Melissa Sheffield wanted to belong, craved respectability after early life incidents cast her family's reputation in shadow. Her chance for this 'happiness' is placed in peril when her fiance, a well-heeled fellow of high society in St. Louis, sets off for parts west on a grand adventure. Melissa decides to take action. She follows him. To her great dismay, her hasty plan goes awry when the caravan she travels with falls victim to an Apache raid. Even worse, she is captured and given to a member of the tribe as a slave--a slave! Will the man named Cougar rip the remaining dignity she possesses away from her...or will this enigmatic man actually be salvation from her living nightmare?
Cougar, otherwise known as Clay Brodie, is tortured by his place in the world. He wasn't born Apache, but claims them as his own. Yet he reluctantly faces his legacy as a white man when faced with the ultimate test he has been presented with thus far--break this woman's spirit or kill her. It galls him that this spitfire evokes feelings that he has sworn never to feel. He can't love anybody, especially after suffering the most crushing rejection a human can experience. It is better not to feel at all.
Ms. Thompson has created two strong characters and placed them into an intriguing tale. Melissa Sheffield gives as good as she gets, and Cougar aka Clay Brodie proves to be a gentle giant in spite of himself. Thompson's voice is strong, as it always is, yet I think in this historical she is in her element. Her warmth and humor breath life into the story and keep a reader turning the pages, long past time to go to sleep! Bravo!