Newly Widowed after a shockingly brief marriage to an elderly British lord, Jocelyn Fleming still aches for with the pain of unexplored desire. And now her restless heart is leading her far from the protective bosom of polite society to the perilous beauty of the American West...and to Colt Thunder.
Breathlessly exciting but dangerously unpredictable, Colt is a loner whose Cheyenne blood burns hotter than the blistering Arizona sun. Jocelyn's wealth and title mean nothing to this stranger whose passion rules his actions and his heart. But neither the wild desert stallion nor the untouched English rose can deny their irresistible attraction...or to prevent the firestorm of emotion that erupts when their vastly different worlds collide.
I picked this book up for one reason - the supposedly amazing hot love scene in which the hero has sex with the heroine while simultaneously riding a moving horse. I mean, this I gotta read! Since the scene seemed to stick in a lot of readers heads, I naturally assumed that the rest of the book had to be hot as well. Unfortunately the book sucked for me. Not only did the horse love scene disappoint but I though there was a total lack of chemistry between the H/h.
Lady Jocelyn Fleming, Dowager Duchess of Eaton, has a personal problem - she's a virgin. And a disgruntled one at that. Her husband, the late Duke of Eaton, married Jocelyn while in the sad process of dying. All he wanted was a friend - someone to think about him after his death. Although the duke is unable to perform his husband duties, Jocelyn is none the wiser for she is a gently bred English girl who never heard about the intimate ongoings between a man and a woman. One thing the duke never expected was to fall in love with his very, very young wife. Jocelyn is surprised by this love as well, but love him she did.
During this time, the Duke prepares Jocelyn for her adventure ahead. Due to the fact that his family are money hungry a-holes, whom of which he fears will do something horrible to his young wife to acquire his possessions, he makes Jocelyn promise to basically take his money and run. The Eaton land and title would fall to his family but the bulk of his liquid estate would go to Jocelyn. On the night of the duke's death, he makes Jocelyn promise to leave England and never return. It's his belief that if she is far enough away then his relatives will leave her alone. Unfortunately for this romance novel - well every romance novel - fate would never allow life to be this easy.
Coinciding with the duke's death is White "Colt" Thunder's worst day ever. A half-breed - half white - half Cheyenne Indian, Colt is being whipped nearly to death for believing himself worthy of a white woman's hand in marriage. While his back is being flayed, his would-be bride watches stoically from the deck of her home beside her very angry father. On this day, Colt vows never to be with a white woman again.
Fast forward three years later. Jocelyn has seen much of the world traveling in a gouache blue carriage complete with six matching greys and a veritable fleet of men to protect her, along with maids and a french chef to serve her. Her companion, Vanessa, a countess of something or another, has implored Jocelyn to take a lover to be rid of her little secret so she may be free to marry another. But Jocelyn cannot take just any lover. She is determined to protect her late husband's reputation and therefore will not be intimate with any man that has known him. One would not think it hard for a Duchess to find a man to have sex with but apparently her coloring is not at all the rage during this era. She is skinny with overly large green eyes and a wild mass of hair the color of fire. Men, Jocelyn has found, simply do not find her attractive.
This dilemma is compounded with the fact that Jocelyn is never able to remain in one city long enough to meet someone to relieve her virgin state. John Longnose has been pursuing her throughout every country, continent, and sea that she has traveled. Always behind her and always with the intent to kill her. The duke was wrong to assume that with Jocelyn far away from England, his relatives would leave her be. The new Duke of Eaton has contracted a man, only known to Jocelyn by the name she and her traveling companions have dubbed him - John Longnose, for no one knows his true identity. His mission was originally to kidnap the Duchess and bring her back to England so that the new duke could control her and her money. But now that Jocelyn has reached her majority, the new plan is to simply kill her and all her possessions would revert back to the dukedom.
While in the process of being ambushed yet again by Longnose, Jocelyn encounters Colt near Tombstone, Arizona. After saving her and the countess from near death, Jocelyn asks Colt to work for her and bring Longnose to heel. Colt refuses of course because a) he's not for hire, and b) his vow to never love a white woman is in serious peril with one look at the pretty red head. But Colt is doomed at first sight for his blue eyes, smooth skinned body, and long black hair marks him as the perfect canidate to rid Jocelyn of her virginity. Too bad Colt is unwilling to cooperate. But Jocelyn eventually bags her man by calling his bluff and Colt becomes her party's guide as they make their way to Wyoming.
For the next three hundred pages a battle of wills ensues. Colt is a surly, closed-mouth a-hole. He avoids Jocelyn, whom he refers to only as Duchess, at every opportunity. The two spend the whole of a hundred pages combined in each others actual presence. The fist love scene, which doesn't occur until several hundred pages, is perfunctory with Jocelyn seducing Colt which he later hates her for when he realizes she's a virgin and was simply using him (his thoughts, not mine or Jocelyn's for that matter). The rest of the book is filled to the brim with Jocelyn being caught by Longnose, rescued by Colt, only to be caught again...and again. These are pretty much the only times the two are together. And sadly, during these times the H/h are arguing instead of having the hot sex I was expecting.
Colt lusts after Jocelyn but this lust is morphed into anger at the audacity of her being attractive to him. His vow to never want a white woman again becomes exceedingly dull. He is belittling and crude to her throughout the entire book. Every time he feels himself growing impassioned for her, he becomes even more mean. I had to hand it to Jocelyn's longevity. I would have told the guy to get lost but she continues to want him and even falls in love with him. And out of the two, I believed Jocelyn loved Colt. She must have or why else would she put up with his shit.
Eventually circumstances force Colt and Jocelyn alone together for an entire week as they trek through the last leg of their journey. My reader's heart is thinking "finally we can get to the hot part - the horse scene". Unfortunately it was a dud lasting a mere page and half. This and the aforementioned were the only love scenes bearing actual page time and not a mere mention. Seriously, only TWO!
In the last three pages after Colt has previously up and left our heroine with his family with no goodbye or nothing, he proclaims his love and asks her hand in marriage. This proclamation and proposal spanned one sentence. And idiot Jocelyn says yes! There was no groveling forgiveness for his past despicable behavior and truthfully I don't think he truly loved her.
The only thing that saved this book for me was Jocelyn. She was the heroine I would like to be. She's an excellent and fearless horseback rider and she can handle a rifle better than most men. She knew who she was and didn't back down from the challenge that Colt ultimately managed to be. Plus the world was beautiful to her and no matter what a person might look like or what blood ran through their veins, they were all human to her. I was in awe of her travels and how money never changed her or her dreams. She'd gladly give everything up with nary a complaint if Colt would just tell her that he wanted her, maybe even felt he could love her. Yet Colt never asks about her travels nor does he ever inquire about her past. She was nothing but a woman with pretty pert breasts and flame red hair. He never sought to know Jocelyn and for this I could never sympathize with his surliness or anger toward white women. He was just a shallow little man to me. But Jocelyn was interesting.