A woman and her adopted son are alone on the prairie after an Indian attack leaves them the only survivors, and only the help of a outlaw rogue with designs on her virtue can guarantee them safe passage to their new home. The virginal Emily Brockinger never expected to find herself a new mother to a child she has never met before. As they wander through a dangerous and lonely prairie alone as the only survivors of an Indian attack, there seems to be no hope. Fortunately, she finds an experienced guide who will help them, but doing so comes with some heavy requirements.
The handsome and capable Cloud Ryder thinks he is seducing a widow with limited romantic experience and is shocked to discover the truth. As they wander through the prairie, sleeping outside, in hotels and even in a house of ill-repute, the two characters realize that the necessity of traveling together had resulted in strong emotions that neither will admit. Eventually, they make it to their final location, where her brother waits. Unfortunately, the decision to stay together or go their own ways may not just be up to them.
Best part of story, including ending:
There were many funny scenes, which are often be rare in historical romantic fiction. Normally, the aspect of coerced intimacy would make me put the big down, but it was all done very subtly. Excellent detail and character growth, with surprisingly likable secondary characters.
Best scene in story:
I love when she gives birth, with the help of a friend with midwifery experience. This should present with a spoiler alert to say that she does conceive while traveling. Even while giving birth in the middle of a strong thunderstorm, there are flirty and funny comments.
Opinion about the main character:
Cloud Ryder essentially used the threat of Emily and her adopted son dying on the prairie alone to coerce her into sex. I choose to believe they had feelings for one another immediately after meeting, which mitigates the non-consensual aspect of it. Even though he later said he would never have left them alone, she did not know that at the time. He seduced her despite her reserves about forming an intimate relationship with a stranger for safe travel, which she compares to prostitution.