Philip Anderson keeps his past close to the vest. Not many people in Mitchell, a small town in the Dakota Territory, would understand him living with the Sioux Indians who rescued him as a boy. Haunted by the murder of his pioneer parents as they traveled west in their covered wagon, he knows it wasn’t Indians who killed them, and his many unanswered questions about that night still torment him.
His only desire is to live quietly on his western homestead and raise Arabian horses. Until he meets Anna, a beautiful young woman with secrets of her own. Is it his eery and unusual wolf eyes that draw Anna to him? Romance was not part of his plan. Can Philip open his heart and tell her he’s in love before it’s too late?
With Anna a pawn in the corrupt schemes brewing in Mitchell, Philip is forced to become a reluctant gunslinger even as his inner battle gets in the way. Will Philip’s uncannily trained horses and unsurpassed sharpshooting skills help him free Anna and find out what really happened to his family out there in the frontier wilderness?
In this originally self-published Western romance, Leavell (Gideon's Call) opens a promising series set at the end of the 19th century, when the Dakota Territory is about to join the union. After young Philip Anderson's parents are murdered as they journey West, the boy is rescued by Sioux Indians. Growing to adulthood, Philip has a significant homestead and some formidable gunslinging skills. He raises Arabian horses, a singular occupation that gives him a reputation. His history and ability come into play when he falls in love with Anna Johnston, who has a history of her own and a most unwelcome rival suitor. Leavell has spun a nicely textured narrative with complex main characters. Not every character is rendered equally well; the villain unfortunately shades over into caricature. Philip himself ultimately becomes something of a superhero gunslinger, which offers cinematic possibilities. There's enough here to keep western fans awaiting the next installment, with faith elements nicely woven in. This absorbing read is a good counterweight to the West as it is often envisioned by inspirational romance writers.