Beulah makes several appearances in earlier books in the series as does her daughter, Corinne. Corinne is a sweetheart. She’s friends with many of the heroines in previous stories and saving her, or allowing her to save herself, has been something I’ve been dying to get to. It was so hard to wait. In book two, Corinne is only seventeen, so years had to go by, and other books had to be written before I could get to hers.
But now her true love romance is ready, and let me tell you, the ending is quite satisfying! A good hashtag for this novel is #SaveCorinneTaylor!
I love everything about this book. The hero’s struggle is gut-wrenching as well, and Corinne and her Mr. Pierce are perfect for each other. Yes, it was a tormenting wait – dramatic, I know, but it really was difficult – but it was worth it!
MR. PIERCE'S HERO
Pike’s Run, Texas, 1882
Corinne Taylor has a secret. And it must be protected. If her mother discovers what Corinne has been hiding, Hell will not describe the place in which she will find herself. Beulah, Corinne’s mother, has proclaimed herself “queen” of Pike’s Run, and no one crosses her, especially not her daughter.
And while Corinne does what she can to guard her secret, her best efforts aren’t enough. War comes to Pike’s Run and the Taylor household when Beulah learns of her daughter’s betrayal. The battle that ensues forces Corinne to seek help from a new arrival.
Jonathan Pierce, a successful lawyer, has come to Pike’s Run looking to find solace from his past. When Corinne asks for his support, her innocence and bravery call to the needs within his broken spirit, and he can’t turn her down. She is capturing his heart, but if she ever learns of his cowardice, she will reject him, killing any hope he has left of finding love.
Once Jonathan had crossed the bridge over the stream, he caught sight of a figure walking down the road, heading toward him and away from town. His senses came alive when he recognized Miss Taylor. He gritted his teeth and tried to foster indifference to her appearance.
She faltered in her steps when she saw him, but then picked up the pace. “Mr. Pierce,” she hailed.
Hadn’t he given her permission to call him Jonathan? He stopped in the road near a copse of maple and sprawling live oak and waited for her to reach him. Perhaps she didn’t remember that he’d asked her to use his given name. Until she did, he wouldn’t use hers. It was too intimate, and by the way his body reacted to her swaying hips and smooth complexion, he needed distance. “Afternoon, Miss Taylor.”
She halted five feet from him. Her gaze searched his face, scanned the area around them.
She looked confused. Or uncertain.
“Is something wrong?”
He saw her swallow, and the need to shield her and knock the teeth out of the person who dared upset her came over him. How anyone could torture this lovely creature escaped his reason. He took a deep breath and tried to rein in his fury on her behalf. Her fight was not his.
“My m-mother intends to use my garden tomorrow.” Her eyes went wide with fear.
Her gaze pleaded with him, but what did she want him to say? He’d already advised her on what to do. “I’m sorry.” He didn’t know how else to respond.
“I have to tell her she has no right to,” she rasped.
He inclined his head once, easily detecting the tremble in her, and he wanted to slay her dragon for her. He would have no problem telling the woman any interference would be considered trespassing, but…this was not his war.
Miss Taylor’s shoulders slumped, and she pressed two fingers into each temple. “I can do it. I can stand up to her.”
The words sounded like a litany she repeated to herself. They weren’t an assurance for him. “Of course, you can,” he offered, but he really had no idea of the stuff of which she was made.
She let out a slow breath then drew in another deeply. After a few moments, she lowered her arms to her sides and lifted her chin. “Would you like to see it?”
Aware she gave him an opportunity only a handful of others had experienced, he didn’t dare turn down her offer. He should, though. In fact, he should be going on his way, putting distance between himself and a woman who tugged at his basic needs and protective side.
But instead of heeding good sense, he followed her. She headed into the lush trees to his right, and he lifted his brow in surprise. He’d stopped near the path that hid her handiwork? He hadn’t even realized it. Stunned with how well disguised the trail was, he checked his surroundings in case he needed to get his bearings on the walk back.
He had to duck under sprawling branches, and if he hadn’t had the owner leading him, he would have missed the footpath buried under fern and ivy. They wound among the trees, the forest thick enough that they had to walk single file.
When hedgerows appeared, she unlatched a gate and let him in. He hadn’t gone two steps before amazement struck him. He stopped in his tracks and stared at the beauty.
Was it acceptable to even breathe amidst this labor of love? The blooms were open to the five o’clock sun streaming in. The bright orange light danced off of shades of purple, pink and red. Yellow dazzled the eye, along with peach and white.
He felt a nudge at his elbow. He looked down, and the smile directed up at him put the flowers to shame.
“You can walk around. You won’t hurt them.”
The teasing glint in her eyes made his mouth tip up at the corners. He couldn’t stop himself from glancing at the luscious curve of her lips. Warmth spread through him, but he turned away, avoiding the lust curling inside. Instead of a reply, he went down the stone walk, allowing the glory of her handiwork to delight his eye.
He paused at different varieties, noting the shape of the petals or how they lay against each other. Their fragrance wafted around him, making him want to sit and soak up their loveliness. Which was odd.
When he reached the center, he turned and found her several paces behind him. She hadn’t said a word as he’d explored. He could only describe the expression on her face as one of pleasure. She seemed glad she’d shared her haven with him.
“You did all this?”
She nodded, a blush staining her cheeks.
Even standing amidst the evidence of her talent, modesty enveloped her. He couldn’t help the slight smile that formed. “It’s magnificent.”