Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on May 2, 2017
A family of brothers- The Legends- working to continue what their father started on the wild Texas frontier. This calls for courage and toughness to face life and love and those who would seek to take it from them. Houston Legend has already had his share of tragedy and now he’s forced into marriage with a stranger who has not had it any easier. I was delighted to pursue their story as they found a way to not only make it work, but do it on a tough, gritty cattle drive facing stampedes, rough terrain, and outlaws.
The Heart of a Texas Cowboy is book two in the Men of Legend series. Somehow I missed book one which was Sam’s story (Houston’s brother). I will indeed be going back for that and continuing on with Luke’s story. Suffice to say, I had no trouble reading Houston’s story out of order.
This one had the most shocking openings I’ve read in a romance. It starts with a wedding, a tragic shooting, and a guy without his bride. What gives, right? Actually, it punched hard grabbing my attentions and emotions as a result. I was so far on Houston’s side that I was rarin’ to go for him to move on and catch a break. And one forced marriage scenario later, he spots his opportunity.
I loved how the author didn’t mess around wallowing stuff in the angst. This story had enough internal and external conflict already without extra stuff tossed in. Houston and Lara take one look at each other and neither feel too badly about this arrangement their father’s came to for them. There are tough circumstances for them to surmount. Houston planned for a name-only match because he doesn’t think he can take having his heart crushed a second time. Lara was raped and left with a hideous scar on her face and a little baby girl who she cherishes as a result. Houston steps up and cares for both Lara and Gracie in a way that totally had me melting. He actually wanted the marriage to give both of them his name and protection even though he thought he would stick to a friendly affection at most.
Beyond this fantastic romance situation, there is great Western cattle drive action and a truly vile villain and his gang hot on Houston and Lara’s heels. The cattle drive took up much of the book, but it was great with the colorful cast of cowboys with Houston including Lara’s younger brothers. And Houston’s own brothers get in on the action when things go from tough to ‘Remember the Alamo’ tough.
The Western historical elements are well drawn as are the settings behind the strong layered plot. This was only my second encounter with the author’s books, but I think I need to dig up a backlist and get busy on it. Those who love historical western romance with some grit need to give this one and the rest of the series a go.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #111
HR Literary Pickers #103 – forced marriage
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