I haven’t read a lot of romance novels in my time but I’ve heard a lot about Lori Austin’s work lately and wanted to give it a try. while I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, I was familiar with some of the books that Lori has written under the name of Lori Handeland so I had high expectations. Beauty and The Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin is a historical romance set in the wild west in 1870.
The story begins with Cathleen Chase searching for a wanted man. You could say Cathleen lives a double life, Cathleen is a woman with a horrific past but as Cat O’Banyon she is a ruthless bounty hunter and master of disguise. Cat is on a mission to find the man who killed her husband and she is putting an end to every wanted man she finds along the way. The problem is she is also a wanted woman with several bounty hunters on her trail.
Cat learned her skills from a man named Alexi Romanov who is a con artist with a complicated past. Alexi and Cat worked together on the road but Cat left him to follow the trail of the murderer she is after. Alexi catches up with her and has some information on the man she is looking for. Her husband’s murderer is in Denver City and has put a bounty on Cat’s head. The two travel together to find the man that destroyed Cat’s world and they run into nothing but trouble on the way.
When I first started reading this book I thought, what did I get myself into? In the beginning it seemed like it was going to be way to heavy on the romance for my tastes. I kept reading though and I quickly fell in love with this book. When you first start reading you don’t know anything about Cat and Alexi and the details are filled in as you go along. All of the characters in this story are very complex and have a good back story including the supporting characters.
I loved the characters of Ethan and Mikhail, even though they weren’t a big part of the story. Lori Austin makes you care about them by telling their story and it added a lot more depth to the book. The villains in the story are also very deep characters and you get the feeling they are what they are because living during this time period was so brutal.
While I loved the characters, I also loved how the settings are described. The west really comes to life in Beauty and The Bounty Hunter. I liked the scenes in the Indian territory and the civil war prison. There is also a scene in the saloon where the patrons were talking about the health problems they had and I found myself thinking that is probably exactly what they talked about in the saloons during that time. I got the feeling that Lori Austin put a lot of research into the history of the west. The world these characters live in is a brutal place and it shapes who they are.You see that in Cat and Alexi, they’ve done some bad things but its because they are doing what they need to do to survive and not because they are bad people.
They actually become better people by being together. They have tortured pasts and they understand each other’s pain. I think this is an excellent romance but it is much more then that. The story is excellent and halfway through the book I was hoping that there was going to be a sequel because I felt there was so much more you could do with these characters. I was glad to see that there is a sequel to Beauty and The Bounty Hunter coming soon. So give this book a shot no matter what kind of genre you like, a good story is a good story and you won’t be disappointed.