Dancing on Coals by Ellen O’Connell
It’s 1881 and Katherine Grant travels alone across Arizona on a stagecoach directed to New York.
Following her father and five brothers on their expeditions all over the world, she didn’t have a conventional upbringing.
She’s fierce, independent and stubborn.
When bandits attack the stagecoach, a young Apache warrior named Nilchi rescues her from being raped and killed but her reprieve doesn’t last long.
Trying to protect her from another attack, Nilchi is mortally wounded and her life is at stake once again.
Nilchi’s older brother Gaetan arrives too late to save his brother’s life but Nilchi makes him promise something that goes against everything Gaetan believes in:
Protect the white woman and take her to safety.
Years of hatred toward white people consume his heart and revenge for what they did to his family is all he can think about.
Soon Gaetan’s rage and bitterness come up against Katherine’s fierceness and courage and both their lives will change because of it.
“Your skin is white, but I think the white god made a mistake, or maybe he did it on purpose to play a joke. He gave you an Apache heart.”
Exceptional writing, beautiful story, great characters.
I loved EVERYTHING about this book.
Gaetan’s hatred against white people doesn’t vanish and his attitude toward Katherine doesn’t change overnight.
This is a very slow burning romance that, given the circumstances, feels realistic and powerful.
One of the best Native American/ Western historicals I’ve ever read.
“Before you came, only the killing mattered. My brother told me I was wrong, that I could make war and enjoy good things like other men, but I never listened. By leaving you with me, in death he made me listen. If the people are right and there are ghosts, his ghost is laughing at me. If dying is easier than living, I will take the hardest path. I will choose to grow old beside a fierce woman.”
⭐ 5 Stars⭐
~ My Ratings ~
Writing: 5 /5
Plot: 4.5 /5
Hero: 4.5 /5
Heroine: 4.5 /5
Secondary Characters: 4.5 /5
MC’s chemistry: 4 /5
Triggers: Attempted rape, violence, reference to child sexual abuse and explicit sexual scenes, minor OW drama and it’s mentioned a couple of times that Gaetan “visited” her (when Katherine was among his people but they weren’t in a relationship yet.)
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