Can Cord and Wilder tame this redhot redhead?
Belle baulks at a marriage of convenience when an accident robs her of her memory. Yes, Cord is rich and handsome, but how could she have agreed to marry a man she's never met? And while his fiery nature sets her heart pounding, she's infuriated by his arrogance. Not like his friend, Deputy Sheriff Wilder, whose gentle charm captivates her.
Taking a destitute widow to wife, a woman he's never laid eyes, on suits Cord perfectly. He has a dark secret—he and Wilder are in love, and this marriage will protect both of them. But Cord finds himself intrigued by Belle's sensual beauty even as he's enraged by her stubborn refusal to obey him.
As for Wilder, try as he might, he can't hate the woman he sees as his rival. The feisty Belle stirs him in a way no one but Cord ever has. He might even be in danger of falling in love with her.
Belle, desperate to leave the town of Maraña and the two men who raise uncomfortable ideas about wanting to settle down, takes a job at the local saloon. Cord and Wilder are horrified she's willing to risk her reputation. Her defiance threatens to turn their former peaceful existence on its head, because there's only one way they can stop her. This scorching triangle is set to explode.
But when a gang of outlaws, a New York City crook, and a bounty hunter all converge on Maraña, it seems Belle's misdeeds have caught up with her.
Is Belle innocent of wrongdoing, or is she a renegade?
When a coach crash robs Belle of her memory, she has no idea why Cord expects her to be his timid new wife. All Cord wants is a marriage of convenience, so his heart can stay with Sheriff Willder.
All three of them are in for one hell of an adventure.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
The story is a standalone. It is split between three narrators.
Belle was supposed to be a dowdy and meek widow, bartered by her late-husband's family, and sent to marry a man she has never met. But a coach crash has her amnesia. With no memory of why she was there, or what she had agreed to, Belle is extremely vocal in her opinions.
She refuses to marry Cord, and determined to be independent, she starts to sing at the local saloon to earn her keep.
Cord is a very rich local landowner who is expected to marry and have sons that will one day take over. The problem is, he is in love with Sheriff Wilder.
So his solution is to marry a destitute widow, who is described as timid. He will provide her with a comfortable life, and she will provide him with heirs, and leave his heart free for Wilder.
When Belle arrives, she is the complete opposite of what he was expecting.
Wilder has been in love with Cord since the day they met. They've had to keep their relationship a secret for years, and he kinda knew that one day Cord would be expected to marry and do the traditional thing.
When Belle arrives, Wilder can't help thinking that she would be the perfect wife for his stubborn lover. And as he gets to know her better, he starts to think that he would marry her, if Cord doesn't.
I have read several books by Jules Radcliffe, and I think this one is my favourite to date.
I always love how they put so much emphasis on giving a historically-correct background, and an intriguing plot, as well as lots of steamy scenes.
This is set in the late 1800's. The town is fictional, but everything else feels so realistic.
For such an entertaining book, it manages to get all of the background and social rules and expectations established quickly, and maintains it throughout.
The plot is fantastic, and I kinda don't want to say too much about what happens, because I don't want to spoil it.
Belle's amnesia was the perfect way to get to know the real person. She gets to explore who she is supposed to be in the eyes of society, and contrast it who she wants to be.
Even without her memories, she is passionate and spirited, and is drawn to both Wilder and Cord.
I loved how the plot led very convincingly down one way, and it made me smile when it changed, especially when you look back and see the clues dotted along.
I thought this was a perfect combination of steamy romance, and a mystery to be solved.
I would definitely recommend this stand-alone as a great introduction to the author.