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Runaway Brides #2

Colorado Dawn

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The next in Kaki Warner's sweeping new series about unlikely brides who make their way west-discovering newfound freedom and rediscovering love...After only three letters and one visit during her six-year marriage to a Scottish Cavalry Officer, Maddie Wallace decides to build a life without him. Accepting an assignment from a London periodical to photograph the West from a female perspective, she sails from England, determined to build a new life as an independent woman.

After injury ends his military career, Angus Wallace returns home to find his wife gone, his family decimated by fever, and himself next in line to an earldom. His new mission is clear--find his wife and sire heirs. His search takes him across an ocean and half a continent, but he finally tracks her to Heartbreak Creek, Colorado. There his biggest challenge awaits--to convince his headstrong wife to return home as his viscountess.

Amidst statehood struggles, claim jumping, and railroad disputes their passionate battle rages...until word comes that Angus has become the earl. Now they must decide between a life in the mountains of Colorado, or in the glittering ballrooms of London...and between duty and desire.

368 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2012

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About the author

Kaki Warner

16 books187 followers
Kaki Warner is an award-winning author and long time resident of the Pacific Northwest. Although she now lives on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, Kaki actually grew up in the Southwest and is a proud graduate of the University of Texas. Her years spent riding horses and enjoying the expansive views of Texas became the Historical Romance Author, Kaki Warner inspiration for the backdrop of her novels - the wide-open spaces of historic New Mexico Territory.

Several years ago after their two children had left for college, Kaki and her husband, Joe, moved from the city to their hilltop cabin overlooking the scenic Methow Valley. Kaki now spends her time gardening, hiking, reading, writing, and soaking in the view from the deck with her husband and floppy-eared hound dog.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 67 reviews
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,183 reviews892 followers
April 1, 2020
Englishwoman Madeline (Maddie) Wallace married Scotsman Angus Wallace six years ago and he promptly left to fight England’s wars, leaving her with his family. After four years, two letters and one visit, Maddie decides to come to America’s western frontier when she’s offered a job capturing the territory through her photography. It’s been two years and she’s now a highly successful photographer living in Heartbreak Creek, Colorado with a new life and good friends. Angus Wallace returned to his family home after recovering from serious injury only to find most of his relatives had died, one brother standing between him and being the lord of the family line and his wife gone. He’s now the Viscount of Ashby and needs to find Maddie quickly to return her to Scotland.

I must admit I didn’t think Angus could redeem himself after having left Maddie alone for so many years but he managed to do so. Despite their being married, Angus and Maddie needed to acquaint themselves with each other as if they were meeting for the first time. I loved that we got his narrative and saw him transform from an entitled husband to someone who came to respect Maddie’s talents and her personally. And, we got to see his playful and honorable side. As for Maddie, I liked her in the first story and grew to love her spirit, vitality and honesty in this one. These two belonged together and found a way to make it work.

I loved this story and while many preferred the first book, this one was more special in my opinion. Maddie became an acclaimed photographer during a time when something like this was impossible for women. The author captured the magic of her talent and how it was a part of her identity. I also loved how her relationship with Angus was handled. What appeared to be a black and white issue ended up being laced with a lot of gray and he became sympathetic. There was also a thriller element to keep things even more interesting. This was a really good story on so many levels.

Posted on Blue Mood Café
Profile Image for Sandra Hoover.
1,171 reviews186 followers
March 26, 2020
Kaki Warner has quickly become one of my favorite historical western romance authors! Her writing is authentic, engaging, and just fun to read. Her descriptions of the old American West are vivid, setting the stage for unique plot lines and lovable characters. Colorado Dawn is a fantastic addition to the Runaway Brides series. As much as I enjoyed book 1, I think I loved this one even more. I love second chance romances and this one is exceptional. The time the author takes to reconnect these two is realistic and believable. Warner has a gift for incorporating snarky banter in her stories which makes them a delight to read. Colorado Dawn is heart touching, passionate, and laugh out loud funny. Highly Recommended!
Profile Image for Lisa Kay.
924 reviews505 followers
January 21, 2012

★★★★¼ I loved this one, the second in the Runaway Brides series; however, not as much as the first. Keep in mind, I’m not a big fan of “second chance at love” themes – or reconciled relationships. However, it may just be your cup of tea; and it is very well written and well edited. (A delight after a few too many self-published books in a row.)

The best parts were found in Maddie, the strong yet gentle heroine with a dollop of spunk and a passion for photographing the new American West, while falling in love all over again with Ash, her Scottish war hero husband. We also get to see the continuation of Thomas & Pru's interracial romance, as well as a lot of scenes with the previous characters from the first book. This author writes people and animals that come alive on the page and in your heart. Love this series! Looking forward to the next one coming out in June of this year (2012).

Note: I won this book, free of charge, on author’s Facebook page contest; doing so had no bearing on my rating this novel.

Heartbreak Creek (A Runaway Brides Novel) by Kaki Warner Colorado Dawn (A Runaway Brides, #2) by Kaki Warner Bride of the High Country (A Runaway Brides Novel) by Kaki Warner
Profile Image for Catherine.
523 reviews538 followers
March 16, 2012

I took a break because I wasn't enjoying the book, but now I find that I can't work up the energy to pick it back up. I liked the author's voice, so I'll probably try her again, but I was not a fan of the characters or storyline.
Profile Image for Mandi.
2,299 reviews722 followers
January 12, 2012
Maddie Wallace has been married to her Scottish husband, Angus, for four years. But for those four years, Angus has been serving in the British army, and she has received only two letters and one visit from him. Heartbroken that he has basically abandoned her and not feeling as though she fits in at his family's estate in Scotland, she feels lost. After her parents die in a carriage accident, she decides to pursue her passion of photography and lands a job with a publication in London to photograph the American West from the female perspective. She quickly leaves for Colorado, ready to pursue her new future.

