Written by Beverly Jenkins
Review by Sarah Johnson

Regan Carmichael’s first meeting with her intended husband, Dr. Colton Lee, starts off with a bang—literally. After foiling a recent attack along her journey from Arizona, Regan shoots Colt by accident, mistaking him for another outlaw. Set in 1880s Wyoming, this engaging last volume in Jenkins’ African-American Old West romance trilogy shows how their relationship ripens into deep, abiding love. This is a classic mail-order bride story with some original touches—for one, Regan is a wealthy heiress. Despite their awkward beginning, Regan and Colt soon come to appreciate each other’s qualities. Colt is a caring physician with a six-year-old daughter, Anna, whose spirit was crushed by an older relative; the unconventional Regan shows her stepdaughter how to have fun. Refreshingly, the novel avoids contrived misunderstandings between the couple. The historical background, full of details on small-town life and dramas, showcases the West’s multicultural settlement, including the bigotry that Chinese miners faced. One subplot emphasizes the importance of education, a worthy subject. A skilled shot, rider, and cook, and gorgeous to boot, Regan seems a bit idealized, and I wondered why a woman of her financial status would risk marrying a stranger. Still, the story and its likeable characters kept me happily reading to the end.