The Lone Warrior (Once Upon a Time in the West, #3) By Lori Austin

I was excited for this one, though I wasn't sure if I was going to like it as much as the first two. I wasn't sure of the Native American aspect, how it'd be handled. Psh, I was worrying for nothing, because once again, Lori Austin impressed me. I liked Rose a whole bunch right away, she was another strong, nearly fearless heroine, and I was thrilled. I could feel for her quest to get her daughter back, if anyone took my child, I would go to the ends of the earth and do anything to get him back. I could understand her actions, her emotions. Luke was intriguing as well. His time in prison, his time with the Cheyenne all served to make him into a complex man who was just a little bit crazy. It added to his appeal though, at least for me. Made him a little bit dangerous, enticing in a way Dr. Ethan wasn't in An Outlaw in Wonderland. Plus the mental image of Luke all decked out in his warrior garb was nice, lol. I liked the way their attraction to each other bloomed. They were both unconventional, and it worked well. He didn't scare her, and made her stronger, and she helped bring him back to the land of the living after his sojourn in the hills, making him stronger in turn. I liked the out in the wild feel of it, they weren't confined to a town, most of the time was spent traversing the plains to find Rose's daughter. Then the time spent in the Cheyenne village, that was interesting, the characters, the customs and way of life shown. I liked that. When Rose's daughter Lily was finally found, and it was revealed who she had been adopted by, I was like, oh, no, this isn't going to end well. I was surprised though by the way it worked out, with Rose and Luke staying with the Cheyenne for awhile, and letting Lily hold onto the things she had learned there. There was danger, and I was struck yet again by the horrible injustices of the past. I wanted to rage against it. The author did a great job bringing the feel of the time period to life. I also have to say I loved seeing the characters from the other books again, Alexi and Cat's bit role toward the beginning of the story, and then again toward the end, when Mikhail kidnapped Luke and brought him to Annabeth and Ethan, and then Mose showing up on the train, and everyone together there at the end. I was like, yay! I enjoy seeing old friends again and how they're doing.
This story was just as fun and exciting as the first two. Plenty of action, the love scenes were very nice and a little steamy, and of course everyone gets their HEA. I'm seriously looking forward to whatever this author comes up with next, I'll definitely be getting it as soon as I see it. I'm curious though if we're going to see Mose again, he was still mysterious here, and has a bit of hero potential maybe... ;) Lori Austin Lori Austin has a knack for bringing the wild west to life in her Once Upon A Time In The West series. The third installment in the series called The Lone Warrior is just as good as the first two. The year is 1871 and Rose Varner has been searching for her daughter who has been kidnapped by the Cheyenne. She has been searching for quite sometime and there may be only one man who can help.

That man is called the White Ghost with Hair of Fire. He was once a prisoner of the Cheyenne but his courage and ability to see the future caused the Cheyenne to accept him as their own. Rose finds her man but sometimes legends aren’t as great as reality. The White Ghost is really Luke Phelan and he’s been living in the hills as a recluse, he has a love for alcohol, hears voices and sees things that aren’t there.

Luke doesn’t want to help Rose but he has never seen a woman as brave as Rose and can’t resist the urge to help find her daughter. Their journey will not be an easy one though, Luke has bounty hunters after him and they also have to deal with hostile Native Americans, rough weather on the plains, outlaws, armies and insanity.

The Lone Warrior is an action packed historical romance with deep characters and vivid scenery. The first thing I want to say is don’t let the cover of the book fool you. While the main story is a love story there is much more going on here then just romance. For one thing I loved all the descriptions of 19th century America and hearing how the Native Americans of the times felt about the white man and how the settlers felt about the Native Americans. I also liked how the book gets into the era’s politics also. Lori Handeland who is writing as Lori Austin has done a lot of research and it added to the story.

Another thing I liked about this book was hearing about Luke and Rose’s background. They have both suffered through a lot of pain in their life but they are both strong people. Rose was not a pretty woman and married a man she wasn’t suited for while Luke was a Civil War prisoner and a captive of the Cheyenne. These two are not the kind of people I would expect in a romance, which to me made the story better. I loved how the two come together. Rose feels that no man would want her while Luke thinks he is too crazy and Rose would never want him.

I think the main theme of this book was to never give up no matter how bad things get, there is always something to survive for. This is a fast paced book but it also manages to fit some humor in. In particular I liked the scene where Rose and Luke meet up with Alexi and Cat and Rose learns how to pull off a con. Alexi and Cat are from Beauty and The Bounty Hunter which was the first one in the series. The Lone Warrior is a self-contained novel, you don’t have to read the others but after this great book you will want to.

Lori Austin The Lone Warrior is the third book in Lori Austin's Once Upon A Time In The West series. As with the other two books, Lori writes wonderful descriptions of scenery and events. She describes in gritty details traumatic events that her characters face while on a desperate journey to retrieve a child taken captive by the Cheyenne.

