Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
This story takes place in Willow Creek, Colorado in the 1800’s. It is a story of two people who have had to survive in spite of their bad childhoods.
Like her mother and grandmother before her, Nora Rushton is a Healer. This gift causes her mother’s death. After her mother’s murder, Nora’s father moved them from place to place for fear people would find out what she was. Although Nora knew it was not in her best interest to heal, she could not turn her back on those who needed her. Her father kept her confined to their house. Every time she snuck out and healed an animal or person, her father would pack them up and move. Over time, her father became a drunk who guzzled and gambled away the money they needed to live. Although she loved her father, she was convinced that he hated her because of all the trouble she brought him.
When the wealthy mine owner, Elwood Calhoun, decided that Nora was the woman he was going to marry her father stood by her and refused to allow Elwood to court her. Of course, a man like Elwood is determined to get what he wants, no matter the cost.
One day while at the creek, Nora runs into Otakatay, half indian and half white man, a man virtually without a country. Indians hate him, as do the whites. He is a bounty hunter; and his newest assignment is to locate and kill healers. He has just delivered three new scalps of these women and all he needs is one more. He has no idea that the girl sitting near him, the girl he threatened to kill if she doesn’t disappear, is the very one he is seeking. All Nora sees is a man covered in scars with sadness and pain in his eyes. As many times as he tells her he is a killer, she refuses to turn away from him.
Nora has a big heart and in spite of her fear of Elwood, she can’t turn her back on his crippled son Joe. Joe has to walk with crutches; he is sixteen with the mental capacity of five. He is nothing like his evil father. Joe is warm and loving and Nora would love nothing more than to heal his bent legs. However, doing so would put her in a dangerous position with Elwood.
We don’t find out who wants all healers dead until the end, and it was a surprise. We find out the horrors Otakatay suffered as a child and the reason behind his need for money. He made a promise, and he is hell bent on keeping it. Although Nora realizes she has feelings for Otakatay, he is not so forthcoming. He is convinced he is incapable of being loved or loving someone in return. Elwood is a monster, and we learn exactly what he is capable of doing to others.
I loved this story and the characters. Nora is a very strong woman and does what she feels is right in spite of the danger. Otakatay is a bounty hunter who has suffered unimaginably as a child and as much as he would like to believe he is a monster, that is far from the truth. There are romance, secrets, and torture. I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
1st Place Winner:
Best Historical Paranormal Series
2nd Place Winner:
Best Historical Paranormal Novel
2014 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards