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REVIEW

"A light humous western historical romance"

I have a soft spot for romance authors from my home state of Pennsylvania and I must admit that I find Ms. Betts as entertaining in person as I do between the pages of her novels. WALKER'S WIDOW is a light, funny, romance set in a town in Texas, between Heaven and Hell, literally! It is a tale of a compassion, duty, love, forgiveness and .... scandalous underwear! Bet that got your attention.

Texas Ranger Clayton Walker has been summoned to Purgatory, Texas, by his elderly aunt. Seems a cat burglar has been sneaking into houses and stealing valuable pieces of jewelry from the more well heeled citizens. Of course the town's folk didn't make that very hard being as no one in Purgatory ever locked their doors. Well perhaps catching the thief isn't quite Aunt Martha's only motive either. In her opinion her beautiful, widowed, daughter-in-law deserved a grand passion, and Mother Doyle is sure her handsome nephew is the one to give it to her.

Clay isn't too impressed with his first view of Purgatory, but he has high hopes of departing quickly when, upon his arrival, he spies a suspicious figure leaving one of the nearby houses through a window. With a caution for his horse, Clay pursues, but the burglar eludes him. Drat! He has second thoughts about the town's appeal when he gets an eyeful of his aunt's daughter-in-law, Regan, his late cousin James's widow.

Regan Doyle is a real Irish beauty with a headful of glorious red curls, creamy white skin, and pouty lips. Even wrapped in a black dressing gown she had gotten his attention ... by fainting at his feet! Okay her nose HAD looked better before she fell on it. What he doesn't know is that Regan is the thief.

Regan Doyle had been born to poverty. Her parents had died when she was still rather young, and she had been forced to wait tables in a high class brothel to keep body and soul together. Regan had no illusions as to where her career was headed. She'd been very grateful when one of the customers, James Doyle, a man more than twenty years her senior, had taken a shine to her. He'd later asked her to marry him and moved her in with his invalid mother. It had been a pleasant marriage, if not a passionate one. James had truly loved her and she had cared for him. Their five years of marriage had not produced children and Regan had indulged her maternal instincts on the town's orphans. Then James had died suddenly, leaving the two women in his life comfortably provided for, but his legacy had not been enough to provide for the children Regan had come to love in place of her own. Regan had applied to the wealthy of the town for contributions for their upkeep, but most had declined. They'd had had no qualms about flashing their expensive jewels around however. Not knowing what else to do she had resorting to becoming a modern day Robin Hood. She'd only take what the rich wouldn't miss, and given to those who desperately needed it. Truly most of the citizens preferred to believe that the ghost of the town's first undertaker, Ol' Morty Pike, was responsible for the thefts. All had been well until Clay showed up and given her the fright of her life.

It appears after all that Clayton hadn't gotten a good look at her in the dark, but he really likes what he sees once inside his aunt's house. Morgan decides to suspend her illicit activity until Clay leaves town. It isn't long before neither wants to think much about that event. Somewhat in spite of Mother Doyle's matchmaking efforts, they are falling in love. Then disaster strikes. A tree collapses on the orphan's home during a storm, collapsing the roof. Major repairs are in order, and the money just isn't there. Morgan is forced to come to the rescue once more. Things go terribly wrong when Regan overhears a more serious crime being committed while inside the town banker's home. Her conscience won't allow her to let it go unanswered, but how can she get Clay to pursue the case without implicating herself? If he finds out what she'd done he will hate her forever ... unless he can find it in himself to put love before honor.

Martha Doyle's scheming is a hoot and a half, as is much of the randy dialogue between Clayton and Regan. Their love for each other and their relationship with one of the towns troubled youths will steal a piece of your heart. As to the scandalous underwear, well, you'll just have to read the book. I recommend that you do.

December 2001

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted April 1, 2002

SUMMARY

Clayton Walker has been sent to Purgatory, but it feels more like hell. Assigned to solve a string of minor burglaries, the rugged Texas Ranger thinks catching the crook will be a walk in the park. Instead he finds himself chasing a black-masked bandit with enticing hips and a penchant for helping everyone but herself. Regan Doyle's nocturnal activities know no boundaries; decked out in black, the young widow makes sure the rich donate to the local orphanage. And the fiery redhead isn't about to let a lawman get in her way--even if his broad shoulders and piercing gray eyes are arresting. But caught in a compromising position, Regan recognizes that the jig is up, for Clay has stolen her heart.

 

Walker's Widow
(Purgatory, Book 1)
by Heidi Betts

Leisure Books
January 1, 2002
ISBN #0843949546
EAN #9780843949544
400 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Heidi Betts

The Bite Before Christmas
Real Men Last All Night
Hannah's Half-Breed
Callie's Convict
Almost a Lady


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