The Gunfighter’s Pursuit (Ride Hard #2)

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Emma Fairfax has a secret. She is not the prim and proper new schoolteacher this small Arizona town had been expecting from the East. Emma chased that poor woman away when she robbed her stagecoach and shot a man in cold blood. It wasn’t Emma’s fault. He would have shot her first. Now she was in a bind. No money. No place to go. A wanted criminal. Murderess! Her only way out was to pretend to be Miss Glendolene Rimmel, respectable schoolteacher.

And it was going remarkably well… until he rode into town.

Jackson Horn noticed two things straight away about the town’s pretty little schoolmarm. The sweet sashay of her hips when she walked… and that she was hiding something. As a Confederate soldier turned gunfighter after the war, he earned his money tracking down men for their bounties and hiring out his gun to the highest bidder. So he was good at spotting liars and thieves. He didn’t give a damn about the coin, what he really wanted was information on the man who framed him for murder. Each bounty, each kill brought him closer to his revenge.

The schoolteacher’s secret started out as a mild curiosity. A way to get closer to the straight-laced beauty’s charms.

Then she tried to kill him… twice.
Now Horn is determined to learn her secret. Determined to rein in her stubborn spirit and get her to accept his discipline and protection. He might even be falling in love with the feisty beauty… if he can get her to stop trying to kill him long enough!

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This is the second book in the Ride Hard series. It is set in the west, shortly after the American Civil War ended. This book could easily be read as a standalone.

Emma is terrified when she first meets Horn, convinced that he is a lawman tracking her down, ready to hang her as a murderess. Luckily for her, he is more of a bounty hunter – a hired gun – who has no intention of prohibiting a future with the lady he has fallen for.

The Gunfighter’s Pursuit is a short novel that I read in one sitting. It contains a couple of scenes of dubious consent, but I would not consider the novel to be “dark”.

If you are looking for a quick and easy read with dirty scenes and insta-love, this is one book I would recommend for a cozy evening in bed.

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Educated: a memoir (Tara Westover)

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An unforgettable memoir in the tradition of The Glass Castle about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d travelled too far, if there was still a way home.

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.

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Educated: a memoir is making the rounds of bestseller lists right now. I saw an ad for it online and didn’t even realize that it was a new release. So the audiobook request in my library got scrapped, and I had to read it on my trusty old ipad.

I have to say, this is one book I could not put down. It is thoroughly engrossing and I read it in a day and a half. It is shocking that her story takes place in recent days. Ms. Westover was born in 1986. She grew up in the 90s and early 2000s. She was a child who watched Y2K madness on television, the same as me.

She also didn’t get a birth certificate until she was 9. She didn’t see a dentist or medical professional until she went to university. She had never heard of the Holocaust until she was a student at Brigham Young University. Her upraising, and that of her siblings, is so unique and atypical that it baffles the mind that whole networks of people still live like this, in the modern day, in the “first world”.

While reading Educated, I also streamed this interview she gave to The Economist on their youtube channel, which I highly recommend.

Learning about her survivalist prepper upbringing in an ultra-conservative family in the mountains of Idaho was super interesting. Especially given the juxtaposition between her childhood and the eloquent, thoughtful speaker she is today as a highly educated, well-travelled young woman.

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The Cowboy’s Revenge (Ride Hard #1)

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When Mason caught sight of the beautiful woman with honey-brown hair and violet eyes, he could think of only one thing…revenge.

For three longs years during the War Between the States, he was forced to wait to learn who had murdered his brother. The wait was over. He would take everything from the man; his wealth, his power…his daughter.

Annabelle was getting as far away from Vulture City, Arizona and her step-father as she could, even if she had to marry the boring banker’s son to do it. On the morning she planned to elope, a handsome stranger shows up claiming her step-father lost her in a poker game and she was now his.
 She will fight him tooth and nail every step of the trail even as his punishments get harsher and more creative.

Contains anal play, domestic discipline, and creative cowboy-style punishments.

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I am definitely on a kinky cowboy kick right now.

The Cowboy’s Revenge is a historical erotica set in the frontier, shortly after the American Civil War. This series consists of three short stories, each about 120 or so pages in length.

Zoe Blake is the queen of short, sexy stories that will leave your ladies bits tingling. There isn’t too much I can comment on the plot, without giving everything away. The perils of a short novel, I suppose. Mason is definitely an alpha male, intent on taking his revenge out on the stepdaughter of his enemy. Little did he know that she would be a beautiful young woman, full of spirit and receptive to his particular brand of kink.

There is an element of capture fantasy to this story that may turn off some readers. For me, it is more the lack of internal struggle in the heroine that dropped my review down from 5 stars to 4. I wanted to see her struggle with the idea of blending pain and pleasure, of essentially being kidnapped by the hero in the beginning … and this just didn’t happen.

If you are looking for some historical erotica that can you read in an evening, this could me the story for you.

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