Jonty Rand is a woman disguised as a boy (something that she's had to do all her life to not be noticed by cowboys who visit the "bawdy house" in which she is raised. On her grandmother's deathbed, she asks Cord McBain to make sure Jonty is taken care of.
Cord McBain takes that promise seriously and brings Jonty along as he goes out west on a wagon train to set up the ranch of which he's always dreamed. He figures Jonty is a skinny teenaged boy who needs to be toughened up and doesn't let up on him at all during the wagon trip.
Jonty's secret is out when she's attacked by a mountain lion and her shirt it torn open. Cord at first feels duped and then realizes it's too late to do anything about it. And so begins the love story of Cord and Jonty...
I've got to be honest, because I did not find this book to be an enjoyable read at all! It is my opinion that the author didn't respect me, as the reader, because of sooo many crazy, unbelievable "I can't believe they didn't see this!" moments. I also don't like her writing style and find it to not be a very well written book--over 400 pages worth!
For the first half of the book, every chapter is yet another example of what a jerk Cord is--treating Jordy badly, thinking she is a he--while he doesn't figure out that she is a she, despite her mannerisms...her "shapely calf" (and I might add, if a guy is looking at a woman's bare foot and shapely calf--how can he not miss the fact that there is no hairy man's leg?!?), etc. After this point, I stopped reading in detail. I skimmed the last half of the book to understand the plot line and just get to the end. The end wasn't satisfying either. No big make up; no big declarations of love; just 3 paragraphs summarizing Jordy's happiness of how the "last two weeks have been" and grateful she is to her granny. Ugh!
Once he finally figures it out, then it's more chapters of him being a jerk to her b/c he is fighting his true feelings for her and she continues to lash out at him in response to his perceived mistreatment. The overall tone of the book is so unbelievably hateful.
Oh, then there's the fact that Cord doesn't "see" who Jordy's father is...until 2 pages from the end...and only after the father tells him. Only at that point does Cord say to himself, "Aha!" I'm thinking, how can this "hero" be so unbelievably stupid?!?
No one professes their love to the other anywhere in the book. There is virtually no tenderness--it's all explosive mistrust and defensiveness and Cord using Jordy's body for sex...the whole time she is saying "no, no" until she is too hot...then she consumates and immediately afterward tells him, "never again". The obligatory "other woman" scenarios--which breeds the mistrust in Jordy--were carried out way, way too long. So, at these points, I'm amazed at how stupid Jordy is! This book takes the absolute worst stereotypical romance novel twists-and-turns and uses them all over and over in this book and--to me as the reader--was maddening!
There are plenty more "how could they be so stupid and not see" moments, but I don't want to ruin it in case this is your type of book. I've gotta say, though, I do not recommend it!