I love it when an author adds humor to her romances. When it’s the hero with the sense of humor, it makes him that much more irresistible. Angus Wallace is now one of my favorite heroes, and that’s saying something when he’s in the company of Drustan and Daegus MacKeltar and Jamie Fraser.
And the fact that Angus has come to America in search of his wife, thinking only to take her home to Scotland where she can deliver a few heirs for him but instead falls in love with Maddie and the magnificent Colorado wilderness, well, that’s a man after my own heart. You see the change in Angus – now Lord Ashby, one of the reasons he now needs his wife – slowly take place as he watches his wife enjoy her passion of photography, revel in the new, deep-seated friendships she’s found, and, lastly, comes to realize she’d give all of that up just for him. He knows what he’s got, what he almost lost, and he plans to keep her by his side forever this time.
Maddie’s life takes huge turns when she meets career soldier Angus Wallace. She marries him and then loses him to his military service almost instantaneously. She receives very little contact from him in the years she’s in Scotland. So when she has word that her parents have been killed, Maddie heads home to England. There she talks herself into a new life and goes after it with guns blazing. Her interest in photography takes her to the American wild west, where she finally settles in Colorado, happy in that new life.
Angus’ life also goes through some unexpected turns. He’s seriously wounded in battle and his military days are over. He returns home to find his wife gone and his life changed further with the death of his older brother. It’s through her photographs that Ash, along with his loyal friend, Tricks, an Irish wolfhound, is able to trace Maddie across the American continent, locating her at last on her way home to Heartbreak Creek after a successful photographic mission -, with only Wall-eyed Willy as protection, much to Ash’s consternation. Thus begins their dance of reacquainting themselves with each other, their feelings, their love, their duty, their lives – all so different than before.
Unknown sadness on both sides is revealed, making each of them look at their anger and perceptions differently from what they’ve known before, hence making them realize more care of the other should have been taken so they wouldn’t end up where they are today. But life has taken them on this journey, and now one of them must sacrifice all for the other. Will Maddie be able to leave her new, hard-won life behind, never to take another picture again, something a noble woman would never do? Can Ash turn his back on his duty, say no to the one thing he never thought would be his anyway? Does he even have that choice?
These are two very multi-layered characters, both charming and flawed. It takes everything Maddie’s got to strike out on her own, away from the familiarity of home. Just when she finds her place, the one and only thing that can endanger that happiness is the person she never thought to see again. Ash is as honest and honorable as the day is long, he takes his duty seriously, whether to Maddie or his family – and he comes to realize that’s the same thing in his heart. No matter how hard life is, now or then, these two exemplify what it is to sustain a relationship after mucking it up the first time around. Granted, they have matured a few years and have gone through so much to get to that place, but when they do, it’s wonderful to see.
We also get to catch up with all the characters from the previous book. I especially had fun with the scene between Ash and Declan when the sheriff tries to ascertain why Ash is looking for Maddie. More humor, but family looking out for family, no matter how you look at it.
I love Kaki Warner’s writing, her characters, her storylines, everything about her books. You go through every emotion imaginable and then some. She portrays the American west vividly and accurately. You need to pick any of her books up and start reading, if you haven’t so far. Believe me, you’re missing out if you’ve never read a Kaki Warner book.
After only three letters and one visit during her six-year marriage to a Scottish Cavalry Officer, Maddie Wallace decides to build a life without him. Accepting an assignment from a London periodical to photograph the West from a female perspective, she sails from England, determined to build a new life as an independent woman.
After injury ends his military career, Angus Wallace returns homes to find his wife gone, his family decimated by fever, and himself next in line to an earldom. His new mission is clear – find his wife and sire heirs. His search takes him across an ocean and half a continent, but he finally tracks her to Heartbreak Creek There his biggest challenge awaits – to challenge his headstrong wife to return home as his viscountess.
Read an excerpt.
Other books in this series: