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Mary Connealy’s Fire and Ice

Bailey Wilde is one of the best new ranchers in the West. She’s been living disguised as a man for a while, but when Gage Coulter comes to drive her off her homestead, he quickly realizes he’s dealing with a woman–a very tough, very intriguing woman at that.

Gage is an honest man, but he didn’t make his fortune being weak. He won’t break the law, but he’ll push as hard as he can within it. Five thousand acres of his best range land is lost to him because Bailey’s homestead is located right across the only suitable entrance to a canyon full of lush grass. Gage has to regain access to his land–and he’s got to go through Bailey to do it.

Spending a winter alone has a way of making a person crave some human contact. In a moment of weakness, Bailey agrees to a wild plan Gage concocts. Can these two independent, life-toughened homesteaders loosen up enough to earn each other’s respect–and maybe find love in
the process?

Review

There is something charming about reading a Mary Connealy western romance. This one was equally so. Here’s why:

What I liked:

Gage and Bailey. I knew Bailey and Gage were meant to be since the first novel in the series and it was worth the wait to see them together.

Marriage. Connealy rarely waits long before her hero and heroine are married quickly. And I really think this works because in those days people didn’t necessarily marry for love; they married for children, for safety, for help, or out of sheer loneliness. Connealy always hits the reality of this so well.

Suspense. I wouldn’t necessarily call this a mystery since the who-done-it really takes a back seat to everything else, but I will say that I was surprised by who the “bad” guy was. As a finish to the series though, it was perfect.

Humor. This book had its funny moments.

Spiritually, there is a theme of forgiveness and accepting God’s forgiveness so you can forgive yourself.

What I didn’t like:

We know Bailey fought in the Civil War and that she’s damaged because of it. In this book we learn why. The reason was strange and sad and quite incongruous with the rest of the tone of the book. I understood that it was supposed to not be happy, but it kind of pulled me out of the story.

The romance. Gage and Bailey get married early on, but I can’t really see why they fell in love except that they just lived together.

Romance scale: 6.5

Overall, it was what I expected: cute, mostly light, fluffy, and a solid conclusion to a fun series.

**I received this copy from BethanyHouse. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

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