Sleight of Heart by Jacquie Rogers
Rating – 5 stars
It’s 1883 in Silverton, Colorado. Burke O’Shaughnessy is looking for his brother, Patrick. His search leads him to Alexandra “Lexie” Campbell. Lexie’s sister, Helen is in love with Patrick and claims to be pregnant with his child. Lexie had no option but to travel with Burke by train, despite his protests in search of Patrick. She leaves Helen in the care of Velma, their housekeeper.
Lexie learns that Burke is a gambler which she despises. However, having a talent in mathematics, she surprises him while he tries to teach her to play with cards. During their travel, they meet a man named Gil Smith. Burke, being an experienced gambler, plays fairly but also very well that he’s able to win a lot of money.
Lexie owns a silver mine, the half of which was given to her by an uncle and the other is owned by a silent partner. She informed Burke that his brother had taken five thousand dollars from her which she had planned to use to get her professorship. Then she intended to sell her half of the mine to Dayton Wardell, a friend of Velma.
Unknown to them, Helen also follows them on the same train. She meets Charity Ann Templeton who’s a childhood friend of Burke and Patrick. Burke’s mother had told him to bring his brother back to get the family money otherwise it will be given to charity (Note: the charity here means donating. However, the girl, Charity thought the money would be given to her). Now, Charity wanted to make sure that the two brothers don’t meet so that she would get the money.
As they travel together, Lexie learns more about Burke and starts to fall for him. During their travels, Charity also meets Gil. It is later revealed that Velma left Helen intentionally with a fake excuse. She had teamed up with Dayton to get rid of the two brothers and get the mine for themselves.
Burke and Lexie meet Charity during their travels but don’t suspect anything. At last, they reach Virginia City. There, Burke and Lexie meet Patrick, Charity and Gil who inform them that Helen had been kidnapped by Dayton. It is revealed that Gil is actually Gillespie Campbell, Lexie and Helen’s real uncle, and that he was the silent partner but sold his share to Patrick. Helen is saved while Dayton and Velma were killed during the fight.
The three couples, Burke and Lexie, Patrick and Helen, and Gil and Charity get married in Virginia City. They all travel to visit Burke’s mother, Mrs Eason who reveals that Charity is her step daughter. In the end, Lexie decides to leave her career for her love.
There’s minimal sexual and violent content.
This is one of my favourite books. It starts off with a bang when Lexie tries to shoot Burke. Because they are brothers, people mistook him to be Patrick. Lexie goes with Burke by force to get Patrick to marry her sister. Then there’s the mystery surrounding Charity and Gill which isn’t revealed until later.
Although the story is complicated because the six characters’ lives are intertwined, it is told in a simple way at a good pace. The main protagonists, Burke and Lexie, gradually fall for each other with a lot of humour between them.
Then there are the antagonists, Dayton and Velma. Apart from being a gambler, Burke also assisted private investigators in capturing Dayton some years earlier. Naturally, Dayton will want revenge and with Velma being the housekeeper for Lexie, they planned to get the mine for themselves.
After the long travel from one place to another, finally they meet Patrick. A lot of people were after Patrick because of being a gambler, he took their money. However, that doesn’t bother the brothers at all because they just wanted to get on with their lives. After having everything sorted out, the three couples go to meet Burke’s mother who explains about her plan to get her sons together. Since the brothers had been away from home for a long time, their mother wanted to see them together before she dies. She also tells the truth about Charity being her step daughter because she was raped. However, she and her husband had always treated the three children equally.
If you are looking for Western historical romance, humour, family drama, action and adventure, this is for you.
Deadly offerings – Book 1 of the Deadly series by Alexa Grace
Rating – 4.5 stars
Anne Mason divorced her husband, Allan Long. Her mother-in-law Marion Long, had left her the Golden Acres Farm in Indiana because her spoilt son was of no use to her. She meets Michael Brandt, her ex’s lawyer, who had saved her twice while she was attacked by an unknown man. Michael immediately tries to take care of her because he had fallen for her but remembering him to be her ex’s lawyer, she tries to avoid him. Anne sells her house and her share of her computer company, despite her partner’s protests and gives the money to her ex.
By coincidence, Michael turned out to be her neighbour. Anne, trying to move on with her life, makes plans for her farm. One day Anne finds a woman’s dead body on her farm. It is found that the body was of a girl who had been missing a few months earlier. Michael comforts her and helps in the investigation. A stalker had dumped another body on her farm and sent her threatening letters.
On the other hand, Michael was putting his career at risk for Anne. Everyone told him not to involve himself with her since he took the case but he was stubborn. Anne was worried about him and pushed him away, because she didn’t want to affect his career. He then recruited the help of a friend, Frankie Douglas, a private investigator to protect Anne. The sheriff had also appointed his deputy Lane Hansen to protect Anne. But Frankie and Lane’s paths cross and they decide to work together.
When things began to escalate and despite everyone’s efforts, they couldn’t identify the killer, Anne decided to run away. She didn’t want to put anyone she cared about in danger. Michael got very angry and went after her after assigning the case to another lawyer. He finally finds her and they resolve their issues.
As they head back, Michael gets the message that Anne’s partner was killed after he had tried to contact her. She searches for information in her former company and finds out that the killer was an employee who was fired for unprofessional behaviour and was taking revenge.
Michael takes her to his office and met an FBI agent who claimed to take over the case and takes Anne with him. Later, he finds out that the killer posed as the FBI agent and goes after him along with Frankie and Lane. In the end, he saves Anne and they confess their love.
There’s moderate sexual and violent content.
This is a very good romantic suspense book. I especially like Michael who’s persistent, despite everyone’s disapproval, for the woman he loves. Anne being afraid after her divorce and that Michael was her ex’s lawyer, doesn’t want anything to do with him. She mistreats him but later realises her mistake. However, she overhears the sheriff having a conversation with Michael, accusing him of involving himself with the client and tries to push him away again.
The suspense is good although the killer’s identity isn’t revealed until toward the ending. Then there’s Frankie and Lane, who meet and argue like a couple. But they team up and help in solving the case. Most of the story is concentrated on the drama between the characters. But since the story isn’t too long, everything is resolved in the end.
I highly recommend it if you are looking for some romance, drama, suspense and action.