Heartbreak Creek by Kaki Warner (Runaway Brides #1)
July 5, 2011
Reviewed by Mandi
Edwina Ladoux has endured some tough times. Living in southern Louisiana, she was once the bell of the town, Growing up privileged and frivolous, but then the civil war came and now that the war is done, she has nothing left. No family, except for her half-sister Pru whom she is very close with. With no money, and her once beautiful house turned over to the bank, Edwina doesn’t have a lot of options. She sees in the paper an ad that catches her eye. A Mr. Declan Brodie from Heartbreak Creek, Colorado is in need of a wife to help him on his ranch and take care of his four children. Feeling desperate and a little wild, Edwina answers the ad. They get married by proxy before they even meet each other. Edwina marries him on two conditions. One, they must wait three months before their marriage is consummated, and two, she must be able to bring Pru with her.
She soon takes the journey of a lifetime to Colorado and meets her future husband, his crazy kids, and then has to learn to actually clean, cook, and be a wife.
Heartbreak Creek starts a new series by Kaki Warner. I loved her previous western series, Blood Rose and was very excited to get my hands on this book. I have to say, I love this one even more than her previous books. It is so well written, with such likable, warm and funny characters, and enough action and romance to make this book all around wonderful.
When Edwina first is introduced to her husband, she mistakes him for a ranch helper, not her actual husband. One of the townspeople refers to him as “Big Bob” and he is aloof and she thinks – a little dense.
“How did you get your name?” she asked in near desperation. “Big Bob is…unusual.” Surely his parents wouldn’t have named him that.
He turned his head and frowned at her.
Edwina frowned back, unable to decide what lay behind that flat stare. Amusement? Interest? Nothing?
“Well,” he finally said, facing the road again. “I’m big.”
Edwina gasped. “Are you? I hadn’t noticed.”
From here these two kind of butt heads. Although Edwina was raised to be a gently bred lady, she is not afraid to try new things. She may not know how to cook and raise kids (this is where Pru’s guidance greatly comes in) but she wants to learn. Although the thought of living with this stranger terrifies her, she has nothing to go back to. She is so quick witted, she really made me laugh a lot in this book.
Declan (his middle name happens to be Robert, hence the “Big Bob”) is really a sweetheart. It just takes awhile for that side to come out.He doesn’t talk a lot, and has so much going on with his kids and his ranch. His wife died four years ago and there are unresolved circumstances surrounding her death. The last few months of their marriage has him quite scared to marry again. But he has no choice with four kids to take care of. He was expecting a sturdy woman to help him with chores, and instead he gets a very thin woman who can’t even cook dinner. But he quickly realizes she is feisty, and willing to learn. And with the calming prescience of Pru there to train her, all falls into place. Before he knows it he is in love, and it is just the sweetest thing ever. Declan really stole my heart.
While Kaki Warner never puts explicit sex scenes in her books (I weep – kidding – not really), the romance is still very present in this book. Edwina has been married before, but her sexual encounter with her husband didn’t go off very well, and then he was shipped off to war. So she is terrified she may not live up to Declan’s expectations. Plus she is obsessed that her chest is not “pointy” enough:
“It’s me.” Battling an urge to weep, Edwina planted her elbows on the table and dropped her head into her hands. “Men have never found me attractive. Probably because I’m not pointy.”
“Here we go,” Pru murmured.
Her romance with Declan starts very slow and Kaki Warner teases us with these sexy looks between the two of them and Declan’s promise for what is to come in the bedroom gets Edwina (and me) in a tizzy.
“Good evening, Declan,” she called to him.
His head came up. For a moment, he went utterly still. Then as she started down toward him, his lips parted on a deep breath. He didn’t smile, nor did his expression betray his thoughts, but she saw his big hands tighten on the hat brim until the edge curled in his fingers.
“Ed,” he said.
That’s all. Just Ed. But hearing it spoken in his deep voice, and feeling the impact of that dark, unwavering stare made her feel more beautiful than she ever had.
I really wish we could have gotten to actually see what happens in the bedroom. We get a quick glimpse (more than her previous series), but they are pretty much fade to black sex scenes. These two have such great chemistry in the book, I would have loved to have more descriptive sex scenes. I’m greedy, what can I say.
Declan also has an Indian after him, who he had put in jail years ago when he was Sherriff of Heartbreak Creek. The Indian wants revenge, and Declan knows his new wife and kids are in danger. There was just enough of this villain in the book to bring in some nice suspense.
Pru has a little side romance going of her own, and she is also half-black (her and Edwina share the same father). The color of her skin comes into play as it would in 1870. I really like her – she is very stoic and put together on the outside but we get small glimpses into her insecurities.
We also briefly meet Lucinda and Maddie who I assume will be two future heroines in the series. Lucinda has secrets and I can’t wait to learn more about her. Maddie’s Scottish husband went off to war five years ago, and has only wrote two letters. She loves to talk about her sex life with him before he left, usually embarrassing everyone around her. I love her and I believe the next book in the series features her and her long lost husband.
Heartbreak Creek is such a good book!!! I couldn’t stop smiling when I read this and even called my mom and my friends and told them to kindle it immediately. Everything came together – the romance is sweet and sexy, the characters are funny and warm, and the action added a bit of drama. Overall, this book is just fabulous.