Series: Blood Rose Trilogy #2
Published by Berkley in June 2010
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How do you forgive a brother's betrayal? How far do you go to protect the family you love? Hank and Molly find out in OPEN COUNTRY, Book II of the 1870s family saga, the Blood Rose Trilogy.
Molly McFarlane is as desperate as a woman can get. Forced to flee with her late sister's children, she must provide for her wards while outrunning the relentless tracker the children's vicious stepfather has set on their trail. Out of money and with no other options, she marries a man badly injured in a train derailment, assuming when he dies, the railroad settlement will provide the money they need to keep moving West.
But there is one small problem. The man doesn't die.
Hank Wilkins doesn't recall the accident he barely survived-and he certainly doesn't remember marrying Molly. But as he slowly recovers at the Wilkins ranch in New Mexico Territory, the idea of a real marriage takes hold...until his memory returns, and that fragile trust is shattered, and the tracker follows Molly to the ranch. Then things really start to unravel.
If you are an avid reader, then you are probably familiar with a common phenomenon. There is usually that book…somewhere in between book 5 and book 500 where you just sit back and take it all in. The point where the story and the characters matter more than anything else…more than sleep, more than getting the laundry done, more than fixing supper. You can’t think about anything else until you get to ‘The End’ and even then you still can’t shake the story from your memory.
Open Country is one of those books.
Molly has just rescued her niece and nephew from their terrifying step-father after her sister passes away. Lost and penniless, she and the children board a train heading for California. Along the way there is a horrible accident. Now, Molly finds herself working feverishly to help injured passengers. One of those passengers is Hank Wilkins, who the doctor swears isn’t going to make it through the week. Molly, being desperate and seeing an opportunity she cannot pass up marries Hank so she can claim the settlement money once he passes.
There’s just one little hiccup in Molly’s plan…Hank survives.
Hank wakes up to discover not only did he make through the train wreck but he’s….married? Hank has no recollection of getting married or his wife. She feels like a stranger to him. Yet, she and his brother Brady confirm they are really wed, so Hank must be confused from the accident. This beautiful woman who saved his life and repaired his injured arm must mean something to him. After healing from the worst of his injuries, Hank and Molly head back to his ranch to make a fresh start and try to remember what they mean to each other. Molly is overwhelmed with guilt for the lies she’s told Hank. But with her brother-in-law hot on her heels, and her niece and nephew’s lives at risk, can Molly truly afford to be honest with the man she’s falling in love with?
Open Country is book two in the Blood Rose Trilogy. Brady and Jessica from book one, Pieces of Sky, play a large role in this book. If you’ve read the first, you’re going to love this continuation of their story. If you haven’t, there is no time like the present to catch up! Will you be lost if you don’t read the first? Not really, mostly because this is Hank and Molly’s story and Warner does refresh the main points from book one when needed. (But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it!)
What is so irresistible about Hank? It’s his rough edges, the macho attitude, but underneath all of that is the most tender romantic hero ever put on paper. It’s the grizzly man who responds to ‘I love you’ with ‘Me too.’ The man who jumps to anger and irrational thought when his female is in danger…the man who refers to pregnancy as ‘being good breeders.’ He’s the kind of man who feels honor-bound to this woman and this marriage even though he doesn’t remember anything about it. He doesn’t question it, he just knows if they say it’s true, it must be. He is the quiet hero that we easily swoon over. The shy individual who doesn’t want the acknowledgment from his good deeds, but he does them anyway, with the goal to come home at the end of the day feeling content. Being the invisible, hard working man…just like everyone else. But of course, he’s not.
“I would never try to control you,” she said.
He snorted, “Hell, you already do.”
Letting her hands fall to her lap, she frowned at him. “How?”
“By walking into the room. Saying good morning. Breathing.” He grinned, “But I don’t mind.”
Warner knows how to grab your emotional interest. She writes first kisses that steal your breath away and turn your mind to mush (much like the heroine in the story). There are moments of such tenderness you either can’t help but smile or cry tears of joy. She also writes scenes with such great medical detail you nearly cringe at the difficult parts. It’s that attention to detail that draws you in, that makes you care about these people. These characters are so carefully crafted you almost question whether or not they are real. It’s not just reading a story, or adventure…it’s investing time in the lives of the characters. The characters in this world Warner has created are intelligent, witty, and of course, hopelessly flawed. Those characteristics are what make them so perfect and so irresistible.
Open Country is a emotionally compelling story of passion, betrayal, family and the power of unwavering love. It focuses on an old-fashioned courting of an extraordinary and brilliant female by a independent and compassionate man. It also demonstrates the extraordinary bonds of family. This book is guaranteed to pull everything from you. You’ll weep, blush, laugh, cringe and sigh…and once you finish, you’ll want to go back to page one and experience it all over again.