She doesn't know that Angus was injured in an explosion and has retired his position in the army. Angus has spent the past year searching for Maddie and finally tracks her to Heartbreak Creek, Colo. Angus, now a viscount with the title of Lord Ashby, is ready to go back to Scotland, produce heirs and serve as viscount at his estate. But Maddie doesn't take orders, and the struggle between wanting to be together but having different goals might just pull them back apart.

I love and adore everything that Kaki Warner writes. The first book in this series, Heartbreak Creek, was a favorite in 2011 and sets up the three women in the Runaway Brides series. While Colorado Dawn has a little bit of a slower start, once you get into it, Kaki Warner's warm, witty and lovable characters shine through.

Angus is so used to ordering his troops around that when he comes face to face with Maddie, and she doesn't immediately bend to his will, he doesn't know what to think of her. Although eventually it amuses Maddie:

"You'll be giving me another chance," Ash said, breaking into her thoughts as they neared the hotel. Not so much a suggestion, as an order. Ever the soldier, Angus Wallace was.

"Will I?"

"Ye will." He looked down at her, that fall of hair now clinging damply to his brow. "I crossed an ocean and half this country to find you, lass. Do ye ken how hard that was for a man who can hardly read a map and mixes up his rights and lefts?"

"And yet, here you are."

"Aye. Because of you. So you'll be giving me a second chance, so you will."
Definitely an order. She said nothing, and kept her head down so he wouldn't see her smile.

It all comes down to a lack of communication. Angus really had no choice but to be away from her all those years. The army demanded much of him, and the one time he did visit, he did it with much risk. Maddie also doesn't know that he struggles with dyslexia, so he has a hard time writing and reading, hence the lack of letters over the years. When Angus gets home and Maddie is gone, he feels as though she is the one who abandoned him. So they first must deal with the abandonment issues before they can move onto the bigger one: Will they go back to Scotland where Angus has a duty to his estate, or will they stay in Heartbreak Creek, where Maddie is becoming a well-known photographer?

The romance is so sweet. Both Angus and Maddie are such good-natured people, and I loved to watch their reunion unfold. Kaki Warner isn't one to put sex in her books, but this one does give us a couple of bedroom scenes. Angus and Maddie both like to tease and give the other a hard time, too, so there are many moments that will make you smile. I also love their senses of humor. For example, when Angus is speaking to someone who has never heard of Scotland:

"Scottish by birth, British by law, Highlander by the grace of God."

"That up by Denver?"

"Just east of it."

Maddie's best friends, Prudence and Lucinda, have a lot of time inColorado Dawn, and Lucinda's book is next. I can't wait to get her story. Some of the most memorable scenes fall between Angus and Thomas, a Cheyenne Indian. They always seem to be battling over who is more manly than the other, and it is quite amusing. The villain is straight-forward, but I think I've enjoyed past villains more.

I think Kaki Warner's books are best read in order, as the stories build on each other. But I highly recommend any of her books.
Profile Image for Lyuda.
538 reviews134 followers
July 13, 2015
Closer to 3.5 stars.
From Heartbreak Creek we know that marriage between Maddie and Angus was a love match. The newlyweds' bliss didn't last long as Angus had to return to his military duties leaving his wife in the care of his noble Scottish family on the remote Highland estate. Turned out it wasn't a good plan. Strong, feisty English lass with unnatural hobby of taking pictures didn't sit well with a father-in-law who couldn't abide the English and a mother-in-law who rarely left her room. To make matters worse, her husband had written her a grand total of two letters and visited only once in over four years of their marriage. Feeling abandoned, Maddie left Scotland behind, secured an assignment from a London newspaper to photograph the American Frontier from a female prospective and, finally, ended up in the Heartbreak Creek, Colorado.
What Maddie didn't know is that Angus was gravely wounded in the explosion and spent months in the hospital. His return home was punctuated by one disaster after another. His wife ran away, half of his family was perished in the epidemic, he is now Viscount Ashby and has a responsibility to secure the line by producing a heir. Propelled by this duty and by fond memories of his enchanted wife, Angus wows to find her. It took him more than five months to track his illusive lass. And, the moment he found her, he wasn't sure what he wanted to do first -hugged or berate her. At the very least, he expected some gratitude for forgiving her the running away part and for bestowing a title of viscountess. What he didn't expect is her stubborn and adamant refusal to go back to Scotland and her insistence on staying in the American West and to continue her work. Angus, a true Scotsman and 17 years army veteran, could be as stubborn as his lass and as determined . "Success is as much in the planning as the execution, his old commander often said. And Ash was planning on success. He wouldn't let this woman drift away from him a second time". And thus the battle of wills began amidst statehood struggles, claim jumping, and railroad disputes.
After reading Heartbreak Creek I was very excited to get my hands on the next book in the series and the first third of it was definitely a 5-star material but it didn't last.
I found both Ash and Mandy kind of bland and not interesting compared to other characters in the series. I missed what I enjoyed the most in the first book: children antics and main characters' enduring personalities. Also, the plot was bugged down by too many secondary characters crowding and taken away attention from the main ones. All this travel together in a pack :) The ending was also wrapped up just too nicely for me.
Profile Image for Regan Walker.
Author 30 books754 followers
June 3, 2013
2nd in the Brides Trilogy is Simply Delightful!

Second in the Brides trilogy (Heartbreak Creek, Colorado Dawn and Bride of the High Country), this is a great tale and continues from the first book with a Scottish hero and an English heroine and their difficult romance in the Old West.

