When my sister was looking for a frothy, and-they-all-live-happily-ever-after romance, I gave her some of my Beverly Jenkins novels, but refused to give her Topaz. "You have
to read this one, it's great! But get your own copy, cuz this one's mine!"
Kate Love is about to be forced to marry a wealthy, powerful, greatly respected businessman (and dangerous criminal) when Deputy Marshal Dixon Wildhorse crashes the wedding, literally
. He's been sent by Kate's father to rescue her from the man she was about to marry. The only catch, is that Kate's father promised Dixon that he could marry her instead.
While the beginning of the story is a little implausible (I hadn't realized just how much until I started typing this), it gets better. There are immediate sparks between Dix and Kate, but this isn't one of those "love at first sight," flash-in-a-pan romances. Dix and Kate get to know each other. They're both adults with their own plan and goals, and they aren't interested in giving up their independence by getting married. Part of what makes Topaz so wonderful is that we get to watch as they learn about each other, develop respect for one another, fall in love and then find a way to fit into each others lives.
There are some humorous moments too. My favorite part:
"Kate, I'm going to have to ask you to leave Merle's door."
"Am I violating some law?"
She stopped. "What do you mean, probably?"
He shrugged. "For sure you're trespassing."
"This is a public walk."
"True, but unless you wanted to be publicly walked to jail, Mrs Wildhorse, I suggest you heed my advice."
"You would arrest me?"
"Then take me away, Marshal, because I am not abandoning my protest willingly."
Dix took her to jail, posted her bond, then escorted her home.