After a devastating event that changed both their lives, Alexandra and her brother Hugh turn to stealing in order to get revenge on the man that destroyed their lives. But neither of them are prepared for the day when everything changes, and the lawless life they’ve been carrying out is irrevocably altered.
When he agreed to accompany the shipment of money into Kansas for his latest benefactor, Jarett never thought that anyone would dare to try and steal it from him. He realizes he was greatly mistaken when he comes face to face with two thieves, and the robbery goes horribly wrong. Now on the hunt for the boy that shot him, he is determined to uncover the bandits and have his revenge before moving further west.
Jarett isn’t ready for the stonewall he comes face to face with when dealing with the townspeople though. Nor is he prepared for the enigmatic Alexandra Harris when she appears in the mercantile. Determined to get closer to Alexandra, he’s thrown off by her insistent refusal of him. Fighting against her growing attraction to a man she knows would prefer to see her hung if he uncovered the truth, Alexandra tries to stay far away from Jarett. The more they are forced together though, the more she realizes that the man she considers her enemy is the only one that could save her ravaged heart…
If he doesn’t kill her first. (Goodreads)
One thing I despise about western period pieces is the holier than thou attitudes of small town folks. I despise it even more when a reverend spreads gossip as much as the women do. However, my hesitation about A Stolen Heart quickly faded when I read the character Alexandra. She is rash, stubborn, unladylike and passionate. I fell in love with her and her plight.
Alexandra (Alex) Harris is a strong independent woman, who is out for revenge. Her father murdered by a greedy land baron named Murdock. Murdock and his men are stealing cattle and land from other ranchers to force them out of business so he can purchase their land inexpensively. Murdock is also obsessed with Alex. He will stop at nothing to make her his property. Unbeknown to Murdock Alex was on her way to see her father when she witnessed him shoot her father. Vowing revenge, she and her brother Hugh become thieves and rob stagecoaches bringing money to Murdock. Once they have the stolen money, Hugh and Alex divide it amongst their fellow ranchers. Then one fateful heist, things go wrong ….Jarett Stanton wrong. Both Jarett and Alex shoot each other during the robbery, nothing major but it does begin an interesting dance between the two. A love hate relationship begins as Jarett searches for the redheaded boy (Alex) who shot him and a vengeance driven Alex trying to hide her identity from the one man who gives her another purpose to live.
Alex’s strong spirit and can give a damn attitude about her reputation is what makes A Stolen Heart worth reading. She cares less about her reputation especially when she visits a friend of her father’s alone in his house weekly, converses with the women of ill repute (Amy, Dolly, and Rachel), works as a ranch hand on her farm, and dresses like a man. Her friend Megan tries to get Alex to see there is more to life than vengeance. Therefore, when a handsome Jarett Stanton invades her life, Alex is caught off guard. Jarett falls for the feisty redhead and learns the truth about her. Even when he learns Alex shot him, the reasons behind it allow him to see just what drives her to revenge leading Jarett to help Alex, Hugh, and the other ranchers.
Although A Stolen Heart focuses on the relationship of Alex and Jarett, the secondary characters are just as interesting. Megan is the one true friend of Alex who sticks by her regardless of the town gossip. Henry is a lovable drunk with a secret that only Alex knows. Alex keeps his secret and cares for him like an uncle. The women at the saloon protect Alex from the hateful, judgmental men and women of the town. They stand up for Alex when she needs it most. Suzanne, a former friend of Alex, does everything in her power to tear down Alex, especially when Jarett rebukes her advances. Even the town reverend puts his two cents in when it comes to”repairing” Alex’s reputation. Each one of these characters, including Murdoch, adds unique dimensions to the story as well as in the development of the relationship between Alex and Jarett.
A Stolen Heart exceeded all my expectations and changed my opinion of some period pieces. I found the blooming yet sometimes-volatile relationship between Alex and Jarett plausible, the sex scenes extremely steamy, and the underlying thirst for vengeance a wonderful read.
Brenda K. Davies has a best seller in her repertoire with A Stolen Heart.