// REVIEW \\ The Marshal and Kate, Stevie MacFarlane

The Marshal and Kate:
Come Sundown – Book Two
by Stevie MacFarlane

Photo by Kayley Dlugos on Pexels.com

There were so many things I liked about this book, from the glimpses of Carrie-Ann (though Micah was sadly missing), to its strong female characters (especially the main female protagonist) along with the well written suspense/adventure elements. We first met Kate and Martin in book one of the series, though this story can very much be read stand alone, as any information you need is cleverly woven into the plot.

Having enjoyed the glimpses of Kate that we got in The Rancher and Carrie-Ann, which let to me forming a very positive opinion about her. I was very relieved to find her just as strong, forthright and self-sufficient in this book. She was very believable as an independent woman in a time when most were considered the property of their father or husband. Her strength was forged through adversity and Kate has a very dark backstory.

Martin is a wonderful alpha male, all protective and moody with a sexy, smouldering demeanour. Kate doesn’t particularly enjoy his penchant for spanking her, and I have a feeling she never will either. Unlike some “spanking” books, this actually kept the punishments fairly brief, and focused much more on plot, character building and action.

For some reason I never felt like I knew, or perhaps understood, Martin as well as I did Kate. The connection felt more superficial, though this was because I didn’t feel the same depth of emotional connection rather than there being an issue with characterisation. Martin most definitely had personality and was well-rounded with dimension to his character.

The plot was very enjoyable, with quite a chunk of it set outside of the small town they all live in. Whilst the suspense element wasn’t the most complicated set up, I preferred it as such because it was both believable and entertaining. This is turning into a really good historical series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre – Historical Romance

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56485435-the-marshal-and-kate

A hot romance is kicking up some dust in the old west! A sexy Marshal, looking to rope his woman, is about to find himself smack dab in the middle of a mystery. The woman he craves is up to her pretty neck in murder and mayhem!
Kate McKutchin has her share of problems. Strong, proud, and fiercely independent, having a man in her life is a complication, but she’s unable to resist the attentions of Martin MacPherson.  His midnight raids leave her breathless and sated.  Oh, Kate knows the townsfolk gossip about her, however, that is the least of her worries. She has far darker secrets in her past, ones she hopes will never make it this far west.

Marshal Martin MacPherson is stuck on Kate and has been from the moment she first appeared in town.  She’s troublesome to be sure, but her embrace is one he longs for and it’s his intention to make their relationship permanent. The beautiful redhead has refused him more times than he can count, making him a bit of a territorial joke. Determined to win her he’s not above using a little over-the-knee encouragement, but Kate remains firm.  She cannot marry him. It’s not until a wanted poster crosses the marshal’s desk that he begins to wonder just who Kate McKutchin really is.

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// REVIEW \\ Tricked by Claire Thompson

Tricked
by Claire Thompson

I’ll start my review by repeating the warning on the blurb – this is NOT a romance, it is a dark, erotic suspense. A story that totally captivated me and that I read in one sitting!


Callie was more than a little naive, but I won’t judge her initial choices and actions because one needs to remember that she was the victim here. She didn’t go out looking to be abducted, raped and kept as a sex slave. The fault totally lies with her captor, Damon, who lied and manipulated an innocent young woman for his own nefarious desires. How dark you find this will depend on how affected you are by non-consensual acts, it’s also a very subjective description. The hope and determination Callie fostered within herself kept this from feeling overly hopeless or black.


I loved the honesty of Callie’s responses, her silent, and very barbed, responses to Damon proved what a brave and resilient young woman she was. She chose her battles and actions wisely, she used her common sense to keep herself as safe and sane as was possible in such harrowing circumstances. I want to say Damon was pure evil, but that would be untrue. He was unbalanced, he was bad, but he did have some moments of decency. His childhood recollections/flashbacks and the way his father treated him did offer some insight into how his psyche had become so twisted and corrupt but ultimately his selfish nature had him making the wrong choices.


