About the book:
Sometimes a journey of the heart is the most dangerous journey of all. Sally Wheeler learned the hard way that men aren't always what they seem. Now she will stop at nothing to track down the bigamist husband who stole her child and abandoned her on their failing Kansas farm. Even if it means traveling with a handsome maverick who could change her mind about men. Free after spending seven years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, Rob Truman aims to balance the scales of justice on the man who sent him there-Luke Wheeler. His quest doesn't include falling for the one woman who will lead him to his quarry, but Sally's courage in the face of her fear touches his soul. Through dangerous days and nights on the trail, neither Sally nor Rob can ignore their growing feelings for each other. Yet both are haunted by the poor judgment that, in the past, led them down the wrong road. Love-and trust-are luxuries neither of them can afford. But as the bullets start flying, love may be all that saves them-and Sally's son. Warning: This title contains ornery mules and ornery men. Get ready to see how the West was really won - one relationship at a time!
This was a delightful western with great tension between characters, especially Rob and Sally. Luke was a real brute and though the opening scene was quite explicit, it gave you a sense of how she fell for Luke and what he was really like. Enter Rob. Sally wasn't sure what to make of him at first, but like any good man, his true heart was revealed over time by his protective nature and his way with children. How can you not fall for a man who wants to protect the vulnerable people he cares for even if it puts his own safety at risk? While his original motivation may have been revenge, somewhere along the line that changed.
There were a lot of characters to like in this story. Ozzie was just precious is his old man way. There were some tender scenes with this guy. And poor Sally had been used and abused for so long, you couldn't blame her for her skepticism and her inability to trust men. Poor Rob wasn't sure what to think about her relationship with Luke, but as more and more time passed, and Rob discovered more about Luke, the more he saw that protecting Sally from that man was critical. Her son's safety was more important that anything. I felt bad for poor Matthew. I hope over time he heals from the trauma he'd gone through with Luke and the gang.
Sally's daughter was just precious. I can imagine how hard it would be to drag a little girl along on the journey, but what good mother wouldn't at least try to locate her missing son? Then comes the guilt when the child you have with you suffers. But how can you give up on either child? That's a true dilemma if there ever was one.
There was plenty of heat in this story, and at first the sexual tension annoyed me a bit. I know, crazy, right? But when an emotional connection developed between them, I found myself wanting good things to happen for them long-term. And while this story was not an inspirational, I thought it was neat that they prayed a few times and did some soul searching. There was even talk of heaven. That added a nice dimension to the story.
Sally had some faith and really was a good-hearted person who just wanted to be loved. There is no crime in that. Good story and it kept my attention to the end. If you enjoy western romances with intrigue and don't mind some intense kissing and touching, this story will work for you. And like all good romances, there was plenty going on to keep them apart until the end.
A Desperate Journey was published by Samhain and released in March 2009.