Title: Behind His Blue Eyes
Author: Kaki Warner
Genre: Western/Historical Romance
Series: Heroes of Heartbreak Creek (Book #1)
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Format: Paperback, 312 Pages
ISBN-10: 0425263266 (Berkley/Penguin)
ISBN-13: 978-0425263266 (Berkley/Penguin)
Reviewed by: Candy
Award-winning author Kaki Warner gives fans a reason to celebrate with the first in a brand-new Western trilogy set in Heartbreak, Colorado, starring an advance man for the railroad—and the woman whose trust (and heart) he longs to win. For fans of Linda Lael Miller and Jodi Thomas…
Hoping to escape his past, Ethan Hardesty left a career as an architect and went to work for the railroad. Only two things impede his desire to transform Heartbreak Creek into a thriving town once again—a vandal bent on stopping the railroad, and the beautiful but hardheaded woman who won’t sign over the final right-of-way through the canyon.
Audra Pearsall has good reason for not allowing a train to pass within yards of her home, no matter how persuasive the handsome Mr. Hardesty can be. But when vandalism escalates to murder and fear stalks the canyon, Audra doesn’t know who to turn to—until the man she thought was her friend proves to be an enemy, and the man she wouldn’t allow herself to trust becomes her reluctant hero…
Quick & Dirty: Audra Pearsall is running from her home in Baltimore to give her ailing father a better chance. Audra, her father and their two servants end up in a small town called Heartbreak Creek. On their arrival they are repeatedly rescued by someone else running from his past, Ethan Hardesty. Unfortunately it would seem that Ethan wants the only home they have and Audra is not willing to give it to him. Then bad things start happening. Is this the work of Mr. Hardesty trying to get their land or something much more threatening going on?
Opening Sentence: “Another letter come today.”
Audra Pearsall’s entire life is falling apart. Her father is ailing and there is no money to take care of her household which includes her, her father and their two elderly servants, Winnie and Curtis. To save her household from starving Audra takes a risk that could put her in jail, leaving no one to watch her father besides Winnie and Curtis. When it seems her secret will be found out Audra packs everything up and moves them all to a little nothing town called Heartbreak Creek. Things are about to change in this quiet little town though when the railroad decides to come through the town and wants to come right past her front door. When the handsome man from the railroad comes to buy her out she refuses him even though he makes her weak in the knees. Unfortunately, someone is out to stop the railroad at any cost — even murder. Ethan Hardesty goes from wanting to buy Audra out to wanting to protect her from everything, including himself.
I loved Audra, she was the type of woman I have always wanted to be. She is strong, smart, loyal and fearless. When her father becomes sick and it is up to her to take care of him she does not crumble or just marry the first man to come along. Instead she takes over her father’s job in secret and is able to put food on the table at the cost that if she is found out she could be arrested. Then when she moves her household and it seems nothing can go right she calmly asks Ethan who she has just met to shoot her. She does not cry or beg for help. Many people would have put their father in a home if they were in a similar position, but Audra would rather take care of him even when he is having a bad day than see him separated from those he knows. Then when her home is destroyed she picks herself up again and keeps on going. The best part about her though is she is willing to step in to save a Chinese boy from being whipped even when it means that the man whipping him would turn his anger onto her.
Ethan is many women’s dream man. He is tall, good looking in a fair sense, has a sense of humor and can be boyish and charming when he wants to be. He does have a secret that still haunts him three years after the fact in both his dreams and in his real life. The disaster that occurred to leave him with his secret has also made him want to avoid woman, especially Audra who always seems to be getting into some trouble or the other. No matter what his intentions when it turns out that Audra owns the last bit of land he needs to get the railroad through that he works for they are thrust together over and over again. Audra may be the key to saving Ethan from the past or the reason he goes past the point of no return.
This book was really good. It is a western, a romance and a mystery all in one. The author, Kaki Warner, is very good at combining the three in a way that really draws you in. I usually do not care for westerns and will only read certain mysteries but this worked so well together that I couldn’t wait to see what happened next. Usually with mysteries, I can figure out pretty early on who is the bad guy but in this one I did not figure it out until the author decided to reveal it. I recommend this book to adults who enjoy all different genres. Also, I liked this book so much I think I am going to go read the series she wrote before this one, The Runaway Brides Series.
Alarmed, Audra sought out Mr. Driscoll and asked what was amiss.
“Another fire, the harried man said, tossing a long canvas pipe with a portable hand pump into the back of a wagon filled axes, shovels, rakes and leaking water barrels. “A big one. Better be ready to run if the wind pushes it down the canyon into town.”
Heroes of Heartbreak Creek Series:
2. Where the Horses Run (July 1, 2014)
FTC Advisory: Berkley/Penguin provided me with a copy of Behind His Blue Eyes. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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