NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author
A small Wyoming town is about to learn a few lessons from a new schoolteacher with the courage to win the heart of a man who swore he had nothing to give….
Mary Elizabeth Potter is a self-appointed spinster with no illusions about love. But she is a good teacher and she wants Wolf Mackenzie’s son back in school. And after one heated confrontation with the boy s father, she knows father and son have changed her life forever.
Still paying for a crime he didn’t commit, Wolf Mackenzie has a chip on his shoulder the size of Wyoming. But prim-and-proper Mary Elizabeth Potter doesn’t see Wolf as the dangerous half-breed the town has branded him. Somehow she sees him as a good, decent, honest man. A man who could love…
Wolf’s not sure he or the town of Ruth, Wyoming is ready for the taming of Wolf Mackenzie.
I fell in love with this book from the moment Mary started up the mountain to find out why a top student dropped out of school. She was underdressed for the harsh Wyoming weather yet determined not to let it stop her.
When her car dies she starts walking to the house with no idea how much further it might be. Wolf finds her on his way down the mountain for supplies, she is beyond just cold. While Wolf might be harsh in attitude he was gentle in helping her warm up, mind you they get heated in more than one way.
This is a favorite scene as Mary comes to the point of her visit.
Mary licked her lips, oblivious to the way his eyes followed the movement. She had to say something, but she didn’t know what. His physical nearness seemed to have paralyzed her thought processes. My goodness, he was warm! And close. She should remember why she had come here in the first place, instead of acting like a ninny because a very good-looking, in a rough sort of way, very masculine person was too close to her. She licked her lips again, cleared her throat, and said, “Ah . . . I came to speak to Joe, if I may.”
His expression changed very little, yet she had the impression that he was instantly aloof. “Joe isn’t here. He’s doing chores.”
“I see. When will he be back?”
“In an hour, maybe two.”
She looked at him a little disbelievingly. “Are you Joe’s father?”
“His mother is . . . ?”
The flat, solitary word jarred her, yet at the same time she was aware of a faint, shocking sense of relief. She looked away from him again. “How did you feel about Joe quitting school?”
“It was his decision.”
“But he’s only sixteen! He’s just a boy—”
“He’s Indian,” Wolf interrupted. “He’s a man.”
Indignation mingled with exasperation to act as a spur. She jerked her hands from his armpits and planted them on her hips. “What does that have to do with anything? He’s sixteen years old and he needs to get an education!”
“He can read, write and do math. He also knows everything there is to know about training horses and running a ranch. He chose to quit school and work here full-time. This is my ranch, and my mountain. One day it will be his. He decided what to do with his life, and it’s train horses.” He didn’t like explaining his and Joe’s personal business to anyone, but there was something about this huffy, dowdy little teacher that made him answer. She didn’t seem to realize he was Indian; intellectually she knew it, but she obviously had no idea what it meant to be Indian, and to be Wolf Mackenzie in particular, to have people turn aside to avoid speaking to him.
“I’d like to talk to him anyway,” Mary said stubbornly.
“That’s up to him. He may not want to talk to you.”
“You won’t try to influence him at all?”
“Why not? You should at least have tried to keep him in school!”
Wolf leaned very close, so close that his nose was almost touching hers. She stared into his black eyes, her own eyes widening. “He’s Indian, lady. Maybe you don’t know what that means. Hell, how could you? You’re an Anglo. Indians aren’t welcome. What education he has, he got on his own, without any help from the Anglo teachers. When he wasn’t being ignored, he was being insulted. Why would he want to go back?”
She swallowed, alarmed by his aggression. She wasn’t accustomed to men getting right in her face and swearing at her. Truthfully, Mary admitted that she wasn’t accustomed to men at all. When she had been young, the boys had ignored the mousy, bookish girl, and when she had gotten older the men had done the same. She paled a little, but she felt so strongly about the benefits of a good education that she refused to let him intimidate her. Big people often did that to smaller people, probably without even thinking about it, but she wasn’t going to give in simply because he was bigger than she. “He was at the head of his class,” she said briskly. “If he managed that on his own, think of what he could accomplish with help!”
He straightened to his full height, towering over her. “Like I said, it’s up to him.”
The coffee had long since finished brewing, so he turned to pour a cup and hand it to her. Silence fell between them.
Howard, Linda. Mackenzie’s Mountain (pp. 24-26). Avon Impulse. Kindle Edition.
The attraction between these two is apparent and the reason she’s there has nothing to do with that. Mary is going to get a rude awakening to the way the town feels about the Mackenzie’s and Wolf’s past.
Plenty of suspense as the past rears its ugly head. Wolf tries to stay away from Mary even though she stands up for him and Joe at every turn, but the heat of their attraction won’t be held at bay.
So much to love in this book, from Mary’s strength and convictions, Joe’s thirst for knowledge and obsession with flying, to Wolf’s Alpha tendencies and way with horses.
I am totally hooked on this series and am reading the next one Mackenzie’s Mission (link below).
5 Contented Purrs for Linda!
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Linda Howard is the award-winning author of many New York Times bestsellers, including Up Close and Dangerous, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Cover of Night, Killing Time, To Die For, Kiss Me While I Sleep, Cry No More, and Dying to Please. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.