Sierra Bride by Jenna Kernan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I liked this book a lot. It’s different from the other two books by Ms. Kernan that I have read and enjoyed, but that’s good. I like to see an author doing different things and mixing it up. One thing that was similar, and the most important thing, is Ms. Kernan’s ability to write a story that engages me, and her penchant for troubled characters falling in love with each other.
• Sam was a sexy guy. He had charisma. I loved that Sam built himself from the ground up, from a very troubled past. He did something to survive that really tortured him, and made him feel unworthy of love. He wasn’t always the most honorable guy in the way he interacted with Kate, but he still showed her a lot of TLC, which counts for more in my book. Normally, I don’t like mistress storylines very much. Sam didn’t have honest intentions towards Kate initially, which bothered me. He saw the fire in her and thought she was sexy, so he wanted to get her into his bed. He didn’t really think about that being the last thing a woman who was trying to stay respectable would need. That struck me as being a little selfish of him (although he was more than willing to provide for her material needs), which made me unhappy with Sam. However, it was clear that there was a powerful attraction between Sam and Kate, and that had me interested. As I continued to read, I could see why Sam avoided marriage. He had two reasons: fear of commitment because of being rejected by the family who adopted his brother but left him because he was older, and also because of his feelings of unworthiness as a person. Ms. Kernan did a good job of showing that Sam was a down-to-earth guy, who might not have had a formal education, but he was smart and motivated. Who could ask for anything more in a hero? Although he was a rich man with access to anything he wanted, he was still an earthy man, which was very appealing! And he lacked the one thing he truly needed, the love and devotion of a good woman.
• Kate was tough, a survivor. She was also giving and self-sacrificing. She had scars from the loss of her family, and the fact that she felt responsible for her sister being blind. Also, from her marriage to a controlling, bullying man who used her for his own gain, and destroyed her reputation with his swindling ways. She was happy to be free and independent again, even if it made for long days and uncertain finances. She saves Sam’s life, and for her thanks, she gets pursued by him to be his mistress. At first, Kate says no, but her aunt will lose her house if she doesn’t go through with it. In any case, a temporary mistress stint would allow her freedom that being trapped in marriage had denied her the first time around. Although she agreed to be Sam’s mistress because of the financial necessity her family faced, she liked him and was very attracted to him. I like that Kate stood by Sam, even after finding out his terrible secret, and when he’s in danger from his competitors. She actually ends up saving Sam’s life twice. What a woman!
• The chemistry between Kate and Sam was hot. The love scenes were very passionate and fiery! I like how Sam was patient about Kate’s fears of intimacy, and cared about her pleasure, which wasn’t the case with her loser, deceased husband.
• Sam and Kate were both sweeties. I also liked Sam’s best friend, Cole. Sam and Cole’s friendship survived some truly horrible events, which is great, since we all need friends who will stand by us thick and thin.
• I must add that I liked the action/adventure elements very much. What’s a good western without one shootout? And the flood was a nice bonus. Another area in which Ms. Kernan excels.
Although I thought I would like this book, just based on my past experience reading Jenna Kernan, it was also a surprise that I found so many hidden depths to this story and our hero. Sam is one of those tough guys that I feel is just begging to be hugged, even if he doesn’t know it
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