Boston newspaper reporter Hallie Wainwright decides to write a story on mail-order brides. When one young bride backs out, Hallie takes her place.
Stagecoach/freight operator Cooper DeWitt needs a wife who's strong enough to live in the wilderness, can read and write and help him run his business. When he sees city-bred Hallie Cooper, he's sure she will never do.
The powerfully-built plainsman sets Hallie's heart on fire almost as much as the excitement of being in the Wild West. Hallie agrees to stay on with Cooper and teach his nephew to read and write. She sees no problem with the fact that Cooper is a half-breed, and that by helping him, she is helping his people.
Hallie's enthusiasm, bravery and lack of prejudice shock Cooper, and it isn't long before he realizes he has fallen in love. But he promises to let her return home, and he will keep his promise no matter the cost. Still, he doesn't reckon with Hallie's determination or love.
Cheryl St. John has honed her talent for blending poignancy, sensuality, humor and delightful characters to a fine point in BADLANDS BRIDE. SENSUAL (Aug., 350 pp., $4.99)