Once Upon A Romance

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Leah and the Bounty Hunter by Elaine Levine

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Cover art: Leah and the Bounty Hunter Reviewer: Trudy Smith
Title: Leah and the Bounty Hunter - 3rd in the Men of Defiance series
Author: Elaine Levine
Publisher: Zebra
ISBN-13: 978-1-4201-1866-7
Release Date: August 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Historical Romance
Year/Setting: 1868/Defiance, Dakota Territory
Overall Rating: 3.75
Sexual Content Rating: Sensual/Sexual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Moderate
Violent Content Rating: Moderate/Intense
Elaine's Website/Blog: www.elainelevine.com


Leah Morgan has lived in Defiance most of her life, the only place she’s really ever known. She’s become accomplished with a gun and knife while hunting and fishing in the nearby mountains which she loves. But Defiance is slowly becoming a ghost town with its corrupt sheriff driving out those who don’t fit into his plan and holding tight to those who can serve his purpose. With no family and nowhere else to go, how long will Leah be able to stay in the rough and tumble town of Defiance?

Paid to do a job, no matter who gets in the way or how it gets done, Jace Gage has made a name for himself. As a professional bounty hunter, Jace has swept clean many a lawless town since the War Between the States. The war, betrayal and surviving his own hanging turned Jace into a callous and relentless gunfighter. Yes, he has feelings, but he buries them deep; his feelings will only get in his way.

Leah was getting in Jace’s way. Leah says she needs no protection and Jace needs no distraction but he appoints himself as her protector anyway. Jace can’t be everywhere at once and Leah is attacked by the sheriff’s men. This changes everything so Leah and Jace end up married promising to end it as soon as Jace has completed his job.

But as we know happens, circumstances and feelings change and mysterious secrets twirl around Defiance. Will Leah be able to see beyond Jace the gunfighter to Jace the man? Can Jace convince Leah that his arms are the safest place she can be? How will the secrets of Defiance affect them? Will Jace be able to save Defiance and bring the lawless to justice?

Leah and Jace’s story is a fast-paced action-packed romance with a splash of mystery that will tug on the reader’s emotions. Though the sex is steamier and the language harder than my preference, I can see how these elements make the characters who they are. Jace is a man of the world; betrayal and war have shaped him, yet sensitive and emotional if allowed to be. Leah’s unconventional upbringing molded her into a strong, independent yet vulnerable woman.

I have read Ms Levine’s two previous books about the Men of Defiance and have to say that she has a unique way of weaving books 2 and 3 together like they are happening almost simultaneously. Though Leah and the Bounty Hunter stands on its own, I found that reading the other books in the series (Rachael and the Hired Gun and Audrey and the Maverick) helped round out the tale of Defiance.

Leah and the Bounty Hunter will grab you from the start and keep you reading long into the night. (I read this in one weekend!). If you enjoy the old west, let the "Men of Defiance" guide your way.

Trudy

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