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A desperate need
Sassy Grace Atwood never expected to find her proper self accidentally tumbling into a stranger's bed. If she weren't desperate for a man to lead a wagon train of brides to a woman-starved town out West, she never would have gone near Jackson Blake-former lawman or not. She should send the ruggedly charming Texan packing...only he's perfect for the job. Now if her mind would just stop going ...
A desperate need
Sassy Grace Atwood never expected to find her proper self accidentally tumbling into a stranger's bed. If she weren't desperate for a man to lead a wagon train of brides to a woman-starved town out West, she never would have gone near Jackson Blake-former lawman or not. She should send the ruggedly charming Texan packing...only he's perfect for the job. Now if her mind would just stop going blank every time she looked at him, they might get this train to Kansas yet.
A comsuming passion
What's a man to do when a beautiful woman leans over his bed in the middle of the night? Come to think of it, that was the only time Blake's ever seen the straitlaced Miss Atwood the least bit ruffled. He's certain that beneath her buttoned-up appearance lies a passionate woman aching to break free. But though Blake longs to take her in his arms, all he can offer Grace is a life on the run. And when the demons from his past catch up with them, Blake is couaght between the ties that bind and a love that could last...always and forever.
Always and ForeverChapter One
February 1, 1884
Dear Cousin Grace,
Greetings from Kansas. I hope my letter finds you well. As you know, I've joined the Great Exodus and am now a member of a newly founded colony in southern Kansas. It has not been an easy task, trying to carve out a life in a place where none has existed before, but we've done it. We've built houses, cleared land, and put in our first crops. Now, many of the unmarried men wish to start families but lack the most necessary element-wives. We're wondering if you could make inquiries on our behalf as to whether any decent, god-fearing women in Chicago would be willing to travel here and marry.
I'm writing to you because no one else knows of anyone capable of taking on such a daunting task. Our men are stalwart individuals, most are educated, and many like me are veterans of Mr. Lincoln's war. Since new men are arriving weekly, by the time this letter reaches you, we will undoubtedly need between thirty and thirty-five women. If you decide to take up our quest, please reply soon so that the funds you'll need to finance the journey can be deposited in your accounts. I will also be posting to you sketches and information on each of the men wishing to be a part of this plan in hopes of helping the women choose their mates before they arrive. I dearly hope you can assist us. Hello to the aunts.
March 6, 1884
Dear Cousin Price,
Your letter did indeed find me well. I've decided to accept your unorthodox challenge. Having given the journey much thought, I feel it would be bestto travel by wagon. The insidiousness of Jim Crow makes a train trip too perilous. I do not wish to have us all ordered off a train in the middle of the wilds or forced to ride with cattle. Granted, this decision will raise the costs, but I prefer the women reach Kansas City free of terror and with their dignity intact. I'm sure your men will agree. The aunts send their love.
Your loving cousin,
April 3, 1884
"You're going where?" Grace's elderly aunts shouted in unison, as they sat in the downstairs parlor of Grace's modestly appointed home.
"To Kansas City," Grace echoed simply. "Cousin Price wants me to find brides for the men in his colony and I've agreed to do it."
Grace watched her aunts, Tulip and Dahlia, stare first at each other and then back at her. She sought to explain further. "You both know I'm not one to cry over spilled milk, but since Amanda's and Garth's wedding, I've wanted to get away, and this seems a golden opportunity."
Both women nodded sympathetically. They knew of the gossiping and whispering that had been dogging Grace's every step since Garth's betrayal and how much pain the whole ugly ordeal had caused her even though she never let it show. Dahlia and Tulip were aunts on Grace's late mother Vanessa's side of the family and had come to Chicago last November to help Grace bury her father, Elliot. They'd intended to stay only until she mastered her grief but the visit lengthened, mainly because they found the bustling city of Chicago far livelier than their home town of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and because they loved their niece as much as they'd loved her mother.
"Who will run the bank while you're away?" Tulip asked. She was the shorter, plumper, and elder of the two widowed aunts. Tulip and Dahlia had been named after their mother's favorite flowers.
"I believe Mr. Rowe and the others are capable of seeing to things."
"You believe," Dahlia echoed skeptically, looking at Grace over her spectacles. The sisters were complete opposites in temperament. Tulip viewed life optimistically and rarely found fault in anyone or anything. On the other hand, the tall, thin Dahlia tended to be more skeptical and opinionated. Tulip often swore Dahlia should've been named Nightshade for her sometimes negative opinions, but Grace thought the two women balanced each other perfectly and loved them both equally. "The bank will do fine without me. I wouldn't go if I didn't think so."
