Esparanza was an aspiring nun, until her step-brother brings her home after an emergency and the two fall in love, despite her best efforts. Esperanza has lived in a convent for many years and looks forward to her final vows, which will allow her to be a nun. She enjoys her solitary existence and loves teaching the orphaned children in the convent. However, there is a small part of her that remembers her home, family and step-brother, and her previous name of Tori. Her step-brother has lived his life with his gun, seeking revenge on the persons responsible for the death of his loved ones.
Meanwhile, a terrible fire has swept through her childhood home, killing her step-father and severely injuring her mother. Despite many messages, the nuns at the convent have not told her of the catastrophe. As a result, her step-brother, Jake Banner takes matters into his own hands. He sweeps into her new home, informs her that her mother is near death and forces her to return home. That step is only the first he has planned, because he has been in love with her for years and wants nothing more than to marry and spend the rest of his life with her.
Unfortunately, Tori is trying desperately to see Jake as her brother, even though there is no blood relation and are only related through their parent's marriage. He finds her examining body in a mirror, since she was not allowed to do so at the convent, and uses the opportunity to begin a slow seduction. She attempts to carry on her daily activities as she would have with her fellow nuns, including fasting for self-punishment and scrubbing floors on her hands and knees. He soon outwits her and she enjoys some of her favorite foods that he has tempted her with.
As her mother's health continues to decline, Tori learns that it is her final wish to see her daughter being married and somewhat grudgingly she agrees to marry Jake. Soon after, her mother's health miraculously improves and their wedding is consummated. In addition, the circumstances of the fire are suspicious and include a misplaced wheelchair and physical evidence suggests arson, even though originally it was thought to be an accident.
As a gunslinger, Jake has attracted more than a few enemies. He is forced to, once again, protect his family with his gun and soon after Tori's mother's health improves, she attracts a gentleman caller. It turns out that he set the fire, because he wants the land and he will stop at nothing to get it. Jake determines what is going on, just in the nick of time, and with closure as to the cause of the fire, the two are able to live the lives together permanently and happily.
Best part of story, including ending:
It was an unusual twist on the bad boy/good girl phenomena that is so frequently seen. Her life as a nun was described beautifully and I loved the fact that Jake was determined to win her over.
Best scene in story:
At one point, we see Tori critiquing her image and insulting her appearance and when Jake sees it, he shows her how beautiful she is. Although there is only light touching, it was an erotic scene that really set the pace for her eventual seduction.
Opinion about the main character:
I loved Jake Banner and his need to remind Tori of her childhood pleasures. Convincing her that there were options that would make her happy, other than the convent took some time. I also appreciated that he knew she would still want to teach the children and he made it possible for her to do so, without her needing to ask.