Zebra, Feb 5 2013, $6.99
In 1889 Texas Ranger Travis Prescott follows the Grande Kid who killed a Ranger into Red Rock, Kansas while the townsfolk celebrate the land run. In a showdown, Prescott kills the Kid but takes a bullet to his wrist. Doc tells him a piece of steel is lodged inside that he cannot take out and that his gun-drawing days are over. Prescott begins the depressing journey home as he has no idea what he will do now that he is no longer a Ranger.
Saloon girl Violet LaFarge finds four abandoned young orphans when the eleven year old oldest asks her to adopt them and a dog. Determined to find them a home, Violet believes the Ranger who she saw take out the Kid is what she needs to keep her make-shift family safely together. Pretending to be a young teen, Violet cons Travis into helping them get to Texas. As he escorts the quintet, Travis finds his thoughts disturbingly focusing on Violet. She, in turn, falls in love with their protector even as a gambler and his gunslinger pursue her.
The latest Texans western romance (see Colt and Rio) is a thrilling tale starring a wounded warrior, a jaded woman in disguise, four precocious kids and a dog. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment the young quartet asks Violet to adopt them and never slows down until a final confrontation with a nice twist. Sub-genre fans will appreciate this entry as Travis and Violet disagree with E.C. Fields’ wry comment to “never work with animals or children," as they love each other and their charges.