REVIEW: Behind His Blue Eyes by Kaki Warner

Friday, November 29, 2013 0:00
Posted in category Review

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Sandy M’s review of Behind His Blue Eyes (Heroes of Heartbreak Creek, Book 1) by Kaki Warner
Historical Western Romance published by Berkley 2 Aug 13

I’m glad Kaki Warner is adding to her Heartbreak Creek series with this new spin-off series, Heroes of Heartbreak Creek. As much as I love all the characters I’ve meet from this friendly,  upstart town in the first three books, I look forward to all the new folks she’ll introduce me to in these new books. Everything about her stories is heartwarming, sweet, and sensual as well as fraught with danger and outlaws, which gives her characters more strength and courage than they ever thought they’d have. The Old West is alive and well in Kaki Warner’s hands.

Ethan Hardesty is in Heartbreak Creek to facilitate the railroad coming to town. The townsfolk are anxious to be a stop along the tracks, bringing more people and business. Right off the bat he runs into problems. First is in the form of Audra Pearsall who has just moved her family into the home standing on the land the railroad needs to run their track. The woman is being stubborn, and he doesn’t truly need her to agree to his offer to get what he wants, but for some reason he holds back, hoping they can come to some agreement.

Taking care of her father the best way she can, Audra goes a step too far, forcing her to take her father and two Negro servants, who are more like family, to run west as fast as they can. The home they come to in Colorado isn’t ideal, but it will work – until Audra discovers the railroad wants to take everything. But when mysterious happenings begin, putting lives in danger, Audra moves her family into town, thanks to the generosity of the new friends they’ve made.

Both Ethan and Audra have their secrets, the kind that have repercussions. The kind that doesn’t infuse trust, but these two learn very quickly amid danger that trust is exactly what is needed. I love the way they meet – I smiled and laughed all the way through that initial scene or two – but I really love the way they eventually come together when being in a relationship is not what either needs nor wants. Well, that’s what they think. Ethan and Audra are beautiful together. And the twist that it’s Ethan who wants marriage while Audra wants a trial run to see how things go only adds to the amusement. Their repartee is fun and becomes even more so as they get to know one another. I would have liked just a tad more emotion connection between them, however.

As we get to know Ethan along with Audra, we learn of his disastrous relationship with a former lover over a number of chapters. Suspense is not just for the villain in this book. The fun we share with the characters is shattered by a number of things from a scumbag with a whip to a not-so-unbiased journalist to the evilness that is desperate to stop the railroad. There is a lot going on in this story, and Ms. Warner weaves it all together seamlessly.

That being said, I do have to say that the book starts off at a pretty slow pace. If I hadn’t read Ms. Warner before and wasn’t familiar with the previous characters in this series, I may have put the book down and come back to it at a later time. But I know this author’s talent and I know she wouldn’t let me down, so when you get this far in the series, please don’t give up. When you get to the romance and the intensity and suspense when Audra could lose her life, everything comes together in a way that only someone of Ms. Warner’s caliber can give readers.

Heartbreak Creek will be one of my favorite series for a long time to come, and I will read every word Kaki Warner releases in the future. I hope if you haven’t read any of her books that you’ll start soon. You’ll love them every bit as much as I do.

SandyMGrade: A-

Summary:

Hoping to escape his past, Ethan Hardesty left a career as an architect and went to work for the railroad. Only two things impede his desire to transform Heartbreak Creek into a thriving town once again—a vandal bent on stopping the railroad, and the beautiful but hardheaded woman who won’t sign over the final right-of-way through the canyon.

Audra Pearsall has good reason for not allowing a train to pass within yards of her home, no matter how persuasive the handsome Mr. Hardesty can be. But when vandalism escalates to murder and fear stalks the canyon, Audra doesn’t know who to turn to—until the man she thought was her friend proves to be an enemy, and the man she wouldn’t allow herself to trust becomes her reluctant hero…

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