Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth-century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt, it’s the “rex,” the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.
But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. And if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.
As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. Their flourishing romance is one that will never be allowed. And with both eyeing the same prize, it’s a romance that seems destined for failure. As their attraction deepens, danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light and forcing Samuel and Rachel to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry, and with it a new life together, or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other?
This was a really refreshing read. it was a stand alone novel and it was different than any other novel I have read. I loved the Western setting to it. In the beginning the story starts off in the city but then Rachel and Sam end up running into each other with their father’s on a train headed West towards the Wyoming area. Worried that they may be after the same boon, remains of a t-rex they try spying on each other to see if the other is spying on them.
Along the way, what goes from friendly competition turns into friendship and eventually sparks fly. Sam is drawn to Rachel’s beautiful eyes and her general “I-don’t -give-a-crap-what- people- think” attitude. And Rachel finally gives into her emotions and falls for how carefree and open Sam is. They are polar opposites and it makes their relationship witty and cute.
At first you think this is just a happy, carefree novel but then the teams come across harsh land and wild Native American’s who are not fond of the white settlers coming in and digging up their home and artifacts. The story takes a dangerous turn.
What starts out as such a cute, adventurous story about flirtation and ambition takes a turn about 3/4 in. After Rachel and Sam get caught talking without supervision, her father threatens to send her back to her Aunt on the East Coast where she will have to be taught to be a proper lady. Rachel’s dream is to go to University and become an established paleontologist like her father so this is the complete opposite of what she wants to do. Marriage is not even on her radar.
After finding out she is to be sent home, Rachel and Sam concoct a plan to marry so that they can become their own team and hunt for the t-rex remains without their father’s bickering and taking all of the glory.
They think the hardest thing is surviving the wild West and the Natives but it turns out, marriage and sharing a destiny is even tougher. Sam becomes irritated because he may lose all the money to be had with finding the rex and also lose a way to send Rachel to University after he’s promised to help get her there.
Rachel becomes increasingly unhappy because Sam is working so hard that their relationship ends up on the back burner and she feels like she’s given up her family and all of the luxuries that come with her father’s money for Sam.
You will have to read to see how the book ends and to see if they’re relationship makes it out in the wild wild West. I wouldn’t want to spoil anything. I give this one 4/5 stars. It’s rare that I find a standalone novel that I enjoy. I find it hard to be invested inthe characters in the story line usually but this one was so different and fast paced!