His Boots Under Her Bed
1867 California: Rory O’Grady tartly informs Garth Fraser that, unlike the other saloon girls, she doesn’t take men upstairs to her room. Yet she finds she likes Garth enough to help him escape a shanghai attempt. Furthering their acquaintance becomes complicated, however, because Rory leaves town in a hurry when her father Paddy “finds” Garth’s map of his uncle’s gold mine. Garth is determined to follow them to Devil Mountain to recover his map and settle the score.
The plot has a few too many coincidences for believability, and the dialogue strays into 21st-century territory too often for a supposed historical novel. Paddy is a tiresome character, existing mainly to cause plot complications keeping the couple apart, or so it seemed to this reader. Despite those reservations, I relished the humorous tone and the protagonists’ amusing banter. There is a real spark between them, and it’s easy to believe Garth and Rory are developing feelings for each other. If you read love stories primarily for the main couple’s relationship, then it’s a dandy romance novel. Characters from other volumes of Leigh’s series about the Fraser brothers make appearances, but it’s not necessary to have read those books first.