In the heat of the southwest, desire is the kindling for two lost souls—and the flame of passion threatens to consume them both.
Rosie Salady needs to get married—and she needs to do it fast. The young widow needs help minding her Arizona Ranch, but no decent woman can live alone with a hired hand. And with the wealthy Wesley Morris making a play for her land, she needs to find a husband or risk losing everything. She makes a sign and hangs it in the local saloon: “Husband wanted. Apply inside. Must be decent, honest, hardworking, and good with a gun. No conjugal rights.”
Delmar Grant is a sucker for a damsel in distress, and even with Rosie’s restrictions on “boots under her bed” stated firmly in black and white, something about the lovely widow’s plea leaves him unable to turn away her proposal of marriage.
Del proves himself descent, honest, and hardworking, and before long, Rosie relaxes her rules on conjugal rights, with passion igniting between the unlikely couple. But when buried secrets from his new wife’s past begin scratching at the surface, he’ll discover this marriage of convenience may cost him more than he bargained for, and that the part about being good with a gun may be the only way he can keep the woman he loves, and keep them both alive.
Set in the desert of the west of America in the early 1880s, this was a different read. It’s a slow build, but good God, the quality was so much higher than other similar books I’ve read recently!
Published by a company that specialises in rereleasing older books alongside newer creations, this one definitely has an old-school feel to it even if it is not (if the author bothered to get a website or something, I might know where she’s coming from!).
The closest thing this Western romance gets to a sex scene is along the lines of: that night they found bliss again. So don’t expect much from that perspective. It honestly does not matter to me at all, but these days many readers expect explicit scenes.
In this instance, I didn’t find it necessary. Cactus Rose isn’t the most exciting book I’ve ever read, but the quality of the writing, and the way the author captured the atmosphere, it was all so much more satisfying than similar books coming from bigger publishers recently.
I think I was in the mood for this sort of thing. It was imperfect, but it really worked for me. One issue I had was with the argument that broke up hero and heroine in order to create the big drama at the end. The conflict made no sense and felt totally manufactured. However, other than that, I found this to be a really satisfying read.
These days historical romance is all about rich dukes and duchesses in England, but I do really enjoy this sort of story, about people struggling in unfortunate circumstances. As I said, I read some other Western romances recently that were pretty awful, so this was a nice change.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.