This story involves Luke Phelan who lives as a recluse in the Smoky Hills of western Kansas, who is known as the White Ghost with Hair of Fire.
Rose had her two year old daughter stolen from her almost two years ago and believes that Luke is her only chance of finding her. Together they battle the Military and the Indians in hopes of finding Rose's daughter, Lily.

Like all of Lori's books, the plot moved quickly and kept me guessing what would happen next. I really enjoyed the interplay between Rose and Luke, and you couldn't help but root for them in their quest for Lily. If you enjoy westerns and emotional stories, this one if for you! Lori Austin Another win for Lori Austin!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and this series as a whole. From chapter one of book one this series has thrown me off guard, and this book was no different. This series does not romanticize 'The West' like so many historical romance novels. Oh no! It is gritty and hard and most of the times the people there live lives full of pain and misfortune. This series is about those people and how they have fought back and found love in the process.

This book is about Luke (Annabeth's missing brother we heard about mostly in book two) and Rose who needs help finding her missing daughter whom the Cheyenne kidnapped. Rose seeks out Luke because of rumors that he once lived with the Cheyenne so she hopes he will help her find the tribe and hopefully her daughter as well. Luke, having been a prisoner in both the Civil War and to the Cheyenne, knows that going back will be the death of him, but since he already believes that he has nothing left to lives for he agrees to help Rose find her daughter.

I am so sad this series is coming to an end, but I hear rumor of a novella coming out later this year. Moze maybe? Or Mikhail? I don't know, but I am looking forward to it as well as anything else Lori Austin cooks up. Lori Austin Book received for free from GoodReads First Reads program in exchange for an honest review. Thanks for the book!

My favorite part of this story was our two main characters. Two very damaged individuals find healing and love again in each other. What reader of romance novels doesn't like that I ask you?! Luke and Rose were extremely vivid and three dimensional. I felt like I got to know them body and soul. They evened each other out with Rose's inner vulnerability/outer strength and Luke's inner core of strength/outer veil of insanity and weakness. They way they played off each other and fit where the other was weakest made my inner romantic sigh in happiness.

I really enjoyed the action/romance balance in the book as well. The reader is dropped right into the story with Rose searching for Luke and a dramatic meeting. The story stays action packed for the rest of the book, moving the reader from one hair raising experience to the next. I never could predict where I would end up in this story, a very nice change of pace from usual romance plotlines. And yet, the author manages to balance in character and romantic moments into the narrative to balance out all the adrenaline pumping action. These type of scenes and sequences would be placed just perfectly to flesh out our characters and show their growing attraction without making the story crawl or kill the momentum of the story.

I enjoyed how the author brought the harshness of reality in the Old West to vivid life. From scarring scalpings to aborted hangings to tear-inducing details of a massacre, the author pulls no punches in portraying the historical reality of 19th century America. I have to give the author major kudos for being willing to go there in a romance novel. Many others would not have or would have done so in another format of novel. I felt it added a depth and richness to the story and elevated the romance even further. It showed the harshness that the love story brought a ray of light to.

Overall, this story was a winner of a romance novel. Despite a few cliche's like abundant misunderstandings, the novel is a rich narrative with heart-thumping action, an uplifting romance, and courage to embrace the harshness of life along with the brightness of love. The characters come alive and draw the reader into their story from almost page one. I definitely look forward to reading more of this author's works. Lori Austin

Rose Varner needs a man…...
But not just any man. The one known as White Ghost with Hair of Fire. He may be the only way to rescue her daughter, Lily, from the Cheyenne.  Legend has it he was once the Cheyenne’s captive, but his courage impressed them so much that they accepted him as one of their own. Yet the man Rose finds seems far from legendary.…
Luke Phelan’s tortured past has driven him to live as a recluse in the Smoky Hills of western Kansas. Having vowed to keep his distance from the Cheyenne, Luke refuses to accompany Rose on her rescue mission. But her bravery in the face of dangerous odds changes his mind. Now as they ride toward their destination, they’ll battle outlaws, bounty hunters, and their own rising desires before finding Lily. But the cost to Rose will be high, and her budding love for Luke will be put to the test.…


The Lone Warrior (Once Upon a Time in the West, #3)

This is the first time I have read this author, and what a interesting plot that this turned out to be. It has been a while siine I have read a historical western romance, so I found this story to be like a breath of fresh air. I was really surprised in how much I really liked reading this one. I wasn't expecting it, I had read the blurb and it sounded intriguing but I think I chose to read it for the gorgeous cover we have here. The style was very original and it didn't turn out in the way I ever expected it to. One of the major aspects I enjoyed was how this book constantly was surprising me, whenever I thought I could predict what would happen next, well then there would be a certain bump in the plot and it would totally put me on edge in supsense. There is so much in this story that I would highly recommend. I have to admit, I have been wanting to read this one since it first came out at the beginning of the year, but wanting to wait till it became available at my local library It was definitely worth the wait.

