Phebe Brooks is single, cynical—okay bitter—and fighting to stay out of jail by doing community service at the Cowboy and Western Museum. While cleaning a jail cell in the “Lawmen of the West” exhibit, Phebe slips back in time and into the arms of a man who resembles her first love, Rafe Morrow.
Newly hired as Eagle Rock’s sheriff, Rafe, a former sharpshooter in the Union Army, came west to start anew. This seems possible until his town is overtaken by a sassy female constantly complaining about wearing a dress and then a band of outlaws set on robbing the gold from an incoming stagecoach.
Can Phebe and Rafe cooperate long enough to save the town? For Phebe, it’s worth the risk. She’s determined to let go of past mistakes, get herself on the right side of the law, and have a future filled with love and passion.
Phebe was serving out community service by working for the old Cowboy and Western Museum. After a depressing confrontation with her loser ex-boyfriend, outraged and desperate, Phebe lays down on a cot in the exhibit and wakes to find herself in the Old West (1866). Rafe is the Sherriff and has come west after being a sharp shooter in the Civil War to try and start fresh. When Phebe finds herself stuck in this time, can Rafe help give her a reason for staying?
I found this to be a lighthearted, sweet and fun time-travel to the Old West style story. There were a few mysteries I wish that had been given explanation. Like how Phebe went to sleep in jeans and woke in an olden-style dress. Or how there was almost no commenting on Phebe’s very non 1866 style of speech (from calling the Sherriff an asshole to slang like “one way ticket to crazy town…”). While I completely understand explaining these sorts of things might have been difficult and possibly jarred the flow of the story, I really feel they could have added significantly to the story-line and enriched the world to my perspective. Partly by deepening the experience – how would a modern woman fare with the speech, style, food, hygiene etc of 1866? – but also by adding an extra layer of realism and complexity of the interactions between Phebe and Rafe. Plus it could have been downright fun to see much of this from Phebe’s point of view.
That said, I really enjoyed Phebe’s character – a modern woman and firecracker, struggling to fit into a time long gone. I also really enjoyed Rafe. I found him not just to be a traditional style, honourable and strong law man – but also quite decently open minded (particularly given the time period). I was thrilled that Rafe listened to Phebe’s thoughts and didn’t just expect her to be a shy, retiring woman. The sex was hotly written and fairly explicit. Nothing kinky or outrageous, but certainly modernly written and with no closed doors. With just the one sex scene (and some deliciously hot kissing here and there) I don’t feel this story is too sexy for most romance readers.
Toward the end of the story there’s a clear link-in with previous books. I hadn’t read any of the previous stories in this series, so that part of it didn’t mean as much to be as longer-term readers might find. Except for a few parts right at the end the rest of the story can certainly be well understood as a stand alone.
With interesting and complex characters, time travel back to Old West and returning to the modern era, spicy romance and all sorts of good and bad guys I found this to be a lovely, good read with plenty going on. I’m sure most readers will find something to enjoy in this fun and adventurous story.