Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Stolen Heart by Brenda K. Davies

  Alexandra Harris is anything but a proper lady.  In a time where women always need an escort, are never alone with a man, always wear dresses, and do women's work, she does just the opposite.  She can work like a man, dresses like a man, and goes to see Henry by herself every week.  Henry was a friend of her father's before he died.  Although her reputation is non-existent, Alex stopped caring two years ago when her father passed.  After that, all she cared about was getting even with the man who had made everyone's life a living hell if they happened to own land in the area.
   Murdoch was more than just ambitious.  He was willing to do whatever it took to get what he wanted.  Some of the farmers had already sold out and left because they could no longer get by, or they no longer wanted to deal with disappearing or dead cattle and livestock, and burned barns.  The community knew who was to blame, but there was never enough evidence and the sheriff was in Murdoch's pocket.  Alex and her brother, Hugh, had started robbing some of Murdoch's shipments of money and distributing it among the farmers to help them get by.  What they didn't know this time was that there was a new hired gun to help get the money through and he was very good.  In the end, the new guy, Jarrett, and Alex were both shot.  She shot him in the upper thigh and he shot her in the arm.  Since neither were fatal shots, both recover just fine.  But Jarrett is after revenge.  He wants to bring in the boy (who he doesn't know was actually Alex) that shot him and caused all of this trouble.  Bad news is that red heads are not common in this area, so Alex and Hugh have to be very careful and keep their heads down for a while.
   All the while, Megan, Alex's best friend, is watching the events unfold and knows once again that Alex is in trouble.  She believes none of the rumors in town about her friend and knows all of the story behind her anger.  It is a deep and sad story that Jarrett will come to know as well.  And as he does, he will gradually fall for this beautiful woman who makes his blood run hot.  But Jarrett has competition from a few men in town, and one of them is dangerous.  And Alex loves to live dangerously without ever thinking of her own safety.  It will be a stroke of luck if he can tame her enough to make her see just how much danger she puts herself in.

   I don't read many western style books, and I was surprised to see this particular author write a book like this, but it was really good!  It has some adult themes so it is not for anyone under the age of 18, but there is also a great story line to it as well.  Back in the Old West, women were expected to be proper and act like delicate flowers.  Alexandra is a tough-as-nails woman and is not about to change just because people talk bad about her.  Her world is full of secrets and heartache.  The only people she has are Hugh, Megan, Daryl (Megan's husband), and Henry.  That is, until Jarrett comes along.  Unfortunately he is the most protective of them all after more of Alex's story is revealed to him.  He has to learn that the harder they tighten the reins on her, the more she resists.  Even her brother thinks he has her in hand to a degree, but Alex knows what Hugh is up to.  Jarrett must pick a side, since his employer was the one causing all of the trouble.  And he must find a way to protect Alex from those who would do her harm, physically or mentally.

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