As this is most definitely not a romance of any shape, size or description, I would class the ending as HEA. However it is a very positive ending, one filled with hope and possibility. Go on, be brave and give this a try.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre – Dark Erotic Suspense
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56217037-tricked
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PXD4FJP/

She dreams of a dark Master who claims her as his captive. Until the fantasy becomes all too real…

Callie is an innocent, her head filled with submissive ideas of a strong, sexy guy taking full control. When she connects online with a kindred spirit on an adults-only chat site, she shares all her secret abduction fantasies. They agree to meet for dinner, but when Callie arrives, it’s not her new friend Diana who is waiting for her, but the dark, sexy Master of her dreams… or is he her worst nightmare?

Warning: This Dark Obsessions novel is an edgy captive tale. Read only if you dare… 

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// REVIEW \\ Protecting It All

Protecting It All
(The Punishment Pit #6)
by Livia Grant

Well Livia Grant certainly saved the best until last. Or at least last for now since a “series 2” is already in the pipeline.


I’ve had my ups and downs with this series, so it was a great relief to end on a truly big “up”. The fact that this book didn’t really include much D/s or BDSM seems very telling. Generally I enjoy the author’s style of writing, but I did find myself agreeing with one reviewer who spoke of how the punishments seemed more important than the welfare of the submissive. I get that this is fiction, and clearly many readers have enjoyed the books, I just struggled with the men never seeming to atone for their wrongs yet going over the top in their punishment of the submissive for the slightest transgression. Particularly given that one was pretty much still a sub-in-training.


However I’m digressing form Protecting It All, which is a great romantic suspense and even though it was insta-love I still found myself believing in Dylan and Hannah’s emotions. Probably more so Dylan but that’s because he’s already a little obsessed by Hannah before she’s even really acknowledged his existence. Whilst we do get some Lukas/Marcus/Tiffany/Brianna scenes, most of the book was either from Dylan or from Hannah’s POV, so it gave it a bit of a “spin off” feel. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed it more, I wasn’t carrying any previous baggage for the two MC’s of this book.


I am wondering if you could read this one stand alone. A part of me thinks that you could, but I’ve read the other books so can’t be sure. I really did enjoy this one though, and I do recommend it. 

Photo by Ellen Araujo on Pexels.com

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre- Erotic Romantic Suspense

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54818820-protecting-it-all

Protecting it All is book six in the deliciously dark and dirty Punishment Pit series that readers are devouring. 
He would protect her with his life. 

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// REVIEW \\ Inferno by Jade C. Jamison

Inferno
(Feverish #3)
by Jade C. Jamison

Photo by Thibault Trillet on Pexels.com

Whilst Dane is part of a well known band, I loved how this wasn’t all about him being a muso, focusing instead on how damage done in childhood can still impact us as an adult. It also allowed us to see both main characters grow as individuals.


Both Dane and Charlie have issues, particularly around self-worth and self-esteem. Whilst Dane’s loving family has kept him fairly sociable, if a little wary of new people, Charlie really doesn’t relate well to people, and struggles to let others in. Naturally this leads to a few ups and downs in relationship terms, particularly as they both struggle to be open and vulnerable with one another. Whilst an honest conversation would have avoided some of the trouble that beset them, it wouldn’t have fitted with how they were written.


I did find Charlie a little difficult to connect to at first, which wasn’t surprising as she’s a very guarded individual, which the author portrayed perfectly. However, as she opened up to Dane, and as we learnt more of her life, I gradually came to understand her quickly finding myself as enamoured of her as I was with Dane. I did want to smack Dane around the head when he sent Charlie that text, but other than that the guy was pretty amazing. A strong male without being overbearing or too alpha.


The prose flowed smoothly, making this a really easy to read story, the plot felt totally believable and the pace was perfect for holding my attention. I really enjoyed the story, reading it felt effortless and I quickly found myself immersed in it. Perhaps I would have liked just a little more internal monologue, a little more self reflection by both characters on their decisions and choices. The book didn’t necessarily need that though, it would totally come under the remit of “personal preference”.


