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Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare

Ride the Fire

by Pamela Clare

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1476125,641 (4.09)8
Widowed and alone on the frontier, Elspeth Stewart will do whatever it takes to protect herself and her unborn child from the dangers of the wilderness and of men. Though her youthful beauty doesn't show it, she is broken and scarred from the way men have treated her. So when a stranger wanders onto Bethie's land, wounded and needing her aid, she takes no risks, tying him to the bed and hiding his weapons before ministering to his injuries. But Bethie's defenses cannot keep Nicholas Kenleigh from breaking down her emotional walls. The scars on his body speak of a violent past, but his gentleness, warmth, and piercing eyes arouse longings in her that she never imagined she had. As Nicholas and Bethie reveal to each other both their hidden desires and their tortured secrets, they discover that riding the flames of their passion might be the key to burning away the nightmares of their pasts. Contains mature themes.… (more)



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This was a page turner just like Pamela Clare's other books I've read, but this one didn't enthrall me, and its one of those times that I can't pinpoint any particular reason why. I have no complaints about anything in particular, I flew through the story in like 2 days, but it just wasn't quite memorable for me. It just happens sometimes , I suppose. A perfectly good easy read to wile away an afternoon though. ( )
  emmytuck | Sep 27, 2013 |
First read ever for this author. Good read. Well paced. Interesting characters. I would definitely read more by Clare. ( )
  lesmel | Jul 20, 2013 |
Not in the mood to write a full review, so I'm bringing back the bullet list.

The Good

- The pacing. In romance, "suspense" invariably refers to some sort of mystery that needs solving. In this book, however, the specter of unnamed danger hovering in the near distance creates a sense of dread that leaves the reader in suspense. Can Nicholas and Bethie trust each other? What will she do when the baby comes? Will they outrun the Indian war party? Will they outrun their personal demons?

- The characters. I liked the strength and the vulnerability in them both. Each had horrible pasts that prevented them from getting close to others, but they didn't use them as shields, like is common in romance. Their pasts inhibit them almost subconsciously. When they notice their attraction to the other, they resist it more from a position of awkward discomfort than from an angsty determination to remain alone. They felt real to me in the ways they reacted to their experiences.

- The plot. Sick to death of pampered broads dancing in regency ballrooms, a gritty road romance set in western PA during the French-Indian War is a refreshing breath of fresh air. It's well-researched and immersive. Rampaging Indian war parties and a siege on a colonial frontier fort aren't a mere background for sexxoring, Bethie and Nicholas are intimately involved with the upheaval around them.

- The cultural sensitivity. I liked that neither the English nor the Indians were the good team. Both had their flaws. It wasn't "PC" or anachronistic, just a fairly honest look at an ugly period in our shared histories.

The Bad

- Bethie's tendency to feistiness. In the midst of all this upheaval and danger, Bethie seemed determined to get herself killed by ignoring Nicholas' instructions. I'm a pretty headstrong person myself, but if I'm out of my element and an expert in that element tells me to do something, I'm gonna do it. Whether it was shooting when he told her to sit tight, running to the fort walls in the middle of a battle to fret over him or riding out to meet an angry mob, I thought she was acting recklessly, not bravely, despite the positive outcomes.

- The last few chapters. After getting through the siege at Fort Pitt, things got a bit flabby, I thought. When the bulk of the book was marinated in gritty realism, an ending full of fluffy wish fulfillment and past protagonists felt out of place. Compared to the way previous issues were handled, the facile treatment of their disparate social classes at the book's finish was jarring.

The Verdict

Definitely another great book from Ms. Clare. I read it in a single sitting, much to my arms' and back's despair, and can't stop thinking about the story and the characters. Highly recommended to anyone who loves an emotional romance mixed with history and adventure. ( )
  Ridley_ | Apr 1, 2013 |
Torture beyond the human imagination....Nicholas Kenleigh endured it. Strength beyond human capabilities....Nicholas Kenleigh possesses it. A deep sense of what is right and wrong....Nicholas Kenleigh is endowed with it.

Nicholas is on a mission....a mission of self-destruction. Torn by grief and self-hatred, he is a man who no longer feels, the essence of his spirit torn from him by war and torture. He seeks his death on the wild frontier, perhaps at the jaws of a wild cougar, perhaps at the hands of thieving frontiersmen. He doesn't care...either way, he believes death will give him the relief and quiet he seeks from the raging nightmares and voices that haunt him. But on a fateful day, having been gravely wounded on his trails by would-be thieves, Nicholas is searching for shelter and aid. As he approaches a cabin on horseback, he comes upon a beautiful young woman, Bethie Stewart, a pregnant widow, alone on the dangerous frontier. Nicholas needs Bethie to nurse him back to health, something she does with the greatest of trepidation, for Bethie too has a sordid past. She has never trusted a man, for all they have brought her is pain and fear. Little does Bethie know that this strapping, hulk of a man, this fearsome, long-haired man named Nicholas will be the only man she will ever trust.

I absolutely loved this book! It had me experiencing a gauntlet of emotions. I couldn't help but be appalled at the torture endured by Alex which was described in detail, a description needed in order to understand our hero's emotions and actions. I couldn't help but weep for Bethie as she finally revealed to Nicholas her tale of pain. I couldn't help but fall in love with Nicholas Kenleigh and his beauty, strength and dedication to those he loves. And finally, I couldn't help but cry at the reunion between Nicholas and his loving family:

" Nicholas stared at them in disbelief, found he could not speak. A part of him cried out that he was not ready for this, that he needed more time. But then his father stood, strode toward him, embraced him in a crushing bear hug, and Nicholas knew he had waited far, far too long. "Nicholas!" His father's voice was rough with emotion. "My God, Nicholas!" Nicholas dropped his packages, answered his father's embrace with his own fierce hug, held the man he'd never thought he'd see again, the man he'd thought had surely disowned him by now. There were no words, no room for anything but feelings."

This third book in Pamela Clare's historical trilogy is a magnificent story of two people whose souls are deeply scarred. Travel with them as they cross the Ohio River and ride over frontier land, pushing onward to Fort Pitt, all the while facing death, destruction and their own past as they journey to a place of personal freedom, a freedom gained only when each puts their trust and love in the other. I cannot say enough about this great historical tale. I believe it will leave you as overwhelmed as I. ( )
  avernon1 | Mar 21, 2011 |
Elspeth (Bethie) is a recently widowed and hugely pregnant young woman left alone in the wilderness of the Ohio valley when her older husband dies. She knows she cannot go back to civilization until after her baby is born. Nicholas has been living in the wild for six years after his torture at the hands of the Wyandot Indians. He severely injures himself and finds Bethie's homestead in the woods. He demands she help him and then passes out at her doorstep. Bethie stitches him up and nurses him back to health. Nicholas repays her while he heals by protecting her, helping with the homestead, and delivering her baby. The love that develops between them is sweetly erotic with lots of sexual tension.

Bethie is haunted by her abuse at the hands of her step-brother and step-father. Nicholas is haunted by his abuse and torture at the hands of the Wyandots. Both of them must overcome their fears and learn to trust the other. Bethie is a strong, wonderful heroine. But Nicholas is a hero to die for. When he thinks that her dead husband had abused her, he wanted to dig up his bones and kick them around. Right there he completely won my heart. There is lots of action based on true events which I found fascinating since I'm a bit of a history buff. But the action takes second place to this wonderful story of healing love. Nicholas' final speech to Bethie is heart stopping and will make you sigh in contentment. (Grade: A) ( )
  reneebooks | Sep 7, 2009 |
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