If Sarah McCarty's Promises series doesn't make you want to lay down and beg for a cowboy, nothing will. McCarty's heroes are to die for sexy, intensly sexual and well developed emotionally. Her second book in the Promises series carries on where the first, "Promises Linger, left off with Cougar McKinnely as our hunky man of the moment. We saw him in the first installment, and thank goodness he gets his own story!
Mara Kincaid is sold into virtual slavery to the Pleasure Emporium, a scum-of-the-earth bordello. After surviving an excrutiating and terrifying experience she escapes and wants nothing more than to begin building the respectable life she's always dreamed of. Barely remebering what has happened, she tries to move on by working as a dishwasher in Cheyenne. Doing her best to avoid all interactions with people , especially men, she nevertheless draws attention with her gentle beauty and, unfortunately, her bad reputation. Rumors have a way of creeping in and the townsfolk are only too ready to believe the worst of her. Cougar McKinnely watches Mara from afar, biding his time, waiting for the chance to confront the small spitfire and make her his own. Guilt and his conscience motivate him to watch over her, keeping her safe from any who would harm her, for he alone knows what really happened to her at the Pleasure Emporium. When the opportunity arises, Cougar rescues Mara from an errant cowboy bent on harming her and takes her to his childhood home, the home of the local doctor and his wife. From there begins their whirlwind relationship in which Cougar takes no chances with the independant and willful Mara, doing everything in his power to make her his to cherish, his to love and his to keep.
Cougar was a wonderful man, wanting only the best for his wife. Sometimes his restrictions for Mara made her understandably stir crazy and the two test eachothers limits and patience more than once. After her awful experiences at the Emporium, Mara must learn to trust again. Cougar is more than willing to do all he can to make up to her what she went through. I loved Mara's determination and spirit, the fact that she never backed down to her domineering husband. Cougar definitely had his hands full, and his heart is severely tested towards the end of the book where he must face how to go on when Mara once again comes into danger. If you love Western romances, heck, even if you don't and are new to them, give this series a try. If you're not dreaming of cowboys and wanting one for you're own by the time you're through, well, there may be something wrong with you. The extra good news too is that there are more stories to come after the third book in the series, "Promises Prevail", a fact which has me smiling. Read these books. You won't be sorry!