Inferno can totally be read as a stand alone story, and carefully avoids spoilers for other books in the series. It’s a dual point of view book, written in first person and one that I am more than happy to recommend. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre- Rock Star Romance
Amazon- https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08Q4G1KLL/

His past was supposed to stay in the past.
Dane, Last Five Seconds’ drummer, is the “quiet” one. It’s not just because his bandmates are boisterous and love sucking up the limelight.
It’s part of who he is, where he comes from. But he’s determined to break free from the chains of his past.
When it catches up to him, his comfortable world shatters, leaving him with an injured back and an inability to perform his work onstage. To get back on the road as soon as possible, he undergoes physical therapy to aid with his recovery.
Enter Charlie. As his physical therapist, she’s a hell of a caregiver, but she’s also feisty. Sometimes she’s abrupt. And snappy. And downright rude. And, like Dane, she’s got a few hidden scars.
But Dane sees something inside her, something that speaks to him. Although Charlie holds him at arm’s length, even after he’s no longer her patient, Dane is finally able to penetrate her armor. While his scars have never fully healed, hers go even deeper.
As they work through their pasts together, Dane is convinced it will make them stronger, but can they ever move beyond their insecurities and hang ups enough to trust each other…or are they destined to be alone?

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// REVIEW \\ The Explorer by Elin Peer

The Explorer
(Men Of The North #12)
by Elin Peer

Whilst The Explorer is a beautiful, heartwarming tale of love, it is also so much more. There is adventure, political intrigue, cultural exchange and lots of foreshadowing of exciting events that will unfold in future books.


However back to the main event, which is Aubri and Indiana’s story. Once Aubri got over her crushing self-doubt, their path to love was fairly smooth and uneventful. The same cannot be said of the rest of their life, which is where a lot of the interest and excitement is found in this book. And a welcome change it was, as a longer series like this could otherwise become repetitive. That said I still very much enjoyed the romance aspect, which was a well written and totally believable friends-to-lovers tale.


I was quite surprised when I got to the end of this for two reasons. Firstly it had flown and secondly, whilst the love aspect of their story was complete I felt that Aubri, at least, had more to tell us. I’m guessing (hoping?) that we will see her challenge the oppression she experienced in future books. There also felt like there were a few loose ends, but again I believe that these will be dealt with in Banni and Freya’s stories. I can’t wait to see how these play out, and will definitely be waiting with baited breath for the next book!


Elin Peer is a master of writing about personal growth and how humans interact with one another. Through her finely crafted future Earth, and it’s three very different cultures, she opens our eyes to injustices within our societies and our own preconceptions/bias. As an outsider it’s easy to see how each culture has some wonderful traits, but also plenty of quirks, prejudices and intolerances. It can also be a bit of a jab on one’s conscience to try and be more tolerant and accepting, which really gives the story so much extra depth. Roll on the next book as I already want and need more! 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre- Dystopian SFR
Amazon- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08N3J2Z16/

Flirting with danger is Aubri’s idea of fun.
Ever since we were children, I’ve known Aubri wasn’t like other females. She’s the daughter of Magni and Laura Aurelius, who raised her to be a fearless warrior.
Men are blinded by Aubri’s beauty, charm, and social status. Yet, at twenty-seven, no one has succeeded in making her his wife. Starving for adventure, she volunteered for the dangerous work as an Explorer in Old Europe. It’s crazy and the mortality rate alone should’ve made her think twice. But that’s the trouble with my friend; she thinks she’s immortal. My hardest job right now is protecting her from herself.
Indiana’s and Aubri’s life-long friendship is put to the test as they find themselves settling into a new life far from home. Her unpredictable and impulsive behavior drives him mad. Without the watchful eyes of her family, Aubri finally feels free to test, try, and discover.
Influenced by the Europeans’ relaxed relationship with sex, Aubri develops a fascination that puts Indiana in a difficult bind. Will he break his promise to Aubri’s father and let her explore while she can? Or will he do what no one has managed to do before: make her see reason?

// REVIEW \\ Prey

Prey
(Omega Prey #1)
by L.V. Lane

Reviews on Goodreads mentioned the book having lots of typos/grammatical errors, perhaps the book has been updated because I didn’t notice them. What I did notice is that the author is British, as am I, so it might just be that she wrote using our grammar, wordage and spelling. All I can say is “Suck it up buttercup” because we have to mentally translate all those books written to suit the American market. 😂


I found this to be a really fun, light read, very low on angst between the main protagonists but with a nice amount of peril thrown in to add enough interest. It was an “easy” read, one that doesn’t feel like an effort or need a lot of brain power but one that entertains nevertheless.


