Title: Outlaw Hearts
Series: Outlaw Hearts #1
Author: Rosanne Bittner
Format: eBook/Mass Market Paperback, 512 pages
Published: June 2nd 2015 by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Wine Glasses
At twenty, Miranda Hayes had known more than her share of heartache and loss. Widowed by the war, orphaned by a vicious band of rebel raiders, she was a woman alone in a harsh, unyielding frontier. Then she clashed with the notorious gunslinger Jake Harkner, a hard-hearted loner with a price on his head, and found within herself a deep well of courage...and feelings of desire she'd never known.
Hunted by lawmen and desperadoes alike, haunted by his brutal past, Jake had spent a lifetime on the dusty trail--and on the run. Until he met a vibrant, honey-haired beauty who was determined to change his violent ways, who loved him enough to risk her life to be his woman...an outlaw's woman.
From the vast plains of the Midwest across the Oregon Trail to the sun-drenched valleys of southern California, from the blazing Nevada desert to the boomtowns of Colorado, Miranda and Jake struggled to endure amid the perils of a lawless wilderness. In a world of heart-stopping danger and burning desire, could their hard-won love survive the shadows that stalked their happiness?
Rosanne Bittner's Outlaw Hearts is set in the old west and you won't find a more complete and satisfying story out there right now!
A true romance that spans about twenty five years, Outlaw Hearts follows Jake Harkner and Miranda Hayes, as they navigate the perils of traveling through the old west of the 1800's. Randy Hayes is making her way across the Oregon Trail to Nevada after the death of her husband and father, in search of her long-lost brother. Despite the rumblings of others, she has no apprehensions about setting out on her own to make a new start. The last thing she expected when coming to town for supplies was to get between a shoot-out, but when she runs across the notorious outlaw Jake Harkner passion ignites and the dust flies! Together, these two unlikely companions set out on a journey that changes their lives. From zealots to bank-robbers, murderers, and friends turned foes, their road is hampered with hurdles, but the biggest obstacles are the ones they find within. Can Randy teach this lonely gunslinger that he is more then the sum of his past and worthy of love? Or will Jake's past catch up with him first?
Rife with passion and peril, heartache and adventure, Outlaw Hearts was a touching tale that I fell in love with. If you loved the passion-filled romances of the nineties, with their detailed story building, innovative plots, and vivid characters, then you'll want to pick up this re-issue today.
Jake and Randy's path to a happily-ever-after is full of twists and turns that was incredibly moving. I mentioned that this was a filling tale, beginning when Randy is barely out of her teens and ending while in her forties. The author delivers a plenary story that revolves around these two characters; a blossoming romance, finding your soul-mate, starting anew, beginning a family in these perilous times, escaping a regretful but unavoidable past, just to do it all over again when that past catches up with them. Now, that may sound repetitive to some, but I found it to be strengthening to Randy and Jake's love. Speaking of Randy, our heroine of the story, I haven't read about such an independent and strong woman in a long time. I think that is the draw to romances set in this time period. Woman had to be strong and full of heart to survive and Randy is an exemplary example of this. She never gave up on Jake or the love they shared, she never gave up on the man she knew he could be, and she never gave up on the family and home they found together. No matter how many people and circumstances tried to tear them apart. She was a heroine to admire. Her love and loyalty was the reason Jake turned his life around and survived, and it is also one of the reasons he was so endearing as a hero. Jake and Randy were perfect together. If you are a long-time reader of this blog you know how rare it is that I glorify a heroine over a hero! ☺Jake, though he was stubborn and unable to find the goodness in himself, was an honorable leading man. He is the dark and quiet type that you find yourself itching to get into his head just to find out what he is thinking. Luckily, thanks to books, we can!
This was my first time reading a book from Rosanne Bittner but I found the writing to be captivating and the plot well-paced, with stirring world-building. Some of the outcomes with the character's choices were predictable but I think that was the author's intent. It just made me that more anxious to find out how that situation would be revealed and the effect it would have on the story and it's characters. The ending was also a little abrupt for such an in-depth story but I loved it non-the-less. I also just found out that there will be a sequel coming next month, Do Not Forsake Me, so perhaps that is the reason. Either way, I look forward to reading that book. Bottom line; Outlaw Hearts was a heart-breaking, toe-curling, action-packed story that stuck with me and I would recommend it to all romance readers who enjoy a comprehensive jaunt into the old west. Happy reading!