Mail Order Outlaw by Cynthia Woolf
Publisher & Release: Firehouse Publishing, May 8, 2015
Time and setting: 1882, Arizona Territory
Genre: Western Romance
Length: 253 pages
Heat Level: 2 Flames
Rating: 4 Gold Crowns
Ed Talbot isn’t husband material. He’s an outlaw, was forced into his father’s gang at the age of thirteen, and is wanted Dead or Alive in more than one territory. But now his father is dead, he hates the life, the blood, and his brother’s rages. When a stagecoach robbery goes awry, Ed ends up with a satchel full of charming letters from an enticing young miss. Unfortunately for Miss Lizzie Cobb, her betrothed is now dead, and Ed Talbot sees a way out. Impersonating a fine, upstanding young man shouldn’t be too difficult. Despite the risks, falling in love with her proves to be all too easy.
Isolated on her mother’s ranch just outside of Tombstone, Miss Lizzie Cobb doesn’t have the time or the means to find a respectable husband. As a half Apache woman in the Arizona Territory, being a mail order bride seems like the only solution to her problem until she realizes that San Francisco is too far away, and she’ll have to leave her vulnerable mother and baby brother behind. Her solution? Call off the wedding.
When her groom shows up on her doorstep, she’s shocked. He’s handsome, strong, and has traveled hundreds of miles to claim her. His kisses inflame her body and his presence soothes her soul. Falling for the rugged man is beyond her control. But the past has a way of catching up to outlaws, and facing the truth is going to be hard…for both of them.
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I have read several books by Cynthia Woolf and have enjoyed them a great deal. Mail Order Outlaw may well be my favorite so far. Her writing is smooth and even though the plot of a mail order bride has been used many times, she puts a fresh spin on this one. I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful book.
I am not going to do a synopsis because Ms. Woolf has accurately given a detailed one. Mail Order Outlaw is an entertaining read and captured my attention from the first page and held it until the end. The pacing is quick and lively, along with excellent dialogue between the hero and heroine and the supporting characters.
Lizzie Cobb is a wonderful heroine. She is loyal to her loved ones, honest to a fault and has an independent side, yet she also comes across as feminine. Considering she rarely wears a dress and is able to manage her young brother’s rancher on her own is quite a feat. Well done, Ms. Woolf. Lizzie has to deal with prejudices because of her Indian blood, but she does it with grace.
Ed/Mal is a great hero. While life has dealt him a bad hand of cards, he has been able to avoid being tainted by his brother and father, choosing to hold his teachings from his mother close to his heart. I loved that he took an opportunity to escape his outlaw life and in such an innovative way. While he starts his courtship of Lizzie under a cloud of deceit, he does it so sincerely, I could not hold it against him.
Lizzie and Mal have great chemistry, and Ms. Woolf creates a wonderful and believable arch for their romance. I truly wanted them to find a way past the rocky start in their relationship. The love scenes, while explicit to some degree, are very tender and were devoted more to the emotions involved than the physical description of the sexual act. They also happen after their marriage. I really appreciated the delicacy Ms. Woolf used.
If you enjoy a unique love story with endearing characters and a good bit of suspense, then you will love Mail Order Outlaw as much as I did. I look forward to reading the next book in the Brides of Tombstone series. Happy reading!