|Kellen Coltraine doesn't know why a fatally wounded stranger on the train, a hired gun headed for a small Wyoming town, picked him to confide in. Before he dies, the stranger asks Kellen to get a message to the woman who hired him. Once he meets the beautiful widow, Raine Berry, Kellen knows he has to stick around Bitter Springs to protect her and discover who killed the stranger from the train. Raine had sent for a gunman to protect the town from the Burdick family. One by one, men involved with the trial that convicted Uriah Burdick's son of murder are dying. Can Kellen, as the replacement shootist, stop the killing in time?
A delicious murder mystery wrapped in romance and secrets. I loved it. The location is a small cattle town in 1880s Wyoming with a typical mix of western color and characters, from the evil cattleman with a twist to the wild young boys that give Kellen a taste of what his father must have seen in him as a boy. I liked Kellen. He's definitely a character I could fall for. He has secrets, but not the ones Raine thinks. He's competent, efficient, and wickedly sexy. Raine has her own secrets, from who she is to the reason for all the killings in town. The author has done a great job in putting these two people in a romantic situation that allows them to keep those secrets so it works in the story. Very well done. Their relationship is sensual with a hint of humor and you can't help hoping for a happy ending.
The mystery aspects of the story had me guessing until the very end even though there were hints here and there. The author gave me a fair chance to figure it out but she still fooled me. I enjoyed the mystery and loved the characters. The dialog is perfect and the humor in some of the situations reads like real life. It works perfectly. This is a book I intend to keep and reread. Even if you don't usually read western historicals, I know you'll enjoy this one.
Reviewer: Kathy F.