Published by Lyrical Press on June 27th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
May the road rise up to meet you . . .
The Civil War has ended, but for Corporal Patrick “Rick” Fergusson the battle rages on. Still haunted by what he witnessed on the battlefield, the earnest Irishman is heading west, seeking only to be free of the past. His services are in high demand; wealthy East Coasters in need of escort clamor to join him on the journey. But one client, a beautiful lady named Cat, disturbs Rick’s newfound equilibrium.
High society widow Catriona O’Brian is anxious to get to California, even if it means traveling with the handsome corporal who seems to dislike her so. Cat no longer seeks marriage; she has pinned all her hopes on making it to the west coast and starting her own winery. Between the elements, wild animals, and hostile natives, however, everything seems to be conspiring against her. Time and again, Rick comes to her rescue. And soon, the independent lass discovers that her biggest obstacle may be the longing of her own traitorous heart . . .
~~Review by AnnMarie~~
Courting the Corporal is the second book in the Emerald Belles series by Heather McCorkle. Although part of a series it can easily be read as a stand alone book.
Catriona O’Brian is a high society woman, and also a widow after her husband died in the Civil War. Life has been going along nicely for her until she finds out the truth behind her husband’s death. A truth that would see her shunned by others. She also finds out that her husband had bought land in California, land that needs to be settled on before a certain date or it would be lost to her, the rites of it going back to the man who sold it to her husband. Knowing that she needs to move from New York, and having such a golden opportunity to live in California where she could fulfil her dream of growing grapes and making wine, she jumps at the chance of claiming her land. Normally she would travel the long distance in a wagon, taking time to enjoy the trip etc. But the original land owner after having sold a lot of land cheaply to make money, now wants it back so that he can sell it at a higher price now the war is over. He stipulates that the time Cat originally thought she had to get to California has changed. It’s much less, and if she is to make it there in time, she will have to forego comfort, and get there on horse back as speedily as she can.
In order to travel as quickly and safely as possible she needs the help of Corporal Patrick Fergusson. Since the war he has spent time helping travellers cross the country and knows the perils like the back of his hand. He isn’t happy to be spiriting a high society woman on such a dangerous expedition, fearing she would wilt after very little time and make the journey arduous. But his best friend makes the request on Cat’s behalf and he can’t say no.
From there we read all about the couples’ journey. An amazing journey of discovery for both of them, which is fraught with danger and excitement. Not only do they have to battle nature, storms, and stampeding herds, they have to escape Indians, and men hired to kill Cat before she can reach her land. With so much against them it is hard to believe she will reach her destination at all, let alone in time to claim her land. Not surprisingly, the amount of time Cat and Rick spend together makes them see each other in much different light than when they first met. Instead of barely tolerating each other they learn to respect each other, appreciate each other, and of course, fall in love with each other. They both try not to give in to their feelings, but when they do, their passion knows no bounds. The author managed to write steamy, yet emotion filled passionate scenes for our couple which were believable and not just ‘thrown in there’ to sell a book. Will our couple make it to California in time to claim the land, and will it really matter if they arrive after the deadline? After all, they have found love with each other, and in Rick’s case, peace of mind too, regardless of the outcome, they have each other. You will have to read the book to find out what happens!
I loved the first book in this series and thought that it would be hard to match the quality of the story in this book. I was so wrong, this book is just as exciting, in fact probably moreso seeing as we got to travel across dangerous lands with our hero and heroine, joining them in their exciting adventure to California! I could only find one tiny negative in the whole book, and I could be wrong about it….but in one instance when discussing where Rick bought his leather hat, the author wrote that it was an Aussie hat. As the story is set in ‘olden’ times, the use of the shortened name for Australia didn’t seem correct. It just didn’t ‘work’ for me. It’s not worth dropping my rating over of course, the book is definitely a 5 star treat!!
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced readers’ copy of this book.