There simply aren't enough words for me to accurately describe how much I loved this book. I need extra stars! After reading so many great prods, I finally started this last night. Aside from a bit of confusion by an odd writing style, it's actually really fabulous. Cord is one of those heroes with a secretive sort of past that is challenging to get to know. And all the while, you're hurting for him, wanting him to open up to Annie. The plot is fairly fast paced. The H/h meet each other on page two, and Annie is already bleeding and bruised. Not a dull moment in sight! Cord is half Indian, which sets the stage, of course, in late 1800s America, for haters to put in their two cents. And boy, do they ever! Even his family sees him as dangerous, and he is shunned by townsfolk to the extent that he has become extremely reclusive. But Annie has always been fairly unaware of the whys of hating. Because of her stubborn nature Cord is able to be, if not completely relaxed, at least comfortable with Annie. They are thrown together through a twist of fate, (and thank goodness for fate!) and a truly beautiful relationship builds. Annie is no shy lady, though she was raised by a rich, proper family. She quickly proves that she is a match for not only Cord, but all of the busybodies and cruel people that surround them. She says this while defending herself and Cord to her gutless brother. "Make up your mind, Rob, you can't be furious because I'm a shameless hussy living in sin and furious because I'm a respectable married woman too. Pick a mad." Love that line! There are little quotes throughout the book that Cord and Annie have as their sort of 'couple talk.' You don't often find this type of thing in a book, but I think with most couples in fiction, the reader isn't comfortable enough with them to understand their lingo. Somehow, these little quips become commonplace, and I began to notice them more and more. Cord's 'soup stuff' comments made me laugh, but at the same time, seemed to reinforce the bond that is growing between he and Annie. Things like that were what made me realize that he was finally beginning to find his comfort zone. And when he finally gives in to his feelings, I felt as if I was on top of the world, though all I did was sit on my couch and read this line: "As he finally stopped fighting sleep, he wondered if maybe just occasionally the gods designed a woman fit for a king or a prince and then gave her to an ordinary man. Maybe they did such a thing once in a while, knowing an ordinary man would treasure her more, love her better. Maybe they even let him keep her - for awhile."