The Theme: Historical Romance
The Book: Seduced by Molly O’Keefe
Why it was in my TBR pile: I believed I picked this up while it was on sale. SuperWendy reviewed this book on her blog and enjoyed it. Since, I have a soft spot for Westerns it was an easy buy!
Melody Hurst’s days as a Southern belle are over. Now she’s widowed and alone in the foothills of the Rockies, struggling to make a life in a dangerous world. She’s determined to secure a future by marrying – but love is out of the question.
Cole Baywood has turned bounty hunter after serving in the horrors of the Civil War, but the ghosts of the men and women he’s killed still haunt him. He’s drawn to the beautiful widow trying to seduce him, only the darkness in his soul forces him to reject her. Is it possible that Melody’s touch can heal the demons of his past? And how can he convince a woman who has lost so much to risk her heart?
When I picked this book out of my Kindle for the TBR Challenge, I didn’t realize all the angst I was about to dive into. The book isn’t long – only 173 pages or so – but OMG, it’s packed full of emotion and action.
The heroine Melody has been warn down by life. The War forced her to make some tough choices – choices she regrets in so many ways. Her husband is an abusive brute and her entire goal is to get through the day without a beating for herself or her younger sister, Annie. It’s unusual – to say the least – in romance novels to find a heroine married when the book starts unless it’s to the hero. O’Keefe took a huge chance here but I have to tell you, it works. Melody’s character development, the way her and Cole fall in love, would not have been as impactful without the glimpse of her life BC (Before Cole!).
The book opens with Melody’s husband hunting down Steven, a man who “cheated” him. When they arrive at Steven’s farm, Melody’s husband shoots Steven in the stomach, leaves him for dead, and promptly takes off for Denver to find an oil prospector. Melody and Annie hide Steven and work hard to save his life by giving him medical attention. This very act of defiance is terrifying to Melody – she knows if her husband uncovers what they’ve done, he will hurt them.
Melody’s husband returns with an oil prospector in tow – Cole. Cole has his own reasons for showing up at the farm. He’s lied to Melody’s husband because he’s on a mission to find his brother, Steven. The exact same brother Melody and her sister Annie have hidden and are nursing back to health.
Cole’s character is strong but he’s also uncertain. The War has taken so much from him – his family, his friends – and he is fumbling with who he will be in this strange new world. How much of himself has he lost? Does he even still believe in love? He’s the type of hero I absolutely adore. He thinks about what he wants, goes after it and isn’t willing to settle for anything less. Cole stumbles and falls a bit in his pursuit of Melody but it is precisely those stumbles that make him so enduring.
I loved this book. My only complaint was that it could have been longer. The shift in Melody’s and Cole’s relationship was a bit fast given the circumstances, but this is a minor quibble. If you like interesting and unique historicals, then I definitely think you should give this one a try.