Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
It is 1882, and twenty-four year old Elizabeth (Lizzie) Cobb) has signed up with Maggie Black, the owner of Matchmaker & Co., to be a mail order bride to Malcom Brandon. Lizzie lives on a ranch owned by her father. Since his death, she realizes that she cannot leave her home. She lives with her mother and ten year old brother who, when he is of age, will take over running the ranch. She cancels her contract unaware of the fact that Mal has decided to go to her.
Ed Talbot is twenty-eight. Ever since he was thirteen, he has been in his father’s gang, robbing and killing. When Ed’s mother died, his father came and took him and alongside his vicious half-brother, Harvey. His father has led a life of crime and misery. The last robbery the gang pulled off would be the change of Ed’s life. On this stagecoach is none other than Malcom Brandon. Ed’s father is killed and Harvey then shoots and kills Mal. Ed sees this as a chance to change his life when he hides Mal’s suitcase and reads the letters from Lizzie.
The first opportunity Ed gets, he takes off for Tombstone and Lizzie. When he first sees her at the mercantile, he knows immediately it is she, all six feet of her. She is half Apache, and as a half breed saw her chances of marriage as slim to none. All of a sudden, she is face to face with the man she had written to for almost a year. Mal is nothing like his letters, but suddenly she sees the possibility of having a family of her own.
Inside the suitcase was over thirty thousand dollars. Mal had sold his business in San Francisco to pursue the woman he wanted to marry. Ed sees this as a means to help Lizzie and her family and ensure she sees him as caring and loving. He finally has a chance at a good life—if his brother or the law don’t find him. He is afraid to admit who he really is to Lizzie for fear she will either turn him in or throw him out. As far as he is concerned, it was love at first sight. Through her letters he learned a lot about her; even before seeing her, he knew he wanted to marry her.
He learns ranching and never complains about the hard work or the aches and pains. Little by little, he wins over Lizzie, her mother, and her brother, Jamie. This is the life he always dreamed of and now it is almost a reality; he just has to get Lizzie down the aisle. Of course life is unpredictable and nothing ever goes as smoothly as we would like. That is the case with Lizzie and Ed (Mal).
Like all of Ms. Woolf’s books, I loved the story and the characters. This is a simple love story that takes place in Tombstone where the Earps are in charge. We get a little history of the times, suspense, romance, sex, secrets and lies. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.