by Johanna Lindsey
Genres: Historical Romance, Western
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With his work in Montana completed now that the Callahan-Warren feud has ended in marriage rather than bloodshed, Degan Grant sets out for California because it is far away from the home he wants to forget—until the US Marshal who saved his life calls in a favor. All Degan has to do is apprehend three outlaws on the marshal’s list and turn them over to the law. Easy enough, he figures, for a man no one wants to tangle with. But then a bold young woman crosses his path. Maxine grew up so pretty and attracted so much unwanted attention in her Texas hometown that events spiraled out of control. She will try anything to escape the handsome, enigmatic gunfighter who intends to turn her over to a corrupt sheriff who will hang her instead of putting her on trial. Saddled with a sassy, spirited young woman who insists she is innocent, Degan must hunt down a vicious killer and keep an old enemy at bay. But forced into intimate proximity with his beguiling prisoner, he finds his desire sparking into a wildfire of passion, and he can no longer deny that it is time for them to risk confronting their pasts so he can have a chance at a future with her in his arms forever.
In Wildfire in His Arms author Johanna Lindsey shares the romance of a dangerous and sexy gunslinger named Degan Grant. Degan first appeared in her novel One Heart to Win. While this is a standalone, I must admit the mention of characters from the previous novel have me adding it to my list. What a wild time I had as Wildfire In His Arms takes us to the wild west with suspense, snark and wicked banter.
When a US Marshall that saved his life calls in a favor Degan Grant finds himself in search of three outlaws on the Marshall’s most wanted list. For a gunslinger, Degan is noble, educated and downright sexy. He has an issue with trust, and Lindsey did an excellent job of giving us his backstory and making me swoon for this man of few words. Men and women fear him that is unless they want to try to outdraw him.
What he thinks will be his easiest apprehension turns out to be rather complicated when he discovers a man wanted for murder and robbery is actually a woman. Maxine is fearless and her story about the incidents in her hometown of Texas are one complication Degan is not looking for, but the sassy and pretty Maxine is about to turn his life upside down. I love complications and became completely wrapped up in their story.
I love strong characters, snark and delicious banter. Maxine and Degan begin with a cat and mouse chase as she tries desperately to escape and outwit him. Degan is smooth and seems to know her next move making the game interesting. You could feel the sexual attraction between these two and their denial just made me smile. Lindsey allowed their relationship to develop slowly increasing the tension and making unexpected kisses sizzle.
We see character growth as the couple is forced to trust the other. Aside from these two figuring out their feelings, the relationship angst was low and felt genuine. Lindsey weaved in a couple of romantic tropes from haters to lovers to forced arrangement. She took these and made them her own while adding humor and heat.
Lindsey kept the romance center but added in suspenseful threads from Degan’s past pursuing him to the capturing of the other outlaws on his list. Each thread was developed, allowed us to grow closer to the characters and to better understand what drives them.
The author brought the West to life from the trails to the towns that popped up around gold mines. I could not imagine living life on the trail, but Degan does it in a sophisticated way, in fact, he is a smartly dressed cowboy who insists on sleeping in a bed. It made him downright sexy with just the right amount of cockiness.
If you are looking for strong characters and a slow burning romance wrapped in suspense and surrounded by tumbleweeds look no further than Wildfire In His Arms.