In the Old West, a contented spinster rethinks her future plans when a handsome brown-skinned cowboy rides into town.
Portia Carmichael has everything she wants. She has a position of responsibility running the Fontaine Hotel owned by her aunt and uncle near Tucson in the Arizona Territory. Her sister Regan is her closest friend. And any day now she’ll get up the nerve to start her own business as a bookkeeper catering to other business owners of color. She has no need for a man in her life, though Regan chides her, “Numbers won’t keep you warm at night, sister mine.” Then Kent Randolph, an old family friend, turns up at the hotel and Portia’s uncle offers him a job. Kent has been a drifting ranch hand, but he’s looking to settle down. He’s even given up his womanizing ways. Far from looking askance at Portia’s business acumen, he encourages her to strike out on her own. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s smoking hot, “dangerous to a woman determined to keep her heart guarded and buttons done up.” Portia and Kent’s romance has just the right amount of trouble, from Portia’s unwanted suitors to Kent’s father showing up with a bride he’s picked out for his son. Even more than that, Portia must open herself up to the idea of a different kind of life than she had dreamed about for herself and begin to trust that life as Mrs. Randolph will still allow the independence she needs to be happy. Jenkins (Forbidden, 2016, etc.) has not disappointed with the second installment in her Old West series. Her writing is both sexy and smart, and her characters come to life as real people the reader will want to know better.
A thrilling and enjoyable read.