This is the final book in Warner’s Blood Rose trilogy about the Wilkens brothers of RosaRoja ranch in New Mexico. This time we get youngest brother Jack’s story, and we haven’t seen him since the end of Pieces of Sky when he followed Elena to San Francisco in hopes of winning her hand, but he hasn’t been heard from for three years. Not. One. Letter.
The book begins with Elena returning home ready to take her final vows and become a nun. Jack was heartbroken when she refused to marry him (there are reasons for it, but I won’t spoil), went on a drunken binge, had a fling with saloon singer Daisy Etheridge, unknowingly impregnated her and then signed up on the first ship headed to parts unknown. Whew, long sentence. Anywho, Daisy’s at her wit’s end and needs some money and she heads to the Wilkens spread in hopes of finding Jack or sympathetic relatives (she really is a nice girl, and not a gold digger). And just as soon as Daisy and her daughter Kate are welcomed into the bosom of the the Wilkins household, a still heartbroken Jack finally decides to come home and he’s definitely surprised to find a woman he barely remembers and a child to boot – let alone his beloved Elena wearing nun’s clothing.
Hmmm. I did like this well enough, but not nearly enough as the first two, and I’m glad this was left at three books as the story was definitely running out of steam. Neither Jack or Daisy captured my interest like Jessica/Brady and Hank/Molly did in the first two books, and there really wasn’t a lot of chemistry between them. The underlying storyline wasn’t that compelling either compared to the first two books, the bad guys were rather *meh* and easily whipped, and outside of a nail biter of a rescue after a dangerous storm hits, there’s not much else there. Thumbs up on older brother Brady’s ever-increasing bunch at the ranch (Warner does write kids very well IMO), but the kids just weren’t as funny this time around, at least for me. Loved the epilogue though, that was a perfect finish to the story. 3/5 stars.