Grace had complete faith in the abilities of her employees. Head clerk, Lionel Rowe, one of her father's first hires, had been working at the bank for many years.
"I'd still worry," Dahlia stated firmly.
Tulip's black eyes sparkled with irritation as she told her sister, "Oh, for heaven's sake, Dahl, stop curdling the milk. Elliot wouldn't've willed her the keys had he not had faith in her good sense."
Grace decided to interrupt before an argument started. Dahlia, for all her contrary ways, had quite a thin skin and her feelings were hurt easily. The aunts loved each other beyond measure, but that didn't stop them from sometimes fighting like the siblings they were.
"Aunt Dahlia, you're right to be concerned," Grace offered supportively, "although I'll be gone for some time, I'm confident everything will go well."
Tulip chuckled, "Grace, you make it sound as if you'll be gone for months. The trains run much faster than they once did. You'll be in Kansas before you know it."
"We aren't going by train. We're traveling by wagon."
"Wagon?" the aunts shouted in unison again.
"But why?" Dahlia asked. "Why would you want to subject yourself to such hardship?"
"Jim Crow," Grace answered simply.
"Ah," they both replied.
The political gains made by the race after the war were slowly buckling beneath the oppressive weight of the laws and policies implemented by the south's Redemptionist Democrats...Always and Forever. Copyright © by Beverly Jenkins. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Posted April 20, 2009
She has done it again. loved the book and never wanted it to end. I went looking for more of her books and was sadden to find that I have read them all! LOL! Can't wait till the next one. I love this author's mind, and her talent and would love to see it brought to the movies even if it was just cable. Spell binding! A romantic rollercoaster ride. Whew!
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Posted July 14, 2011
I loved Topaz but BJ must have a never-ending list of stories in her head! Grace is fiery and Jackson is smoldering! Another great read!
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Posted May 25, 2011
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Posted August 3, 2013
Posted August 13, 2007
Oh, My Gosh...Better and Better...the woman has a gift and I have yet to be disappointed by her historical/romance novels. Once I start reading I can't put it down. Reading this novel I found myself LOL, crying and becoming outraged at the injustice our people had to endure.~~~~~~~Grace had all the characteristic I hope for in a heroine. She was smart, brave, independent and very out-spoken. Her character only improved as the story moved forward. Jackson was also everything a hero should be, handsome, smart, brave, proud and strong, yet very loving. The secondary characters only added more intrigue and interest to this amazing tale and I hope to read more about some of them in future novels.~~~~~~~The instant chemistry between Grace and Jackson was definitely very sensual. Their heated passion only grew HOTTER and more intense as the story progressed, which made for a great read.~~~~~~~Once again, Ms. Jenkins has painted an AMAZINGLY vivid and historically accurate picture of the time period. She has eloquently spun a very romantic love story as well as a much needed and very valuable history lesson. I will Always and Forever be a BIG fan!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 21, 2007
ALWAYS AND FOREVER Story of Grace Atwood & Jackson Blake ~ When my eyes happened to glimpse this book, I had some misgivings. After all, we are facing enough residual oppression in present day I did not wish to revisit the bigotry and blatant malice inflicted upon my ancestors for my pastime. That said I picked it up anyway. I found the black history dispensed in the novel to be just enough and not too overpowering. Although, I must say, it happened to be the sole source of my anticipation throughout the novel. Although the romance lacked lustre, there were some rather sweet moments. Namely, the times Jackson recited poetry to Grace, the poems were beautiful. A Less appealing glimpse at his nature was his unwillingness to accede to Grace¿s pragmatism until reiterated and supported by a man. For instance, when she pleads with him to forego seeking vengeance for his father and further requests that he choose to live a long and prosperous life with her and their children in honour of his father¿s memory instead, he tenaciously and foolhardily refuses and chooses to pursue his obviously doomed-from-the-start one-man mission. The ending, as in literally the last two pages, was pretty. Throughout the novel, Grace let Jackson get away with a bit too much. She claims to be an independent, strong and opinionated woman who refuses to allow a man to rule her emotions ever again. That quickly disappears once she meets Jackson. Pretty much, whatever he says goes. He suffers no consequence for his selfishness and occasional mistreatment of her, particularly when he abandons her (in her pregnant state) to depart on his foolhardy mission. By the end of this book I was glad it was over, the so-called romance portion of it was starting to irritate me severely.
