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About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Graham majored in theater arts at the University of South Florida. Her first book was published by Dell, and since then she has written more than one hundred novels and novellas. Married since high school graduation and the mother of five, Graham asserts that her greatest love in life remains her family, but she also believes that her career has been an incredible gift. Romance Writers of America presented Heather Graham with the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.


This entertaining kickoff volume to a five-part series by bestselling author Graham (And One Rode West) is a swift historical drama set in the untamed, exotic Florida of the 1830s. In a New Orleans poker match, ``Black Irish'' plantation owner Jarrett McKenzie wins the services of gorgeous, fiery Tara Brent for a night (against her wishes) and winds up marrying her and taking her deep into the Florida jungles. Naturally, Tara and Jarrett fall in love and learn each other's secret: that she is fleeing a murder charge, and that he has strong ties to the Seminole Indians, through the tribe's leader, Osceola, who is about to make war with President Jackson's American forces. Crisis follows crisis, often separating Jarrett and Tara, but he proves his courage time and again while she grows to care for his Seminole relatives, even risking her life for them. Meanwhile, tension rises as Tara is pursued by evil Clive Carter, the son of the man she is accused of killing, and as the conflict between the U.S. Army and the Indians builds to a crisis. Graham is an indifferent stylist, but she knows what her readers want-tempestuous protagonists, titillation and just enough history to ground the plot. She delivers these elements with panache, and closes the book with an enticing prologue to volume two, The Undefeated. Author tour. (Sept.)#

YA‘The turbulent life in the unsettled Florida of 1835 unfolds as Tara, running from a false accusation of murder, hastily marries Jarrett, an acquaintance who wins her in a poker game. He turns out to be wealthy plantation owner who befriends the Indians. She has trouble coping: war breaks out with the Indians, frightening her terribly. Her busy husband doesn't believe in explanations, and the newlyweds fight frequently, enjoying making up and falling helplessly in love. Their relationship is complex but characterization is realistic. Tension is relieved through subtle touches of humor especially with the pranks they play on one another. Her background remains a mystery, even to her husband, until almost the last chapter, an exciting climax that is nicely resolved. The attractive cover, the light plot, large amount of dialogue, and abundance of action make this piece of historical fiction an entertaining read.‘Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA

A prolific author of historical and contemporary romances (e.g., Spirit of the Season, Delacorte, 1993), Graham here begins a new multivolume family saga. Set in Florida during the 1830s, the story follows Tara Brent, who is running from a murder charge. She meets Jarrett McKenzie, who rescues her from her pursuers by marrying her and taking her to his plantation on the Florida frontier. At first frightened by the wilderness and the natives she sees as "savages," Tara learns to love Jarrett, his home, and the people he loves. The story is predictable, and the narrative flow is often interrupted by brief vignettes of Florida history. In addition, Graham's superficially drawn characters are stereotypes of the stubborn lovers unwilling to communicate. Although this novel is not one of the author's best, expect demand based on her popularity and reputation.-Barbara E. Kemp, SUNY at Albany

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