I just re-read this book this weekend and was reminded again how much I love it, despite being a non-fan of western romance.
Angel is a ruthless gunfighter. However, he is indebted by a friend to undertake the business of peacemaker for the sake of Cassie Stuart. Cassie has a tendency of meddling, which landed her in big trouble lately: In her effort to pacificate her warring neighbors, she played matchmaker for their children. Unfortunately, the matchmaking effort didn't end well, leaving the two families in an ever greater hostility with each other but also with Cassie. Angel is forced to stay close in order to keep Cassie safe from her enemies and also try to help the situation as best as he can without -as Cassie demands- shooting anyone.
But staying close to Cassie, proves to be dangerous in ways Angel never imagined. Cassie is not only the first person to not be afraid of him; she's also the only person so far interested to get to know him. She's also strong, independant but sweet and caring. She comes to realize how lonely Angel really is and that despite appearing ruthless, he has his own code of honor that won't allow him to treat others unfairly or let a woman get hurt. Both are attracted to each other but won't openly admit it. Cassie because she's considering herself unattractive -her previous suitors admited to courting her just for her money- and Angel because he believes he's unworthy of any real lady.
At that point, her neighbors decide to get their revenge on Cassie in a way similar to hers: matchmaking. They force Cassie and Angel to marry -under the threat of a shotgun- giving them the excuse they were looking for in order to end up in bed together:) Unfortunately, a day -and night!- or two later, Cassie's parents arrive in the ranch, demand that the two of them get a divorce and Angel walks away.
Of course this is not the end of the story which has a HEA in more ways than one! This is one of the sweetest, more charming stories I've ever read. Angel is an awesome hero, with a seriously troubled past which surprisingly he doesn't carry as a flag around him. He's dangerous but when he comes to care for Cassie he falls for good. And Cassie, despite being innocent and sweet, has the spine to stand up beside such a man. There are numerous humorous instances throughout the book, many of which derive from Cassie's rather unique family and their 'pets'. But this levity does not mean the book lacks emotional depth; on the contrary. A really great romance, that left me -again- with a smile on my face all day long. --Warning about Savage Thunder was removed--