In the Arizona Territory in 1887 a mining heiress meets an outlaw during a train robbery; violence, redemption, and romance ensue.
Narration alternates between Charlotte, who’s 16 and sheltered but dreams of becoming a reporter, and Reece, a reluctant, 18-year-old outlaw with a deadly reputation. He’s more compelling as a character, having been forcefully adopted into the murderous Rose Riders three years earlier because he can identify the man who killed the gang leader’s brother in the companion novel, Vengeance Road (2015). Reece regrets the horrible things he’s done with the gang, remaining with them mainly because Luther Rose, the leader, threatens Reece’s mother’s life should he run but also because he’s strangely attached to Rose, who is violent and threatening but also seems to have some affection for Reece, calling him “son” and imagining he will someday inherit gang leadership. Reece’s realization that freeing himself ultimately requires killing all the gang members comes with its own moral price tag. Meanwhile, he’s accidentally abducted Charlotte, who has her own melodramatic set of family problems but whose primary purpose seems to be learning to love the promise of a reformed Reece. Very conveniently they’re assisted in their quests for freedom by the couple who killed Rose’s brother 10 years earlier. Though Reece is biracial, with a Mexican mother and white father, his heritage is not plumbed, and most other characters are, like Charlotte, white.
Occasionally contrived but entertaining. (Western romance. 14-18)