.
Never Love a Lawman is definitely going to be a re-read, where the binding will get worn down a lot more quickly than others on my bookshelf. And it’s going to be a certainty that I’m going to look at and probably buy some of Jo Goodman’s backlist.
I give Never Love a Lawman 5 out of 5.