by Cheryl St. John

September 2005
ISBN: 0-373-81121-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Harlequin
Mass Market Paperback

Thunder Canyon, Montana 1890

The Women’s Temperance Prayer League was not going to let up on Miss Lily or the other saloon owners of Thunder Canyon! Every evening they came marching down the street singing, banging their tambourines, and disrupting her business. Thinking the worst of Miss Lily Divine based on the type of business she was in, the league was making Lily’s life difficult, but Lily would persevere. She was no whore. She ran a clean upstanding establishment where men could go, have a drink, play cards, and share a dance with a pretty girl, but that was it! Lily had sworn years ago that she would never be under a domineering man's thumb again, and with her successful business, she had kept that promise to herself. In keeping with the same promise, Lily also gave refuge to abused women and children, providing them with a decent safe place to stay and work if need be. She had to give them assistance the same way she had once been helped! It didn’t matter the amount of explaining Lily did; the league would continue to judge her. Then the new sheriff of Thunder Canyon arrived! Why was it so important to Lily what this particular man thought of her?

Nathaniel Harding was weary of the life he had led as a ruthless bounty hunter for the last fifteen years. Nate was ready to settle down in the little frontier mining town as sheriff. He would find a nice woman and start a family of his own. That was Nate’s plan until he crossed paths with the fiery Miss Lily Divine, owner of the Shady Lady saloon. Wow, Miss Lily sure was something with that voluptuous body and mass of unruly, curly tresses falling about her beautiful face! Nevertheless, her profession made her undesirable to his long-term plans. The fact that Nate was becoming more attracted to her physically and emotionally involved in Lily’s problems every time he encountered her was beginning to stick in his craw. Lily also kept a defensive wall up around her that Nate could not quite figure out how to break down. Yes, Miss Lily was an enigmatic woman, but she was one that Nate needed to have despite what he and the town thought she was!

Fans of Cheryl St.John won’t be disappointed with The Bounty Hunter, a prequel to her recent Montana Mavericks series book, Million-Dollar Makeover. Miss Lily, an ancestor of that book’s heroine, gets her own story. The Bounty Hunter is an exciting read with a well crafted storyline, a great cast of believable characters, and an emotion charged romance! Miss Lily is a strong, independent woman who can hold her head up and not give a fig what the town thinks of her. In an era when men had total control over the women in their lives, Lily gives the downtrodden a haven. Nate thinks he wants a decent woman, but then realizes that is exactly what Miss Lily is!

Reviewed in August 2005 by Bonnie.

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