Lettie isn’t running, but she certainly is hiding. Left abused and broken by her former husband, she tries to push the world away by making herself unappealing and mean. But no amount of pain can warp the person within and, when a beaten stranger appears on the porch of the diner where she works, she can’t help but try to heal the man with wounds so similar to the ones she used to sport. He may smell like rot-gut whisky, and be wearing clothes that have more lice than cloth, but he is a man in need of help. When he throws up all over her shoes, it begins a chain of events that brings her world crashing down around her feet.
Shane Murphy is a mess. Left broken by the death of his wife, he has survived the aftermath of the war in a drunken stupor. He doesn’t quite know how he ends up beaten at the Blue Plate, but he knows that the women there have saved his life. He is grateful to them all, but only one holds his attention, only one holds him when the nightmares leave him curled in a ball out of fear. When he looks beyond the drab clothing and waspish attitude, he sees a caring woman who has been taught to fear men. Can he breach the walls that surround her to try to get close to her heart?
As Shane begins to heal, the pair start to bond on a level they never want or imagine. Shane plans to leave once he has healed fully, can the fledgling relationship develop into something strong enough to make him want to stay? Or will the baggage that makes them cling so desperately to the pain of the past stop them from embracing the one person in the world who will be able to help them weather any storm? It seems that only in their dreams can they truly accept the feelings that blossom between them and allow love to take root.
I love Emma Lang’s writing. Whether it is as this name, or as Beth Williamson, her story telling is flawless. This western tale of romance and healing hit the spot in so many ways and, with its slightly erotic edge, it was more than enough to satisfy the perv in me J This book also delved a little into supernatural territory; it was a nice touch that allowed for a speeding up of a relationship that otherwise could have seemed improbable to develop.
Lettie is a character broken in so many ways. Her first husband was a Mormon who took her as his second wife when she was little more than a child. He caused her immense pain, using her to satisfy his own twisted wants and needs. God, I didn’t like her at the beginning of this tale. Don’t get me wrong, I felt sorry for her, but she was so twisted up in her pain that she was very bitter and waspish. It took Shane’s slow erosion of her walls and bitterness for me to feel anything warm to her. She had felt nothing but pain and humiliation from sex with her husband; it is the major reason why she shy’s away from the feelings that she has for Shane. But once the dreams start happening, she is powerless to stop the feelings that start to bloom (on a side note, the dreams are hot as hell….they were amazing). It’s not until a scene which made me a little warmer that she accepts that she can’t control herself around him (see the scene where she bathes him…wow *fans*). It’s at this point she starts to come out of her shell and I really started to like her. Without all the layers of fear, she is quite a ballsy woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to ask for it.
“You are my dark Angel, Lettie. You brought me back from the dead whether or not I deserved it. There isn’t anyone in this world who cared about me, or whether I lived or died…….Right now you are the only important person to me”
Shane is not a hard character to like. Yes, he has made some stupid choices, but in hearing his back-story, I could forgive him pretty much anything. He married a woman who wasn’t right for him, and in doing so made himself so unhappy he turned to drink. It was this choice that led to his feelings of guilt over his wife’s death; he blames the fact he was drunk for his inability to help her. When he meets Lettie, he doesn’t want to feel for her. He has done marriage, he has proved that he is a terrible husband and a man; he wants only to be left alone. But once the naughty dreams of him and Lettie together begin, he starts to notice more and more about her. He notices the woman beneath the drab costume and he finds he isn’t as emotionally dead as he first thought. I loved the way he was with her, loved the way he helped her out of her shell and then didn’t let the woman she truly was faze him. He was a fabulously flawed hero… I only hoped that he stuck around!
I loved this book. I loved the romance, I loved the drama, I loved the sauciness and I loved the Wild-West setting. You can read it as a stand-alone but I truly recommend reading the previous two first; you will get to know some of the characters better and that will make the book all the sweeter. Also, the cover is awesome…..look at that cowboy J