Reviewed by Mandi
I received this arc in the mail and thought I’d try it, but after I saw The BookPusher’s review, I knew it was a must read. What a fun and smart book.
Calico Nash is our heroine, and not only does she have an awesome name but she is an awesome person all around. Calico is a bounty hunter, learning how to shoot a gun by the age of ten from her father. Set in Colorado in the late 1800’s, she is a bad ass for her time. She wears pants and a stetson and can hunt and take down men twice her size. When the book starts, she is undercover as a prostitute in a brothel. Our hero, Quill McKenna is just stopping through for a drink and some company. He sees Calico go with a man who isn’t so nice, and becomes concerned. He shouldn’t be worried though because when he barges in the room, the man is tied up and knocked out and Calico is no worse for wear. He soon learns who she really is and is quite impressed.
This first chapter starts excellent witty and sharp banter. Calico is no-nonsense but also has a very dry sense of humor. She is quick with her mouth and not afraid of anyone. Quill is more quiet, but his sense of humor is right there with hers. He knows how to just sit back and with one small comment get her going. It made me laugh several times throughout this book.
The real story gets going as Quill eventually becomes a bodyguard for a wealthy man who owns a mine. His life has been threatened a few times, as he isn’t the best employer and some of his miners have become angry with him. When his daughter is harmed, he knows she needs protection too – and Quill recommends Calico. Calico is sick of trudging through the snow hunting criminals for not the best pay, and when she learns the very sexy Quill will be hanging around, she decides to take the job under the guise of a tutor. This throws Calico and Quill under the same roof. A very sexy romance starts to develop.
It’s sad to say, but so many times when I read the first chapter or two of a book, I fall in love, only for the book to fall apart halfway through. But that is not the case here! After a great start, the book is consistently well done through to the very end. The romance is not in your face – it’s slow to start but once it gets going it’s sultry and sexy. I love that Calico is a very no-nonsense, high-spirited, “doesn’t need anyone in her life” type girl, yet fully acknowledges that Quill is one sexy dude.
She owns it, and when he finally, finally kisses her, she loves it
“Ah, hell,” he said. He closed the distance between them before he had time to think better of it and pulled her to her feet. As he had anticipated, she was not tuckable. Staring at her lush mouth, only inches away now, he had just enough time to wonder why tuckability had ever been a consideration before his lips closed over hers.
He had no expectations about the kiss and had made no predictions about her reaction. He told himself he was prepared for anything. That turned out to be a lie.
But she is also a little shy under the covers and that made me smile. To see her vulnerable enriched her character. She never had regrets or pushed him away. The romance just developed at its own pace and was sexy all the way.
There is suspense in this book – a few things come into play. I won’t go into details because it’s more fun if you let it play out, but it’s enough to keep you turning the pages.
I love finding solid historical western. The banter and romance will keep you smiling. Highly recommend this one!