The story begins when a young woman, who left everything she knew in the city, from a rich family, to marry a farmer in Kansas. But then the Cheyenne attack and take her daughter from her. For over a year Rose has been searching for any clue as to her daughters whereabouts. When she hears of the white ghost she knows that she must find him at all costs, because he may be key to finding her daughter, rumored to have lived with the Cheyenne for some time. When she finds him, he isn't willing to help in any way, and almost kills her, but for the first time Luke doesn't listen to the Wind, there is something about Rose that keeps him for killing her as he as the others that have hunted him. As they search together for Lily, you see a desire between them burn, but meanwhile they are chased by outlaws and bounty hunters, and they will find Lily in the least expected place...but it will come at a price.

There was such a strong connection between Luke and Rose from the start. Unlike other native american romances I have read, this story really threw me the least expected ways. I adored this story, and the way the author had the ability to create a plot that you find yourself captivated and drawn into the story. The descriptions and the history were very vivid and I enjoyed seeing the authors voice come shining through in the story as well. I found myself fully satisfied by the end of the story, and I definitely can't wait to try the preveious books of the series....they just sound delightful and if you have read the previous get to see those characters in this story. Even thyough I read this out of order, I never felt like I had to read the previous books. This story can be read as a stand alone if need be. Although I would have liked a chance to read it in order. Overall a captivating story of passion and history!! COMPELLING ON EVERY PAGE!! Lori Austin 4.5 stars. This book put me through the wringer. It's an odd mix of darkness and light, angst with brief flashes of humor. His craziness didn't quite fit with his normal persona, and the grim didn't always flow with the fun scenes. But the writing is top notch. Crisp. Vivid. Well-paced. A bit obscure, so I had to think a little, which I like. Sizzling sweet at times. Not too much internal hemming and hawing or mental handwringing -- and what rumination there is isn't constantly repetitive -- thank you very much.

The story is told in 3rd person POV, hopping from the hero to the heroine. It reminds me of Ellen O'Connell, particularly Dancing on Coals. The story begins in Kansas soon after the Civil War, about 1866. Historical alignment appears to be solid, with details of the War and the Cheyenne Indians, General Custer, etc.

Luke Phelan. Cheyenne Ghost with red hair and blue eyes. Prophet of the Wise One. A crazy lunatic, listening to the wind. A wanted outlaw. Once a member of Moseby's elite Rangers in the Confederate Army. Once a Dog Man Cheyenne warrior. He'll leave his wild hills to help Rose, for courage such as hers must be rewarded. What a hero. My heart went out to him, even though his characterization blurred in and out of focus -- a flaw perhaps, but it reinforced his justified craziness.

I wanna sit in a sinkhole with him!

Rose Varnar. Fairly wealthy Boston spinster becomes mail-order bride to fulfill her deep longing for children. Indians attack her Kansas farm. When the story begins, she's searching relentlessly for her 3-year-old daughter Lily, kidnapped by the Cheyenne warriors. I adored Rose. Her greatest fear has already occurred -- Lily is gone -- so she fears nothing. In fact, she totally trusts Loco Luke. Perfect for Luke, she's courageous, tenderhearted (singing to him), fierce, and not beautiful, except in his eyes. Yay!

Some secondary characters were introduced in the prequels. Since I didn't read them, it was a bit confusing, but no problem. I liked the Cheyenne elder, something Bear. I really enjoyed the scenes with Lily, the 3-year-old.

Towards the end, surprising plot twists, a happy event, yet great sadness for some (downplayed). The epilogue left me with an optimistic glimpse of Luke and Rose in the future.

QUIBBLES: I can't put my finger on it, but something felt a bit off. Maybe the juxtaposition of a tortured past and frightening present with lighter scenes. Maybe how Luke's characterization shifted and blurred. Also, bias. Not only the repugnant General Custer and Secretary Sheridan, but nearly every US Army official and soldier in this book is portrayed as the scum of the earth, lacking conscience, killing filthy Injun children and women -- and treating White Indian captives the same. But on the other hand, we get a close-up view of Manifest Destiny and all the injustices it entailed.

CONTENTS: Several fairly explicit sex scenes, mild swearing, minimal profanity, violence and death, only one typo noted.

If you like post-Civil War romances set in Wyoming, I recommend the Terms series by Lorrie Farrelly, beginning with Terms of Surrender. Lori Austin 2 ½ stars. Not as entertaining as I hoped.

