After reading Donald Montano’s first book in this series, A Stranger Came Among Them, I was eager to read this second part of the adventures of Arley Ruttlinger and John Sampson. Escape Back to Charleston, takes the reader back to Sampson’s roots. Now engaged in an intimate relationship with the fiery Arley, he turns his attention to helping Joshua, the freed black slave who worked at the Long R Ranch. Like Sampson, Joshua had moved West after the Civil War, leaving behind the woman he had fallen in love, Serena. Although the slaves of the South were technically free after the war, Serena was captive to her master.
The book begins with a series of communications from Sampson’s banker in Charleston. During the exchange of telegrams between the two men it becomes evident Joshua has been keeping some secrets about Serena. As the story unfolds, Sampson decides to head back to the South, taking Arley and Joshua with him. What follows is an action filled journey from Colorado by stagecoach, train, and boat. Along the way, the trio encounters a variety of strangers, some good, some very bad. Once again Sampson proves himself to be a hero, taking on dangerous thieves, human traffickers, and corrupt individuals. With Joshua by his side, he engages in gun battles and fights. Right up to the end, when the group finally arrives in Charleston, there are confrontations with bad guys.
The story also includes some steamy, graphic love scenes that enhance the strong passion between Arley and Sampson. Arley herself begins a transformation from a cowgirl of the Wild West to an elegant woman of wealth. Underneath she is still the bawdy Arley Sampson loves, while on the surface she is a classy and beautiful lady.
There is a lot of action in this book; sometimes an overwhelming amount. However, it keeps the story moving and I was never bored. I found myself excitedly waiting for the next confrontation. The sexy bedroom scenes were hot enough to make my heart beat faster.
The only downside in the book are the misspellings of words. While it certainly didn’t detract from the story, it was sometimes annoying. I recommend the author get a good editor to read through this great story. If you enjoy a western with plenty of romance and grit, this is the book for you. Montano captures the spirit of the old West as well as the difficulties of extended travel in the eighteen hundreds. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series so I can find out the story behind Serena and Joshua as well as where Sampson and his lady Arley finally settle down.
This review can also be found at Readers Review Room