To Love and to Cherish by Leigh Greenwood

To Love and to Cherish by Leigh Greenwood
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (354 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

After her husband’s death, widow Laurie Spencer is left with nothing but the money she finds in the saddlebags of a dead soldier. Determined to be independent, she invests it in a ranch with Jared Smith, but when she doesn’t have enough for a full partnership, she reluctantly throws herself in as part of the deal.

Playing housekeeper means plenty of time in close quarters with the sexy cowboy. Soon, they’re in each other’s arms, but personal demons keep Jared from admitting he’s falling in love. When he finally sees what was right in front of him, it’s going to take more than a lasso to get her back into his arms where she belongs.

Yes! To Love and to Cherish is another western historical love story that is a keeper—another Leigh Greenwoods novel that shows his artistry with words.

If you’ve read A Cactus Creek novel, you may recognize some names like Naomi, Colby, Noah, Dr. Keesling, and Norman (yuck).

But, there’s a new man in town, a rancher, Jared Smith, recently out of the army and now furnishing beef for the fort near Cactus Creek. He’s not well-known; however, he shows up to offer his condolence when Noah Spencer, the banker’s brother and Laurie Spencer’s husband, dies. Jared does not go unnoticed. His handsome, eagled-eyed appearance, his sensuality, and his air of self-possession and purpose cannot be overlooked.

Even though, her body quivers when she sees him, Laurie, the young widow, has no interesting in ever having another husband. First controlled by a strict father that makes her ashamed of her body and later controlled by the man her father forced her to marry when she was seventeen, Laurie thinks she will now be independent since her husband died. She can make her own decisions and control her own life.

When things do not work out as Laurie thought they would, she finds that she and Jared Smith have the same enemy. They conspire so they can each get what they want. The obstacles, risks, and conflicts mount up to what seems like an insurmountable level.

Intriguing, compelling events paced just right, subtle character development, a touch of humor, and a hint of secrets kept this reader turning pages. The subplots are like icing on a cake. They enhance the total flavor of the story. Best of all, the love story sparkles with both tears and laughter.

Many of the secondary characters grab the reader’s attention. Fifteen-year-old Steven, Jared’s nephew, won my heart. Then there is Norman Spencer, the banker; he really raised my hackles. He is an antagonist that lives up to the title.

Leigh Greenwood’s Cactus Creek is inhabited with flawed characters (some good, some not so good) whose lives are entwined and tangled. The reader gets to vicariously share in their resolute efforts to build their lives in Arizona after the Civil War AND also gets to enjoy a memorable love story.

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