Review: Comanche Eagle by Sara Orwig

Format: Paperbackcomancheeagle
Read with: Paperback
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Comanche, Book 2
Publisher: Zebra
Hero: John Dancer Black Eagle / Travis Black Eagle
Heroine: Crystal Spencer
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 1, 1998
Started On: March 25, 2011
Finished On: March 26, 2011

I had a hard time obtaining a copy of this romance, a recommendation I got off of an Amazon discussion thread. Although my copy arrived and has been in my possession since sometime late last year, I have refrained from taking the plunge because there aren’t that many raving reviews about this book. However with the current list of lackluster reads that have been my picks for the last couple of days, I decided what the heck and took the plunge. To my delightful surprise Comanche Eagle turned out to be really good making this a memorable read of the theme of marriages of convenience.

Set in Cheyenne, Wyoming territory in 1871, Comanche Eagle tells the story of Crystal Spencer, the first woman to ever hold the position of the Justice of the Peace in Cheyenne. 26 year old Crystal is known amongst citizens of the county as Judge Spinster and has a prim and proper outlook on life and upholding the law where no shades of gray are ever allowed  to cloud her judgement. Crystal has been rejected by a man once before and she has no intention of ever letting a man close enough to hurt her like that ever again and is quite content with her spinsterish existence with her brother and town doctor Ellery Spencer whose vices include drinking and gambling. Crystal yearns to leave the volatile Cheyenne territory where upholding law and order is a challenge day in and day out and wants nothing more than to leave to California to start life over and live in peace.

Travis Black Eagle, farrier and owner of Cheyenne’s livery stables and a successful rancher in his own right is two years older than Crystal and a half-breed that earns his his share of black looks throughout Cheyenne. Happily married to his very pregnant and beautiful wife Elizabeth, Travis is devastated when Ellery attends her birthing with his senses clouted with drink and Ellery’s incompetence lands Travis a widow and a single parent in one night. Grief, anger and deep abiding sorrow are Travis’s companions until he realizes that his son needs a mother, a female presence in his life for him to grow up.

Crystal is left completely alone as her only living relative in the world is shot dead, leaving her with a mount of debt from Ellery’s gambling ways with nowhere to turn to. Travis storms into her life, demanding that she marry him and help him look after his son for which in return Travis would give her a home and security, something which has been sorely lacking in her life the past couple of months. Though Travis’s promise that he has no interest in her as a woman whatsoever drives away Crystal’s feelings of unease which always leaves her with a prickling sensation in Travis’s vicinity, it also leaves her with a vague sense of discontentment that she would never know a man’s warmth and his loving embrace even in marriage.

The marriage of convenience that Travis and Crystal embark upon with their mutual need of providing Jacob, their son with a loving home becomes a journey of discovery for both of them. For Crystal, Travis presents everything that has been missing from her life until now. Tall, broad shouldered and handsome as sin, Travis makes her senses clamor to reach out and touch him and makes her quiver with longing to be possessed by her fierce warrior of a husband in whose eyes she could be just a sack of potatoes for all the interest he shows in her.

For Travis the journey of discovering Crystal is a slow moving one. With grief and love for his dead wife clouding his sense and judgement, Travis barely recognizes Crystal beyond what she provides for his son and it is a deep abiding respect for the woman who loves Jacob like her own that takes a hold of Travis at first. Awareness about his wife whose beauty she tries so hard to keep hidden comes as a shock to someone who has sworn off caring for any woman and giving up his heart for fear that he would once again be subjected to that gut wrenching grief that had taken him over upon Elizabeth’s death.

Want and need which grows deeper by day war with Travis’s need to keep his hands off Crystal who proves to become more alluring as days pass by until finally Travis concedes and gives into the raging inferno that has kept him hot enough to burn a hole through his bedding for the past couple of months. Crystal who is so much in love with her strong and handsome husband who shows his kindness and gentleness in so many little ways couldn’t be happier when Travis finally succumbs and shows her the wonders of giving herself completely to the man she loves.

But Crystal and Travis’s idyllic existence comes to an abrupt halt when Travis’s past catches up with him, creating a chasm between husband and wife that continues to grow by  the minute as both Crystal and Travis choose the opposite sides on a matter of upholding the law that shatters Crystal apart at the mere thought of being true to what she believes in and losing her Travis in the process. In the end, Travis and Crystal’s happily ever after when it comes is a more rewarding one because of their struggles and I loved each and every moment of the sensual and emotional discovery that took them to their final destination in the end.

I think Travis Black Eagle is the closest I would come to in terms of getting a six foot plus hero who makes my heart go aflutter with his utter masculinity and strong character for my birthday. Travis was worth each emotional upheaval I went through in the story, his strength, kindness and loyalty which just adds  to his already strong appeal. I loved him for the way he couldn’t help but be drawn to the honest beauty that is Crystal and the way he seems to have a fascination for stroking Crystal’s neck just makes shivers of the right kind run up and down my spine. And lordy, did I love those hot kisses exchanged on their rides to and from their ranch into town, where every noble intention Travis has of staying away from Crystal seems to evaporate right in front of him.

Crystal’s character is an endearing one in itself because she stays true to who she is regardless of how torn apart she is when it comes to her views on upholding the law and the shades of grey that her husband tries to make her see that is the inevitable reality of life. Her love for Jacob and her intense responsiveness towards Travis together with her fierce love for the both of them made her a heroine who earned all my earnest approval throughout the story.

Comanche Eagle has whetted my appetite to read the other 2 books in the series, both of which promise to be excellent romances if the blurbs are anything to go by.

Highly recommended for fans of historical romances with an American Indian setting, a brooding hero who just about takes your breath away and a love when it comes sweeps you away on a journey that will hold you enthralled till the very last page.

I finish off my review with the scene from the story where Travis’s hold on his tightly reined in control breaks when Crystal declares that it is because Travis finds her odious that he doesn’t want anything to do with her need to have a baby of her own.

Crossing the room to her with a determined gleam in his eye, he ducked a flying tin cup that struck behind him. As she picked up a plate, his hand banded her wrist tightly. His arm swept around her waist.
“The last thing I find you is odious.” He ground out the words in a husky tone. “My God, Crystal!” His dark eyes held fires as he looked into her eyes. He lowered his head, his mouth coming down over hers as his arm tightened and he pulled her against him.
Stunned, Crystal had one moment of shock before a flooding wave of hot desire burst inside her with the press of his mouth on hers. His lips were warm, tender, yet insistent. His tongue was hot and wet against her mouth. Her anger and argument went up in flames of passion.

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