Dangerous Heart (Westward Hearts)

Dangerous Heart (Westward Hearts)

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by Tracey Bateman

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Growing up motherless with an outlaw father made Ginger Freeman hard and unforgiving—and for the past seven years she's been driven by a single goal: to make Grant Kelley pay for letting her brother die. Now that she's tracked the hated doctor to a westward-bound wagon train, her mission of vengeance is nearly completed. But the sense of family and community


Growing up motherless with an outlaw father made Ginger Freeman hard and unforgiving—and for the past seven years she's been driven by a single goal: to make Grant Kelley pay for letting her brother die. Now that she's tracked the hated doctor to a westward-bound wagon train, her mission of vengeance is nearly completed. But the sense of family and community that suddenly surrounds her is unlike anything Ginger has ever experienced. And under the nurturing eye of Miss Sadie, the outlaw's daughter begins to lose her rough edges. Here, in the company of loving, newfound friends, Ginger feels herself becoming part of something much bigger than revenge.

But catastrophe is in the wind when her pa and his gang arrive to infiltrate the wagon train. Will Ginger's new relationship with God tear her away from her family forever . . . and cost her everything she's now begun to hold dear?

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

In the concluding volume to Bateman's "Westward Hearts" historical series (after Defiant Heart, Distant Heart), revenge is the only thing on Ginger Freeman's mind, and her target is Grant Kelly, the doctor she holds responsible for her brother's death. The embittered outlaw's daughter tracks Grant to a westward-bound wagon train, but her resolve to kill him becomes challenged when the members of the group have a surprising impact on her. Ginger's relationship with both God and Grant takes an unexpected turn as well in this feisty, thoughtful Western romance. The latest from the prolific Bateman (Oregon Brides) offers a light, satisfying read to while away a cool autumn afternoon. Recommended for CF and historical fiction collections.

—Tamara Butler
Romantic Times BOOKclub
“Fun and lively....This is a family saga for all ages to enjoy.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Westward Hearts Series , #3
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Dangerous Heart (Westward Hearts)


Mid-October 1850

Gunfire in the middle of the night was never good. The blast startled Ginger Freeman from the first sound sleep she'd had in a week. She bolted upright in the tent she shared with her friend and fellow traveler, Toni Rodden, and fumbled around in the dark for her moccasins.

"Was that thunder?" Toni asked from the other side of the tent, her voice thick with sleep and worry. She made a shadowy figure as she sat up and reached for her shoes.

"No. Gunfire. I'm going to check on it."

"You don't suppose it's Indians?" Toni's voice shook the words into the air.

Ginger understood her friend's fear. Only a short time ago, Toni had been the object of a young war chief's obsession, But the army had taken care of that—soon after Toni's rescue, a group of soldiers bore down upon the renegades'camp, rescuing white captives and rounding up as many of the braves as they could. "If it is a pack of Indians , it's not who you're thinking. But you'd best stay put, just the same."

More gunfire shattered the night, and the sound of yelling echoed through the camp. "Outlaws! Take cover!"

"Did you hear that?" Toni asked, standing and heading toward the tent flap. "I—I better go with you."

The offer brought a smile to Ginger's lips. "I think we can handle it. Sam would have my hide if I let you go out there, and you know it. And I don't think it's outlaws, anyhow. Most likely Kip Caldwell and some of the other boys playing a joke with gunpowder and a flint." Ginger frowned, hard-pressed to believe her own words, but she tried to soundlight-hearted for Toni's sake. "Besides, what kind of crazy outlaws would attack a wagon train the size of this one?"

"The kind with a lot of men and guns?" Toni's voice still shook, but Ginger had no time to mollycoddle her friend. She figured her help was most needed out there with the rest of the guns. More than the rest, truth be told. If there was one thing Ginger knew a little something about, it was outlaws—a fact she couldn't mention to Toni or anyone else. But from her experience, this attack just didn't make any kind of sense. Unless the bandits thought there was an awful lot of treasure to be had among this battered, weary band of travelers, or the men firing into the camp were missing a few brains. Ginger was betting on the latter.

