Review by Leslie H. Nicoll
Rancher Paxton Terhune has lived a cold, lonely life for three hard years. A lynch mob took his lover, hanging him in front of Pax. A corrupt mine owner put a price on his head, chasing Pax from his own lands and into the high country. But Zane Steadman, a bounty hunter sent to bring Pax in, sees more than the outlaw’s tarnished reputation.
Trapped by an early blizzard, Zane thaws the winter gripping Pax’s heart. But now the mine owner wants to take away the new love Pax has found, robbing him of Zane’s warmth and hanging the bounty hunter just for siding with him.
Pax won’t allow that to happen again. There comes a time when a man has to make a stand and declare “enough’s enough”…even if it means a gun fight to the death…
This is another book that will go on my “meh” list. I read it, it was mildly entertaining while I read it, but in three days, I probably won’t remember much about it. Sigh…
The synopsis (above) gives the gist of the story, so I won’t go into much more detail. The first two-thirds of the book (it’s a novella, about 33K words) takes place while they are trapped by the blizzard in a line cabin, so basically that part is all about Pax and Zane getting to know each other and ultimately embarking on their sexual relationship. The actual story doesn’t really get going until the last third and as a result, it felt rushed, confusing, and poorly developed. Lots of characters appear but they aren’t much more than names on a page. Pax and Zane come up with a plan to deal with the corrupt mine owner, then the plan changes, then it changes again—no reason is ever given for all these changes—so ultimately it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Somehow everything works out and Pax and Zane ride off into the sunset, like all good cowboys do. The End.
The story takes place somewhere out west—I’m thinking Colorado since they talk about Denver and silver mines. It is sometime in the past since they mention slavery and the Civil War. A reader looking for interesting historical detail will be disappointed—I was.
This is a story that has been told many times before, so the author needed to do something to make it new and fresh. I imagine she thought that having the main protagonists be gay lovers was the new twist but in my opinion, it wasn’t enough. If the writing was better or the story was more artfully told, the thin plot might have been salvaged but unfortunately, it wasn’t.
I’m giving this book 3 stars because it wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t very good, either. It was just…meh.
Link to Amber Allure to read an excerpt and buy the book.