Every Texan woman knows the men of Hell's Eight offer wild, no-strings-attached pleasure. Well, almost every woman...
Known for making up his own rules of right and wrong, Texas Ranger Sam "Wildcard" MacGregor takes what he wants when he wants it, especially when it comes to women. But seduction is the last thing on his mind the moment he stumbles across an Hispanic beauty crouching in fear beside a burned-out wagon. And it doesn't take long before he realizes the woman the townsfolk call "cursed" is hiding secrets too dangerous to face alone.
Isabella may look feminine and unassuming, but she's hell in a bodice with gunslinging skills to match any man's. But though she knows not to give Sam her heart as readily as she offers him her lush body, Isabella is certain she sees in Sam what he can barely glimpse in himself--a virtuous man dropped deep into a hard country bent on breaking him. A man who, under it all, craves a passionate woman willing to risk everything...
Very good book. Texas Ranger Sam is searching for a kidnapped woman when he comes across Isabella, the only survivor in the attack on some wagons. Discovering that she's been on the run for six months, he's determined to return her safely to her home. Finding out why she's running has him equally intent on ending the threat to her.
Bella ran from home when her parents were forced to promise her to local bad guy Tajela. Her father was killed while trying to protect her. Tajela is a particularly nasty sort who wants her land first and her body second. Bella's not interested as she wants a man she can love and respect.
I liked Sam a lot. He's the strong silent type with a very definite code of honor. I also found that he had a pretty good sense of humor. Isabella isn't exactly the meek and obedient kind of woman, and from the beginning he finds himself constantly challenged by her. He's protective, even though she tells him she doesn't want his help. Getting her back home won't be easy, as he's right in the middle of the area that Tajela controls.
I loved Sam and Bella together. She is quite a spitfire, who has no trouble telling him what she does and does not want. Sam listens, then goes on and does just as he intended in the first place. He thinks of her as a spitting kitten and finds her pretty amusing. He's also very attracted to her, and though he has quite the reputation with women, he sees her as an innocent and his honor won't let him do anything about it. Bella is just as attracted to him, and convinced that Tajela will eventually catch up with her, would rather give herself to Sam. She is determined to have her way with him. The heat between them builds, and when they finally give in, it is scorching. Sam fought it hard, but once he gave in I loved seeing how Sam brought out the passionate woman in her.
I loved seeing their relationship develop. Sam is a man whose past has him believing that he isn't someone who deserves love. But there is something about Bella that he just can't resist, and it's more than just her body. As things go on, he sees past the brave and feisty front to her fear of what could happen and is determined to protect her. On her side, I loved the way that Bella saw past Sam's notorious reputation to the lonely man that he didn't let anyone suspect. She had a terrific way of getting past his control and right to the heart of him. I loved the fact that she wasn't going to just let him ride off into the sunset at the end.
The action side of the book, with Sam working to get Bella back to safety, was really good. Sam and Bella were under constant threat, and several of the attacks were especially violent. I thought that Bella held up very well, though she certainly gave Sam a few bad moments during some of them. By the time the final confrontation with Tejala came I was ready to see the end of him. It was very intense, with the potential for ending badly. It wasn't easy to see how it all worked out, but it did.
I loved the time spent with Sam's Hell's Eight brother, Tucker. His support for Sam and Bella was crucial. I also enjoyed seeing his interaction with the Quaker woman. I have a feeling that she has an important role in his life. I also liked his way of making Sam see just how important Bella is to him. There were also a couple great scenes with the men who work for Bella's ranch. One is where they make Sam see that she is more than just their boss. The next is a fun one where it's a kid that calls Sam out on his relationship with Bella and just where it should be headed.