Set in the Colorado Territory in 1870, this is the story of Maddie Wallace, who we met in book one—the English auburn-haired beauty with a soft heart whose Highlander husband went off to fight for the British and forgot about her. Or, as Maddie tells him when he accuses her of running away, “I didn’t run. I drifted away. And you let me.” Maddie came to Colorado to pursue her dream as a photographer capturing life in the West from a woman’s point of view. And she becomes a huge success. Meanwhile, her Scottish husband, now a viscount, catches up with her. He needs heirs and intends for her to be the one to deliver them.

Warner has a gift for dialog and creating unique characters. There are many in this book (including a really nasty villain). You’ll find yourself laughing out loud as Declan Brodie, the hero from Heartbreak Creek, interacts with our hero, the Scottish military warrior, Angus Wallace or “Ash” as he is known, and Thomas Redstone, the Cheyenne dog soldier. Ash is a hoot when he tries to coral the women like a military maneuver. And joining Maddie are the other two “brides,” Edwina (Declan’s wife) and Lucinda, the New Yorker who came west with a valise full of money and railroad certificates, and Pru, a woman of color and Edwina’s half sister who is still dealing with the memory of her capture by Lone Tree, a renegade Indian.

I loved the interaction between Thomas and Pru, another love story in the making. Warner does so well with their personalities, holding true to Pru’s keen intelligence and desire to avoid altercations and Thomas’ patience and protection all the while he wants so much more from her.

This is such a worthy romance with lots of action, adventure, dry wit and endearing scenes in a well-developed plot. Much research went into this book and the descriptions are vivid and detailed. There are a few forms of address issues and in British rules of title, an heir apparent wouldn't take a courtesy title, but these minor things did not detract from what was a great story. I love that the story continues from book 1 and I get to join these great characters as they continue to pursue their dreams. Read the books in order so you don’t miss a thing!
Profile Image for Pj Ausdenmore.
600 reviews23 followers
January 18, 2012
Englishwoman Maddie Wallace had high hopes when she married dashing Scottish cavalry officer, Angus Wallace but after only two letters and one visit during their six-year marriage, Maddie has had enough. Tired of being looked down upon by the Wallace family for being English, virtually abandoned by her husband and feeling alone in the world, when Maddie returns to England to settle her parents' affairs following their sudden deaths she decides to follow her passion for photography and embark upon a new life. Posing as a widow, she accepts an assignment from a London paper to photograph the American West, leaving her absent husband and her old life far behind.

All Angus (Ash) Wallace has ever wanted is to be a soldier but when a serious injury forces him out of the military after a long career he returns home to Scotland to discover that everything he left behind has changed. He's now heir to an earldom he never wanted and the sweet wife he expected to welcome him home with open arms has decamped to another continent. Determined to reclaim her, Ash sails to America then tracks his wife to Heartbreak Creek, Colorado, confident in his ability to bring Maddie home to Scotland and set about siring some heirs. After all, he's commanded military troops for years. How much trouble can one wife be? As we come to discover in this story, quite a bit! What he finds is an independent woman, surrounded by a "family" of her own making while pursuing the career that gives her life meaning in a wild, challenging, soul-inspiring land. His quest to reclaim his wife is suddenly fraught with complications Ash could never have envisioned.

As the two spend time together, sharing thoughts and dreams that they never had time to talk about before and revealing secrets that change each of their perspectives on the early years of their marriage they gradually come to realize that the feelings they held for one another have not gone away. In fact, they've grown stronger but the issues that keep them apart still remain. Will Ash be able to earn Maddie's trust that he won't abandon her again? Will they be able to reconcile Maddie's bone-deep need for her photography with Ash's duty to the earldom? Once Ash sees for himself how much Maddie's photography means to her and feels the emotions conveyed through her unique talent, will he be able to bring himself to take that away from her by insisting they return to Scotland even though duty to his family demands just that?

Set against the ruggedly majestic backdrop of the Colorado Rockies, Kaki Warner has written a stellar addition to her Runaway Brides historical western series. Filled with passion, adventure, heartbreak and humor, Colorado Dawn is a story that had me sighing, crying, holding my breath and laughing out loud. Warner has the ability to pull me into her stories, making me care for her characters; investing my emotions in their happiness. I adored Ash and Maddie! Ash is a wonderfully complex hero; one of my recent favorites. As a military man of many years, his "take charge" personality and black/white point of view are firmly ingrained yet he has gentle, nurturing layers and a well-hidden vulnerability that are gradually revealed as well as a terrific sense of humor. After existing in the shadow of Ash's family for so many years, it's immensely satisfying to watch Maddie grow and find her place in the world. I was so proud of her, applauding her courage and the woman she had become yet my heart ached for how she was torn between her love for Ash and the new life she had carved out of the Colorado wilderness. I honestly didn't know how Warner was going to work out the issue between Ash and Maddie but I should have had faith for work it out she did and to my immense satisfaction.

Characters from Heartbreak Creek (first in this series) are seamlessly woven into the fabric of Colorado Dawn, figuring prominently in Ash and Maddie's relationship and setting the stage for the next book in the series. As in the first book, the friendship among the four women (Edwina, Prudence, Maddie and Lucinda) continues to have a prominent role in their lives. Declan and Thomas have been good friends for years and have a protective interest in all four women which makes the entry of Ash, a new and unknown entity thrown into the middle of their "manly midst", especially fun to read. Prudence and Thomas's relationship also progresses in this book and has me anxiously awaiting the rest of their story (which began in Heartbreak Creek).

