Book Review: Bound for Temptation by Tess LeSue

Bound for Temptation

Author: Tess LeSue
Series: Frontiers of the Heart, book 3
Publisher: Berkley Books (December 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Goodreads     |     Amazon

From the author of Bound for Sin comes a new historical Western romance that tests life and love on the Oregon Trail.

Emma Palmer’s been a lady of the night and a gambler, a thief and a blackmailer, a liar and a peddler of sin. But mostly a lady of the night. She’s spent most of her life as the hard-as-nails, smart-talking ‘Seline’, working her way across the country to the goldfields of California, where she can finally ply her trade on her own terms. And she’s a darn good Madam, if she does say so herself. Her place is clean, her booze is cheap, and her bedrooms are fancy. But when a would-be patron won’t take no for an answer, she’s forced to fight for her life and run. And what better disguise than as a nun?

Tom Slater is a taciturn cattleman at the tail end of a long, hard season on the trail. He plans to have a quiet winter at his old family homestead in Mexico. What he doesn’t plan on is finding a foul-mouthed nun stranded in the middle of nowhere. She has sly green eyes and a way of looking at him that turns his head upside down. Tom doesn’t need to be trailsman to know that this woman will only lead to trouble.

Rating: 5 stars

This was my first Western historical romance, and boy am I hooked. If (like me) you’re into Regency historicals by authors like Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Lisa Kleypas, and Lenora Bell, then Tess LeSue’s writing is a very similar vibe to the style of those writers – just out West with pistols and cowboys instead of ballrooms and dukes. Tess LeSue is definitely a new favorite author and one that’s going on my auto-buy list; she’s also not only opened the door to whole new subgenre of romance for me, I’d say she blew that door right off the hinges with a mining cart full of dynamite. 

Emma (formerly Seline) is a spitfire of a woman who can take care of herself – and anyone else that crosses her path that needs it, too. I love that she’s so positive despite everything that’s happened in her life, and that she knows that while sometimes you have no control over what happens to you, you damn well have control over how you react to it. She’s impetuous and runs off a little half-cocked sometimes, but I adore her “excellent plans” and the way her mind works, and how she just keeps her chin up even when the hits keep comin’. She’s basically Poppy from the movie Trolls. (It’s OK if you don’t know who that is, haha.) 

Tom is a dark and brooding hero who is lonely and somewhat damaged, and I want to hug him and squeeze him and tell him it’s gonna be OK. He’s not in a good place when he meets Emma and the rest, but he is a good guy, and it shows. And while he is an incredibly giant jerkbutt, he realizes it much faster than some men and I forgive him easily. Also, he’s kind of a big hot dork and it’s adorable, as is the fact that he is the youngest of three swoony brothers, and has no idea how hot he is because his big brothers are just as swoony but know how to turn on the charisma and charm more than he does and he’s a little taciturn. Oooh, I just wanna pinch his cheeks!

The dynamic between Emma and Tom is anazing, and I love the jokes they make and their small teasing moments. I’m also a sucker for a mistaken identities trope, so the fact that Tom is hot for Emma even though he thinks she’s a nun and then hating himself for it, and then she’s sitting there going “Dammit, he thinks I’m a nun and I’m actually an ex-whore, what the hell do I do about this now?” just makes me giddy with glee. Yessss, suffer my children, suffferrrrrr and look at each other with hot, longing looks. Mwahaha! The tension is so thick you could cut it with a knife, and I love it. Aside from the sizzling attraction and the super slow burn, there are also a lot of deeper lessons here, like realizing that you can’t change your past, the future is what you make of it, and sometimes you need to fight for your happy ending. 

This is the third book in the Frontiers of the Heart series, but can be read as a stand alone. I read this book first, and I think there are some spoilers for the first two books. From what I can tell, it sounds like Emma is a side character in the first two books as Seline (and that she’s not a very likeable side character in the first book, haha). Each book focus on one of Tom’s brothers and the first one, Bound for Eden, is Luke’s book, and since Seline had a thing for Luke… Yeah. Anyway, you can absolutely read Bound for Temptationwithout reading the first two books in the series and completely be able to follow it just fine, but you may spoil yourself on some plot points for the first two books in the series. I’m still definitely going back to read them, but it might be a good idea to read them in order (just in case).

*A copy of this book was provided for review.

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