Breathless by Beverly Jenkins (Old West #2)
Released: January 31, 2017
Reviewed by Mandi
Last year I read the first book in this series, Forbidden, and I enjoyed it but I definitely like Breathless better. Our heroine in Breathless is the niece of the hero and heroine in Forbidden – Eddy and Rhine – who play a prominent part in this book. It’s fun to see them fully enjoying their HEA. Portia and her sister Regan came to live with Rhine and Eddy when their mother, a prostitute, could no longer care for them. Rhine and Eddy have given them a good life, and now living in the Arizona Territory, Portia does the books and helps run the fancy hotel and uncle and aunt own. They also start exploring offering a “dude ranch” to clients which is a fun venture. Portia is twenty-seven and a serious woman. No need for passion or love in her life – she is just fine keeping busy at the hotel, no matter how much prodding her more crazy sister pokes at her.
Kent Randolph has had a busy adult life – first he found himself in a Mexican prison, and then he headed west to Montana and worked on various ranches breaking in horses. He is now ready to settle down a bit and finds his way to Rhine. A former bartender to Rhine, he knew Portia when she was just twelve years old (he is six years older). He hasn’t seen her in many years but when he runs into her at Rhine’s hotel, he is stunned. She is beautiful, but still the serious, rigid girl he remembered from all those years ago, earning the nickname “Duchess” from him. Portia gets a little hot and bothered by Kent, something she didn’t expect. When he decides to stay on and help run a neighboring ranch, things start to heat up between them.
I really like Kent and Portia together. Since they knew each other from childhood, while they have to take some time to be reunited, Kent knows her enough to fondly tease her. He knows Portia is turned on by him, but of course refuses to admit it or show him any sign of it. Portia runs her romance life like she runs the hotel – with efficiency and no-nonsense. Even when she finally admits that she may want to kiss him, it’s serious stuff:
“I want you to kiss me.”
Caught off guard, he froze. “I’m sorry. I must’ve misheard you. Say that again.”
She looked irritated. “I want you to kiss me.”
“May I ask why?”
“I need to cure myself of whatever these feelings are I’m starting to have for you, and don’t ask me what feelings. You know what I mean.”
“I do,” he said as he studied her gorgeous ebony face. She looked so put out he wanted to smile but kept his features bland. “Have you ever been kissed before?”
“Then I should warn you that this probably won’t cure you, Duchess. In fact, it might make matters worse.”
Not so fast Portia. Kent is more than willing to oblige but he wants to court her and be romantic. He shows her what an actual kiss can be like – and then there is no turning back for her.
“So,” he said softly. “Let’s give you this kiss…”
He released her hand and when he slowly traced a finger down her cheek, the resulting spark was so startling, she jumped.
Amusement shone in his eyes. “I can see you’re going to manage this real well, Duchess.”
She came to her own defense. “You – you surprised me. I thought you were going to kiss me not touch me.”
“Touching’s important sometimes. You don’t want a man to just grab you and plant his lips on yours. There’s no passion in that.”
“I don’t want pass…” The word died as his finger boldly traced her bottom lip. All thought fled.
Although she lets Kent in, she still holds strong in her more serious demeanor which made me smile.
Along the way, other suitors try to woo Portia which keeps her busy. There is also some drama at the ranch that Rhine takes over that everyone has to deal with.
There is big drama at the very end which seemed kind of rushed and I could have lived without it. But I really enjoyed Kent and Portia’s romance. Looking forward to Regan’s story.