If you love sweeping, character-driven stories set in the American West that are filled with adventure, humor and deeply satisfying emotion then any book by Kaki Warner is the book for you.
Profile Image for Jenn.
1,015 reviews245 followers
July 21, 2014

1. Tricks
2. Angus aka: Ash-funny, sarcastic, playful, protective, loving, faithful and definitely doesn't lack of thoughts of his wife.
3. The boys wrestling "fights"
4. Ash & Maddie's POVs although there were a few others.
5. The banter between Thomas and Ash.
6. The pranks.
7. Maddie and Ash's relationship.
8. The Heartbreak Crew
9. Good pace and flow; felt like something was always happening so you never get bored.
10. Pru & Thomas' progress.
11. The very ending when they have visitors.
Profile Image for Linda .
1,795 reviews249 followers
January 9, 2012
Kaki Warner is fast becoming a favorite author of mine. She writes magic. COLORADO DAWN is the second 'Runaway Brides' novel, her third is to be released in June, 2012 and I can't wait for more.

Immediately following HEARTBREAK CREEK this is Maddie Wallace's story. One thing I love is the author continues to include all the characters from HEARTBREAK CREEK and then adds some new ones. And what a hoot they are. I dare you to read the story and not laugh at least once.

It starts off a little slower than HEARTBREAK CREEK. So if you've read the first book in this series you know that Maddie's husband left her to go off to war. Unfortunately he wrote only a couple of times while he was gone and left Maddie with his family that didn't want her. Her love is photography and she is able to find someone that will pay her way to America. He wants her photograph the American West from the female perspective for The Illustrated London News. Under the disguise of being a 'widow' she feels she has nothing to lose. Maddie meets her friend, Lucinda, along the way and they both eventually settle in the special town of Heartbreak Creek, Colorado.

Angus Wallace, now Lord Ashby, has returned from Ireland a wounded soldier only to find that his wee wife has left. He needs to resolve his marriage so he can continue his Scottish legacy. Though they spent little time together before he left, the moments with her were intense and pleasurable.

Fast forward over one year and over one thousand miles and he finds his wife with both spirit and unsettled anger. He now needs to convince her to return with him home. This is their story. There are both hurts and secrets that they learn they have to share with each other. 'Ash' is old-school, a protector who uses his experience in the military to win over his wife. "Success is as much in the planning as the execution."

If you appreciate a lovable hero with a thick Scottish brogue then this story is for you. If you enjoy laughter within a romance, this book is calling your name. COLORADO DAWN is an enchantment, you will develop a warm fuzzy attachment to all of Ms. Warner's ensemble of characters. Both a comedy of manners and a journey of a woman's self-discovery their relationship is profoundly tender: a wonderful keeper.
Profile Image for Tin.
340 reviews109 followers
April 22, 2013
They married in haste and enjoyed a searing passion -- and then Angus Wallace returned to his regiment and to his duty as a soldier, leaving behind his new English wife, Maddie, in the care of his very indifferent Scottish family. In three years of marriage, he wrote to her twice and visited once -- and Maddie wonders if this is what the rest of her will look like.

When her parents die suddenly, Maddie is given a brief respite and returns home to England to settle their affairs. And out of the grief, she rediscovers her passion for photography, which leads to a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to the frontier lands of America.

With the war over, Angus has come to America in search of his runaway bride and I search of answers to so many questions -- foremost of which is, why did she leave him?

Maddie cannot believe the audacity of her husband, why come after her after so many years of estrangement? When she discovers that Angus has inherited his brother's title, it makes her wonder if she is just another duty for Angus to fulfill.

I featured Kaki Warner's Colorado Dawn for my Sample Reading posts a while back and finally got the chance to read the book in its entirety -- and this is a book that does not disappoint.

Is it love or lust? I often ask this question when a couple in a romance novel have a whirlwind affair. I'm often suspicious of how quickly our heroes and heroines profess their undying love and devotion -- and, most times, that's how romance novels end. And the love is never tested. But that is not the case of Angus and Maddie in Kaki Warner's Colorado Dawn.

They met and got married quickly. All throughout the story, we get hints that they are very compatible in bed but, out of it? -- not so much. Never have I seen two people so out-of-sync with each other as these two -- and that leads to a lot of misunderstanding between them. The movement of our hero and heroine reminded me of Jimmy Liao's A Chance of Sunshine (adapted into a movie titled Turn Right, Turn Left ): two people moving towards each other on parallel planes: always seeing each other, but their paths never seem to meet. It's always a case of wrong place, wrong time for Angus and Maddie -- and it is frustrating for them.

"What took you so long?" she accused. "You said it would only be a day and a night. Why didn't you come back?" With each word, her voice had risen and the shaking had grown worse.


"Why aren't you ever here when I need you?" She hit him again, apparently oblivious to the pain it must have brought to her injured hands. Tears were running down her face now, and her words were so garbled it was difficult for him to make them out. But the rage was unmistakable.
- p. 113

What is undeniable, though, is the intense connection that exists between the two. That, despite an almost-six-year separation, when they see each other again, chemistry does what it does and sparks fly. But there is a lot of work that Angus and Maddie need to do to repair their marriage and Kaki Warner sets their story against the raw and dangerous beauty of the landscapes of Colorado.

So it's not just lust. It takes our hero and heroine a journey of thousands of miles, in a place that isn't home to either of them to discover what love is -- and the sacrifices it entails. Heartbreak Creek is the perfect backdrop to all of these unfolding love stories. With such an evocative name and by knowing the residents of the town, even without knowing the history of the place or of its name, we can instantly envision that this was a place where hearts and souls came to escape.

I thought it was necessary for Angus and Maddie to make this trip. For Maddie, it was a journey of self discovery. At the beginning of the book, she seemed a bit lost and didn't know what she wanted. Five years in America has shaped her to become a woman capable of making her own decisions and of speaking her own mind. From a shy, reluctant English country lass, she became a famed photography and a true, equal partner to Angus.