Parts of it were slow. Luke has memory losses. Some things happen he’s not aware of. He speaks as if he is hallucinating. It’s like PTSD but it wasn’t called that back then or in this book. He also grieves the deaths of loved ones. All this created murky delays and conflicts. He was attracted to Rose, but she didn’t know it. Instead she told herself falsehoods like he is so repulsed by me that he did such-and-such. I was depressed with the US military killing masses of Indians including women and children.

The overall idea was good and the characters were good. But other things were not working for me.

Narrative mode: 3rd person. Story length: 311 pages. Swearing language: mild. Sexual language: none other than the f-word used once. Number of sex scenes: 2. Setting: 1865 and 1871 Kansas and Colorado. Copyright: 2014. Genre: western historical romance. Lori Austin One of my favorite type of historical romance to read is the Western especially if it has an air of the rough and gritty survival adventure to it balanced with a good strong romance. I was pleased when this one delivered on that right away.

By the way, this is the third book in a series. I read it out of order and had no trouble so it will work as a standalone. Characters from the previous books do enter in and play their parts, but the ties are loose enough to not be a problem.

The Prologue tells the story of how Luke Phellan came to leave the US Army to become a captive of the Cheyenne. Six years later, desperate Rose Varner hunts down the elusive man known as the 'White Ghost' because he is the only person who can lead her to the Cheyenne so she can find her daughter who was captured in a raid.

Rose discovers that finding the man was the easy part. He is parts crazy and parts indifferent to life in general. He tells her that he cannot help. Rose is scared and disappointed, but sets out on her own to find the Cheyenne. What she encounters after that nearly causes her to lose her scalp and her life, but the odd man from the hills saves her and inexplicably agrees to help her. His reason? Courage matters. He sees her as courageous.

Luke slides between hallucination and lucidity becoming more alert as they go. Rose is something new and intriguing. He knows what she is up against and tells her, but her determination and strength bring him back to life. He will help her. Their path to the Cheyenne is both twisted and fraught with danger. The price on Luke's head, other warring tribes on the prairie, the army and finally an old enemy of Luke's form their barriers to Rose's child. In the midst of it, they draw together as companions and in a weak moment come together as lovers which has far reaching results. The end is unexpected all around.

I really enjoyed where this story took things. I loved the strong and determined heroine, Rose. She had fears and she had insecurities, but she didn't wallow and get all angsty and considering what she went through, that's saying a lot. Luke is another one who underestimates himself and carries around a lot of guilt and he really is just a tad unbalanced from it all, but he is a truly courageous hero that I enjoyed too. They make an interesting pair, but they really work. Luke helps Rose find her daughter and is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for her, but Rose saves him right back. She gets him out of his own haunted thoughts and back into the land of the living again. She gives him purpose. Luke restores her low opinion of herself because he looks on her as a desirable woman and protects her showing she is worthy of being cared for. There aren't many opportunities, but they prove that they share a strong passion too. They save each other and can't see the evidence of love that the other is offering for the longest time.

The backdrop of the post-civil war time frame out on the frontier offered up a strong external conflict for the story. The details were handled well. It is the last days of the way of life for the plains tribes and that was bittersweet. The social and cultural aspects of the time were told well too. I enjoyed all the details that added, but didn't take over the story.

My only niggle was near the end when the story got derailed by unforeseen twists and the pace became rushed. I would have liked to have read the actual scene for the showdown between Many Horses and Luke, but it was glossed over and only referenced a little. I also would have liked to have seen more time spent with Luke and Rose after the resolve. This is not to say that I disliked the ending. Let's just say it would have been better from my perspective to have had these other scenes and not been so rushed.

So all in all, I found it a great reading experience and can easily recommend it to those who enjoy a bit of grit and spice to their Historical Western Romances.

My thanks to Penguin Group for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest review thoughts. Lori Austin First let me say that I love this series!!!

This book was not as good as the others were, but it was still an excellent read. I know that's a confusing feeling, but it's true!

There's no doubt that Luke is often out of his mind, and not without cause! But he was still adorable in his madness.

His fascination with Rose was endearing. At first he's fascinated with her courage, but in small steps he becomes fascinated by her whole being.

Rose's suffering. Very much. Her daughter, Lily, was abducted by Indians and she's looking for her with everything in her. Her (idiot) husband left her becuause she will not stop looking. And I'm asking myself: what idiot asks a mother to just let go of her child???!!!

Rose and Luke are so perfect for each other. They're both broken to their smallest bits, but first Rose and then Luke, are ready to recover their lives and start again. It's actually wonderful!

Obviously, the beauty is that is not an easy process, but both of them are doing what they could to make it work.

In the previous books the MCs were broken in body, here they're broken in mind. I like it and didn't at the same time - tath's why I said that it is not as good, but still excellent read!
Lori Austin


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