From the back cover:
Being kidnapped into a bordello has a way of changing a woman’s focus. On the day Mara Kincaid escapes the Pleasure Emporium, she vows to start living for herself. Rebuilding her life isn’t easy as the town isn’t fond of reformed fallen doves, but she’s a Kincaid and Kincaids are known for their stubbornness. She’s successful right up until the notorious ex-marshal Cougar McKinnley comes into town.
As big as a mountain, dark as sin, and wearing a reputation as deadly as the knife strapped to his thigh, McKinnley is a man who knows what he wants. By rights, she should be shaking in her shoes when he approaches her, but when the powerful half-breed turns his dark gold eyes on her, it isn’t fear that has Mara trembling, but rather an overwhelming desire to be the kind of woman Cougar needs to satisfy his deepest desires.
First thing's first. WTF is up with this cover? It is atrocious. I think I literally cringed when I pulled it out of the amazon box. I can't believe I even dared to bring it to work w/ me so I could read it at lunch. I had to be very careful, let me tell you. And if I read it correctly, Mara has BROWN hair, not blonde. It's just bad.
The blurb is a tad misleading. While Mara was at the Pleasure Emporium against her will, her father actually sold her to the owner. Nothing like daddy taking money to turn his daughter into a whore.
So we open up w/ Cougar McKinnely in the Pleasure Emporium trying to get it up. Ever since his his fiancée died, he's had a little problem. Not because he loved her, though. No, he wanted to make sure that she would be able to accept his sexual "appetites" after they were married. Which is smart, I suppose. Anyway, she freaked out b/c Cougar was a "dirty savage". See, she only wanted him for his money. She didn't actually want him. Cougar was blind to that b/c he wanted a lady for a wife. Back to the beginning of the book...so Cougar has had a hard time performing for awhile. The owner of the brothel is a real fucked up bitch. After trying to "help" Cougar w/ his problem, she tells him to go upstairs to see a very special woman who will solve his performance problems.
After Cougar goes upstairs, he hopes that his problems are finally solved. He has no idea that the woman he sees as sexy and wanton is actually drugged out and a virgin. After the sex, Mara knocks him out with a lamp and tries to get herself together enough to make a run for it. Unfortunately the owner of the brothel and her trusty sidekick arrive and make escape impossible. Mara whips out the knife she stole from Cougar and stabs Ceilia in the throat. Kick ass. Unfortunately for her, the sidekick is not happy about that and tries to kill her. Fortunately for her, Cougar comes to in time to rescue her. The escape out the window.
Back in Cheyenne, the town knows that Mara was one of the girls in the Pleasure Emporium. No matter that it was against her will. They treat her like crap. Which really pissed me off b/c it's not like she wanted to be there. So she doesn't remember that it was Cougar who raped her, she only knows that someone did. After yet another altercation between Mara and one of the many men that think she's a whore, Cougar steps in and talks Mara into marrying him. Of course he traps her into it b/c he knows that he'll never talk her into it otherwise. He also convinces her that for safety's sake, she needs a husband and he would never hurt her.
Mara really comes into her own about halfway through the book. Realizing that she is a strong person, she also realizes that she wants to be able to satisfy her husband in a way that a wife should. Cougar told her from the beginning that he wouldn't give her time. It was all or nothing. Brave girl that she is, she chose all. While Mara and Cougar are getting closer, Cougar is just waiting for the day that Mara remembers that it was him that raped her. And she does remember.
About 3/4 of the way through the book, Mara decides she's going to become an activist for women's rights. It was kind of strange b/c it seemed like somewhat of an after thought. When Cougar refuses to write over half his property to her to show her he thinks of her as an equal, she decides to teach him a lesson. They eventually straighten things out and go on to live happily ever after.
This is the 2nd book in the Promises series. Be sure to read Promises Linger first.
4 out of 5 stars.