Angus's life has always been defined by duty: either he obeys it or rebels against it. Why did he marry Maddie? Initially, it was because his parents forbade it -- and part of what draws you into this story is seeing how Angus's emotions develop and deepen as he gets to know his wife more. (Read the first paragraph of p. 185!)

Colorado Dawn also features the wonderful side story of Prudence and Thomas -- which contrasts quite well with Angus and Maddie's love story. Thomas and Pru admit that they love each other but, with such painful pasts, what they needed to figure out was how they could express that love without hurting each other.

She saw the laughter in his black eyes. And the love. She knew what he wanted from her. But whenever she thought about what that entailed, the coil of fear lodged in her chest tightened a little bit more.


His expression softened. "I see your fear, eho'nehevehohtse. It hides behind your eyes when you look at me, and in your hands when you allow yourself to touch me. But I am not your enemy, heme'oono. You will think on that while I am gone." Reaching out, he gently brushed his fingertips across her jaw. "Nemehotatse, Prudence Lincoln."

"What does that mean? I don't understand what you're saying."

"Yes, eho'nehevehohtse. You know."
- pp. 210-211

One of my favorite scenes in the story was when Angus/Lord Ashby visited Ed and Declan Brodie's house and Angus was introduced to the kids:

"...Children, this is Lord Ashby."

Clasping his hands once more behind his back, Ash gave a curt, military nod.

"Lord?" The girl's eyes widened. "You're named after God?"
- p. 162

This was a wonderful book with lots of laughter, heart and passion. Now I'm off to find copies of the other books in the series.
Profile Image for Kat Latham.
Author 27 books367 followers
January 15, 2012
In Colorado Dawn, Kaki Warner's trademark humor, grit and attention to detail come together in a beautifully vibrant, entertaining, and emotionally gripping story.

Maddie and Angus Wallace have spent only a few nights together in their six-year marriage. The last time Angus deserted her to rejoin his regiment, Maddie struggled unsuccessfully to make a life with his family in Scotland. She finally leaves and strikes out for Colorado Territory, where she becomes a celebrated photographer introducing the world to America's west through a female eye.

She tells her new friends in the failing mining town of Heartbreak Creek that she’s a widow, a lie that catches up to her when Angus (now Viscount Ashby, or Ash) seeks her out because he needs an heir.

But how can she even think about forgiving him, much less giving up a meaningful career, for a lazy life among the backbiting aristocracy? And how can Ash give up centuries of duty for a life thousands of miles from his family and heritage?

I've read all of Kaki Warner's novels, and they go from strength to strength. Colorado Dawn is the second in her Runaway Brides series (Heartbreak Creek is first), and this novel cements Kaki's place as one of my favorite novelists.

For me, one of the great pleasures of reading a Kaki Warner novel is the voice she gives her heroes. They're rough, rugged and funny, but they'd do absolutely anything for their heroines. Unlike their Victorian England counterparts, there's nothing polished about them. They're survivalists, and it's a good thing because hoo-boy! Kaki throws a hell of a lot of conflict their way.

Though Ash is a new member of the British aristocracy, he has much more in common with the sheriff and ranchers of Kaki's previous novels than he does with English toffs. Ash is a Highland warrior, a soldier, who has suffered grave injuries and losses. Although he devoted most of his life to his career, and was devastated to lose it, he has managed to keep his sense of humor, as shows in this scene when he's driving Maddie back to town after a night of passion.

They spoke little. It was one of those highly charged female-type silences that eroded a man’s confidence and had him scanning through recent events to determine what he might have done wrong. Ash tolerated it as long as he could, then looked over at his wife. “It was the uniform, right?”

In the slanted light, her eyes were as brown and clear as the medicine bottles that had lined the windowsill beside his hospital bed. Filled with promises and hope. Addictive.


“That caught your eye.” When she still showed no understanding, he explained. “I can feel you drifting away, lass, and I’m seeking a way to draw you back. The ladies always seemed taken with the uniform. As once did you. Shall I send for it?”

“Drifting away? You can say that after what we—you and I—when we—after last night?” She clasped her gloved hands in her lap and looked away, her cheeks as red as strawberry ice in a paper cone.

“So it went well for you then, love? You dinna say, so I wasna sure. But with all the squealing and carrying on, I should have known.”

Her head whipped toward him. “I did not squeal or carry on.”

“No? Then it must have been me.”

And the scene just gets better from there.

I love that Ash is a man of his time, completely befuddled at first by the fact that his wife doesn't want to give up her photography for a lifetime of leisure and balls. But I also love that he learns how important her career is and strives to find ways to support her in it.

If you haven't read Heartbreak Creek, I recommend you start there to get a feel for the friendships and the secondary romance that run through the series. I highly recommend this series, and for the next couple of days you have a chance to win Colorado Dawn by leaving a comment on Kaki's guest post, One woman's tips on writing the male point of view.

Rating: 4.5 stars (rounded up here since half stars aren't allowed)

Heat: 3 (sensual)
Profile Image for Karen.
1,047 reviews8 followers
March 2, 2015
I must say I'm enjoying this series.

The heroine is a talented photographer and the hero even injured was unaware his wife was missing then awhile to find her. Totally clueless husband two letters and one visit in six years of marriage?

I love the personalities of the characters, even the supporting cast. The story begins with a bleak possible outcome but the true nature of their relationship is teased out in between desperate & sorrowful happenings.

I love that the H&h build each other up when they reveal to each what they believe is their own short comings or embarrassment.

Looking forward to next adventure.
Profile Image for Julie.
925 reviews27 followers
October 22, 2014
I really loved the first in this series, but Colorado Dawn just didn't thrill me. Mostly due to the fact I wasn't crazy about the heroine who preferred her photography over her gorgeous highlander husband who has come half way across the world to find her! What is she thinking? Then as they warmed up to each other again it was a bit dull, some danger was thrown in by a guy who's after them because he's after finding some gold, but overall, I was just kind of meh over the whole thing. Hope the third one is better.

