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.
Guilt stabbed her at the lack of hospitality she’d shown since his arrival. She should have had something simmering on the back of the stove. “I suppose you went without dinner because of the time your stage arrived.”
“I can always eat, but I am talking about you using the food I shipped to make tamales like you mentioned in your letter. In fact, I am surprised you have not unpacked that crate.”
“As soon as I saw those strange-looking gourds, I didn’t know if I should touch a thing.”
He waved a hand toward the stairs. “You are in for a real treat. Meet me in the kitchen.”
She hurried upstairs and was down again in less than ten minutes, wearing a brown skirt and a light green calico shirtwaist. Walking through the saloon, she paused a moment to confer with Ralph, checking if he needed a break but he sent her on her way.
Gabriel stood in front of a large crate on the counter, and he pulled at the slats on the top.
“This crate is just food?”
“When they read that line about needing food, both our mothers threw their hands over their heads and raided their pantries.” He tugged again on the wooden piece. “I need a hammer.”
“You showed them my letter?” She walked close to his side and braced her hands on the counter to look. Now, she was curious about what was inside the brown-paper wrapped packages that had sat on her saloon floor for two days.