Shadow Ochoa is lying low in the western Kansas Territory, waiting for his fellow Texas Rangers—the Hell's Eight brotherhood—to clear his name. That is, until he's unjustly strung up for horse thieving…and pretty Fei Yen intervenes. Invoking a seldom-used law, the exotic lady prospector claims Shadow as her husband and rides off with the bridegroom shackled to her buckboard.
Savvy, fearless Fei is single-mindedly devoted to her hidden claim and all it promises: wealth, security and freedom. A husband is just a necessary inconvenience and a name on paper to hold the claim she cannot.
Shadow isn't a man to take orders from anyone, especially from lovely Fei—except that the daily friction between them ignites into nightly blazes of all-consuming passion. Soon Shadow is dreaming a little himself: of the life they could have if only Fei could see past the lure of independence. If only bounty hunters weren't closing in on him. If only he's left standing when the impending showdown has ended….
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
SHADOW’S STAND is basically a really good story that’s been ruined by filler. It starts off with a bang. A really neat, memorable beginning. Shadow is about to be hung for horse stealing. Fei interrupts at the last minute, citing a law that allows her to save him from the gallows if he marries her. Shadow isn’t as eager as he could be, and the village rabble were looking forward to a hanging. They start to kick Shadow’s horse out from under him, pulling the noose taut, and Fei has to climb up his body to saw through the rope before she can lead him away. This scene is fantastic. It’s taut, raw, dramatic, and creates this vivid, compelling picture of who our hero and heroine are. Fei’s mixed ancestry, her bravery and guile, her fierceness. Shadow’s pride and stubbornness. I was so ready to see those two clash their way to a happily ever after. And then Sarah McCarty threw away all the goodwill she’d earned with her fantastic opening by rambling on for who knows how many pages while Shadow and Fei ride off to Fei’s hidden gold claim. They’re supposedly discussing what this impromptu marriage is going to be like, but mostly trade insincere melodramatic declarations. You know, one second Fei announces that she intends to keep Shadow as a husband. The next she declares that they’re not going to have sex. A page or two later they’re kissing. Call me crazy, but I don’t think a character who’s been established as strong-willed and determined should flip flop so much in the space of a couple hours. Sarah McCarty continues along the same lines with the rest of the book. She tosses in a few really cool scenes and then, just when you start to get excited, she reverts to the pondering and the flip-flopping and the navel-gazing and it’s a snooze. As the book trundles towards its conclusion, the good story stays good whenever it actually crops up but the stupid filler changes and McCarty does two things that I really hate in a romance. (1) she lets everybody else tell the hero what his problem is and how he needs to change, basically outsourcing his personal growth, which I think his cheating. One person after another is like, “Hey, Shadow, here’s your problem and here’s what you need to do about it!” and Shadow is like, “Shut up!” until finally he’s like, “Oh, okay.” I like it when characters can turn to their friends for help and advice, but a hero who needs it all spelled out for him? Multiple times? Is not a hero. and (2) she does a bait and switch with her characters. When I pick up a story about a girl who will climb all over a dying man to attack the rope he’s hanging from and a guy who describes himself as a “stone-cold killer,” I do not want to be reading scenes like the following. “You prefer a woman with more…” Cupping her hand in front of her chest, she made her point. How the hell had she gotten there? “I prefer you.” He kissed her hard and fast. “And me.” Another kiss. “Going at a speed we both can enjoy.” Look, if I wanted to read about sensitive, modern men I’d buy a book about a sensitive, modern man. The hero would be an architect or maybe a carpenter and he’d have all this lingo down pat. Instead, I reached for the book about a hero who blazes into existence at the end of the noose and I do not want to hear him respond to a woman’s insecurities by respecting her needs and offering to take it extra slow. Final judgement? A book that’s 1/3 great and 2/3 awful is not worth recommending.
Review: Shadow's Stand (Hell's Eight #5)User Review - Goodreads
What a vividly realistic yet shockingly imaginative story. McCarty had my attention from the first and kept it throughout. Her solid writing and storytelling combined with vivid descriptions that ...