942 reviews
January 7, 2012
I loved this book! Can I give it six stars? A full review will follow. Right now I just want to savor the reading experience--and go back and reread some favorite scenes.
380 reviews4 followers
November 16, 2019
This was my first book by this author but it definitely won't be the last!! I heard that my Aunt was reading one of this author's books and enjoying it so I thought I'd try one. I was pleased to find out that our library had one of her books available right away. I wasn't very far into the book and I was hooked. It deals with relationships between husband and wife. It also deals with friendship within a community. It also deals with the consequences of miscommunication in a marriage. I definitely recommend this book and author. I am looking forward to reading more of this author's books!!
Profile Image for Ryan Mackay.
311 reviews
March 16, 2021
This premise is delightful. The set up for a romp i should live for. But Maddie was so utterly disappointing. The author could have made her strong and capable but she’s just not, she’s kinda pathetic really. The book was mediocre but maybe something you’ll enjoy if you like historicals that feel historical (ie women can’t do anything and are written weak, instead of women who are viewed as weak but manage to be strong through their wits).
Profile Image for Lena.
1,005 reviews2 followers
October 7, 2017
Lacked the charm of the first book. Still a somewhat independent heroine who's not completely annoying but there was just a certain something missing.
Profile Image for Vicki.
1,587 reviews
March 20, 2020
Wonderful book

He had come to find his wife and to take her back to Scotland. This book was non-stop action and romance.
Profile Image for Julia.
2,513 reviews67 followers
September 14, 2022
(3/19) Blending European peers with the American west is a rarity, and this book pulls it off well.
Profile Image for Sandy M.
669 reviews34 followers
January 5, 2012
I love it when an author adds humor to her romances. When it’s the hero with the sense of humor, it makes him that much more irresistible. Angus Wallace is now one of my favorite heroes, and that’s saying something when he’s in the company of Drustan and Daegus MacKeltar and Jamie Fraser.

And the fact that Angus has come to America in search of his wife, thinking only to take her home to Scotland where she can deliver a few heirs for him but instead falls in love with Maddie and the magnificent Colorado wilderness, well, that’s a man after my own heart. You see the change in Angus - now Lord Ashby, one of the reasons he now needs his wife - slowly take place as he watches his wife enjoy her passion of photography, revel in the new, deep-seated friendships she’s found, and, lastly, comes to realize she’d give all of that up just for him. He knows what he’s got, what he almost lost, and he plans to keep her by his side forever this time.

Maddie’s life takes huge turns when she meets career soldier Angus Wallace. She marries him and then loses him to his military service almost instantaneously. She receives very little contact from him in the years she’s in Scotland. So when she has word that her parents have been killed, Maddie heads home to England. There she talks herself into a new life and goes after it with guns blazing. Her interest in photography takes her to the American wild west, where she finally settles in Colorado, happy in that new life.

Angus’ life also goes through some unexpected turns. He’s seriously wounded in battle and his military days are over. He returns home to find his wife gone and his life changed further with the death of his older brother. It’s through her photographs that Ash, along with his loyal friend, Tricks, an Irish wolfhound, is able to trace Maddie across the American continent, locating her at last on her way home to Heartbreak Creek after a successful photographic mission -, with only Wall-eyed Willy as protection, much to Ash’s consternation. Thus begins their dance of reacquainting themselves with each other, their feelings, their love, their duty, their lives - all so different than before.

Unknown sadness on both sides is revealed, making each of them look at their anger and perceptions differently from what they’ve known before, hence making them realize more care of the other should have been taken so they wouldn’t end up where they are today. But life has taken them on this journey, and now one of them must sacrifice all for the other. Will Maddie be able to leave her new, hard-won life behind, never to take another picture again, something a noble woman would never do? Can Ash turn his back on his duty, say no to the one thing he never thought would be his anyway? Does he even have that choice?

These are two very multi-layered characters, both charming and flawed. It takes everything Maddie’s got to strike out on her own, away from the familiarity of home. Just when she finds her place, the one and only thing that can endanger that happiness is the person she never thought to see again. Ash is as honest and honorable as the day is long, he takes his duty seriously, whether to Maddie or his family - and he comes to realize that’s the same thing in his heart. No matter how hard life is, now or then, these two exemplify what it is to sustain a relationship after mucking it up the first time around. Granted, they have matured a few years and have gone through so much to get to that place, but when they do, it’s wonderful to see.

We also get to catch up with all the characters from the previous book. I especially had fun with the scene between Ash and Declan when the sheriff tries to ascertain why Ash is looking for Maddie. More humor, but family looking out for family, no matter how you look at it.

I love Kaki Warner’s writing, her characters, her storylines, everything about her books. You go through every emotion imaginable and then some. She portrays the American west vividly and accurately. You need to pick any of her books up and start reading, if you haven’t so far. Believe me, you’re missing out if you’ve never read a Kaki Warner book.

See my complete review at http://www.goodbadandunread.com
Profile Image for ♥ Vonda M. Reid ♥.
115 reviews21 followers
June 20, 2013
Overall Rating: 3.00 // Action: 2.5 / Emotion: 3.5 / Romance: 3.0 / Sensuous: 1.0 / Suspense: 3.0 // Historical Flavor: 4.0 // Laughter: 7 / Grins: 2 // Tears: 1 / Teary: 3

Colorado Dawn: 3.0:
Kaki Warner displayed her gift with storytelling by penning a beautifully-written story which detailed Colorado in the 1870s. However, Warner did not manage to inspire that strong, deep emotional connection to both the hero and heroine that is necessary for a great read. It took way too long to develop an interest in reading this story.