The male characters were clearly distinct from one another and had defined personalities, which many authors fail to achieve in stand alone RH stories. The story arc involving the Blighten needed just a bit more fleshing out and progressing a little further. There needed to be just a few more mentions and the slow drip feeding of more details so that by the end I was invested in that part of the story line.


The time spent building the male characters and developing each individual relationship with Belle did feel like it came somewhat at the expense of plot development. We seemed to spend a lot of time at Belle’s cottage, with the journey to her new home feeling rushed. Moving some of that character building so that it took place during the journey, would have made the book feel more balanced to me. That said, I did like how the Silas and his brothers gently led Belle into her first heat rather than just forcing her into anything and that did require a slower pace.


Belle really amused me, even if she was occasionally stroppy and frequently bratty, and almost just for the sake of it. There were times when I was cheering her on with this – especially when she was thwarting the brothers’ attempts at disciplining or controlling her. In fact I loved that wilful and belligerent streak, it was fun to see Silas, Nate, Dax and Bram realise that they might own her body, heart and soul but they would never truly control her.


Personally I would disagree with the view of others that there is no/little world building in the book. It isn’t the most complex and layered one, but there is a distinct feel to the society/world in which the books is set along with what life is like. It is omegaverse and as such there are innate rules and expectations, just as there are for an MC or mafia book. I wouldn’t expect any of those tropes to explain the rules/expectations in great detail to me.


I did find myself believing in the connection between Belle and her men. Did it feel rushed? At times yes, but a good deal of that is part of the alpha/omega bonding dynamic rather than poor writing. The bite and resulting bond opens up an emotional connection and that aspect was very nicely portrayed throughout the story. I would definitely read more work by this author. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre- Omegaverse PNR

Goodreads-
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53351591-prey

I am prey.
This is not pity talking, this is an acknowledgment of a fact. I am small and weak; I am an Omega. I am a prize that men war over.
For a year I have hidden in the distant corner of the Empire. But I am running out of food, and I am running out of options. That I must leave soon is not a decision for today, though, but a decision for tomorrow. Only tomorrow’s choices never come.
For tonight brings strangers who remind me that I am prey.

Publisher’s Note: Prey is a fantasy reverse harem omegaverse with three stern Alphas, an Alpha wolf-shifter, and a stubborn Omega prey. It includes smoking hot sexual situations, spankings, and domestic discipline.

// REVIEW \\ Her Broken Alpha

HER BROKEN ALPHA
by Isoellen

The perfect soft to my hard, laughter to my growl.

Can I just say, **swoon**?

The author has taken the world of omegaverse, written a grumbly, growly, alpha male who is very VERY much in charge of things but given it softer edges and gentler mores. There are all the expected – required! – elements, such as bonding, knots and slick, but where some Alpha’s seem to be all take and no give, Monster/Darre balanced his domination with incredible caring and gentleness.

His hands were perfection – big and rough. She was small and delicate in comparison. He gave her the gift of feeling infinitely cherished. It made her so happy, she felt as bright as the sun streaming into the room, as if she could glow forever and a day with the feelings he inspired.

Naya could so easily have been a weak as dishwater, doormat type character but somehow she wasn’t. In fact she felt the exact opposite. I found her to be resilient, strong yet flexible, so as to whether the tempest that is her Alpha. I quite simply adored this pair and very much enjoyed their journey.

She ignored him as he growled and snapped at her. She wasn’t one of those betas and drones frightened of his snarls. She’d given him her mark. She’d obey him, but she would not fear him.

The portrayal of their bond was so incredibly well done, not only convincing me of the depth of their feelings but also how perfectly suited they were for one another. Naya had spent her whole life pleasing others rather than being herself, and Monster had allowed a youthful loss to twist and warp his entire being. Together they found healing, found love, found acceptance and found the most wonderful of futures.