"I'll be back as soon as I can." She checked to make sure her pistol was loaded, then stuffed it into her holster and grabbed her rifle for good measure. She tossed a quick look in Toni's direction. "Hunker down and stay out of sight. Hopefully this'll all be over soon."

"Be careful!" Toni whispered after her. Ginger stopped and turned back. She snatched her pistol from her holster. "Here, take this."

Toni gave a vehement shake of her head. "You'll need it. Besides, I don't like those things."

Ginger shoved the weapon toward her. Now was not the time to take no for an answer. "Take it. I have my rifle. How am I supposed to concentrate, thinking about you unprotected in here, all by yourself?"

Toni's expression softened, and she took the pistol. "Thank you, Ginger." Ginger ducked her head, swallowing hard. Emotional women always made her uncomfortable. Maybe because she hadn't really spent much time in the company of women since she was a little girl. Before her ma left. She'd been raised around rough men, who laughed at tears and didn't cotton to hugs and coddling. "I'd best be going."

Pulling back the tent flap, she escaped outside, taking care to keep her head down and her senses alert. She gripped her rifle firmly, ready to aim and fire if necessary. And she figured it would be necessary real soon.

She tried to take stock of the situation. Outside the circle of wagons, the dark and dust and sagebrush were thick enough to hide a few outlaws, bent on mischief. But she still couldn't imagine anyone crazy enough to go up against a wagon train the size of this one. Especially if her suspicions were correct—no more than fifteen men would be riding with the outlaws.

She strained her eyes against the dimness around her. Dawn was beginning to break over the snow-capped mountains to the east, but it was still too dark to make out more than shadows beyond the camp's fires.

Ginger crept forward, bending at the waist as she tried to assess the situation. Her body remained tense, every inch of her alert to the danger lurking in the shadowy darkness, as she searched for the most logical spot to hunker down and make the biggest impact. From the direction of the gunfire, she knew they weren't surrounded, and the attack seemed to be aimed toward the middle of the wagon train.

Heading toward the closest wagon, she kept her mind focused on getting to her hiding spot—which was the only explanation for what happened next.

Strong fingers gripped her buckskin-clad arm and spun her around. Grant Kelley stood over her, concern drawing his eyebrows together. "Ginger, you should get back inside that tent before you get hurt."

His chest rose and fell, and heavy breath released from his lips as puffy clouds in the cold air. His expression bore down on her, warning her not to argue.

But Ginger wasn't one to take a warning from the likes of Grant Kelley or anyone else, for that matter. "My gun's as good as yours, so mind your own business."

The words left her sharply and probably came out too loud for the situation, but her pride had taken a hit by the way she'd let him sneak up on her like that. Besides, she could do without Grant touching her for any reason. She didn't like the way he made her insides go soft.

"You're too bullheaded for your own good." Grant pulled her to the ground with him as a bullet whizzed past her ear. Ducking behind the wagon wheel, he took aim in the direction the bullet had come and fired off two shots, then turned back to her. "Remember last time you joined a man's fight? You got an arrow through your leg."

Dangerous Heart (Westward Hearts). Copyright © by Zondervan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Tracey Bateman is the award-winning author of many books, including Kansas Home.

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Dangerous Heart (Westward Hearts Series #3) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
wbarker More than 1 year ago
Perfect for : Personal reading, Book Club reading (Discussion questions are included in the back of the book)

In a nutshell: I enjoyed this book a lot, it has a great mix of adventure, romance, danger and life in a wagon-train! Having very little female influence in her life growing up, Ginger Freeman is now a little rough around the edges, but it makes her very lovable and refreshing. Raised within a band of outlaws, her original intent when joining the wagon-train was to kill Grant, the man she believes had a hand in the death of her older brother. She finds that Grant is a skilled doctor with a willingness to help others, and a faith that runs deep. Now she is faced with a choice - go through with her plan, or return to the outlaws without having avenged her brother's death. As a reader, I got to see the slow transformation of Ginger as her faith grew. Once I got into the story, I couldn't put the book down. It was a very enjoyable read, and I'd like to feel that I learned a few things about prairie life and the west.

My Review:
I really did enjoy this book, but think I would have liked it even better if I had read the two previous books. The book is great as a stand-alone book, but I did see parts that referred to the earlier story in Ginger's life, that were most likely filled in with the previous books. That said, the book really was fine to read all by itself.

