Sam's Creed

Shadow’s Stand
by Sarah McCarty
(HQN, $7.99, R) 978-0-373-77705-1
It’s July 1859 in the west Kansas Territory and Shadow Ochoa is on the run. He killed a member of the military a year ago as revenge for the attempted murder of his brother’s wife and is now a wanted man. His horses were recently stolen and when he was stealing them back he got caught in a small town. Luckily they don’t know who he is, but nonetheless he finds himself with his neck in a noose.

Right before it’s time for the hanging, a young woman named Fei Yen Tseng appears and announces that her father has promised her to this man and they are to be married. Shadow is shocked, but he’s wiling to see it through in order to save his life. Fei’s father is very important to the railroad industry in town due to his expertise in explosives, so they accept the story and allow the marriage to take place instead of the hanging.

Fei is in trouble herself. Her father is not well and it is a fact that she is keeping to herself. As a half Chinese and half American she is not fully accepted in her culture and her future would not be a desirable one. It’s the reason she has proposed marriage to the man about to be hanged. He is big and strong and she knows he can provide her the protection she needs.

Fei and Shadow don’t know where this “marriage” is going to take them, but Shadow soon discovers that there is a lot more to Fei than originally thought and he knows she is not being upfront about it. When he learns that Fei has discovered a secret gold claim and subsequently realizes that Fei has put herself in danger to save her cousin, he knows this woman is one of a kind and for now, he’s willing to go along for the ride because he is finding that he cares for her.

Shadow’s Stand is the 5th book in McCarty’s Hell’s Eight series. It’s part of Harlequin Spice, so it’s more on the sexually explicit side of romance and a little kinky in spots, but not overdone.

The story is action packed and I’d classify it as a thriller, but it is a little unbelievable in parts. Some scenes, especially the plot climax at the end, are very hard to envision. The author is very descriptive, but it is difficult to grasp on to. The story does dive into the Chinese culture, which I found to be interesting.

I would suggest Shadow’s Stand to Sarah McCarty fans and to those invested in the series, but not necessarily as a stand-alone book.

--Nichole Howell

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