The Talisman by Christine Young
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4
Buy at: www.roguephoenixpress.com
This is the 4th book in the Lakota/Pinkerton series
Dakota's Bride, My Angel, The Locket, The Talisman, and Forever His
Hot, dry air scorched the prairie grass. Sweat slid along his spine. Danger clung to every whisper; seemed to swirl and grow with each passing second. Ivan Civanovich watched the woman below. With deadly purpose, he studied the lady who had hired him--the woman who had bought his gun and perhaps death.
"Reckless courage," Ivan mused.
"Si Senor, she does have what you call a great courage, but I don’t know about the reckless part. She is always so very careful," Pedro said.
"I’m a dangerous man, Pedro."
"This is why she hired you."
"The lady has no business hiring men like me. She’s a woman. She is supposed to nurture lives."
"She needs you to keep the bad men from taking the land away--our home," Pedro said.
Ivan pushed the tip of his hat back from his brows. From his vantage point, he considered the woman while she hung the freshly laundered white sheets on the line. A strange shudder swept through him, his muscles tensing with the sudden feeling he knew this woman, had known her forever. The sensations were too strong, the feelings too acute, and it troubled him because knowing her was impossible.
Her hair, a wild mop of red curls, battled with the stiff, hot wind rising off the prairie. The breeze and her hair flowed in undulating currents between the lines, threatening to tangle themselves in the wire. She bent over at the waist, giving him a perfect view of her backside while she toyed with something on the ground. Seconds later she picked up the object of her curiosity, turned it over in her hands then tossed it aside.
He didn’t like to think about what could happen to her in the next few weeks. She’d advertised for a gun for a hire. She didn’t know what she bargained for, and he’d bet his inheritance she didn’t have any idea what kind of trouble she’d purchased.
When she looked up the hill, his grin widened. She couldn’t see him, but her shoulders tensed and she sucked air. Her hand touched her forehead, shielding her eyes from the blinding sunlight. She scanned the horizon, turning a complete circle before she stopped.
"Good," he said, "she is cautious."
"She knows someone is up here," Pedro announced.
"She’s got more starch in her drawers and the stiffest backbone of any woman I’ve ever seen." Ivan whistled through his teeth, his eyes intent and focused upon the woman.
"Si." Pedro agreed. "She sure enough does but her heart is made of spun gold."
Ivan wiped the back of his hand across his forehead. Beads of sweat dripped down his back. His gaze swept across the barren landscape then followed the line of trees that bordered the creek. He lifted the glasses to his eyes and turned his attention to a spot about a mile north of her ranch. The railroad wanted easement rights. So why wouldn’t she sell to them. "Spun gold, huh." He dropped the binoculars, letting them dangle from their strap around his neck.
"I see." Ivan leaned forward, resting his forearm on the saddle horn.
Ivan wasn’t sure he understood. Women had a lot of fine qualities, many of which he didn’t want to live without but a soft, feminine heart shouldn’t be deciding life and death matters.
Spun gold. No, he’d never met a female with a heart of gold, spun or otherwise. He’d never known a woman who wouldn’t betray a man for a piece of gold. Save one, he amended, and his best friend had married her. Alexi Popov had his trials too. He had kidnapped Angela and spirited her away to his home in the Crimea. In the end though, he gave up his title, his land, and most of his wealth for Angela. He followed her back to America and married her.
Rogue Phoenix Press
Rating: 4 Cups
Moriah is a bit exotic for the frontier town in which she settled. She has trained as a doctor, she is wealthy, she is divorced, and she has four children with no father in sight. Her only friends in the area are the whores and owner of Maggie’s place.
Ivan is a gun for hire. He lost his faithless wife and young son many years before and has no interest in love. When he sees Moriah, the legend connected with the heirloom armband he wears comes back to him vividly.
A corrupt preacher and Moriah’s brutal ex-husband are determined to steal her land and money from her. The preacher, in fact, has already arranged to sell the land to the railroad and is threatening Moriah and her four children. Moriah is forced to hire someone to protect them. Ivan Civanovich is all that she could ask for and too easy to fall in love with.
This is a wonderful tale, full of action, emotion and a bit mystical at times. Ivan and Moriah each have a silver armband set with amber, an heirloom in their families. They are unlikely soul mates at first, but the author creates a very engrossing love story for them. There are no half measures here at all, the heroes are very good and brave and the villains have absolutely no redeeming qualities. Sometimes it is nice to not have to make a decision whether to love or hate a character. The only part of the story that I did not love was the ending of the subplot of Etta and St. John. I know that there is a sequel coming but things stopped a little too abruptly there. Enjoy this one.
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More
Drawing on St. Patrick's Day
$10.00 Starbucks e-GC
copy of my novella Star Crossed
copy of my novella The Gift
$5.00 Rogue Phoenix Press Gift Card
Happy St.Patrick's Day