Love in the Margins is a group romance blog trying to hit on the love stories that represent us all. We welcome discussion and criticism as we read through the stories of those whose lives don’t fit into the neat and tidy box labeled “default.”
Book 1 of the Malloy family series. What happens when a bounty hunter finds his prey only to discover she’s his mate? Nicky Malloy is on the run–from guilt, fear, and a murder charge. After three years, the notorious bounty hunter Tyler Calhoun catches up with the elusive lady outlaw. The intensity of their dislike for each other is only matched by the growing passion they cannot seem to control. A loner by nature, a cold hard hunter by choice, Tyler fights his feelings for his prisoner the only way he knows how–by denying them.
He’s not prepared for how deeply his feelings will run, or how hard it will be to hold her life in his hands. Pursued by two hapless cowboys bent on taking Nicky in themselves, Nicky and Tyler are forced to turn to each other for aid, trust, and comfort as their journey progresses on its rocky road. Caught in a web of lies and murder, they hold on to each other as they travel to Wyoming to confront the man that brought them together. Tyler has to decide if his love for her is worth more than the bounty he was sent to find.
I have a weird thing for Westerns. I like horses. I like farms. I like romances that involve heroes and heroines who do farm work. I like barn sex and inevitable monthly bath that turns a little kinky before the first sex scene. And now you know something a little off about me. The Bounty is the first in the Mallory Family series. I also like series. I’ll be honest and say I can’t exactly remember where I found this book. It may have been Twitter. Either way, it was on my kindle and after My Fair Concubine I was in the mood for another historical.
The story begins with Tyler Calhoun being hired to bring in Nicky Mallory on false charges of robbery and murder. She’s being framed, that’s not a spoiler. Initially Tyler thinks Nicky is a Nick, but he learns quickly that he’s on the hunt for a woman. Being the skilled bounty hunter that he is, all sexy and tall with his wide chest and black mustache, it doesn’t take him long to catch up with Nicky. By not long, I mean a few weeks which isn’t that long when you’re traveling hundreds of miles on horseback. He finds Nicky (a few times. She’s a slippery one) posing as a male farm hand and frontier shenanigans ensue.
Without giving too much away, I will say I appreciated the way their relationship developed. They both have the initial hots for each other. Tyler is described as being pretty sexy and although Nicky’s dirty and in ill-fitting mens clothes for ninety percent of the story, Tyler can’t help, but notice her natural beauty. They are both kind of jerks to each other in the beginning. Tyler is trying to bring her in to hang after all, but their bickering and beating each other up is laced with hilarious, sarcastic dialogue. Tyler is a grumpy brooder, but he made me laugh several times.
Another plus to the story was the fact that they took turns saving each other. Through ambushes, bar fights, ravines, and near hangings. Tyler sticks up for Nicky and Nicky beats down a few fools to protect him when they are outnumbered. Williamson also writes scene where both characters show their softer, emotional side, but especially in the case of Nicky, her emotions aren’t written as a weakness, but a way to show Tyler that he might be chasing down the wrong criminal. Nicky can kick some ass, but she’s not an evil murderer.
Now for what bugged me. There’s a Mexican guy named Hermano. I’ll wait…
I’ll be honest, I don’t know if this was some intentional joke. Just call me Hermano ehhehehe, but every time I read his name it made me cringe. At least he was a good guy.
The other elephant in the room was the lack of mention or discussion of the cultural and political climate of the time. There is one short mention about who their families were involved in the Civil War, though they don’t discuss which side they fought for, which actually worked in keeping my personal opinion neutral. Still there was a lot going on at this time. Stolen land. Relationships between Native Americans, Whites, Asians, and Blacks and none of of that, I mean NONE of that makes its way into the story. Sad trombone.
Overall, though, I enjoyed the story. The sex was well written and the characters likeable. I think I will read the next book in the series because I want to know what happens with Nicky’s brothers.
Final Assessment: Should you read it? Sure, but you might forget about it a few days later. Grade: B
Series: The Mallory Family