I received this book for free from Sourcebooks Casablanca in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Last Outlaw by Rosanne Bittner
Also in this series: Outlaw Hearts, Do Not Forsake Me, Love's Sweet Revenge
Series: Outlaw Hearts #4
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on September 5th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, American West
Source: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Times have changed, and the old Wild West is becoming a place of civilized law and order, where men like Jake Harkner no longer seem to fit in. As a nod to the changing times, Jake has sworn to hang up his guns once and for all. In fact, he and his wife Randy are enjoying this new era of peace on their ranch...until Jake's embroiled in a rescue mission that he simply can't refuse―possibly his most dangerous yet. He rides into Mexico to save a young girl from a dreadful fate, leaving his beloved family behind, fearing he will die the same way he's always lived―by the gun.
Outlaw Hearts Series:Outlaw Hearts (Book 1)Do Not Forsake Me (Book 2)Love's Sweet Revenge (Book 3)The Last Outlaw (Book 4)
The Outlaw Hearts saga continues from Outlaw Hearts, Do Not Forsake Me, Sweet Love’s Revenge to the final installment The Last Outlaw. Jake Harkner is in his sixties but still in his prime. His wife and lover, Miranda or “Randy”, is ten years younger. Jake and Randy are surrounded by their children, and grandchildren in the hills of Colorado. It has been less than a year since the ending of Sweet Love’s Revenge, and the trauma that was dealt their family, including the attack, kidnapping and violation that Randy suffered at the hands of their enemies. And still, Randy hasn’t recovered back to her normal vibrant self and Jake is getting really worried about her health. She is barely skin and bones, clinging to him at every moment. For the longest time Jake has had to rely on Randy for her strength, love and support. Now Jake has had to be Randy’s strength. Jake is still haunted by his past especially in the early events of his life.
Ever since he’d found and fallen in love with this woman, he’d always had her to lean on, to keep him from the abyss of blackness that beckoned. Tough and able as he seemed to others, she was his strength. And now that strength was gone. The tables had turned and he had to be strong for her. “Randy, when you figure out what more I can do, or what it is that will help you get better, you tell me. Don’t ever be afraid to tell me–anything–all right? You know I’ve seen it all and done it all and nothing surprises me. And I love you, I’ll do whatever it takes.”
As Jake and Randy learn to cope with recent events, and right when they think they have finally come to terms and enjoying the life they have fought so hard for. Jake will be asked to go on a mission, a mission to save an innocent girl’s life, but a mission that could mean Jake being separated from his family forever.
In the Last Outlaw I was completely drawn into this story and captivated by one of my all time favorite couples, and to be frank, if I had to choose one couple I adore the most it would be these two. Jake and Miranda have gone through so much together but what always gets to me about them is seeing how devoted they are to each other. In the Last Outlaw, however, the focus of the story is Jake and his past. We see what he is suffering, and that he has to face his past in this book. We see how much he values family, however, he has some self-worth issues—actually some major ones. However, we see that despite how he feels about his past and himself, the steadiness of his family’s devotion is what gives him strength when he needs it the most.
Miranda is struggling with a recent trauma and we see the effects of PTSD. For those who have read Love’s Sweet Revenge, know exactly what Randy suffered and in this book, we see the after effects of that trauma. In the first half of the story, we see how this trauma has changed her. Randy in the previous books, is spirited and compassionate and independent and very strong willed. But we see how this changes her from strong willed to depending on Jake completely, barely eating anything, and keeping her fears secret. She clings to him and can’t bear to be without him for any period of time. What I truly admired though, was seeing that even though Jake was helpless, not having any clue on how to help Randy, he never gives up on her. He is one hundred percent steady for her, patient and understanding but firm. This part of the story was quite heartbreaking at times. Mostly because of Randy, is such a strong character and one of my favorite heroines. To see her struggling so much just about breaks your heart. Especially when you know who she really is, and that she is trying to work through the trauma but it has changed her. But it does happen, and eventually, she returns to her normal self, but I did respect that Bittner chose this path for Miranda. Mostly because it shows the effects of trauma’s and how much it helps to have strong support from family and friends.
“Who do you belong to?”
“Every damn inch of you, plus your heart and your soul. I have you back and I don’t want to lose you again.”
We get plenty of fun times with the Harkner family, and I loved seeing their family grow. We see such strong relationships that Jake and Randy have with their children and their grandchildren and the men and women they work with on their huge ranch. This is part of what makes this series so wonderful, is seeing that Jake and Randy are at the center of this great family. And the ways that they stick together during the hardest of times. The last part of the book especially, we see the importance of these family bonds since it gets them through one of the hardest challenges they will ever face.
The romance between Jake and Miranda is just as fabulous as many of the other books in the series, but we see something change between them. There is a depth between them here, as they face the torments of the past and learn to rely on each other. We also see how strong they are even when they apart from each other. As the last official installment of this brilliant love saga, it met with every expectation, it surpassed in emotion, drive, and elements. It’s a story that will make you cry, make your heart and soul bleed, but will also give back joy and humor. A story that felt real and alive—- A BRILLIANT ROMANCE FROM A PURE TALENT OF ROSANNE BITTNER!!
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