I’m not quite sure how Isoellen achieved it, but along with all the omegaverse tropes, this also had strong elements of romantic suspense about it. If you enjoy omegaverse, or are looking to try your first OV book, then this is one I’d happily recommend to one and all.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre– Omegaverse PNR

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54697656-her-broken-alpha

Naya was a good girl. She never argued or fussed, even when an archaic society demanded she choose a husband and marry.
She had done everything right… Hadn’t she?
So how did she end up here, in the hell they called Sector 2?
Stolen from her home in the dead of night and thrown at the feet of a man that people only dared speak of in whispers, everything has gone horribly wrong in the blink of an eye.
Treachery brought them together, but fate would see them bound.
There was no escaping this crumbling kingdom once the mad monster set his mind, and his heart, on her.

// REVIEW \\ That Night

That Night
(Nadira Holden, Demon Hunter #2)
by Azaaa Davis

That Night was very much a personal journey for Nadira, an almost coming-of-age and definitely one of spiritual enlightenment. It was also a hard fought journey, fraught with heartache and littered with demon-ish deals. Nadira really is stuck between a rock and a hard place. One side don’t trust her, the other side she doesn’t trust, so finding help and information is risky and requires a leap of faith.


I really enjoyed it though I do feel that the world building needs a little more strength to it. Some plot elements were only half explored, or lightly glossed over, others were thrown out there and then ignored. I presume these will be picked up in book 3 but I would query why her “mother’s” invitation was mentioned right at the beginning of the book yet never really explored any further. A little like a maze with sudden dead ends, several story elements seemed to peter out, not really adding depth or growth to the story.


However the overall plot, pace and writing were all very good and, unlike several other recent reads, the book did manage to hold my attention from start to finish. And what a finish it was – though now I’m hoping the author manages to complete book #3 soon because I really need to know what happens next! 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre – Urban Fantasy

Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43890024-that-night

All Nadira Holden wants to preserve the last of her soul and create a new life free of magic, demons, and war.
Her involuntary bond with a succubus makes her desires impossible. The threat of this disgruntled demon possessing her urges Nadira to find the succubus’s missing body.
Nadira’s only hope of avoiding demonic possession lies with Derek, the only demon she can tolerate without slaying. Except, his hands are full trying to secure his recently-inherited title of prince. Desperate, Nadira agrees to help Derek secure his title by experimenting with the deadly magic they once generated in exchange for his aid in her investigation.
To untangle herself from the evil that surrounds her, Nadira must be willing to betray her friends and get cozy with her enemies. She may even have to do the unthinkable: break the peace treaty that allows demons and humans to coexist. If she can’t toss aside her scruples, Nadira may not make it out of this ordeal with her soul intact.

// REVIEW \\ Evgeni’s Obsession by Merel Pierce

Evgeni’s Obsession
(A New Reign #1)
by Merel Pierce

Photo by vierro on Pexels.com

I’ll be honest and say that I beta read this, so I have a slightly vested interest but this is still my genuine opinion of the book.

Back when my kindle was still new and shiny, I discovered a love of mafia romance. I read every single one I could get my hands on, to the point that I overloaded on them and stopped reading them altogether. So I did initially worry about being the right person to read this, but incredibly well written characters and an intriguing storyline soon had me spellbound.

This is NOT an omegaverse, which is what the author is perhaps more well known for, but I’m still happy to recommend this novella serialisation that is fairly slow burn. Despite there being no actual sex scenes in this book, the sexual tension is high with enough scorching chemistry to hold your interest. The opening scenes are a little contrived, though they were given a nice sense of individuality and were definitely required for the set-up of the story.

Great writing meant I soon found myself caught up in the story, loving the not very subtle flirting between Elena and Evgeni and wondering where the tale would take me. Both MC’s were very easy to like, neither is perfect but they are honest characters, both believable and “normal”. Good world building and succinct descriptions readily set the scene. Enough to do a good job of building a mental picture, without being OTT or distracting.

Evgeni, our anti-hero, is actually a fairly decent human being. Well as much as a Bratva member can be, but he does have a sense of decency and integrity that set him above many of his mafia brothers. What really impressed me is that he isn’t portrayed as rich or powerful or indispensable within the organisation. He is, for want of a better description, just a common foot soldier, though one with both drive and ambition.

