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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Texas Hearts by Rachel Smith

Texas Hearts by Rachel Smith
Publisher: Awe-Struck Publishing
Genre: Historical (Western)
Length: Full (339 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Wild West bounty hunter Charlie McKenzie and Eastern finishing school educator Elizabeth Cameron were children together, separated by society’s demands. When a serial killer stalks them both, their reunion is complicated by Elizabeth’s distaste for Charlie’s profession and unexpected desire blazing between them. Distracted by Elizabeth, torn between love and fear, can Charlie protect her, himself and the only home either has ever known from a faceless killer named Mad Dog Durham?
On the plains of Texas in 1867, the lives of Elizabeth Cameron, Charlie MacKenzie, and Texas Ranger Captain Jesse Rivers become forever after intertwined. Though later separated for more than a decade, they reconnect at the Flying J ranch to find themselves having to face an old enemy that did so much to shape their lives.

Elizabeth (Liz), back from a school for young ladies in Virginia, realizes not all the “ladylike” things she learned at school will serve her well in this land where earthy, practical people still strive to build a life on the settled, but not totally tamed frontier. She also finds some of the outrageous things she did before being shipped off to Virginia have to be faced and dealt with, because the people of the community seem to remember every single one of them.

Charlie MacKenzie is no longer the boy Liz had felt belonged to her and she to him. He is now a big, beautiful but dangerous man with the grace of a cougar—a bounty hunter, a killer of men. Only gradually, does Liz comes to realize that he gives his life to the pursuit of justice-- guarding the lives of the innocent.

The lives Liz and Charlie have lived the past decade are poles apart, but the need for each other runs deep. However, Charlie is almost a wild creature after his years of frustration, despair, rage, fear, and the gut-wrenching sickness he feels when the memory of his and Liz’s parents’ murder and mutilation creeps under his defenses. He finds peace and joy for the first time with Liz make and he knows he can't be separated from her. It would be like trying to separate the body and the soul; but he also knows she cannot travel the trail he must travel—a trail that will most likely take him to his death.

Rachel Smith weaves a tale that encompasses the most petty of gossip to the horrific deeds of murder and mutilation. However, she also lets the reader vicariously experience a love that is deep, true, and driven—a love that has more strength than all the little and huge evils that try to destroy it.

This happy-ever-after is hard won but so appreciated and savored by the hero and heroine that it makes the heart feel SO GOOD..