After years of fending for herself, Kate Taylor found friendship and acceptance in Spindle Cove--but she never stopped yearning for love. The very last place she'd look for it is in the arms of Corporal Thorne. The militia commander is as stone cold as he is brutally handsome. But when mysterious strangers come searching for Kate, Thorne steps forward as her fiance. He claims to have only Kate's safety in mind. So why is there smoldering passion in his kiss? Long ago, Samuel Thorne devoted his life to guarding Kate’s happiness. He wants what's best for her, and he knows it's not marriage to a man like him. To outlast their temporary engagement, he must keep his hands off her tempting body and lock her warm smiles out of his withered heart. It's the toughest battle of this hardened warrior's life...and the first he seems destined to lose.
Kate is visiting another town for several reasons when she runs in to Corporal Thorne from Spindle Cove. He saves her from a mean man in the street and eventually offers her a ride home on his horse as she's missed the last coach out of town. During the ride Kate gets to know Thorne a little better and the man who has been the bane of her existence for the past year suddenly become quite attractive. Not only that but they share a very hot kiss on their trip which has Kate reeling.
Upon their return Kate is told she has visitors. Thorne insists on being with her to protect her from whoever these people are. The people are the Gramercy family. They are they to tell Kate that they believe that she is a member of their family and if it's proven that she is it means that she's the daughter of a Marquess. Wow. This is quite shocking for Kate as she grew up in an orphanage and has had no idea who her parents were and how she came to be at the orphanage. Thorne doesn't like this odd Gramercy family from the get-go. When they ask who he is he states that he's her fiance and shocks not only the visitors but Kate as well. After conversing Kate and Thorne agree to an engagement but they won't marry as Thorne is planning on leaving for America in a few weeks' time.
The Gramercy family decides to stay in Spindle Cove to get to know Kate and to gather proof that she is indeed their relative. While getting to know the Gramercy family better she also gets to know Thorne better and in a strange turn of events finds that he has information about her past and where she came from. Kate, who had been falling in love with Thorne is torn between her desire to be part of a family - something she'd never had - and her desire to be with Thorne. She wants to go to America with Thorne but how can she do that and get to know her new family at the same time. On top of that, the head of the family isn't too thrilled with Thorne and wants Kate to marry him. Oh decision, decisions!
Oh how I love Spindle Cove! For such a small serene place there is never a dull freaking moment! I've come to adore this little town that Tessa Dare has created.
In this story we have Thorne. He is a man who has had one hard life. Though he did a wonderful deed when he was a young boy, that one deed changed his life forever, and not in a good way. Because of his past, and some of it not so distant, he is withdrawn and quiet. He has had a thing for Kate since he first saw her but stayed away so that he wouldn't make a move. He felt that since he was such a bad person Kate deserved someone much better than him. Reading about men like this always breaks my heart because of course he's made himself better and is not really a bad person at all. He has a good heart and though he may have made some bad mistakes in the past and may not know all the proper ways to go about things he is kind and thoughtful to the core. I just loved this strong, silent man! (Although he did talk quite a bit with Kate which was great.)
Kate was the perfect person for Thorne. She saw beneath the quiet exterior to the soft inner part of Thorne and I loved her insight. Kate was also someone who thought herself not worthy. Not that she wasn't a good soul but she has a port wine stain on one of her temples and because of this people have looked down on her for years. I though it was wonderful that Thorne thought that Kate was beautiful despite what she felt was her complete imperfection.
The romance in this book was excellent. It had its quiet moments, it's exciting moments, it's sexy and hot moments and all wrapped together it was just a wonderful story. I can't wait to see what happens next in this supposedly sleepy little town.