Zebra Books - 2009
No one wants to find themselves in the middle of a hassle, especially a hassle that could kill—especially when you’re the “bait,” the “target,” or the “score.” That’s what Rachel Douglas discovered when summoned west to live with her dad. She thought she was lucky to leave the eastern situation in which she was nearly a slave. But with her unscrupulous dad she found herself a pawn in a ranch war.
But then there was this hired gun named Sager. He was a tall, dark, and, yes, handsome half-Indian guy who was handy with his gun, his fists, and, well, it’s a romance novel, right?
While the old west did have lawmen, they were few and far between, especially in the Eastern Dakota Territory; and the ranchers there “had a hankering” for making up their own law, especially Rachel’s dad who hired Sager to do the dirty work. Sager had his own score to settle, so for him it was two for the price of one, getting well paid for seeking making a score in his own vengeance column.
Thus unfolds Elaine Levine’s first book, Rachel and the Hired Gun. This is a well crafted book. It moves right along advancing the story at a good pace. Rachel's dilemma is a tough one, but she managed to make the best choices. Elaine had lived with relatives in Virginia. They treated her like a servant. Her mother had died when she was very young and her dad thought it wouldn't be safe to keep her in the wild west so he sent her to Virginia. Psychologically, that had led Rachel to think she had little value and that no one really cared for her. Needless to say her self-esteem was really low. It seemed to aid her self worth when she really had to take care of herself in the wild country.
We can all look forward to more books from Elaine Levine and hopefully it won't be long!