Title: Wolf's Tender
Miss Naomi Parker, deportment instructor at the Sparrow Creek Young Ladies Academy, can't forgive herself for hiding during an outlaw attack. When the local sheriff refuses to pursue the gang of renegades who kidnapped her students, she decides to rescue the girls herself. But, she needs the help of the best tracker in the territory—half-Kiowa bounty hunter, Charlie Wolf McCallister.
Before he goes out on another bounty hunt, Charlie wants a long soak in a hot bath, a bottle of whiskey, and the pleasure of a woman’s company. He has two out of three when a school marm with cornflower-blue eyes invades his privacy.
Having established that he only works for pay, Miss Parker offers Charlie one night of sexual favors in exchange for his tracking services. Though he knows bedding a white woman will cause all kinds of trouble, he operates on the philosophy that a bird in hand is better than no bird at all.
After they’ve sealed their bargain with more than a kiss, Charlie tries to leave Naomi safely behind. But the opinionated teacher insists on accompanying him. She’s impatient with his decisions, questions his authority, and generally ignores his warnings. But each time they make love, Naomi captures another piece of Charlie Wolf’s heart.
When one straight-laced spinster tenders her body to one cynical sometimes savage, the unexpected bounty, is love.
Author: Gem Stivad
Series: Eclipse Heat
Published: April 12, 2015
Genres: Erotic Historical Romance
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Naomi Parker has come to Texas as a comportment teacher and to find her sister. When the school for young ladies she is teaching at gets attacked by outlaws, she hides under the porch while they make off with all the girls. Feeling like she didn’t do her job and keep the girls safe, she goes to the nearest town to get the sheriff’s help. When he refuses to do any more than wire the rangers requesting help, she decides to look for an alternative.
Charlie Wolf is half Indian, half white man and he lives his life with a foot in each world. He travels with his cousins as a bounty hunter and tracker. He meets Naomi when he is in town dropping off a bounty and she follows him to speak about helping track down her kidnapped students. He is initially uninterested in the spinster that seems to demand his attention but as he talks to her, he finds himself drawn to her and intrigued by the picture she presents. So he makes a bargain with her for his help but he is a little tricky and Naomi winds up with more than she asked for.
I loved the interaction of Naomi and Charlie. She is always being a little bit bossy and a smart a** but that is what made her great. Charlie has never had anyone stand up to him the way she does and treat him as an equal. When she looks at him she doesn’t let the color of his skin factor into her actions and he has no idea how to react to someone like that. Initially he is gruff and unmoving but as they get to know each other Naomi makes a point of saying that when she first met him she thought his face was immovable, that he didn’t show his emotions. But after they spend time together and she gets to know him, she can clearly see what he is thinking and feeling on his face.
There were moments in the story that seemed to drag a bit but others were nail biting and had me wondering how they were going to deal with the latest mess. I could have used a little more description of the landscape and towns as I am not all that familiar with Texas right after the Civil War but the characters were very well developed. The interactions with Charlie’s cousins were fun to read. Both were very distinct in their personalities and actions. I especially liked a few of Naomi’s students. When they are initially introduced they are a little whiny and annoying but as circumstances change they mature and become strong young women.
I don’t read a lot of stories from this time period because I never can find them but I do love the glimpse into early American life. This story reminded me of the Elizabeth Lowell Only series which I loved. The only thing that would make me happier was if the other cousins and maybe some of the girls got stories so I could go back and visit with Naomi and Charlie again once they settle down.