Do Not Forsake Me by Rosanne Bittner

do not forsake me

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Fate brought them together. His past may tear them apart.

Miranda Hayes’ life was changed the day she faced down infamous gunslinger Jake Harkner…and walked away with his heart. Their fates have been intertwined ever since. Hunted by the law, fleeing across a savage land, their desperate love flourished despite countless sorrows. Now, twenty-six years later, their family has finally found some measure of peace…balanced on the knife’s edge of danger.

Jake has spent his years as a U.S. Marshal atoning for sins, bringing law to the land he once terrorized. But no matter how hard he fights the demons of his brutal past, the old darkness still threatens to consume him. Only Miranda keeps the shadows at bay. But when outlaws looking for revenge strike a fatal blow, Jake risks losing the one woman who saw past his hard exterior and to the man inside.

He always knew there’d be the devil to pay. He just never realized he might not be the one to bear the ultimate price.

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Publisher and Release Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca 7 July, 2015

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: 1892, Oklahoma
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars

Review by Jill

Do not forsake me, mi querida esposa, just as I will never forsake you.

Jake Harkner, United States Marshal and former outlaw has found a measure of peace bringing to justice the types of men he used to ride with. With Randy, his wife of twenty-six years by his side, and surrounded by his grown children and grandchildren, Jake should be able to rest easy. But being a once notorious gunslinger means that Jake is always watching his back. There’s always someone who wants to court fame as the one to bring down the famous Jake Harkner.

Set in Oklahoma, 1892 this is a continuation of Jake and Randy Harkner’s story that began in Outlaw Hearts. Along with Jake and Randy, are their children, Lloyd and Evie, and their families. Picking up two years down the track from the first book, Jake is now established as a federal marshal. Lloyd works with Jake as his deputy. With Jake’s fame comes trouble, and also those who want to know the real story behind the legend. Enter Jeff Trubridge, a reporter from Chicago, who wants to write a book about Jake’s life.

This book can be read as a standalone because there’s enough back-story in the narrative to bring first-time readers of this series up to speed. But in my opinion, it’s worth reading the first book before this. For readers who’ve enjoyed Outlaw Hearts, there are some oft-repeated phrases that you’ll recognise, and recollections from the past that you’ll remember. This may become tiresome, and slow down the pace of the story. There is also a secondary romance, which begins as a marriage-of-convenience, based on respect and friendship. However, it moves rather abruptly to true love. I would have much rather seen it grow and develop before the declarations of love.

What Rosanne Bittner does consistently well is tell a great story. Do Not Forsake Me is no exception. She brings the Old West to life with wonderful imagery and realistic action. But be prepared for lots of heartache. Jake and Randy’s story ends satisfyingly in 1893. Although who knows, there may be more stories with the Harkner clan. I could certainly see a few possibilities.

Though not quite as captivating or as epic as Outlaw Hearts, this sequel nevertheless brings a lovely closure to Jake and Randy’s story, as well as those of their children and grandchildren. Recommended for fans of western historical romances, Rosanne Bittner, and Outlaw Hearts.

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