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A decadent-looking savage has captured Francesca DuVall and her brother, Marsh. Now she must spend every waking moment planning an escape. She didn’t count on the powerful draw of desire interfering with her scheme in the camp of the brutal Cheyenne dog soldiers.

Ethan Gray is a curator at a national museum…most of the time, but when he travels through time to help his beloved People he becomes Meko, leader of the most revered and feared tribe of the plains. Although their worlds are decades apart Meko can’t resist the dark beauty he kidnapped during a raid. He has many battles to fight but none he wants to win more than the one that will capture Cesca’s heart forever.

From the windswept plains of Colorado and the harsh life of a Dog Soldier to the placid life of a curator their love was fueled by passion and kindled by destiny.

Publisher and release date: Amazon Digital Services, February 2012

Time and Setting: Nineteenth Century American West
Genre: Time Travel Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 Stars

Review by Jenny Q

In the present day, Ethan Gray is a young man of Native American descent who has turned his passion for history and the Native American culture into a job as a curator at the Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. He has a gift for identifying and cataloguing hard to place relics, for creating displays and exhibits that masterfully recreate the culture of his ancestors—but there’s a reason for that. In another world, Ethan is known as I Am the Wind, and he is a wanderer, traveling back in time as required by the Sacred Council of Arrows, powerful Native American spirits, to lead the Cheyenne in times of trouble. His latest mission promises to be his most dangerous yet as visions of bloodshed and slaughter at the hands of the Union Army fill his dreams, but the greatest danger may come in the form of the beautiful, raven-haired, green-eyed white woman who also haunts his sleep.

In June of 1864, in a mining camp in Colorado, Francesca Duvall keeps the home fires burning while her father and brother quest for gold. Though the Cheyenne and Arapaho are making war on each other and on the white man, and those with sense and the ability to do so are fleeing the area for safer ground, Cesca’s father is gripped by gold fever, and she and her brother, Marsh, make do as best they can—until the day the Cheyenne declare war on the mining camp. While the camp is destroyed and most of the miners killed, Cesca and Marsh are taken captive. But any fortune they may have felt at having been spared quickly vanishes when they realize they have not been taken by just any Cheyenne, but by the fabled and fearsome Dog Warriors. Cesca becomes the property of her captor, the fierce leader of the Dog Warriors, Meko, also known as I Am the Wind.

Cesca confronts her captivity with defiance at every turn, which prevents the tribe from accepting her and places her life in danger; and it soon becomes clear that Meko’s standing is the only thing keeping her alive. While Marsh is forced to run the gauntlet to earn his place in the tribe, Cesca must marry Meko to earn hers. Slowly, reluctantly, she comes to see the gentle side of her new husband, who seems much wiser and more worldly than those around him. But her defiant streak is hard to tame, and when she commits a crime against one of the warriors, even Meko cannot protect her from the horrendous ordeal she must endure as punishment. Though she is battered and broken, she emerges from her ordeal stronger, calmer, and more accepting of her new life among the People — and with Meko. And when Meko reveals to her who he is and what he must do — and the terrible future rushing toward the People — Cesca must decide where her heart and loyalties truly lie. And with the threat of Meko being called home by the Sacred Council continually looming over them, Cesca must determine if she’s strong enough to let him go, and strong enough to live in a world without him.

I was a little on the fence with this book because it does have some drawbacks, and at times I thought the technical quality was not quite up to par for our review guidelines, but it does have some outstanding qualities that I think make it worthy of consideration for your to-read list. The story is fantastic and is centered around two great characters. Meko is fierce yet tender, passionate yet wise; and his dilemma as a son of both the past and the present is heartbreakingly rendered. And Cesca is one tough cookie. She gets a little crazy sometimes, overreacts and lashes out, but she’s no simpering miss. I also thought this story was more realistic in that Cesca doesn’t just waltz into camp and get to continue living like a European woman (though she tries at first); she is forced to conform to the society of the tribe. It’s not easy for her and she fights it, but the People are firm in this. The setting is unique and vividly drawn, providing a fascinating glimpse into a time and a people — the Dog Warriors — I knew nothing about. The story seems to be very well-researched, and the historical description is perfect.

Although Ms. Diablo excels at world-building, the weakest aspect of this book is the writing itself. It’s on the rough side and could really use some polishing. There are errors and typos, and the dialogue felt kind of stilted and kind of modern, and just didn’t feel very natural at times. I also had some issues with the ending. A huge twist is revealed that I never saw coming (big thumbs up), but it’s not explained very well, and I certainly had a lot more questions than Cesca did. But Ms. Diablo is writing a sequel, so hopefully my questions will be answered in due time. When I weigh what I didn’t like against all of the things I did like — the fascinating subject matter, gritty realism, wonderful description, and touch of mythical fantasy — the positives outweigh the negatives, and I can recommend this book to anyone looking for something compelling, evocative, and different in the world of historical romance. I’m looking forward to the sequel.

At time of writing, this title is available for $2.99.


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