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Posted September 5, 2004
Posted June 10, 2004
I just 'read' this book, via audiotapes and I couldn't turn the tape off - in the car, doing laundry, exercising, showering, etc...! Many times I replayed a section to make sure I didn't miss a word of detail! It was intensely romantic, almost pornographic, but tasteful and I was very impressed with the credibility of the historical facts. I have since recommended this book to all of my romance and/or historical reader friends. It was a great way to start my summer 'reading.'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 23, 2002
Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down!! I read it from cover to cover from the time I got in my bed to read myself to sleep until the early morning hours when I finished still wide awake. You can picture the characters and feel every emotion that they feel! This novel definitely turned up the heat in my part of Hotlanta! I never knew there were African American Historical Romances available, so I only read Jude Devereaux and Bertrice Small historical romance novels, with no people of color. Now I'll add Beverly Jenkins to my collection. She has created characters I can TRULY put myself into. I'm going to order more from Ms. Jenkins until I've read everyone, then start all over again until the next one comes out! GO ON MS. JENKINS!!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 2, 2001
Another great book by Ms. Jenkins. I have read each of her books at least 5 times a piece. Her creativity and story-telling ability leaves one mesmorized and begging to be in the story just to witness the profound love that she writes about. To be loved the way Ms. Jenkins writes almost makes slavery and times past seem bearable. BRAVO MS. JENKINS!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 23, 2001
Mrs. Jenkins is one of the best authors that write historical romance. Each character appears to be so real. I want to be in one of your books! Keep up the excellent work!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 5, 2001
This book was so breath-taking, and romantic I had a really hand time putting it down. If you want a page turner and have tears in your eyes because your man isn't as romantic then definitely pick this book up so you can take notes like I did.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 2, 2000
Wonderful writing and very nice to read. I have read the two previous books that combine tell the story of the characters that appear in 'Always and Forever'. They are all beautifully written and give us a view of romance with a history lesson attached to it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 13, 2000
Beverly Jenkins is well established in the historical romance genre. 'Always and Forever', is another 'gem', if you own any of Beverly's other titles. Jenkins' novels are not only tales of unforgettable love and adventure, but they also are excellent resources of black history that are often excluded from other texts. Grace Atwood and Jackson Blake possess a love that conquers both internal and external elements. Beverly Jenkins is well known by her fans for creating characters who love wholeheartedly, geniunely and fiercely. 'Always and Forever', takes readers on a romatic journey through Chicago, Kansas City, and Texas. Hold on to your hats and buckle down for this particular adventure, you will have an enjoyable time.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 12, 2000
Always and forever is another great books by Beverly Jenkins. I always enjoy reading her books for the historical facts and romance. Beverly Jenkins is an excellent writer and all her books are easy to follow. I have copies of all her books and would recommend all of them to any historical romance lover. I look forward to her next novel and hope in the future she will write a story involving Loreli.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 14, 2000
Beverly Jenkin's books are the best. I stumbled accross Indigo a few years back and have read all of her books since then. I'm still trying to find the person I loaned Indigo to so I can get it back an read it again. That one was the best!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 2, 2000
I can't wait for this new title! Beverly Jenkins always write the best historical romance books that always shows blacks in a positive mode. I know this one will be a bestseller and I'm placing my order now!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 9, 2008
In 1884 Chicago, one hour before he was to marry Grace Atwood, Garth Leeds informs her that he is marrying Amanda Young instead. Rather than weep about his treachery, Grace accepts her cousin Price Prescott¿s offer to escort women to a small remote Kansas town to become the wives of the Black veterans of Lincoln¿s war that live there. <P>Worried about the Jim Crow laws that are suffocating the recently freed Black population, Grace decides to use a wagon train to deliver the 30-35 brides. Finding a dependable guide proves educational to Grace until she interviews former sheriff Jackson Blake. Her first meeting with Jackson proves enlightening as Grace enters a whorehouse where he mistakes her for one of the girls and begins kissing her. Jackson decides to leave Chicago even if he cannot go as far as his beloved Texas, being wanted there. He accepts the job of wagonmaster even though Grace never actually offered it to him. On the trail, the passion between Grace and Jackson ignites into a deep abiding love, but he knows he offers her nothing due to his ¿criminal¿ past. <P>As always, Beverly Jenkins provides her fans with a fabulous, fast-paced ethnic historical romance. The story line is filled with action, tension, and a humorous verbal duel between the lead charcaters, who are heroic, intrepid, and simply wonderful. Readers obtain a fascinating glimpse at the plight of the Black two decades after the Civil War allegedly emancipated the slaves. Anyone who enjoys a superb Americana ethnic romance will achieve tremendous pleasure from ALWAYS AND FOREVER. <P>Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 10, 2011
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Posted February 2, 2010
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