His Most Wanted by Sandra Jones

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His Most Wanted by Sandra Jones
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (174 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

It’ll take more than a badge to get her to confess her secrets. The River Rogues, Book 2 Kit Wainwright only meant to stop the thief making off with his beloved uncle’s ashes. He wants to hang up his gun, become a law-abiding citizen and leave his violent past behind. But the mayor takes notice of his sharpshooting skills, slaps a badge on his chest and puts him in charge of cleaning up this lawless town. Starting with tracking down the notorious Velvet Grace. Bordello owner Cora Reilly never meant to become a crusader. But after shooting the last corrupt sheriff in self-defense, she’s spent the last few months turning her hastily donned disguise into a local legend to defend the girls in her town from riff-raff. There’s no way Cora can trust the handsome new sheriff. Yet Kit’s kisses leave her wanting to open her arms-and her bedroom-to soothe his grief. Even if it brings him too close to the truth that could send her to the gallows. Warning: Contains a reluctant sheriff with a keen eye for a moving target, and a take-no-crap madam who isn’t about to let him get close. Okay, maybe just a little bit closer. Just this once…

A vigilante Madam packing a pearl handle six shooter. This isn’t your average damsel in distress.

The Madam of The Willows, Cora Lynn Reilly, has grown up in the world of favors for sell. Her mother was the previous madam and Cora feels an obligation to do what she has to do to keep her girls safe. No matter what. Just her luck, the first man to really catch her attention is on the other side of the law. She wants to walk away from this life of crime and responsibility but, it won’t be easy.

Gunslinger Kit Wainwright, is ready to hang up said gun and be a simple rancher. His plans don’t go quite the way he expects when he’s forced to prove his skills with a gun. Life has a way of using the unexpected to create the opportunity he hoped for but never saw coming.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like Kit when I first met him. He was drunk. That’s not the most appealing characteristic in a hero but I was intrigued by pistol packing Cora so I had good incentive to keep reading. Kit makes quite an impression on her as well but her background and the setting of this book makes her version of “hero” a lot different than mine so I didn’t rule him out as being redeemed in my eyes at some point.

One thing I did like is that the author moves the story along by not dragging out how quickly Wainwright discovers her secret. I was hoping it wasn’t going to draw out until the end of the book and be a final hurdle in their relationship. That would have been a little too predicable. By him discovering it sooner, he had the chance to use his knowledge to get to know her on his terms. Not exactly ethical for someone wearing a badge but certainly effective and entertaining.

Kit most definitely redeems himself from his first impression on Cora and myself when they finally become intimate. For someone who grew up around loose women and guns, Kit is surprisingly gentle and gentlemanly when he sets his mind to it. He’s also honorable. This was a hero I could cheer for.

The story has a few things that felt a little too convenient. The ranch house he inherits, one that’s been abandoned for a long time, has holes in the walls and critters but yet, she finds clothes in a trunk that fit them perfectly and don’t smell, clean, non-moth eaten linens for the bed, as well as a copper tub for two in the barn, Stuff like that was noticeable but for the most part I simply thought “well, that’s convenient” and moved on. The plot in and of itself and the character’s chemistry held the story together and kept my interest.

Also, former Sheriff Sidlow alluded to a secret that would make The Willows rich. I wanted to see if that thread would be left hanging or how it would tie into the rest of the story. It does get answered, though not as I expected, it’s a satisfactory conclusion.

His Most Wanted is a good historical western short. I ultimately liked both Kit and Cora because they’re honorable and try to think of the well being of others and protect the ones that are often overlooked and helpless no matter if it’s a prostitute, a town drunk or someone caught in a loveless marriage. The length is good and readers who enjoy a spicy historical should give this one a read.

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