Elena is no doormat, but wisely chose her battles to pick. She’s a fun-loving girl and I can’t wait to see how she handles the situation with Evgeni. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I do need to comment on how refreshing it was that in later parts of the book she wasn’t led by her libido.

There were times where in other books I would have been rolling my eyes at the heroine’s out of control lust, as in those circumstances sex would be the last thing on your mind. Instead we get a much more realistic response of Elena wondering if/when she (view spoiler) and avoiding being physically close to Evgeni. I did a little happy dance that whilst she might find him attractive it didn’t make her forget the dire situation she is in.

Throughout the book one thing that stood out was how very genuine the emotions felt. The author certainly has a wonderful ability to put you inside her characters heads and hearts and has left me eager for the next book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre– Bratva/Mafia Romance
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55285689-evgeni-s-obsession

She came to Moscow to escape, to forget how her life was falling apart. All sunshine and sweetness, she calls to the predator within me like no other woman has. I think of nothing else.
But she is a good girl, not made for a soldier of the Bratva. I try to keep my distance, but the pull is too strong. Oh, my solnyshko. I fear I cannot let you go.
Fate has gifted you to a monster.

** Evgeni’s Obsession is the first book in a new Bratva dark romance series that features sizzling chemistry, danger, suspense, and a cliffhanger that will leave you gasping for breath**

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// REVIEW \\ The Rancher and Carrie Ann

The Rancher and Carrie Ann:
Come Sundown Book One
by Stevie MacFarlane

I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Stevie MacFarlane books, so I jumped into this not really aware it was a historical romance. However it was a very welcome change of pace, especially as I was struggling with an arc book I should have been loving. At first I thought this would just be a palate cleanser, an easily forgettable read with the same old spanking scenes and a heroine overpowered by an overly dominant man.


Well I was wrong on all counts, I actually found myself being entertained by the story of Carrie Ann and Micah, my only complaint is that I would have loved for the book to be longer! Yes there were a couple of spanking scenes but they really were disciplinary and we didn’t have the heroine overcome with lust after them!


I really quite liked both main characters, they were very easy to warm too and had very clear personalities. There are some great secondary characters and I’m hoping that several of them will be getting their own books – I know Kate will be and I’m very much looking forward to her story! There isn’t really any angst or conflict in the story, so this is perfect for when you want an easier, “lighter” read. The writing is good, the story flows well and the book definitely made me giggle and smile more than once.


There isn’t much more I can say without giving away spoilers, but those last few lines of the epilogue were absolutely perfect and just made me fall in love with Micah that little bit more!


A perfect lazy afternoon, feel good read that I am more than happy to recommend. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Genre- Historical Romance

Amazon- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08KRB1BDW/

“I made a mistake,” Carrie spat out. “I didn’t mean to invite you all on the same night, and in fact, I’m not certain I did. I’m sure one of you just showed up uninvited and it might have been you,” she continued, glaring openly at Micah.
Carrie Ann Meadows is a dreamer, a bit of a schemer, and the prettiest girl in Centerville. If she’d get her nose out of those damn dime novels now and then, she might realize that standing right in front of her is a flesh and blood man willing to do his best to turn her highly unlikely romantic notions into reality.
It’s not until Micah MacPherson stealthy purchases one of those books that he realizes he’s a far cry from the kind of man his Carrie Ann is dreaming about. He’s a rancher who has little time for courting a woman as it is. He doesn’t own fancy cravats, he can’t quote poetry, and he sure as hell isn’t on some social registry for highfalutin fops and dandies.
Micah loves Carrie Ann and he’s waited for her to grow up, but his patience is nearly at its end. She’s either going to marry him, or he’ll be pleased to give her what she so richly deserves and set his sights elsewhere. Surely somewhere there’s a woman who would appreciate a hard-working and devoted rancher with his eye on marriage.

**Disclaimer: A portion of this book was published earlier this year in a limited edition charity anthology. The original short story title was Come Sundown, and it has been extended into a full length novel.
This novel contains mild power exchange elements.