Both were wounded in the same train robbery in frontier Colorado and left on Abigail McKenzie's doorstep to nurse back to life.
Gentle, loving David, promising her a happiness she'd lost hope of finding, was all a lady could wish for.
Jesse stood for everything she hated: he was rude, violent, roughly handsome and disturbingly sensual.
But it was Jesse's mocking mouth that troubled her dreams, Jesse who made her feel a hundred things a lady should never know, Jesse who challenged her every waking hour. She fought him with all the stiff propriety her stubborn will commanded ... but in her burned the aching embers of love too long denied--love that would force her to a choice no woman should ever have to make...
Comment: This is one of the some titles by ms Spencer I have in my TBR list. The author has a good reputation in writing romantic stories so I decided to go through the titles that interested me in her backlist. This is another one of them but in the end I wasn't completely sold on it.
This is the story of Abigail McKenzie, a 30 something spinster who decides she might as well earn some money taking care of two men who were shot in an alleged train robbery. One of them is the man who stopped the robber and the other is the robber himself. Abigail is a very proper lady, she doesn't have much money now but she is thinking about finding work when the doctor says he can't take care of the two men but would pay who could. What she didn't count on was Jesse, the robber who treats her differently than anyone and with whom she can't help but fight and argue with. But is it hate or dislike what's really behind their animosity?
I liked the beginning of this story. A spinster lady taking care of two different man, she would obviously fall for one of them, even more obvious is the man himself which seems wrong for her but in the end is rally the one who loves her and deserves her. The idea isn't new, the slight love triangle neither, but to be honest the last chapters made me lower my grade. What I thought would be better than average came down after I read the last chapters and that ending.
The book is basically focused on how Abigail feels about each men and why we are led to believe Jesse is the choice she should make. Even more so because she has more time to develop her relationship with him rather than David and we see it all, so we are always ware of everyone's feelings. I understand Abigail, her need to secure a life, despite all the disappointments and emotional hardships she suffered through. I liked the practical side of her and of course her lack of control when dealing with Jesse and her response to him are the elements the story needed to show us she feels the same as everyone else and deserves true love.
Abigail and Jesse's relationship starts antagonic, but with time spent together, they start to make an opinion about the other and their feelings deepen. Then Jesse needs to leave and precisely when their feelings are on its higher level. At this point I knew they would end up together but the conflict would be when would Abigail find out about Jesse's true identity (of course he's no thief) and the secret he kept from her regarding David. Then things start to go downhill for plot reasons but personally I felt they were over the top. I'm certain the author could have achieved the same result with different tactics or paths.
Abigail is in love with Jesse, we know that even if she doesn't say it out loud. But now Jesse's gone, David is here and to stay because of a legal issue and they start to be friends again, spending time together, the other people want to see them marry, eventually Abigail says yes because she doesn't think she'll see Jesse again. At this point I still knew Jesse and Abigail would be together but the way things were David might get hurt by that - oh the curse of all love triangles.
I don't want to spoiler anything for potential readers, but let's just say Jesse comes back and tells Abigail how he feels and they end up together. Fine there is a HEA. But the way David finds out is bad and sincerely, I think it wasn't up to Abigail's behavior, her emotional side, her practical and ladylike attitude either. Then, to top it up, Jesse and Abigail decide to do something that really bothered me and not in one million years I think it's logical - when they are both smart apparently - or clever of them. Even if one considers the romantic side of their actions or how this is supposed to be one of those "I only need love to be happy" cute but unlikely decisions, I still think it was a bad call.
The author has talent, she does know how to write and present a romance, some might work better than others of course, but in this case, after all the talk about losing up but still being who you are, could Abigail really act so impulsively? It feels like it's just something to exaggerate her being in love and finally acknowledging her happiness. I don't think I enjoyed this as much and it feels like stepping down from a higher step, in a way.
I hope the other novels I have to read are romantic yes, but not with reckless or unlikely behaviors or actions.