Title: Rachel and the Hired Gun
Author: Elaine Levine
Published in January 2009 by Kensington's Zebra Imprint
ISBN 10: 1-4201-0551-5
ISBN 13: 978-1-4201-0551-3
Related Books: Audrey and the Maverick
Death is a funny thing, it can strike from nowhere. Rachel Douglas was wondering if it was going to strike her as the slavering beast growled and foamed in front of her. She wasn't quite certain how she got into this particular position, but here she was, and it was just another day in her misbegotten life. Fleeing from an unfeeling aunt and uncle who had raised her pretty much as a slave, dying in the wild west on her way to her father didn't seem like such a bad trade. She had a great education, due to her cousin's tutor, who put himself in jeopardy to teach a child who thirsted for knowledge. She learned late at night, soaking in facts and figures like a drowning person, until she had taken all he had to give. Manners, life skills, reading, writing, figures, all of it precious to an otherwise deprived child. That child grew into a very rebellious young woman, and the moment she realized the perfidy of her mother's family, she took what she could of hers, and headed out.
Getting her hands on her father's check was serendipity and a great help. As the fates would have it, her so-called "family" had gone to a neighbor's house party without her, leaving her to her own devices. They were afraid she would find a way to leave, to escape the slavery under which she suffered. Well, the means had come, the contacts were there along with the traveling money, and her greedy and cruel relatives had not been available to intercept this letter. So it was that Rachel was out the door and on her way to Crippled Horse Ranch. Now faced with a slobbering beast was not what she expected, nor did she expect the pair of Indians who came to her rescue. One wielding a bow, the other a gun, and both men determined to do what was best. Afraid of the consequences of her behavior, afraid of rape or worse, Rachel was literally swept off her feet, out of her clothes, and into an icy stream. So began her association with Sager and Blue Thunder, and the end of her journey home to her father. It was also an ending to her innocence when it came to the people she was traveling with on the wagon train. Once again, Rachel had been relegated to little more than a servant, made dependent upon those with whom she traveled. On the trail to her new home, Sager taught her differently, gave her freedom, respect, her independence, and till all was said and done, she gave him love in return.
Sager was out for revenge. He was certain he knew who had slaughtered his family, it was the white man known as Taggert, and he was going to get even in the only way he knew how. He had hired on at the Crippled Horse, and Old Jack had welcomed him with open arms, then sent him after the wagon train to meet his daughter. He was to bring Rachel back to marry Logan Taggert, but if Sagar has anything to say about it, it will not be a happy marriage. His family was gone, and nothing the old man, Sid, could say would bring them back. His wife, Cassandra was a conniving woman, only interested in her social standing, and hating the half-breed son Taggert tried to claim as his own. With her nasty penchant for trouble, Cassandra had seduced the young man, then proceeded to make his life miserable when he refused to continue the relationship. This only added to Sager's hatred and his distrust of anything having to do with Taggert or his family. The problems Sager has faced all his life have been linked to Taggert, and there is no way he wants anything to do with any of them unless it will get him the revenge he wants.
Logan's attitude didn't help either, his uppity outlook on everything, his constant supercilious attitude only ground under Sagar's skin. It was the main reason he took off when he did, and only now, only after years in California, and on the trail with his brother, Blue Thunder, did Sager even think of returning home. Only now was he prepared to take vengeance on those who destroyed his family, then he could return to the Shoshone, and his true home. This was his goal, but Sager was certainly not expecting the events that would change his life forever. He was definitely not expecting the greenhorn girl with courage to face down a rabid wolf. The moxie to find and try to save a girl child whose parents had given up the search for days before. The woman had fight in her, bravery that any Indian had to respect. Sager knew his brother saw and respected the white woman's tenacity. He also knew it was Old Jack's legacy shining in her eyes, the fire of battle he endowed his only daughter with, and in that instant, although he did not admit it to himself or anyone else, Sager was lost...
"Revenge is a dish best served cold," or so the quote goes, and for Sager, it was now as cold as it was going to get. Elaine Levine has given us a story of long hatred, loneliness, and two outcasts finding their way home together. Although neither knows it, time is on their side, and so is Fate. It has taken Sager hard years, but finally there is a chance to right the grievous wrongs done to his people. Yet, all is not as it seems. Not for Sager, and not for Rachel, either. Time took their families from them, Sagar's because of jealousy and greed, Rachel's because her father was trying to do what was right by her.
In Rachel and the Hired Gun, Elaine weaves a poignant story of two people abused by life, yet able to find their way home to the possibilities of happiness and love of the forever kind. Loyal to his Shoshone brother, Sagar is bent on getting revenge from the white man who tore his family apart, killed his parents, and most of his siblings. Blue Thunder is the only family Sager knows of, the only family left. Things are not always as they seem, and Sager has his eyes opened by tragedy. Rachel was supposed to be raised as a lady, but her life was hard. Given the status of an indentured servant, and unbeknownst to her, her father has wished for her return, hopeful of a marriage to help settle a dispute. A fortunate circumstance allows Rachel's escape, and her adventure starts. Fast paced and action filled, Rachel and the Hired Gun is a book you can't afford to miss. From what I have heard, there are more coming from Elaine, and I hope to get every one if they are all like this one. This will remain on my keeper shelf, and if you really want to know, I have gone back to read it again already. Sager is the best on what heroes have to offer, and Rachel is a woman you will love, so head on out and get your copy of Rachel and the Hired Gun TODAY!
Yours in good reading,
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