by Ana Leigh

June 2001 Reissue
ISBN: 0-505-52441-4
Reviewer Graphic Button Lovespell
Mass Market Paperback

Luke MacKenzie is a sheriff and single father who has had the task of raising his young son alone since his wife and mother were savagely killed four years earlier. Josh, Luke's six year old son has slowly been slipping further and further away since the tragedy. The boy barely speaks and is very sullen and quiet most of the time. Luke feels that Josh needs a mother so he has sent for a mail order bride in hopes of helping his son. It will be a strict marriage of convenience though because Luke has vowed not to ever fall in love again. He was devastated when his wife was killed and doesn't want to risk that kind of hurt again.

Honey Behr is a con artist posing as a proper lady on a riverboat. Honey has lived by her wits for most of her life. She grew up roaming the country with a traveling carnival and has learned to get by with very little and how to use people to get what she needs to survive. Honey inadvertently witnesses a murder and escapes the riverboat before the murderer can catch her. Stranded in Missouri, Honey happens to meet one Abigail Fenton who is headed west as a mail order bride. The very plain Abigail has changed her mind however and convinces Honey to go in her place and explain to the would be husband that she changed her mind and could not go through with their deal. Having no money and no other alternative, Honey agrees to go.

Upon arrival some months later in Sacramento, Honey sells the wagon and horses for the modest sum of $50.00 and heads for the local hotel where she plans to soak in a hot bath and decide what to do next.

As luck would have it, Luke has escorted a prisoner to Sacramento and checks to see if his mail order bride has arrived yet. He is led to the hotel and eventually tracks down Mrs. Sharp, Abigail, Mary, no Honey....I told you she was a con artist.

Honey explains that Abigail backed out of the deal with Luke and she came to break the bad news to him. Luke convinces Honey to return to Stockton with him at which time he arrests her. The way he sees it, she owes him the $300.00 he sent the real Abigail to come west since she used the resources to get things that his money provided. After much conversation on the subject, the two agree that Honey will be a nanny/housekeeper for Luke and his son Josh for the next 90 days until Luke can arrange for another "bride". Luke really needs someone to try and reach his son, since he doesn't seem to be able to.

Luke is the start of the wonderful saga of the MacKenzie family. Honey soon finds herself falling in love with the sad little boy named Josh as well as the not so little boy named Luke. Can she convince him that she is the one he is searching for and to give love another chance or will she have the strength to just walk away at the end of the 90 days.

Ms Leigh is one of the best American west writers on the scene today. I can never get enough of her stories. Luke and Honey are well matched in this story and Luke's son Josh almost steals the book. We also meet Luke's brothers Cleve and Flint who have stories of their own in the books that follow in this remarkable series. If you love to read about the old west, then be sure to track down this series. With the MacKenzies, Ana Leigh has created one of the best loved American families and each new book promises a great love story as well as an update on characters from previous books.

Reviewed in November 2002 by Barbara.

Read more reviews of Ana Leigh books.Click Here