Destiny’s Embrace by Beverly Jenkins

A delightful African-American western historical romance practically filled to bursting with witty banter between our two leads. It will leave a permanent smile on your face for sure!

What’s it About?

Award-winning romance author Beverly Jenkins offers up another high-stakes historical romance that is sure to make you swoon.

With Destiny’s Embrace, Jenkins brings readers back to the American West, where Logan Yates, a self-important ranch owner, must confront his feelings for his beautiful, free spirited housekeeper, Mariah Cooper. While they bicker incessantly, their sexual tension is palpable, and only rises when Mariah’s former lover arrives on the scene. Will she accept Logan’s heart?

Set in 19th-century California, Destiny’s Embrace features unforgettable characters and a satisfying mix of adventure and passion from nation’s premier writer of African-American historical romance.

First Impressions

This was my first foray with a Beverly Jenkins novel, and it was such a fun journey from start to finish! In my mind, this was a most wonderful display of a historical romance, as it sparks your interest to want to explore this time period in even more detail, whether it be through a trip to the local library or a museum. From the streets of Philadelphia to the wide-open ranches of California, we are introduced to such a diverse range of settings and characters that it left me wanting to research as much information as I can find about the experiences and convergence of the indigenous peoples of California, African-American and Hispanic communities of the era. It seemed like at every turn our eyes were opened to another fascinating window of history that we don’t always see as the primary focus of western historical romances. Again, I always see this as the sign of a good historical read, when it lights a fire under you to want to go beyond the pages of the story, and dive deep into the pages of history.

Lying in Wait

Fleeing the physical and mental abuse of her mother, Mariah Cooper sets out across the country to take up a housekeeping position under the employ of a surly bachelor. While I can’t say this romance can be categorized as an enemies-to-lovers story per se considering the short amount of time our two leads have known each other, it’s certainly a tale of stubborn-employer-employee-to-lovers. And honestly, this just might be one of my new official favorite tropes! Both of these characters are strong-willed, strong-headed, and not afraid to admit how much the other drives them absolutely up the wall. However, underneath the stubbornness is a sexual chemistry lying in wait, threatening to break free at any moment. They both try to avoid and ignore it, but it doesn’t take long at all before they’re giving into their desires for each other, even if they lie to themselves that it will only be the one time.

Watching the Clouds

The playful banter between Mariah and Logan had me giggling like a school girl more than I care to admit, and their physical connection had me grinning and blushing in delight. However, something I loved even more was witnessing the growth of these two characters as they spent more time together. One of the most poignant moments in the entire read for me was when Mariah and Logan took a moment from their busy and hectic lives to simply lie back and stare up at the shapes they could distinguish in the clouds. It was a momentous occurrence for Mariah, as we realize she’s never had an opportunity to just be a kid with no worries who could stare up and daydream at the sky.

She was always living under the oppressive thumb of her mother who refused to allow her to engage in such frivolities. Only by striking out on her own is she finally free to act…freely. And Logan is the one to hold her hand and show her how. The mere fact this rough and tumble rancher would take the time to engage in a childhood pastime with his housekeeper shows the kind of influence she’s had on him to simply live in the moment and enjoy life. To take a break from the stresses and responsibilities of ranch life to lie in the grass with someone who is coming to mean a great deal to him. In my opinion, this was the most beautiful and intimate scene of the whole read.

Series: Destiny, book 1. I had a brief moment of panic in the epilogue when we are introduced to a woman giving birth to a baby who she declares she intends to inform the father about. I was so worried we had a cliffhanger on our hands that it was Logan’s, and this would throw a major wrench in the happiness of our couple, but reading the synopsis of the next book reveals that it’s thankfully not the case! We are introduced to so many fun and lovable characters in this first read, I might just have to see what comes next for Logan’s brother.

Final Impressions: It wouldn’t really be fair to categorize this as a slow-read, more that it feels like we have been provided the chance of sitting in to witness the daily lives and evolving love story of our characters. I remember at one point when I was mid-read, I picked up my Kindle one day to say to myself, “ok, let’s see what Mariah and Logan are up to today.” They might be fictional characters living in another era, but they almost feel like friends or neighbors by the end. It’s a funny, sweet read, and witnessing the journey of Mariah transition from a mere child living under her mother’s rule to blossom into a headstrong woman who stands up for what she wants was truly a sight to behold!

Smut Level: This read introduced me to my new favorite form of foreplay: aiding someone up and down from a carriage by grasping their waist and holding them close through the entire action. Phew, mercy me!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $1.99 Kindle Price. Avon Books. 389 Pages.

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