Characters: Tracey's book was filled with fascinating characters such as Lane (a despicable outlaw), Sam Two Feathers (religious leader/Native American within the wagon train), Ginger (main character, raised in a band of outlaws, bent on revenge), Web (Ginger's good-for-nothing "pa" and outlaw leader), Grant (the wagon-train doctor whose wife was killed during a raid by the outlaws led by Web), I could go on and on - there were a few more important characters, but in all they were very well-developed and it was great to see some of the characters have a change of heart and gain in faith.

Story-Line: It was a faith-filled (but not preachy) book, teaching forgiveness and instilling hope in both the characters and the reader. Taking place in the 1850's, a wagon-train headed for Oregon runs into a band of outlaws and has to face the odds when Cholera runs through the community. If that isn't enough to encourage a person to find faith, add in three scheming outlaws (at least), a wealthy man heading west to start a new life with his two kids, a doctor who lost his wife during a raid by those same outlaws, and a girl who was raised by outlaws, who is now surrounded by open, honest, faith-filled friends. It was very entertaining and enjoyable.

Readability: I found the book easy to read. The authors style and pace were both good.

Overall: A fun book that ends the Westward Hearts trilogy very well. If you are a fan of Christian fiction, prairie life, wagon-trains, etc, you will enjoy this book.
Betty_of_Port_St_Lucie More than 1 year ago
Tracey Bateman's entire Westward Series was very thrilling and interesting. It was difficult to put my Nook down. These three books had me laughing, crying, and thinking, “No, don’t do that!” Fannie, Toni, and Ginger have very diverse backgrounds, but each of them shares a desire to start over again with a new life --- and they’re given a second chance. These are stories about deceit, slavery, discrimination, betrayal, Indian attacks, robberies, disease, and death. They were also about truth, faith, love, forgiveness, and the Grace of God. Life on the Oregon Trail was extremely difficult, and not everyone survived. Through the tribulations came strength of character --- and the ability to help others survive hardship and loss. In the end, Good overcomes Evil. The end has a very rewarding and heartwarming conclusion. I would love to see another series about these characters, and their siblings and offspring about 10 years later.
Janna6 More than 1 year ago
I have read the 2nd book in this series and was excited to get the 3rd one and see how it was all going to end up. I read that Tracey says she saved the most difficult character for the last book - and boy did she! Ginger is a diamond in the rough (to say the least!) when we originally meet her in the 2nd book. She's still pretty rough when we start book 3, and then her life starts to get really complicated when a piece of her past shows up at the wagon train and threatens to ruin the fresh start she has. She also has to decide whether revenge is still her goal and what she really wants to do with her life. When cholera starts running rampant through the wagon train it becomes a fight for life over death and deciding who really deserves to be nursed through the sickness... and not everyone is in agreement.

I love the way it is wrapped up and the epilogue is wonderful. Tracey has crafted a beautiful series about the west, a wagon train and the amazing people on it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For seven years Ginger Freeman, daughter of an outlaw, blames Dr. Grant Kelley for the death of her brother Clem. Now in 1850 her search for this miscreant has ended she has found him on a wagon train heading west.------ She joins the train with plans to kill Grant. Instead she is welcomed by everyone especially Miss Sadie and soon feels like she is part of a family for the first time in her life. Worse Ginger finds Grant to be a caring person trying to help others nothing like the image she kept in her nightmares for these long seven years. As she finds God, friends and love (with Grant), Ginger feels torn in several directions when her Pa and his cohorts arrive.------------ The third Westward Hearts Americana inspirational romance (see DANGEROUS HEART and DEFIANT HEART) is a fabulous historical totally owned by Ginger although the rest of the cast is fully developed. Readers will feel they are on the wagon train as the closeness is both endearing and phobic privacy is impossible. The transformation of Ginger is deftly done by Tracey Bateman to the delight of historical inspiration fans.-------------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terrific writing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great example of the picture of sin and how God's love can redeem even the ugliest of hearts!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good ending to the trilogy. Ginger deserved her happy ending the most out of all three women.
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