Hero: 4.0:
Angus Frederick Wallace, Fifth Viscount Ashby; "Ash": Loved Ash's deeply-layered personality; namely, {1} his Scottish manner of speaking, {2} his sense of duty, honor, and military bearing, {3} his attractiveness, {4} his 'all male' demeanor as he interacted with Declan and Thomas, {5} his 'typically male' frustration in dealing with the women, and {6} his charming sense of humor. Ash was a hero that was easy to admire and love.

Heroine: 2.0:
Alexandra Madeline "Maddie" Gresham Wallace; Viscountess Ashby: Although Maddie was a strong-willed, independent, gifted photographer, who displayed a compassionate nature as she looked at the world through rose-colored glasses, she was so annoying and irritating the during the first half of the book that it was impossible to like her. Yes, she finally redeemed herself, but it took a while to get past the initial dislike.

Story Line: 2.0:
This story just did not inspire great interest. All Ash and Maddie had going for them was lust and passion when they married in haste before he left his new bride behind to join his regiment. After leading very separate lives, six years later these two strangers must decide whether they want to remain married or get divorced.

Action: 2.5:
There just were not a lot of exciting adventurous action scenes to interrupt the slow-moving pace in which this story was told.

Emotion: 3.5:
It may have been easy to empathize with Ash but it was so difficult to connect with Maddie on a deeply-felt emotional level, that the story lost a lot of the powerful punch that usually exists when there is a strong connection to both protagonists. Nevertheless, Warner still managed to inspire a tear or two and laughter.

Romance: 3.0:
The romance factor ran about average for this story since it was readily apparent that Ash and Maddie still had strong feelings for the other even after six years of separation. They just had to come to terms with those feelings -- to either stay married to the person they loved, or divorce and go their separate ways.

Sensuous: 1.0:
Warner does not include a lot of sensuality in her books. The lovemaking is always behind closed doors. However, Warner is very gifted when it comes to including moments of innuendo and lust between Ash and Maddie.

Suspense: 3.0:
Warner included a mean-spirited, abusive villain (and his simpleton brother) who sought out Maddie because she took a picture of the location of a dead miner's gold strike. Thus, there was an aura of suspense running throughout the story and a reason to show Ash in all of his warrior's glory.

Secondary Characters: 4.0:
Warner is particularly talented at weaving well-developed and interesting secondary characters throughout the book. The presence of characters introduced in Heartbreak Creek added great enjoyment to the story. The male camaraderie between Ash, Declan and Thomas was particularly entertaining -- more so than the girl talk between Maddie, Edwina, Pru, and Lucinda. The inclusion of Lurch, Tricks and Agnes also added a rich, realistic flavor to the tale. And finally, the inclusion of more details regarding the ongoing romance between Thomas and Pru definitely added appeal.

Historical Flavor: 4.0:
Warner's attention to detail as she describes the landscape, the buildings, and the characters reveals that she has definitely researched the environs of Colorado as she successfully takes the reader back to the 1870s.

See Wolf Bear Does Books for a more in-depth, detailed review of Colorado Dawn.
April 13, 2012

British-born Madeline Wallace has not seen her British Cavalry officer husband,and Scotsman ,Angus Wallace in several years. He's gone off to fight in the British Army, leaving her in the hands of his parents. In the years that Maddie has been in Scotland and her husband has been away, she has only received three letters from him. When her parents die in an unfortunate carriage accident, Madeline returns to London to set their affairs in order and decide what she needs to do with her stagnant life since she has been utterly abandoned by the man she loved.

After some contemplation, Maddie decides to follow her dream of becoming a photographer. When she shows her portfolio to a newspaper editor, the man sees promise immediately in the young woman's work. He swiftly offers to send her off to America to shoot the female perspective on the American West. The opportunity is too good to pass up, so Maddie, passing herself off as a Widow takes on the job of a roving photographer.

Maddie Wallace ends up in Heartbreak Creek, Colorado where she uses the town as her center while she travels in her makeshift darkroom and sleeping quarters,otherwise known as her covered wagon. Maddie luckily has an older man companion, Mr. Satterwhite to help her in her endeavors.

All the dashingly handsome, Angus Wallace ever knew, was how to be a soldier, and he was damn good at it. When he is seriously injured, he returns back to his home to find his wife gone and life completely turned upside down. You see Angus is the third son of a Scottish Earl and when the Earl of Kirkwell and his heir die, Angus's brother Donnan becomes the Earl hence leaving Angus in the position of Viscount Ashby, not exactly where he wanted to be.

Angus, now called Ash by his friends as colleagues, sets out on a journey to find his elusive wife, sailing across the ocean to America seeking clues as to Madeline's whereabouts. After many moons and and much trouble, Ash finally finds his wife, who seems not so happy to see him. Ash imposes himself immediately into Maddie's new independent life, leaving the wayward couple uncertain of their futures. When Angus discovers there may be a danger to his estranged wife, the dominant male appears, throwing Maddie completely off kilter.

Will strong and independent Maddie Wallace be able to keep giving the utterly handsome, dominant and thickheaded Scot the cold shoulder? Will Lord Asbhy be able to convince his Viscountess to return with him to Scotland and take up the mantle of Earl of Kirkwell should death befall his already ill brother Donnan? These and more questions are answered in Colorado Dawn by Kaki Warner.

This book totally caught me off-guard. First of all, I had purchased it months ago and set it aside because of work. Finally, when I opened it I could not stop. Even knowing that it was the second in the Runaway Brides series, I read this before Kaki Warner's first in the series, Heartbreak Creek. Secondly, being a photographer, I was sucked in. Kaki got her facts right on that end and I give her kudos for it. Third, what an awesome story. Maddie, finally getting her due as a well-known photographer, even though at the time, the public at large doesn't realize that M Wallace is a female. Both Maddie and Ash make life-changing decisions and the way they work them through is amazing.

