Beautiful Bad Man (by Ellen O’Connell)

Historical / Western Romance

1866

Caught stealing from a group of free settlers, a starving boy faces mob justice. Norah, herself just a child cannot accept the injustice and sets him free before he can be lynched.

“Everyone you see is either predator or prey, wolf or rabbit. Wolf is better.”

1880

Caleb Sutton (Cal) is Webster Van Cleve’s newest gun for hire. Van Cleve’s goal is to run farmers off their land and claim it for himself. Arriving at a run down earthen house with a group of hired guns, he discovers a defeated widow just waiting to die. When he realizes the woman is the girl who saved him many years earlier, he steps in and stops the other hired guns from raping her and forcing her from her land.

Norah has lived the hard life of a farmer, taking the little the land gives and stretching it as far as it will go. After her husband is murdered by Van Cleve there is little she can do but wait to die. When Caleb steps in and starts helping her, she is mistrustful of the hired killer, but over time she comes to accept him and then love him. Cal lends his strength to Norah and Norah gentles Cal.  But as the range war escalates and a bounty is placed on Cal, the only option left to them is to either abandon the land and run, or fight and become outlaws.

“Put that rifle down, Mrs Hawkins. I don’t want to shoot a woman, but I will if I have to.”
Her hands stayed steady, and she didn’t let the rifle waver. “Mrs Sutton. And I don’t want to shoot a sheriff, but I will if I have to.”

I feel I should say, I don’t really know anything about this period of American history, apart from what this book and Wikipedia told me. If I’ve made mistakes in using incorrect terms, I’m sorry for that.

Beautiful, Bad Man is a great book. It’s completely captivating from start to finish. It’s one of those rare books that I can’t fault in any way.  Highly recommended for anyone who reads romance, but especially for fans of Western Romance.

“He’s a bad one.”
“Oh, Mabel, yes he is. He’s a very bad man, but he’s a beautiful bad man.”

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