This is book Two of the Circle Eight series by Emma Lang. Eight represents the amount of siblings in the Graham family and this is the tale of Olivia. In the last tale, we saw a family ripped apart by death, mourning the abduction of the youngest member of the clan, five year old Benjy.
Olivia is haunted by the fact that she can’t help her baby brother, imagining all the twisted ways that the slave traders could be hurting him. When Sheriff Brody finds a lead, he goes to the Graham Ranch, expecting speak to the eldest brother Matthew about the new clues in the case. Instead, he finds himself faced with a very determined Olivia, who has decided that she will do anything to get her baby brother back.
Brody has been avoiding Olivia for a while, trying to get rid of the feelings she elicits in him. What he doesn’t know is that he rouses the same feelings in her, but she is willing to attach herself firmly to his side whilst he hunts for her missing sibling. She threatens and cajoles him into taking him with her on a dangerous trek to Mexico, hunting the team of men who killed her parents and took Benjy. He doesn’t travel well with a partner, especially one who distracts him in such an intimate way.
Olivia knows that she doesn’t belong on this mission but she has vowed to do anything to protect her family and that includes this. Whether it is gun-fights, Mexican Warlords or just being near to a man who makes her lose all her inhibitions, she is willing to withstand it all to try to reunite her family. Whilst on the road, passions run high and lust leads them both on a merry dance. But he is a Ranger whose job dictates that he stays alone and she is a woman who expects nothing from a man; when the task is done, is there any future for them?
I discovered Emma Lang through her alter ego Beth Williamson. I was recommended her Historical Cowboys and I loved the lyrical style of her writing. This is a Romantic Western and I loved every second of it. The book is set in the 1800’s so the men are men and the women are housewives. This family have had their lives turned upside down in the most horrific of fashion and now one of their kin is in the hands of some very horrible people. I respected the decision of Olivia to force herself into the investigation; family is the thing you should cherish and protect at all costs. The premise of this whole book worked for me and I found myself lost in the wild-west.
|Cos I needed a hot Ranger…
Olivia was a woman who no longer gave a crap about what was right and proper. She wanted to find her brother and was more than willing to risk her reputation to do so. She doesn’t balk at any of his suggestions, really appreciated the fact that he knew best and doesn’t take the risk lightly. Yes, she takes her life into her own hands but she does it with her eyes wide open. I loved her spunky attitude and strength of conviction; she is the type of heroine that grabs me. She wasn’t stupid or naive; she was just a big sister. She makes some decisions that, when she dissects them later, make her shake, cry and vomit but at the time they are necessary. When the sparks become too much, she walks into a sexual relationship fully aware of all the consequences but realising that she needs to grab her happiness where she can. I enjoy intelligence and Olivia is certainly that.
Brody is just hot. He’s a bad ass Ranger who wants to do his job, sleep with prostitutes who expect him to leave and just stay alive. He has a traumatic past, making his career path perfect for him, but Ms Olivia threatens to destabilise his normal completely. He doesn’t want to feel for her, and is actually quite terrified for her safety, but he can’t deny the saucy thoughts that keep clouding his mind. I loved the fact he was willing to go all the way to Mexico to try to rescue the little boy but I loved the way he was with Olivia even more. He didn’t truly start to appreciate her until she proved her worth on the mission, when he realised that she wouldn’t be a burden. I loved that he respected her strength and her presence; that these were the qualities were what made him fall in love with her! I adore a man who isn’t an Alpha-hole. The only thing I had a (very) minor issue with is the limited detail about his past; this may have been mentioned in the last book but I think it should have been addressed a bit more in this one as it was his story.
This was not your average sweet Western. The action was high octane, the bad guys were creepy and the sex was off the charts steamy….these were not a couple that were shy in seeking their pleasure. The Hero was strong enough to respect his woman and the Heroine was strong enough to hold her own; it’s a fantastic trip back to the Wild Wild West….