Saturday, June 28, 2014

Book Review of The Gunslinger by Lorraine Heath

A hired gun falls for the one woman who's completely wrong for him in this Western romance from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lorraine Heath.
Chance Wilder never wanted to be a hero. A road-weary gunslinger with a ruthless reputation, he focuses only on his next target—and his next payday. That is, until a young boy offers Chance everything he owns—a piece of string, a harmonica, and a bent penny—if he'll save his sister from a couple of thugs. Chance agrees, only to discover that the beautiful, fierce young woman in need of rescue is actually the very person he's been hunting: his next mark.
But after he saves her, Lillian Madison awakens in him long-buried dreams and possibilities. Facing the demons of his past, Chance is forced to question his next move. Dare he risk everything by following his heart … and trust that the road to redemption begins with Lillian?


Lorraine Heath is my go-to author for western reads full of heartwarming moments and The Gunslinger once again solidifies my beliefs.  When a tarnished hero with a hidden heart of gold comes to town on a mission to force a woman from her land he does the unexpected and changes his future irrevocably.  Chance has been living a lonely existance since a tragic event befell his brother and set him on a path of self-destruction.  His reputation as a master gun-for-hire has him always looking over his shoulder and only able to dream of settling down and having a family.  That dream taunts him even more when he comes to the rescue of Lillian, the woman he's being paid to drive from her property.  As she nurses him back to health he comes to realize that love is the only thing worth fighting for, and dying for, but when another gunslinger comes to finish what Chance started the future he hoped to have with Lillian might be over before it starts.  Chance was a man of few words but his actions spoke volumes.  He was thought to be a badass but he was a kind man who had a strong moral code.  My heart ached for what happened to him when he was young and the years of self-loathing he heaped upon himself that led to his solitary existence.  Being with Lillian and her brother brought out flashes of humor and a few carefree moments that were endearing and had me cheering him on to take a chance at making a life with them.

The whole town thinks Lillian's a whore after Mr. Ward dies in her bed so they stand by as she's endlessly harassed by the man's son who wants to run her off his family's land.  The truth is drastically different but the opportunity to reveal that truth never seems possible until an unexpected savior arrives in the guise of an enemy.  Olivia is a kindhearted woman who just wants to live in peace with her younger brother Toby but soon ends up making a deal with the devil to save her home.  She abhors violence and at first it colors her impression of Chance.  While tending his wounds she soon discovers he's an angel in disguise, a man with a painful past she longs to soothe.  With time running out and with his enemies always on his doorstep a future with him seems unlikely, but unexpected events occur that changes both of their futures.  Olivia is an immensely likable heroine who's sweet yet has a fiery spirit when those she loves are in jeopardy.  She wants only the best for her brother as their past was a painful one and it's left her his sole caretaker with the farm being their dream and the lone bright spot amidst years of loneliness and struggle.  As she gets to know Chance though she finds a new dream and to save him she'll sacrifice everything.

Along with two strong main characters there's the delightfully endearing and sweetly humorous Toby.  He's a ball of energy and a breath of fresh air that brings out a sweet side to Chance and is the catalyst to Chance and Lillian coming together.  His presence brought a smile to my face and he'll make a wonderful hero of his own one day.  The sexual tension was obvious from the moment Chance swooped in to save Lillian and slowly evolved into more.  The lone sexual encounter was a bit rushed and not too finely detailed but still satisfying.  These two lonely souls are clearly a match made in heaven and their love story was one that kept me on the edge of my seat with danger coming from every direction.  Ms. Heath beautifully balanced that tension with a sweet and sensual romance that was wrapped up with a heartwarming bow and once again shows her to be the Queen of Western Romances!

My rating for this is an A-

*I got this book from Edelweiss for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

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