Love can lead you out of the wilderness…
1851, Overland Trail to California. As a baby, Callie was left on the doorstep of an isolated farmhouse in Tennessee. The Whitaker family took her in but have always considered her more a servant than a daughter. Scorned by her two stepsisters, Callie is forced to work long hours and denied an education. But a new world opens to her when the Whitakers join a wagon train to California—guided by rugged guide, Luke McGraw…
A loner, haunted by a painful past, Luke plans to return to the wilderness once his work is done. But he can’t help noticing how poorly Callie is treated—or how unaware she is of her beauty and intelligence. As the two become closer over the long trek west, Callie’s confidence grows. And when disaster strikes, Callie emerges as the strong one—and the woman Luke may find the courage to love at last…
I am so lucky to have found a new author to love, and one that writes western historicals–it just doesn’t get any better than that. I just adored this book, and it was very slow building, which was alright, since there was quite a bit of development of plot and characters. After you read this one, you start to develop a love for both Callie and Luke. They are both headstrong and passionate, and have such strong personalities but together they make one hell of a team. I loved seeing both sides, and seeing how well they were together. There is little heat to the story, except for some kissing, but in all honesty…that was totally alright for me. I was in the mood for something more light and more focus on the “falling in love” part. You see how this author’s focus is developing a strong plot line, and I admire that. It was quite a adventure reading this, and I loved the voice of the author and the way she weaves this story together. It was no hardship getting into this story, and probably from the first few paragraphs I was hooked onto it. A story of heartwarming characters, exciting scenes, a moving story that will bring a tear to your eyes, but by the end, you will be left with a smile on your face and wanting more. I hope that this author has more in store for us.
“Not so fast.” He rose and clasped her upper arms. “I find you…” After a brief pause, he pulled her roughly to him so she was wrapped tightly in his arms. He pressed his lips against hers, gently at first, but then more hungrily, caressing her mouth in a kiss so searing it made her senses reel. She slid her arms around his neck, pressed close, and returned his kiss with reckless abandon. Time stood still while blood pounded in her brain and her knees trembled until finally he broke away, clasped her shoulders, and shoved her away at arm’s length. “No more.”
She stood breathless. Luke kissed me. She had imagined kissing him many a time, but now that he had, she had no idea what to say.
Before she found words, he shook his head, as if to clear his mind. “Forget this happened.” His breathing slowed. He backed a step away, appearing to have gained control over the passion that had gripped him.
But I don’t want to forget. She swallowed her words. The purposeful look in his eyes told her not to argue.
The unbelievable moment of passion had passed. He took her arm. “Let’s get back to the camp. I’ll give you a ride.”
Shirley Kennedy was born and raised in Fresno, California and has lived in such diverse places as Denver; Houston; Torrance, California; Bogota ,Colombia; and Calgary, Alberta, Canada where she received a BSc degree in Computer Sciences at the University of Calgary. She worked as a computer programmer/systems analyst for several years before she went back to her first love, writing.
In her early career as an author, Shirley wrote traditional Regency romances, one for Ballantine, the rest for Signet. Later on, she branched into other genres including Heartbreak Trail, a western romance (Camel Press), The Last of Lady Lansdown, a not-so-traditional Regency romance (Camel Press), and Deadly Gamble, a contemporary Las Vegas mystery (Inkspell Press). She’s an Indie publisher, too, and has just published Looking for Lucky, the poignant, suspenseful story of a lost dog.
She lives in Las Vegas Nevada, with her older daughter, Dianne, and Brutus and Sparky, her two editorial assistants who love to nap in the sunshine next to her computer while she works on her next book.