A Stranger Came Among Them
Hannah Marco, the older woman who draws Sampson into a deadly plot with a bold promise of complete surrender. Arley Ruttlinger, the young spitfire who wants Hannah out of her life because of a past love affair with her father she believes caused her mother’s death.
Hate has festered deep. Arley will stop at nothing to destroy Hannah, even fling herself at Rand Calder, who would do anything to keep Arley coming into his bed.
A pact is sealed; Sampson is lead into the mountains lashed to a packhorse, where Calder orders his men to kill him and bury his body.
When Arley hears Calder admit he ordered Sampson killed, the myth of Calder professing his love for her is shown for what it is; a lie!
She must warn Sampson a new plan is about to be set in motion, to end her father’s leadership over the territory and have the fastest gunfighters on Calder’s payroll draw down on Sampson. Now Arley and Sampson must join forces, as Calder confronts them in a church filled with women and children praying for the safe return of their men folk.
They both have endured too much for her to lose him now. She will take up a gun against the man she has come to hate in order to save the man she now loves."
Best Book Bit:
My Dear Mister Sampson,
I am sending this telegram to you with a more detailed letter to follow, as soon as I have more factual news to report.
As requested in your letter dated October 12, 1866, I advanced some funds from your account to hire the Pinkerton Detective Agency to begin a search for the black woman you described to me. The trail was difficult and at times puzzling.
It seems someone else was following her in addition to Pinkerton: two people who finally caught up to her just crossing into the state of Virginia and forcibly took her back to South Carolina. I regret to say the couple that had sheltered her were found in their home shot to death….
Now the course is set.
To find answers, they must go back to Sampson’s roots, to the horrors of war he had left in his past. But the month-long journey would be a nightmare of a different kind.
I went down the memory lane with the book. I was a small girl and my uncle loved his westerns. I watched all the classics. The fire scenes were a must as were the gun fights.
John, The Stranger, although the fastest in the west opens his part in a scene that does not tell it.
The plot is full of twists where love, hate and prejudice have a lot to say.
The book means a significant update to the genre because the women aren't threatened maidens or poor battered women. They jump into bed with the men they choose to fulfill their own needs and plans.
I know it sounds peculiar in a conventional cowboy book, but it suits the story smoothly. There are some hot scenes well composed and valid.
The fist fights receive careful descriptions; the gunfights have purpose and the man, John Sampson, is just hot. I missed the characters when the book was over.
The book offers a new approach to traditional topics but doesn't give the reader the feeling the book is an odd one out in the kind. Good work.
One of the most impressive things about this story was that there was never much of a lull. Every time I began to think there was a part that wasn’t quite necessary and the story could have moved along without it, the author explained exactly why that piece was part of the puzzle. The sex scenes were well written and steamy, but not like contemporary romance, more fitting to that particular genre–with the applicable terminology and all. The gunfight scenes were just as exciting and described vividly enough for me to almost taste the blood on Sampson’s lip.
Arley, Sampson’s love interest worked my nerves a few times with her stubbornness and evil ways, but she and I made amends at the end ? The characters were well developed with personalities you either loved to love, or loved to hate. They all played important roles to the story and I found them fascinating.
Although there were some issues of POV change throughout the story, it didn’t detract me from continuing to flip pages. I enjoyed every minute of this story and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good western romance–heavy on the western, light on the romance.
Here are some of my favorite lines from this story:
“Time starts moving too fast to waste it on any words but those you really mean.”
“Imagine, a stranger came among us, and now I find he has a kind soul and speaks with the wisdom to make a woman feel whole again.”
“If you’re implying I can be bought that easy, ma’am, then maybe you should make me a better offer.”
And then her gossamer wings melted and she fell back to earth, into a dark abyss that sucked her toward the center of the earth to be submersed in a kind of primal ooze. (I think this one was my favorite!)
From the minute John Sampson meets Jeff Marco, his wife Hannah, and the men who work on the Marco ranch his life is in turmoil. Drawn into an old west battle between ranchers and their property rights, Sampson soon learns the lines linking the players are blurred by uneasy relationships. Left alone to manage her ranch Hannah Marco begs Sampson to stay and help her fight off Rand Calder, the town bully and owner of Non Pareil ranch. Calder wants to add the Marco ranch to his holdings and will stop and nothing to achieve his goal. And Calder has a secret weapon that gives him an edge over Hannah Marco as well as other ranchers. Although Sampson resists at first, events cause him to change his mind and accept the challenge.
Meanwhile Sampson has made the acquaintance of Max Ruttlinger owner of the Long R Ranch, his sexy and hostile daughter Arley, and Max’s foreman Roy Bidwell. Fireworks instantly explode between Sampson and Arley; he may be attracted to her but she seems to despise him on sight. Sampson suspects there is some past issue between the Ruttlinger’s and Hannah Marco but no seems willing to tell him what the problem is. Even the town doctor, Thebes Vallencourt, refuses to reveal the details of the feud between Arley and Hannah.
The story that follows is an exciting action-packed old west tale with an underlying mystery that kept me reading hungrily. More than a cowboy story, this is a story of people caught up in relationships and situations that could as easily come from today’s world. Revenge, love, hate, sex, and a strong dose of justice fill the pages.
Although there are some spelling and grammar errors they in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the book. The characters are well developed, even those that seem minor at first glance. The essence of the historical period is colorfully described, the settings true to the surroundings of the times. All in all this is a very good Western drama that will appeal to a woman or a man. blue_bookworm