He’s only got a few months to live. Logan Holstock realizes what is truly important to him. He heads west to find the brothers he was separated from when their parents died on the Santa Fe Trail and leaves behind a cold-blooded fiancée, a wealthy life of the Chicago elite, and the business he built to success beside his adopted father. Meaningless now. But in searching for his family, he finds so much more and he regrets more than ever the fact that he’ll be gone soon.
Sybil Spencer has lived with a selfish, greedy man for the last six years and now he wants to send her little girl off to boarding school because he can’t stand the sight of her. Sybil has been a dutiful wife and took Norman’s arrogant attitude, but she will not let him send Kitty away. She marches down to the bank and confronts Norman only to get into the middle of a robbery. Norman is arrogant and pays for it with his life, but a sickly stranger comes to her rescue. Then he impresses the whole town, but wants to be left alone. Only, Sybil wants very much for Logan to hope and live.
Ah yes, the blurb was enough to hook me in. And then I was excited because it was an author I have especially wanted to try since I’ve been reading more western historical romance lately. This was the third story in the Cactus Creek Cowboys series about the third long lost brother. I didn’t realize it was part of a series when it caught my eye. However, I wanted to read it so badly that when I noticed it was part of a series, I said heck with it and grabbed it anyway.
I’m so glad I did. I can see where I missed out on some good stories with Colby and Jared’s stories and their marriages to two other Spencer cousins, but this story was easily read out of order. I loved that the romance is only part of the story that also includes the story of the small western town of Cactus Creek and part of a large family of Spencer- Holstocks. The children play amusing roles and the other brothers and their families are a strong part.
But besides the small town, the family, and the romance, there was a mysterious murder from Sybil’s past and the present machinations of Logan’s adopted cousin trying to get her paws on his money by any means she can. Most of the book is fairly tame and even dragged a few times before picking up again, but the opening scene and then the big end scenes put the action element in to provide a gritty variety to an otherwise gentle pace.
The characters are engaging. I was totally won over by all of them particularly Logan who was dealing with being a good man and doing the right things even though he was dying and Sybil who made some mistakes as a young girl that she had to keep paying for. And then there was darling Kitty, a little girl who had a gentle nature and a heart of gold. Trusty the dog was practically a character too. But all the additional characters populating the scenes were also fabulous.
The romance was a slow burn and developed slowly because Logan thinks he has nothing to give since he’s so sick and Sybil has made a couple bad decisions about men so is wary of her feelings even if Logan were receptive. They do finally come together and it’s a sweet loving that felt just right for this story. This pair started out friends and partners to save Sybil’s bank and I liked that though the attraction was there, the other came first.
I’m not sure if this was the last book in the series since all three brothers are happily matched, but the world of Cactus Creek, Arizona, was a great place to visit. It’s a baby western town and the pioneer spirit that brought the people there is alive and well. The western setting stayed pretty much in the background to the human lives and the romance elements, but it was drawn well and balanced nicely with the story.
All in all, I had a fantastic time with this tender, heart-warming western romance that I would happily and easily recommend to others who like moderately spicy and moderately gritty action with their historical westerns.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.