Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Release Date: August 24, 2021
Gunslinger Gray “Quick Shot” Woodson, is tired and just wants to retire in peace, but that is turning out to be harder than he anticipated. Shaking off the hero-worshiping young man, Jason Sunshine, who has been trying to get Gray to teach him the “trade”, he takes off in search of a place to settle. Someplace where he can nap in peace and where everyone isn’t trying to kill him – but instead he finds himself caught up in an altercation between a feisty woman and some rough-looking men, a situation he plans on ignoring until he is recognized by the men and the woman claims he is her fiancé!
Mercy Douglas shocks herself by claiming the notorious gunfighter is her betrothed, but with her father dead and her neighbor Josiah Banff trying to strong-arm her off her property, she willingly lied when she saw Josiah’s reaction to Gray. Thankfully, Gray plays along and Josiah leaves. Leaving Mercy to deal with her “fiancé” Gray agrees to stick around – but makes it clear, he is not fighting her battles and he is not teaching her how to shoot – he is retired. Mercy agrees to his terms – sorta – but disrupts his peace every chance she gets – including making him take a bath, feeding him semi-edible food, finding the guns he keeps hiding, and making him care – something he never wanted to do – EVER.
Mercy’s antics aside, Gray thinks he will just relax for a bit, letting his reputation keep Mercy’s tormentor at bay, but things don’t go as planned. Not only does Jason show up, but Gray soon finds himself married to Mercy AND the new sheriff of Desolation, and if that isn’t enough – someone has placed a bounty on his head! So much for a quiet retirement – but despite it all, Gray is happy and thinks that maybe he has found a home – but when Mercy gets caught up in an attempt on his life, he realizes that HEA may have been too much to hope for…
This was a well-written, nicely-paced, mostly light-hearted fun story with an amazing cast of characters! I really loved this book, it was such a refreshing change of pace from the typical angst-filled HR books I have been reading lately. I loved that Gray was not a drop-dead Adonis, who sported a six-pack and that Mercy had no qualms about poking fun at him – their banter was priceless making this a truly enjoyable read, one that only got better when Jason Sunshine and the assorted townsfolk were thrown into the mix! The book has laugh-out-loud moments, a wonderful cast of supporting characters, steamyish love scenes, a grumpy hero who just wants a nap, an independent, spirited heroine who can’t cook, a stubborn horse, a great ending in which the villain gets his due and our lovers get their HEA as well as an epilogue! My only complaint about this book is that I have no idea where or when it is set –the town of Desolation is in the very ambiguous “Wild West” with no dates given meaning it could be anytime between 1700 and 1890 and while it isn’t necessary to have that information, it is something I like to know when I am reading. This was my first Western HR by this author, but I can assure you it will not be my last and I would enthusiastically recommend this title and look forward to reading more from this author.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*