The Sapphire Madam (A Montana Madam Novella, 2)
Rating: 3 out of 5
"I am no man's girl, sir, and I don't belong to anyone."
"How lovely would it be if it were that easy? she thought. To just stay in this room and let him shelter me from the outside world and all of its horrors?"
Carolina Buchanan and her father came out west to Virginia City in search of gold and riches, but after he died, she was alone -- and did what she had to do to survive. She is now the madam at the Painted Pearl Saloon and relies on the local sheriff for protection and keeping the peace. Rumors fly about the sheriff's involvement with a band of highwaymen, but one thing is certainly true: he wants Caroline all to himself. And when a handsome stranger is found half-dead outside her saloon, Caroline finds herself caught between the two men -- and the two sides of the law.
This is the second in the series but each can be read as a standalone. All the relevant information from the first book is quickly given or explained when needed. Caroline has taken over for Emma who was the protagonist of the first book. Caroline has a friendly relationship with the sheriff, though she suspects he is connected to The Innocents, who have been tormenting the town for some time. But his protection for her establishment and her girls is more important to her, until it isn't. She soon has to make decisions that could put everyone at risk.
I really enjoyed the first book in the series but this one I rated lower because it felt so much like the plot of the first one. Caroline literally had a lot of the same comments made about her that Emma did. It just felt to similar in those regards. One of my other issues is the vastly different type of character she presents around the same man in a few pages. I enjoyed the banter between her and the male characters in this book. I think it was often witty and sharp. I also enjoyed that this one felt like it had more of a story compared to the first. It was more involved, the only downside is less focus was on the romance, so that romantic moments didn't seem to warrant the level of intimacy they were given. All in all I love this series and the quick reads they provide. The stories are fun and I enjoy them and the author's style.