I'm one of the publishers of All About Romance. I love reading romance, as well as mysteries, fantasy, history and historical fiction, and all kinds of other things. Staying on Goodreads for now but trying this out in case I decide to switch.
When I saw the cover of Rebecca Hagan Lee's A Wanted Man, I have to admit that I expected a gunslinger romance of some sort. The title and cover just do not match the tale of boomtown San Franscisco that I encountered instead. While it has its moments and I found the background fascinating, I have to admit that the plotting in this book does not entirely satisfy.
Right away readers will know they have a tortured hero on their hands. Will Keegan fell in love with his best friend's wife and haunted by dreams of her, he has fled from the offices where he works with his friend in order to head up a special project in San Francisco. Will settles in, running a saloon and getting plugged in with the local business scene both legitimate and otherwise. He has a stable existence of sorts until one Julia Jane Parham shows up on his doorstep.
Julia is a somewhat improbable but oddly intriguing heroine. Raised in Hong Kong, she has come to California searching for a friend who appears to have been sold into slavery in Chinatown. To gain entry to that world, she joins a missionary group and as such, finds herself with the freedom to tromp around San Francisco in her missionary uniform. In the guise of a crusader, she enters Will's saloon to try to find out if her friend may be among the women usually found sequestered upstairs in such establishments. Instead she finds herself striking an unlikely deal with Will.
This could have been the end of things were it not for the dealings in Chinatown that keep the two leads' paths crossing. In many books, their meetings would have felt contrived, but Lee manages to make them feel somewhat natural. In the beginning, there isn't much building by way of romance, but the intrigues of Chinatown and the glimpse into its human trafficking underworld provide interesting, if sometimes heartbreaking, reading.
This is a partial review. You can find the complete text at All About Romance.