Five years have passed since we last visited the Mescaleros. Times that have been hard. They've been hearded onto reservations after having their lands taken from them, force to live a life of hardship and starvation. Force to live a life unnatural to them. One warrior lives for the day he can help his people escape this life that's been forced upon them, to return to the way of life they've lived all their lives, to the lands they call home. A woman from Swift Buck's past is determined to help their cause by coming back five years later to help the people that raised her from a young girl, people she once called family, not knowing she'd encounter Swift Buck, the warrior who awakened her heart and made her feel things that caused her to run five years earlier. Caused her to leave the family who had raised her to live in the white world with her brother, Clay Brodie. She's shocked to find him still alive, and even more shocked to see the bitterness in his eyes when he looks upon her. He's a changed man.
Swift Buck's waited years for Silent Wind (Rachel), always hoping she'd return to him. He'd agreed to let her brother take her to live in the white mans world, to allow her to have a choice, always hoping she'd return to him and return his love. When she didn't he turned to another woman, a woman of his tribe, who he married and had a child with, even though he knew his heart would always belong to Silent Wind. Then one day she appears, five years later, a changed woman. A white woman, dressed in a white woman's clothes. And the perfect opportunity presents itself to use Rachel as a captive to escape the reservation with his daughter and mother. She's his safe passage to finding any of his tribe that escaped being captured and his hope to one day free his people. But taking her captive awakens feelings that never died, though he tries to keep his heart hardened to the beautiful woman she's become. It proves to be an impossible task, even when Rachel does her best to fight him ever step of the way. Can they rediscover the promise of the love that once threatened to burn out of control or will the bitterness of the past five years keep them apart forever.
I wanted to cry when this story ended. It was everything and so much more than what was promised in Cougar's Woman, the first book in this series. I was captured by Swift Buck and Rachel in Cougar's Woman, to put it simply Swift Buck stole that book away from the hero, and I've waited four years to finally read Rachel and Swift Buck's story. I wondered if the same feeling, the feeling of deep emotional love, would be captured the way it was in Cougar's Woman, the love that Swift Buck had for Rachel, that was conveyed so strongly, that we were teased with. It did. Outstanding is the only way I can describe Walk Into the Flame. I connected with these two characters so deeply that they were on the fringes of my mind when I wasn't able to read the book, when I was dying to get back to it. Rachel and Swift Buck are two characters that were so alive for me I couldn't stand the thought of reading the end of their story, of leaving them behind. They're the kind of characters I wish I could read about in ever book I read. The perfect example of soulmates. They stole a piece of my heart in Cougar's Woman and took the rest in Walk Into the Flame. Even when faced with what looked to be betrayal, Swift Buck still had complete faith in Rachel, even when he had no reason to, and even though others accused him of being blinded by love. He wasn't wrong. He followed his heart and it lead him to a dazzling love he risked everything for. Now that's romance! Walk Into the Flame is a diamond without flaws. You're heart will be touched as never before by this eternal love story that holds a place in my heart as one of the best books I've ever read.
Barb Hoeter, June 2003
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