Maddie is no shrinking violet, and those who know me well, know I am a staunch supporter of the self sufficient female, but I am also a die hard for dominant male Angus. This book had me cheering, crying and wanting to kick some butt. Kaki Warner's description of Colorado in the late 1800's brought out the history lover in me and well as the romantic. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment.... quite eagerly in fact. Thanks Kaki Warner for such a fabulous ride in Colorado Dawn.

Profile Image for Gayle Pace.
1,110 reviews21 followers
January 16, 2016

When Maddie Wallace married the dashing cavalry officer,Angus Wallace, she had high dreams. She an Englishwoman and he being a Scot there is bound to be trouble. In six years of marriage, Maddie has had more than enough. In those six years she received two letters and one visit. He was either a cad or a very devoted officer. She was scorned by the Wallace family because she was English. She was near abandoned by her husband and she felt so all alone.She has to return to England to take care of things after their deaths. While there she decides to go on with her passion of photography. She would start a new fife.. She left her absent spouse and her lonely old life behind when she accepts an assignment with a London paper. She was going to take pictures of the American West.

Angus (Ash) Wallace has only wanted to be a soldier. But he was forced to leave the military because of a serious injury. He goes back to Scotland and realizes that everything he knew had changed. He has to now face the fact that he's heir to an earldom. He doesn't and never has wanted this. As if this wasn't enough he finds his lovely wife has left for another land. Ash decides to go back to America and he finds his wife in Heartbreak Creek, Colorado. He was full of confidence that he would take Maddie back home to Scotland and start siring some heirs. He has led military men for years, how much trouble can a little wife be? Oh is he in for it. His wife is now a strong, independent woman with her "family" around her. She is going into a wild and daring land. Taking his wife home isn't going to be quite what he thought. Complications upon complications.

The setting for the book is the 1800's, the beautiful Colorado Rockies in the background. Ms. Warner hasn't disappointed once again. This addition to the historical western series, Runaway Brides is full of adventure, heartache, tears, and some humor. Oh and we must not forget the romance.

HEARTBREAK CREEK, the first in the series ties into the story of COLORADO DAWN. The characters follow from HEARTBREAK CREEK into COLORADO DAWN. There are many characters which the author has given them their own story along with being involved with the other characters. Ms. Kaki Warner writes fantastic adventures set in the American West with characters that will keep your attention even when you're done with the book. The author wrote with great detail in her characters and settings. You can almost picture yourself in Maddie and Ash's lives. I would suggest you start with book one and follow through. You won't be disappointed.

I would give this book 4 BROKEN HEARTS.

I was given a complimentary copy of COLORADO DAWN from the author, Kaki Warner for my unbiased view.
Profile Image for Barb in Maryland.
1,843 reviews107 followers
January 18, 2012
I quite enjoyed this one. The author did a good job of getting the estranged couple back together again.
Maddie Wallace had good reasons for feeling deserted by her cavalry officer husband. He is recalled to his troop soon after their wedding and, over the course of the next 4 years, she gets 2 letters and one visit from him. And it isn't that he or the letters had to travel half-way around the world to get to her. He's in Ireland, she's stuck with his (rather unwelcoming) family in Scotland. When she goes home to England at the death of her parents, she just doesn't go back. She is a talented amateur photographer and heads to London in hopes of a job. Luck smiles on her and she is soon on her way to the American West--on assignment for a London newspaper. So, for the past two years she has been roaming the West, using Heartbreak Creek, Colorado as her base.
Angus Wallace, now Viscount Ashby, has come to Colorado to drag his wife home to Scotland. Now out of the military after a serious injury; he feels duty bound to the family estate in Scotland. He doesn't understand his wife at all, but doesn't want to give her up either.
The path to true love and reconciliation between the two was not smooth--hooray! Both had to grow up and to give up their old notions of how things were. By the time the book ended I felt they had reached a very good compromise and that their HEA was believable.
There is a lively bit of action going on in the background involving a pair of claim-jumpers who pose a threat to Maddie. And we get the next chapter in the secondary romance between Prudence Lincoln, mulatto school teacher and Thomas Redstone, Cheyenne warrior. Throw in a bit of local politics and you have a well-rounded book.
You need not have read the first book in this trilogy to follow the story or figure out who's who, but having read it would add to the pleasure of this one.
And the teaser for the third book looks very interesting....
Profile Image for Nancy Black.
61 reviews1 follower
January 15, 2012
Colorado Dawn by Kaki Warner

I won this delightful read from Book Reviews and More by Kathy. Received it yesterday and finished this late this afternoon.

The author Kaki Warner gives a historical romance reader much, much more than one would expect. From the rousing story of Ash a soldier in the regimental cavalry from Scotland to Maggie his young wife who flees Scotland to the wilds of America's West.

Maggie hasn't seen her husband in six years and feels he has deserted her. The old castle in the highlands holds no comfort for her. When her parents die she travels to America too settle the house and furnishings. unable to stand the thoughts of returned to that forbidding Castle she wrangles a job touring the wild taking pictures for the Atlantic magazine.

Ash returns to find her wife gone. When he returns he brings with him his horse Lurch who is deaf due to a war time explosion which almost killed Ash too.

this novel holds so many surprises and a tale of love that spans all the Oceans and world.

The descriptions of the land and people blow a refreshing wind through the pages of this book. It was absolutely unstoppable once you start it.

Thank you so much for a wonderful read that gives it's reader suspense, a look at the old west, ad the interactive characters that you grow to love and care for.
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