There was only one rule on the frontier—survival.
So when wounded, buckskin-clad stranger appeared at the door of her isolated cabin, Elspeth Stewart felt no qualms about disarming him and then tying him to her bed. Newly widowed and expecting her first child, she had to protect herself at all costs. And Nicholas Kenleigh threatened not only her safety, but her peace of mind. The terrible scars on his body spoke of a tortured past, but his gentle touch and burning gaze awoke longings she had never expected to feel. Bethie had every reason in the world to distrust men; the cruelty she suffered at their hands had marked her soul, though her blonde beauty showed no sign of it. But little by little she found herself believing in Nicholas, in his honor, his strength. As he brought her baby into the world, then took both mother and daughter into his care, she realized this scarred survivor could heal her wounded spirit, and together they would… Ride the Fire.
Bethie had been sexually abused by her step-brother and when it was discovered, her step-father married her off to an older gentleman to get her taint out of the house (bastard!). After 4 years on the frontier with her husband he died and she’s been on her own for two months and is almost ready to give birth. Along comes Nicholas Kenleigh who immediately puts a gun to her head so that she’ll help him with his wounded leg. Not a great start to a relationship, imho.
Bethie and Nicholas get off to a bad start but after Bethie heals his wounds Nicholas stays at her homestead to try and regain his strength. He also stays because as much as he hates it, he’s drawn to Bethie and certainly doesn’t want her left on the frontier by herself. During this time though Bethie begins to trust Nicholas and the attraction between the pair becomes undeniable. They share a few kisses and Nicholas has plans to continue that practice. But Nicholas’s past catches up with him and Bethie and Nicholas (and now the newborn) have to run for their lives. They head off to the nearest British Fort, braving the elements as well as the many Indian tribes that are heading in the same direction they are. When they get to the fort life is not all chocolate and roses and they have yet another fight on their hands.
This is one of Kristie J’s DIK picks and it was a good one. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Nicholas after reading about his family in the previous 2 books.
Bethie was so young and really didn’t have a clue about life but what happened when her husband died? She carried on. I truly admired her for her strength because there’s no way that girl was not scared out of her mind being out there on her own. I also enjoyed the fact that when she saw Nicholas she didn’t immediately swoon because he was so good looking and forget her fears. That was one of the facts that made the story so real.
Nicholas – poor guy. He was tortured by the Wyandot Indians but survived the fire only to suffer another type of torture in the tribe. He had some real issues and had left his family behind because he didn’t think he could be human enough to live a normal life. Living as a trapper and living off the land didn’t help him become more human either so when he reached Bethie he was a little worse for wear. That being said he did manage to at least pretend that he was somewhat civilized so as not to scare the poor girl. And as time went on he realized that what he thought of as living his life was just more of a survival of the fittest.
That being said I think that the story, for me, went a little too far in the “Nicholas is da man” arena towards the end of the story. Yes, he had survived the Indians torture and he had been a Lieutenant in the Army but it just seemed that everyone was depending on him to do and know everything. The man didn’t sleep for what seemed like days and he all took it all almost with the attitude that “this is just another part of who I am”. But up until that point it was all about taking care of himself and then Bethie and the baby. He couls have assisted in battle without having to completely put himself in danger almost daily. It just seemed to go to far – the man could do no wrong. However the time that was spent in the fort was such a major part of the story that it was hard not to like some things about it.
Overall I really liked the book and think it was a great conclusion to the Blakewell/Kenlieigh Trilogy.
Rating: 4 out of 5