The wealthy owner of a Colorado mining empire, Luke Taggart has seen and done it all. Now, bored with saloons, gambling and loose women, he feels a restless yearning--for what, he doesn't know. Until he meets a woman as fresh and pure as a spring morning--and vows to possess her...at any cost.
Compassionate, radiant and breathtakingly lovely, Cassandra Zerek has a charming naivete that seems to blind her to Luke's seductive schemes--and an unwavering belief in the magical ability of love to transform this frog masquerading as a prince into the man of her dreams.
Soon Cassie has aroused not only Luke's desire, but his conscience--most unexpectedly--as well. But neither gold nor guile will make her his own. Only the most precious gift of all can win her: Luke's deep and abiding love.
I have discovered that if I read Anderson's books in a row I get a bit tired of her writing and characters but if I only read one every once in a while then they are nice and entertaining reads.
Simply Love is set in a mining town in Colorado during the 19th century. Luke Taggart is the richest man in town and has everything he wants. Predictably he is restless and in need of new challenges. When he meets Cassandra Zerek, whose father and brother work for him as miners, he realises that besides beautiful and different from the other women he has had so far. Since she is an honourable girl and would never agree to be his mistress he hatches a plot to send her relatives to jail thus leaving her in a vulnerable position and agreeable to his proposal of making her his paid companion.
In need of money to support herself and her younger brother Cassandra accepts but, in her naiveté, believes he just wants someone to talk and play games with him. Although they eventually embark in a relationship it's only when her father is released from jail that Cassandra realises Luke's true purpose. By then Luke has already started to appreciate her and to fall in love with her.
I thought this might be a difficult story to enjoy because Cassandra seemed to be too naive to be real. In fact she is that but as Anderson uses her misunderstandings and silly conclusions to block Luke's intentions quite effectively you can't help laugh out loud each time he is frustrated in his intent. And I thought that was the best part of it. After Cassandra goes back home with her father Luke has to do a lot of groveling and apologising to get her back and especially he has to confront his own ghosts and bare his soul. Not many books have groveling scenes that I feel are enough but this one comes close and there are also not many stories where the hero is scarred by the type of abuse described here.