"Western Time Travel Adventure"
This time-travel adventure is for those who enjoy romance
set in the American west.
Present Day - Colorado Rockies
Jackie Clarke had been longing for love for most of her
life. She'd been orphaned while still a girl and raised by
an undemonstrative great-aunt. Her failed teen marriage
had probably been a desperate attempt to escape that life.
It had not survived the grief that her miscarriage had
brought to her and her young husband. Since then she'd kept
herself busy and avoided entanglements. That is until a
handsome and slick operator by the name of Blade Smith
promised her everything her heart desired including love
That was how she found herself alone in a cabin in the
Rocky Mountains. She'd had awoken to an empty bed and a
missing car. He'd even take her purse. Oh, she should have
known better. After all what could you expect from a man
named Blade. He'd been such a smooth talker, an artist.
He'd talked her into allowing him to paint her in the nude
and to dye her dark hair an appalling shade of red.
No time to sit and cry, it's a long way down the mountain
without transportation. Jackie decides to leave immediately
to take advantage of the daylight for as long as possible.
It is not long before she is hopelessly confused. She
chooses a direction, but does not recall any of the
landmarks. By the time she realizes she is going the wrong
way, a freak June snowstorm whips up, obliterating the path
she'd taken. She decides it is best to continue the way she
As luck would have it,she happens upon an abandoned old
western town. Some luck, most of the buildings are lacking
either a roof or several walls. Only the saloon appears to
still be whole. Whole but with no heat and no food she
won't last long.
Just when she is about to despair she finds some canned
food. Among her finds, is a script of sorts. She used some
of the paper to start a fire for warmth. Curiosity had her
reading the remainder. Jackie's luck takes a turn for the
worse, as the fire gets out of hand and the building begins
to burn. Her choices are impossible, either burn, or freeze
to death. She tries to escape but falls near the bar
beneath a portrait of a voluptuous naked woman, with hair
as shockingly red as her own. The name on the portrait
proclaimed her Lolita Belle, a clear indication of her
profession. Surrounded by fire, Jackie notices the face of
the portrait changing; it is now her own. Then her
Devil's Gulch, Colorado 1841
Jackie comes to in the saloon, but it is whole and bustling
with life. The portrait that hung near the bar is no longer
in evidence. Though her attributes don't live up to the
hype, her hair is enough for the saloon's owner to believe
that she is the singer he'd been expecting. Lolita Belle
had not been expected so early, but the owner wastes no
time commission the portrait that will hang over the bar.
Jackie isn't inclined to pose nude for a second time, but
it is evident to her that she'd traveled through a portal
back in time to an earlier era. Her memory of the changing
face of the portrait before she succumbed, has her
convinced that the portrait itself might be the portal that
will send her back home.
Cole Morrison had spent the past five years digging
fruitlessly in his mine, hoping to find the gold that would
aid him in fulfilling his promise to his late wife. They'd
left St. Louis, and a gentler way of life, after their
marriage, in order to earn the funds that would gain them
their dream, a ranch in Oregon. Feeling the dream of a
better life for him and his son slipping through his
fingers, he reluctantly accepts an offer from another
saloonkeeper. He is offered a small fortune to kidnap and
bring the legendary Lolita to the rival saloon. Cole didn't
have a dishonest bone in his body, but he had his son to
think of. The easiest course of action appears to be to
intercept her at the artist's cabin. Unfortunately Jackie
was only half dressed when he arrived.
Jackie finds herself on horseback topless, with only an
itchy boa for cover. Cole delivers her to the saloon as
promised but his part in the affair is far from over.
Lolita's debut is not to be for three weeks and the owner
offers Cole an additional sum to keep her under wraps until
that time. Cole is at a loss as to what to do with his
charge, but the money would ensure his dream. Jackie
surprises him by offering to tutor his son. The child's
education had suffered since his mother had died. The boy
had taken to acting like a small adult in the past few
Jackie brought love and laughter back into Cole's home and
in spite of her appearance and presumed profession; he is
coming to care for her. Jackie's thoughts are still
drifting to a way to return to Devil's Gulch and the
painting that needs to be completed for her to return home.
Still, she finds herself falling for the gentle man for
whom her kidnapping was obviously and aberration.
Competition is fierce in the places where men congregate.
The saloon owner who had original employed her is not about
to let her go without a fight. Jackie may still have a
chance to make it back to Devil's Gulch and the portrait,
but is that what she really wants?
Copyright © 2001
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted August 22, 2001