Left widowed following a Utah mining disaster, Dulcina Crass faces running a saloon on her own when her previous contribution was solely as the singer. She struggles to learn the necessary tasks but her heart isn’t in being a saloon keeper. All she ever wanted was to be a famous singer. Will asking Gabriel Magnus, a neighbor from her New Mexico hometown, bring the help she needs or a new kind of trouble?
Gabriel Magnus isn’t fulfilled by his role as ranch hand on the family’s New Mexico sheep ranch. What he wants is the chance to prove his boot making skills are good enough to start his own business. When he receives a letter from recent widow Dulcina offering a partnership in the Last Chance Saloon, he recognizes the chance to come to the rescue of the vivacious girl he wanted to court a decade earlier. Upon his arrival, he presents her with a demand–her answer could decide both of their fates.
Around him, the air shifted. Gabriel turned, and his body stilled. She was here…Dulcina Miranda. In an instant that might have lasted an hour, he detailed her features—how her lips pouted like she was about to speak, how she tilted her head just a little to the right as if inviting him closer, how she stood with shoulders squared and met his gaze straight on. But her dark eyes no longer held the familiar sparkle he remembered.
Then her eyebrows pinched tight. “Gabriel Magnus?”
He walked closer, still taking in the fact he breathed the same air as her after all this time. “Am I so changed you don’t recognize your old friend?”
A black-gloved hand waved in his direction. “The Gabriel I remember was still in his youth and did not fill out a jacket with such broad shoulders.”
Unable to wait any longer, he moved to grasp both her hands and leaned down to brush a kiss on her cheek. “I’m glad to see you, Dulcina.” A spicy scent he couldn’t identify clung to her hair.
A deep sigh escaped from her lips. “And I you, Gabriel.” She squeezed his hands then let go. “I am so grateful you accepted the arrangement.”
For another moment, he looked at the woman who would soon, after eight years of pining, be his. He frowned at her attire, a black gown with no embellishment, and matching gloves. “You will need to change clothes before the ceremony.”