Dear Ms Bridger,
Last year, I tried one of your short stories which was bundled with some other pirate tales by Amber Quill Press. It was not a pleasant experience. Though I had already purchased one of your novels, I was in no hurry to dive into it. This story has left me with a more pleasant taste for your tales.
Passion flares between a federal marshal and his enemy's wife.
Outlaws descend on a stagecoach winding down its long journey between Missouri and Wind River, Wyoming. Federal Marshal Chris McQuade is one of the two occupants of the stage, and the ensuing battle leaves three dead men on the trail.
McQuade's unlikely partner in the deed is a woman he's been attracted to from the start of the trip. It isn't until they're forced to go on alone together that he realizes he's falling for the wife of the man he's been sent to bring to justice. Despite the ring on her finger and the role he plans to play in making her a widow, passion ignites and McQuade is surprised to discover that Elizabeth Davis is as helpless as he is to deny their need for each other.
The story starts off very nicely. I can feel the interest between the two which turns to sexual tension. The plot of story has these two together for weeks of travel so I could believe that they’d be thinking of each other and would be able to fall in love so quickly. You don’t overload short story with too many details of life in the west or about these two but you give enough to set the stage (no pun intended) and tell us what we need to know.
I do have to agree with the fact that Elizabeth seducing Chris while they know that there are probably villains in the area is pretty stupid. It’s a hot scene but the actions are dumb. But then they figured that out. However I do like that Elizabeth is a practical woman, ready for life in the West as evidenced by her packing trail clothes and knowing how to handle a rifle. I would like to have known a little more about her history with her husband. And what changed Mark from the man she’d known and fallen in love with. She was awfully quick to believe what Chris told her about Mark and seemingly willing to give up her marriage in a snap.
The showdown scene was good and I think Chris handled taking care of the villains believably. There is some violence but it’s pertinent to the story and the characters doing it. In the end I don’t have a problem seeing these two as falling in love nor in building a future for themselves. B-