Virginia City, Nevada, 1870. Rhine Fontaine, a former Union Cavalry officer, operates an unusual saloon that admits blacks. Handsome Rhine, a former slave from Georgia, is of mixed parentage, but with his ivory skin, jet black hair, and green eyes, he passes easily for white. He discovers an attractive black woman, Eddy, lying exhausted on a trail in the desert. She’d been abandoned by an unsavory man, having refused to succumb to his sexual advances. Rhine brings her back to his room above the saloon. Eddy, an experienced cook, dreams of opening a restaurant in California. Although Rhine is engaged to a socialite, he is taken by Eddy’s beauty. Thus kindles an affair that might be forbidden.
This book is the start of a new series by USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins. The post-Civil War era is presented vividly in this African-American romance novel. Black history is covered inconspicuously through the use of well-developed characters. The sexual tension between the protagonists adds to the storyline’s charisma. While the dialogue is mostly perfect, the frequent exchanges of pleasantries between the characters read awkwardly at times. However, the intriguingly constructed plot, with its twists and multi-character cast, keeps us engrossed to the ending.