- Mass Market Paperback: 350 pages
- Publisher: Zebra Books (6 Dec 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0821770918
- ISBN-13: 978-0821770917
- Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.4 x 2.3 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,982,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Molly Riordan has come to America as a maid accompanying Lady Elizabeth Summersby who is with child and has been brought to America to marry the child's father, Dirk Ballinger, in Colorado. Molly also sees this as an opportunity to find her father, Niall Riordan, who had left Ireland for America years previously. The stage carrying Lady Elizabeth and Molly to their destination is held-up by outlaws and when it is found that Lady Elizabeth is to marry Dirk Ballinger, Lady Elizabeth is taken hostage.
Meanwhile Dirk Ballinger comes to the rescue just in time to hear the mortally wounded stage driver say that Molly is Lady Elizabeth. Molly figures he must just be confused. Dirk thinks Molly is the one is confused and believes her to be Lady Elizabeth, the woman who his half-brother, outlaw Ray Lovejoy, got in a compromising position when he was in England masquerading as Dirk. Dirk is ready to do the right thing and marry Lady Elizabeth in Ray's stead to give the child the Ballinger name. Dirk is also convinced that it's Lovejoy and his men who have taken Lady Elizabeth.
After some convincing Molly is eventually able to convince Dirk that she is not Lady Elizabeth. But in order to help him find Ray Lovejoy and his gang, he asks her not to reveal her identity to anyone for the time being and she agrees. He embarks on a journey into the mountains to save Lady Elizabeth and Molly when she hears that he is going towards the town of Serendipity, Molly pleads with him to let her accompanying him as this was the town her father was last known to be. On the trip into the mountains Dirk and Molly cannot deny their attraction for one another even though they know he must marry another.
Ray, it appears is pretty much a reluctant outlaw and readers eventually see his softer, more human side. But no so for "Desperado" an outlaw who accompanied Dirk and his gang in the stage hold-up and who has more sinister motives.
Deb Stover has gifted readers with a fabulous story full of sexual tension, passion, and poignancy. Her secondary characters are as real and fully developed as the main characters and it is wonderful to see several additional romances emerge.
Particularly touching is the romance between Lance, the son of Dirk's housekeeper, and Elena, the daughter of his cook. For Lance, although a bit "slow" is a high-functioning young man afflicted with what we know today to be Down Syndrome. Their relationship is sure to put a smile the face of readers.
At a time when many have heard cries that the western historical romance is dead, Deb Stover has given us a story that certainly proves this is not the case. This is one of the best western historicals I have read in a very long time. I enjoyed everything about this book from the setting to the characters to the love scenes. The plot moves along in such a way revealing secrets just a bit at a time in order to keep the reader turning pages to find out what the characters' reaction is going to be to certain secrets already revealed to the reader.
Put quite simply, this is an outstanding read, one that happened to get this reviewer out of her reading slump. Brava Ms. Stover. Long live the western historical romance!
Thinking that Molly is a disoriented Lady Elizabeth, Dirk marries her after he discovers her at the site of the abandoned coach. When he discovers her true identity, they are already wed, and they are forced to keep her identity a secret as together they search for the kidnapped Lady Elizabeth.
With the magnificent setting of the Rocky Mountains around them, love evolves between Molly and Dirk, even as his previous promise to Lady Elizabeth threatens to keep them apart. And along with the romance are several elements of intrigue: Will Molly find her father? Just who is the true father of Elizabeth's child? And where did housekeeper Ida and rancher Clyde meet before Ida came to Ballingers' ranch?
Warm, tender romance with just the right amount of tension makes this a read to be savored. Molly Riordan's Irish wit and stubbornness make her a heroine to be proud of; as she risks her heart to be with the man she loves. And Lady Elizabeth, as a supporting character, is colorful in her own right, as she is forced to swallow some of her arrogance to become the woman of her destiny. Readers will want to keep watch of this rising star of historical romance.
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