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.
How could Gabriel be so calm? Dulcina flexed fingers that had started tingling from being clasped so tight. Of course, when she asked him to come, she knew that they would be involved in the ceremony. But she’d never actually pictured standing before an officiant with Gabriel by her side. Certainly, she’d never pictured a man who looked the way this Gabriel did. The gawky youth she’d left behind had been on the cusp of manhood. And he had developed into quite a specimen.
As they walked, she’d snuck sideways glances as he took in the buildings surrounding them. He was taller, broader, and darker than Stuart. His black hair shone in the afternoon sun, his skin radiated a healthy tan evidencing time spent outdoors, but his eyes were her favorite feature. In the span of a minute, they could change from lit with mischief to dull with disappointment or snap with anger. She remembered how his dark brown eyes also held little slivers of yellow. Amazing how she’d been in his presence for less than an hour and these details resurrected in her mind.
She stammered her way through the introductions, and then she stood opposite Judge Owen Vaile, who smiled at them both. The fortyish man had helped the widows with the legalities related to developing the hot springs created by the mine collapse. She’d heard him talking with Mayor Fugit, and he’d impressed her with his logical and eloquent manner.
“Are you both ready?” Owen flicked his blue-eyed gaze between them.
“We are, Judge.”
Gabriel’s voice rang deep and confident in the room. Dulcina just nodded. A fleeting thought surfaced of how different this ceremony was from the one she’d shared with Stuart—at the ornate church in Questa before the priest and surrounded by family and friends—then she pushed it aside. Gabriel was right—they had to look toward the future.