It's 1883. When Amanda Porterfield accepts a private tutoring position with a wealthy banker in Tucson, she hopes for a little more excitement than her family ranch offers, but she never expects to become involved with a mysterious gambler or the bank robbery being plotted around her.
When her siblings and friends start pairing off and finding love, Amanda feels restless and adrift. There’s no one she’s interested in and no good prospects in the nearby small town of Whitman Falls, save for Seth Grover, the enigmatic stranger who recently arrived, but her mother has warned her against him in no uncertain terms. Unsure what she wants to do, she moves to Tucson to prepare a condescending banker’s two children for boarding school, taking up residence at Miss Dooley’s boardinghouse. The children are difficult and Miss Dooley is rigidly proper, though when Seth turns out to be a fellow boarder, Amanda’s spirits are slightly lifted. No one is quite sure what he’s doing there, nor do they trust him since he spends a good deal of time at the saloon. For his part, Seth is intrigued by Amanda and knows the feeling is mutual, but since he’s covertly investigating a gang of outlaws rumored to be active in the area, he knows he can’t get involved with her, since “one thing Seth Grover had realized was that if a man needed to keep his true business a secret, he did not allow anyone to get too close.” Unfortunately, the more he uncovers about criminal activity, the more he realizes Amanda may be in real danger. Schmidt sets up a complicated plot without too many contrivances and with a main couple who are interesting and sympathetic, plus a well-drawn supporting cast. Fans of the Where the Trail Ends series will enjoy visiting with familiar characters.
A warm, satisfying, gently sexy Western historical romance.