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Lila Kane is trying to bury her past as a saloon singer and reestablish herself as a respectable dressmaker in a town where no one knows her. Then she meets Carter Hawkins, a saloon owner, gambler and drinker – the epitome of everything she detests – but he touches her heart.
Carter wants nothing more than to sell his saloon and resume his wandering lifestyle until Lila arrives. He is drawn to the prim and proper seamstress, but realizes he must stay away from her or he'll ruin her reputation.
Then a blackmailer threatens her life and her dream and Carter will do whatever is necessary to keep her safe. Can he keep her safe without sabotaging her dream and her reputation? Can she keep him from stealing her heart as he tries to protect her?
Cottonwood, Colorado, 1875
Carter Hawkins placed his hands on the batwing doors at the entrance of the Fannie Sue Saloon. He let his cigar hang, held by his lips as he watched the afternoon stage stop in front of the Bardwell Hotel. It still showed signs of its heyday, but now was as tired as his saloon. Still, Bardwell had the stage franchise, so the riders had to walk to the nicer hotels in the town of Cottonwood.
He stood in the shadows as he watched the stage. It was the only excitement on a lazy spring afternoon. Sometimes the driver only delivered mail, none of which came for him. But, sometimes, someone fascinating arrived. Which was more entertaining than watching the drunks playing cards at his scarred tables.
No one knew he was in Cottonwood, so he didn’t expect anyone he knew to alight. No one expected him to be in this tiny bit of a town on the crossroads to nowhere. Most everyone who knew him figured he’d passed the crossroads to nowhere years ago and disappeared. He liked it that way.
But watching the stage broke up the boredom. He needed to find a buyer for the saloon and be shed of this town before he settled for the boredom and found himself watching for the stage ten years from now.
Carter perked up as he saw the edge of a deep blue-gray skirt peek around the door of the stage. A foot kicked at the skirt wrapped around her shoe. She poised in mid-stride trying to shake the material out of her way so she could step down. Through the door window he could see her holding the edge of the door with one hand.
The stagecoach driver climbed up top and threw luggage to the ground, stirring up dust as it landed in the street instead of on the sidewalk.
“Please be careful.” The woman kicked again, but her foot seemed to become more tangled in her hem. “I don’t want my belongings broken.”
The man continued tossing down bags, then climbed down with the mail sack clutched in his hand. His hat was tipped back, and even from the doorway Carter got a hint of the smell of sweat. A fine sprinkling of dust covered his flannel shirt and gray woolen trousers.
Carter tossed his cigar into the street as the woman wobbled because of the driver’s dismount. He couldn’t believe the man hadn’t helped his passenger to the ground. He sprinted to the stage as she pitched forward and caught her against him, taking several steps backwards.
“Oh, my.” Her head lay against his shoulder.
He had an arm around her waist, crushing her. He set her on her feet. “Sorry, ma’am.” He hadn’t meant to hold her so tightly, but she’d come at him with more force than he’d expected. He liked the feel of her pressed against him. He hadn’t held a woman in longer than his memory would serve him and something deep inside of him stirred.
“I got caught up.” Squaring her shoulders, she brushed her skirt down and smoothed at a piece of material covering her left arm, tucking in the ends so it blended with her bodice. Then she ran a finger up the feather on her hat, smoothing and straightening it. “Thank you for catching me.” She flashed a smile of white teeth at him that caught his heart.
He doffed his hat and smiled back. “My pleasure.”
She was finely turned out for Cottonwood. Not many came dressed with fancy doodads on their clothes or a tiny bit of a hat sporting a deep blue feather. He looked over her shoulder to see who accompanied her. The stage was empty.
She appeared to have money, but a wealthy woman wouldn’t be alone. Where was someone to welcome her? Anyone that knew Cottonwood knew better than to let travelers disembark at the Bardwell without someone to meet them. Some drunk could come spilling out onto the street and attack her.
Unease nagged at him. She needed a protector. “You’re alone?”
She nodded as she looked up and down the street. A beauty of a young lady, her auburn hair hung in long curls that caressed the side of a white neck. The rest of her hair was wound on the top of her head.
" Ms. Quinn is an incredible storyteller who has written a gripping and soul-stirring love story. This was a tender, loving romance that stole my heart. Every time I read a book by Janet Quinn, I feel like I have been transported into another time. She is truly a gifted writer, and is full of talent that gets better just like fine wine."
Reviewed by: Linda 5 Angels, Fallen Angel Review
The Lucky Lady is an exciting and intriguing story that will keep you guessing until the very end. Surprises await the reader as well as a passionate and thrilling romance. The passion between the two is electrifying.
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 308
Paper Weight (lb): 13.0
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