Avon, Aug 2004, 5.99, 384 pp.
In 1884, the pampered daughter of a tycoon Laura Hamilton has finally escaped her gilded cage as she crosses the country by train to paint a panorama of the impact of the Union-Pacific on the nation. Although her father reluctantly allowed her to go, he provides her with an escort and bodyguards.
During a train robbery, Sam Duncan rescues Laura. Later he tells her that her father hired him as a bodyguard. Sam plans to use Laura to gain access to the heavily guarded Silver Spur Ranch in Utah where his only friend Haw Croaker is either dead or in trouble. However, as they journey west, the silver spooned heiress and the infamous gunslinger for hire fall in love. His quest comes first besides which he knows her father would never accept someone like him as a son-in-law even if he disavows the inheritance.
This western romance starring seemingly opposites is a solid tale that readers will appreciate. Laura is a delightful person though she seems too independent during her first breath of freedom (perhaps a reaction like the tune “how you're going to keep them down on the farm ...”). Sam is an enigmatic hero who at first brush would seem more like a villain as a gun for hire, but his ethical system makes him heroic. Fans will enjoy this twosome's impossible ride to love.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner