Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
Eliza Tanner is heading to Oregon City with one hundred and three mail-order brides but she and Millicent Kellerman who are sharing a wagon are not one of them. Millicent is heading to her brother after being left at the altar leaving town rather than face all the pity she would receive and Eliza running from Simon the man who has held her prisoner for ten years.
Eliza was sold by her father when she was fifteen years old and then sold again to Simon who she worked for as a singer in his saloon and as a prostitute who Simon was able to get big money for. After ten years she was able to buy out her contract with her saving every penny given to her by customers as tips. In spite of getting out of her contract Simon had no intention of letting her go so she snuck out in the middle of the night and made her escape.
Eliza and Millicent became good friends while travelling and one night while Eliza was getting water from a creek she heard the sounds of a baby crying. When she found the little girl who appeared to be four months old she called out for the mother but there was no answer so as of that moment Eliza became her mother and called her Jessica Tanner. As a prostitute Eliza never expected to ever have children of her own each time she became pregnant with Simon she had to get rid of the child now she had one to love.
When the wagon train was about to begin moving out two wagons broke down and Eliza had no doubt that Simon was the cause. When Hank Barringer one of the security team came to check on her there was an instant spark and in spite of the fact that Hank lost his wife and young son six years ago to influenza she was the first woman who he felt an interest in so long. Using Jessica as an excuse to come visit often there was no doubt that Eliza and Hank were interested in each other but of course he had no way of knowing she was a prostitute before joining the wagon train.
Hank couldn’t keep away from Eliza and when he and she were caught kissing passionately they were forced to marry or leave the wagon train something she would not do. Although their wedding was certainly a shot-gun wedding they both were determined to make a go of it especially since they both loved their little daughter. On their first night together Hank notices that Eliza’s back is scarred up and that there was no doubt she had been beaten when he pressed her as to who did it she confessed to everything and he did exactly what she expected he walked out.
Realizing what he did and that Eliza was a slave obvious by her scarring he returned and they decided to make a go of their marriage even though Hank did not try to make love to her again. Simon continued to sabotage the wagon train and even went as far as kidnapping and with the help of Cooper Reed a scout who joined the wagon train they searched for him to no avail. I don’t want to give anything away so I will end this review by saying that the story was wonderful just like all the rest and that Eliza and Hank have a second chance for happiness but will their pasts be too much to overcome.
If you are a fan of Ms. Woolf then I don’t have to tell you how wonderful her mail-order series is and if you haven’t read any of them yet you will be a fan real soon once you do.