This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Holly Bush will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
1869 – Matthew Gentry joined the Confederate Army at eighteen years of age after an argument with his father, leaving Paradise, his Virginia home and famed horse breeding stables, for the fields of Gettysburg. Having survived the War Between the States, Gentry is haunted by the violence and inhumanity of the war. He continues to roam the country long after the conflict is over, finding solace in the arms of soiled doves and at the bottom of whiskey bottles. Finally traveling home after learning of a family tragedy, he nearly loses his life in a spring-flooded riverbed.
Annie Campbell, lone survivor of her family, lives at a remote farm near the North River, raising pigs and trying to grow enough to feed herself, and to stay out of the crosshairs of the Thurmans, violent men who run the town of Bridgewater. Annie’s secrets threaten her safety, even as she rescues and nurses Matthew Gentry.
Matthew knows he must return to Paradise, to grieve with his family. Will his heart lead him back to Bridgewater and Annie Campbell?
Read an Excerpt:
He watched as she sharpened his blade on a worn leather strop and ran a brush around a tin cup, making lather with the soap on the bottom. She walked up to him, close enough that he could feel her body heat up and down his right side, and he smelled hay and horse, and some faint note of wintergreen or peppermint. Her shirt gapped when she leaned around him to scrape his other cheek and he was pleased to note that he was interested in seeing the top of her breast, as at some point in the last few days he’d convinced himself that there were parts of him that might never recover.
“Almost done,” she said. “Tilt your head back and let me get your neck.”
He did as he was told and let the sun beat down on his face. Her fingers were strong, moving his chin one way or another or dabbing soap from around his ears and wiping his face clean with a piece of towel she’d dunked in a pan of water. The warm towel wiping his face felt better than anything he’d felt for a long while, and he relaxed his shoulders and let her wipe away two weeks’ worth of sweat and grit. His eyes closed and he let run her comb through his long, filthy hair.
“I need to bathe. I can smell my own stink.”
“I’m going to cut your hair while we’re out here. The weather’s temperate, so we could wash it without heating water.”
“I don’t care if the water’s cold. I’m tired of pulling it back with a string. Cut it. Cut it all off.”
What can I say? I love Ms. Bush. Especially the Gentry’s. I will admit, however, that I read this one after Olivia’s. Matt’s book is actually the second one in the series. Don’t worry. You don’t need to read them in order. You will not be confused at all. In fact, I’m glad that I read them out of order. It made Matt and Annie’s story that much sweeter for me. How I loved this story. In fact, this might be my favorite historical romance read of this year.
Why is that Harlie? Matt, hands down. I just fell in love from the first page. Considering that I had already read a little bit about him in Olivia’s, Ms. Bush really hit it out of the park with this one. There is a bit of suspense, romance, humor, and just had the feel of the movie Open Range, starring Kevin Costner (*swoon*). And yes, I pictured him as Matt. But I digress. Matt is the hero that I’m drawn to. Wounded, a heart of gold, loyal, but doesn’t feel like he deserves to be happy by his past actions. Trust me, he does. He gives as good as he gets and is first and foremost a gentleman. I loved how he treated Annie throughout the book. He never talked down to her but consider her an equal. He tried to go all Alpha but Annie just put him in his place. I knew right there that he and Annie were destined.
Annie, regardless of all the horrible things that had happened to her and her family, she never gave up hope. In fact, I think it made her stronger. I never felt bad for her but I could never figure out some things until Ms. Bush let me in on the secrets. Dang…they were some doozies. But Ms. Bush writes them in a way that you really hate the villains and cheer for Annie. And yes, there are plenty of villains in this book. Picture the standoff in the movie Silverado at the end. The ending scenes with the villains…it was like the scene in Silverado. You will stand up and cheer for Adam, Matt, Annie, and Gilly.
Overall, this book is definitely a keeper. If you are looking for an exceptional western historical romance, look no further than Ms. Bush. She owns the genre and has my heart.
About the Author:
Holly Bush writes historical romance set on the American Prairie, in Victorian England, and recently released her first Women’s Fiction title. Her books are described as emotional, with heartfelt, sexy romance. She makes her home with her husband in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.