Major Seth Parker knows his wife, and the woman standing before him isn't her. The manipulative vixen who tricked his hand in marriage could never possess such innocence--nor get his heart racing like this.
Millie St. Clair has traveled halfway across the country to pull off one of the greatest deceptions ever. But with everything at stake it soon becomes clear that the hardest part might be walking away from the Major when it's all over....
Excellent book with a complicated storyline and some wonderfully portrayed characters. Seth was tricked into marriage and left his wife immediately after the wedding five years earlier. He has been attempting to get her to sign divorce papers ever since. He is then surprised to receive a telegram telling him that she is on her way to Ft. Sill to see him. He's even more surprised when he sees her, because the woman he's looking at isn't his wife, but her younger sister. Though he tells her he knows at the beginning, he stops when she works so hard to convince him. There's something about Millie that fills a hole he didn't know he had. For years Seth has been determined that he would not fall in love or marry. He remembers the pain his mother went through when his father and two uncles were killed during the war. He doesn't want to put any woman through that kind of misery. But being around Millie starts to change him and soon he's wishing she really was his wife. He has to keep reminding himself that he's married, and not to her, though it wasn't like that at first. I loved the war of wills between them as he tried to force her to tell the truth, especially the battle of the scents. As time went on he knew he had to tell her that he knew the truth but he didn't want to ruin what was growing between them. Seth is an honorable man and his inner turmoil was nearly unbearable the longer it went, until everything came out. Things appeared even worse than he expected and he had to decide if he wanted to fight for Millie or not. I loved his confrontation with Rosemary and how he dealt with her.
Millie has spent her life cleaning up her sister's messes. Rosemary has always been emotionally manipulative and knows just how to get Millie to do what she wanted. What she wants this time is for Millie to go west and delay Seth from asking for a divorce until after Rosemary has given birth to her lover's baby. She threatens to kill herself and the baby if Millie doesn't do it. As Millie is a much softer, gentler person than Rosemary, it's going to take incredible acting skills to pull it off. It's not really a surprise that Millie just can't do it. I really enjoyed seeing how much Millie liked living at the fort and how easy it was for her to fit in. She had a terrible time remembering to act like her sister which created some interesting situations. I really liked seeing her interact with the Indians and how she came to like them. Her admiration for Seth quickly turned to love, but the guilt of her deception was tearing her up. She was heartbroken when the truth came out and he wouldn't even listen to her explanation. I loved seeing her stand up to her sister and then go after her heart's desire.
I loved the setting of the old west's Ft. Sill and the Indian troubles. I enjoyed seeing Millie learn about army life, both the pleasures and the challenges. I also loved how well the various characters were portrayed, with both good and bad qualities, making them very easy to relate to.