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Caine’s Reckoning by Sarah McCarty

I have known Ms McCarty for a while—at least in the sense of online interactions—but I confess that I hadn’t read any of her work until now. However, after reading all 472 pages of Caine’s Reckoning overnight, in one sitting, I find myself hooked. I will definitely be reading more by her—I can barely wait for the release next month of Sam’s Creed, the second installment in her Hell’s Eight series.

Set in the Texas Territory the mid 1800s, Caine’s Reckoning is marketed as an “erotic adventure” right on the cover, but for my money this is an excellent character study more than anything else—though it is a really good romance in its own right. I have to warn readers that there is also some violence—both the blood and gore kind, on screen, and sexual violence, in Desi’s memories.

Here is the back cover blurb:

The Hell’s Eight is the only family he’s ever needed, until he meets the only woman he’s ever wanted…
Caine Allen is a hardened Texas Ranger, definitely not the marrying kind. But when he rescues a kidnapped woman and returns her to town, the preacher calls in a favor. One Caine’s honor won’t let him refuse.

From the moment he beds Desi, Caine knows turmoil will follow. Desi might have the face of a temptress, but she also has a will of iron and while she needs his protection, she’s determined that no man will control her again. They establish an uneasy bond, but it isn’t enough for Caine. He wants all Desi has to offer. He wants her screams, her moans, her demands… everything. Yet there’s still a bounty on Desi’s head, and keeping her sexually satisfied is proving easier than keeping her alive.

It is very difficult to discuss the book without giving some of the plot away, so if you are one hundred percent spoiler phobic you should not read this. Really, don’t.

Okay, with that out of the way…

It takes a few chapters, but we quickly learn what happened before the novel starts: Desdemona aka Desi has survived much more in her short life than most people could. After being raised in the lap of luxury back East, her parents and brother are massacred by Comancheros right in front of her and her twin sister. Both of them are then raped and beaten and abused for a while, until a group of white men “rescue” her by buying her from her captors—leaving her sister behind. (more…)