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Heidi Hart

By day, I'm a domestic violence prosecutor. By night, I read romance to restore my faith in love, relationships, and humanity in general. 

The Romance Equivalent of an Action Adventure Movie

Beauty and the Bounty Hunter - Lori Austin

You ever watch an action adventure movie where things just keep coming at you -- car chases, explosions, daring escapes, near misses -- and you spend the whole movie on the edge of your seat, afraid to go to the restroom even though you badly need to pee (partly because the movie has your adrenaline pumping, partly because of that zillion-ounce soda you guzzled) because you don't want to miss anything? This book was like that, except I could put it down for potty breaks.

 

Set in and around Kansas in 1870, the story focuses on Cat O'Banyon, a legendary female bounty hunter who travels the west bringing outlaws to justice and seeking the villain who killed her husband

and raped her

(show spoiler)

. Cat learned most of what she knows about disguise from Alexi Romanov, an itinerant confidence man and playboy who was her lover in the dark days after her husband's murder. Alexi saved her sanity, but when she was strong enough, she left him because 1) he's a manwhore, and 2) she's a woman on a mission.

 

Cat's and Alexi's paths cross again when someone puts a bounty on Cat's head, and suddenly instead of hunting outlaws, Cat's on the run because every outlaw on the frontier is suddenly hunting her. This book is jam-packed with action--shoot-outs, narrow escapes, near-death experiences--and interspersed with flashbacks to the formative events that shaped both Cat's and Alexi's characters. (For Cat, this is her husband's murder, for Alexi, it is his time as a sniper in the Union Army and subsequent torment as a prisoner of war held in the Confederacy's most notorious prison.)

 

The romance element in this story is honestly a bit thin (I had a hard time believing Alexi reformed his manwhoring ways, or that Cat really cares that much if he does), but the plot is so exciting, who cares?