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Publisher's Summary

Victoria Waverly, noble daughter of the war-ruined South, is sold in marriage to a ruthless rancher. Honor and pride help her endure life as a wife in name only but nothing can quench her forbidden desire for hired gunman Jake Roper. His gaze is hard, but tenderness he can't hide promises to unveil to Victoria the mysteries of love.

Jake curses his burning need for Victoria, for he wants nothing to stand in the way of his drive to reclaim Sarratt's Kingdom - the ranch that is his legacy and obsession. But ancient wrongs and blazing passions will bind together the aristocratic beauty and the powerful cowboy. In a bloody land war, they will fight for Jake's birthright, and seize at all costs the love that is their destiny.

©1997 Linda Howard; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
  • Angela
  • East Rochester, NH, USA
  • 04-20-09

Great Book

The title of the book made me pass it up a few times, but I decided to read it......It was one of the best western romance story I have listened to. I couldn't give it up, I had to know what was going to happen next, or who would say what to a certain situation. If you like Western, Romance, and a great story line, then you must listen/read this book!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Judy
  • Champaign, IL, United States
  • 12-30-08

Just a bit too alpha...

I am a big Linda Howard fan, but I could only give this book three stars because the character of Jake was just a bit too alpha for my tastes. I just can't condone physical violence against a woman, no mater how provoked a person is or how sorry they are afterward. I don't know that I've ever read a romance story where the male lead was violent against his love interest (while knowing she is pregnant, no less) and then expected to be forgiven (and bedded) without much effort on his part.

I did like the spunk and courage shown by the lead female (Victoria), but the fact that she was so easily controlled by sex just didn't seem to jibe with her otherwise good judgment. Is it possible to have sex so good that it makes you forget that your lover slapped you hard enough to almost break your jaw right after you tell him you are pregnant? If that kind of sex actually exists, it should come with a warning!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Bad Book-Very Few Redeeming Qualities

This book has to be one of the worst Linda Howard has ever written. The hero is a complete jerk who yells at his wife, slaps her, and forces her to have sex on several occasions. The heroine is a mainly spineless "proper" lady who doesn't demonstrate an ounce of character until something happens to her younger sister--who is the only bright
spot in the entire book. The narrator is less than competent with this book. When she portrays the evil maniacal first husband, one can't help but laugh out loud. Save your credits or money. This one is a waste of either.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amber
  • Salmon, ID, United States
  • 11-23-09

Not bad . . . .

Not a bad listen. I have to say I'm not fond of the violence against a pregnant woman. Other than that, I enjoyed the plot, which moved along nicely. The characters were also very interesting. I would recomend this book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jane
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • 06-14-17

I enjoyed most of this story.

But a few things made me mad - see spoilers.

Jake said half of a sentence which caused a misunderstanding. Victoria didn’t tell the whole story to Jake about her pregnancy which caused another misunderstanding.

I would give 4 or 5 stars to the story, but the mis-communications brought it down to 3 for me. I don’t want to be mad when I read.

I read the paperback several years ago and just now did the audiobook. In my first review of this book I was not angry about two spoilers. In fact I wrote the following about the second spoiler: “ I was impressed with the author coming up with a conflict based on mis-communication, but no one was lying or being vague. Victoria was honest but Jake didn't believe her, and his reasons for not believing her were logical.” I have totally changed my mind. I didn’t like that conflict this time. I blame Victoria for not explaining better. I disagree with myself.

Jake is the only ranch hand who is protecting three women from rape. He told the women not to leave the house and to trust him. He needs to leave the ranch for a couple days as part of his plan to take over the ranch. He tells Emma that he is leaving but he doesn’t say he’ll be back. So the three women now think he is gone forever and they leave in the middle of the night. Stupid that he let them think the wrong thing. And of course Victoria is mad for a long time saying “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming back?”

McLane stuck his finger inside Victoria on their wedding night which broke her hymen. But he was never able to do the sex act. He was impotent around her. So when Jake has sex with Victoria he believes McLane previously had sex with her. He believes her baby is McLane’s, not his. Victoria is stupid by not telling the whole story to Jake. She doesn’t say how her hymen was broke. She doesn’t say more details about how McLane tried to have sex but was impotent with her. Also Jake didn’t know how Victoria could know she was pregnant so early. She didn’t try to educate him. She just let him believe all the wrong things for several months. Finally he believes the local whore who tells Jake that McLane admitted impotence with Victoria.

I also did not like that Victoria wanted to kill the breeding stallion Rubio because Rubio accidentally killed someone. Victoria let him out and shooed him onto the plains. That was financially stupid. She could have sold him, not given him to whomever finds him.

Natalie Ross did a great job. She is consistently good at narrating.

Narrative mode: 3rd person. Story length: 329 pages. Swearing language: Jesus Christ used once. Sexual language: mild. Number of sex scenes: 9-13. Setting: 1866 New Mexico cattle ranch. Copyright: 1990. Genre: western historical romance.

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One of my favorites!

Linda Howard's early books are exceptional for those who love romance. This one is a sure winner!

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  • benoibe
  • New Orleans, LA, United States
  • 01-25-12

Im on the fence. Rough at times, but interesting.

This isn't Howard's best. But it is an interesting story about the west during/after the civil war.
The main male character is quite rough at times, and he even struck the his wife while she was pregnant. However, I really liked all the female characters. Their struggle to survive was very moving.
While the book fell in the end bc of a belabored plot, I still found myself very invested in the story.
I would hesitantly recommend this book. It's is perhaps a C+\ B-. But the heroines: Victoria, Celia and Emma get an A+. They are very engaging. It's the meanness, lack of trust and unexpected violence of the male character, Jake, that drags this book down in the end. He has been thru hell, and so it's somewhat understandable that he is so untrusting. It just seems like the man is bipolar. He was gentle and kind in the beginning of the relationship with Victoria. Then once he's married to her, he loses his kind ways and seems to lose his mind as well.

Again I was very interested in the book, listening to it in one sitting. It's just not a perfect love story, which often is reality. So I'm on the fence with this one. If you like Linda howard, it's worth a read. But not her best work by far.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • S
  • 05-20-11


First off, this was not a western. It was a VERY long-winded story about one of the most prudish, overly-modest, and physically naive women I have ever come across in print. Chapter after boring chapter went on and on about her and her shocked modesty. This was also not a romance. When the heroine was forced to sleep with the hero, she described her so-called night of passion as "painfully intimate." And the "hero" was no hero at all as he did not have one endearing quality throughout the entire book. It did not shock me that he dabbled in domestic violence.

There was also absolutely no story here. Ninety-nine percent of the book took place in the same dull house and dealt with the same flat characters who discussed their same boring thoughts on the dictates of modesty. Even the characters who were supposed to be villainous were a total bust. The only one of interest was Angelina, the raunchy ranch prostitute and she didn't stick around for long. Can't believe this one made it to print.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Cindy
  • OKlahoma
  • 04-28-10

oh wow

What a great story.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

This was a good western romance.

I enjoyed it.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful