Lady Jessica (Jessi) Charteris is in a terrible bind. In a few weeks she will be married off to an elderly, lecherous lord. As a young girl, she has seen what torture a loveless marriage brings. Desperate for an escape, she begs her childhood friend Wolfe Lonetree to marry her instead. She promises respect, devotion, and companionship to Wolfe, but not the mutual passion and desire a husband and wife share.
Wolfe, a half-breed child of an English lord and a Cheyenne woman, desired the green-eyed Jessi ever since she was a young teenager, but dared not show it for she is the daughter of a nobleman and noblemen's daughters never consort with non-titled half-breeds. An attack on Jessi in the middle of the night destroys her reputation, and inevitably Wolfe marries her to salvage it. Wolfe felt betrayed and blamed Jessi for trapping him in a marriage where the wife fears a man's touch and everything that comes with it. Rather than stay in Engand, Wolfe decides to settle with Jessi in the wilderness of the American West to make her realize that she is not fit to be his wife. She has never learned to fend for herself, and has never learned household chores. Slowly, but surely, she learns the ways of the west, and deep inside her Jessi yearns for the love and companionship Wolfe has withdrawn from their relationship. Later on, with his gentle hands and sensuous words that can tame the wildest mustang, Wolfe teaches her that not all men are brutal and shows her that a man's touch can bring out so much pleasure.
The book, the second in the series, highlights Ms. Lowell's talent at simmering the suspense of the moment and making the chemistry of the characters become more potent page after page. Wolfe's inner stuggle and his gentleness with Jessi is heart wrenching, and Jessi's struggle is even more painful to read, since she experienced this during her childhood. Though one might get exasperated at Jessi's obvious figidity, readers will savor more the sensuous ways Wolfe handles it.
This report prepared by Levi