Angel and the Lawman (MF)
[BookStrand Western Romance]
Young Alexandra O'Shay travels from Ireland to America, venturing into the wild west. A chance encounter with a mysterious man in black casts doubt over her decision to come to America, but a train robbery brings them together in ways neither expected.
With a reputation for honesty and a fast gun, Marshal James Black takes on a new challenge and a new attitude toward women. Alexandra is not only beautiful, but a survivor, and that intrigues him more than he likes. Relationships have proven fatal in the past. Will this be any different?
"As a born and raised Midwesterner, I fell in love with all the stories about the West and how violent it was at the time. Alexandra is the woman I always wanted to be, only a little out of step with reality and ahead of her time for 1895. Marshal Black is the man I always wanted to meet." ~ Barbara ~
A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
5 DELIGHTFUL DIVAS, RECOMMENDED READ: "I loved Angel and the Lawman... How anyone could resist the pull of this story and not want to finish it all in one sitting, I have no idea. I certainly couldn’t. It made for a great afternoon’s read. Barbara Starmer has a winner in Angel and the Lawman... I will certainly be looking for more by Ms. Starmer in the future." --Jordan, Dark Diva Reviews
5 HEARTS: "Holy smoking barrels, what a great read! Marshal Black is everything you could imagine in a man: smart, sexy, honest, and just a little bit ornery. He is the perfect foil for the sweet, intriguing, and beautiful Alex. There are so many wonderful things about this book. The writing is smooth and paints a vivid picture of the west and the troubles faced by the brave people that started lives out there. The author intertwines mystery, romance, and treachery into a page turning read. The West blazes to life with each character in the book. The bad guys are terribly bad and the good guys are extraordinary. You can picture this up on the big screen as an old fashioned western; with gunslingers, outlaws, stolen kisses and a high drama trial, there is absolutely nothing missing. As the story draws to a close you will find yourself wishing for more and looking for the next story from Ms. Starmer." -- Helen Ruby, The Romance Studio
5 ANGELS: "Angel and the Lawmanwas fabulous! I loved the characters, the setting and Barbara W. Starmer's writing style. Angel and the Lawman is a sweeping story with many facets; sometimes just exploring the relationships between the characters, at other times dramatic and exciting. The characters and the settings were so clearly described, I almost felt like I was watching a movie. I was so engrossed in the story that I didn't want it to end. I look forward to reading more of this author's work. Don't miss it!" -- Kara, Fallen Angel Reviews
4.5 BOOKS: "Barbara Starmer weaves a fascinating plot full of suspense, mystery, and treachery that grabs the reader’s attention. Among the life-threatening happenings, she weaves in a love that blooms like a rose among the thorns. Her strong heroine and her hero that makes the heart throb make ANGEL AND THE LAWMAN not only a thrilling suspense story but also a redemptive love story that satisfies the heart." -- Camellia, Long and Short Romance Reviews
4 STARS: "The writing is fast paced and direct. The romance develops sweetly and builds to sensual. I highly recommend this very engaging romance full of old time western action!! This is another new to me author whose books I will be looking up!!" -- MarthaE, Cata Romance Reviews
Alex took another deep breath to calm her nerves and concentrated on the puzzling man in black. He must be a lawyer or banker…or maybe an inspector for the railroad. He was handsome enough in a western sort of way, well muscled, and in complete control. Most of the women on the train had flashed him a smile, and he was polite in return. She started writing notes with his description in her journal. The hairs on the back of her neck tingled when she glanced up to find him smiling at her.
Alexandra blushed and smiled in return. With that look in his bright blue eyes, he could never be a banker. She avoided his eyes and wrote a few more lines in her journal. She’d seen that look enough times to know he didn’t cater to religious propriety, but somehow she found it flattering this time. He chuckled at her discomfort then proceeded to light a cigar. According to the conductor, who strolled constantly up and down the train, they were getting close to the halfway mark to Oklahoma City. Once again, she glanced out the window, only to find the men on horseback galloping toward the train.
The two children up front screamed as their mother pushed them underneath the seat in front of her. The older couple in front tensed then suddenly grabbed the woman’s handbag and started frantically shoving something into it. Her frightened eyes met Alexandra’s as she stood looking for a place to hide her valuables.
The mysterious man in black appeared unmoved by the chaos as the men continued to ride toward the train. Why was he so calm? Should she be upset?
The men on horseback started firing their rifles at the engine. Clearly their intentions were not peaceful. Alexandra found herself watching the man in black closely now. His calm demeanor and quick smile in the midst of pandemonium gave her courage and a sense of acceptance. Sitting down on her bench, she faced backward and took a couple of deep breaths to calm her nerves once more, then made a decision. She would follow his lead.
Closing her eyes and breathing slowly, Alex listened to the voices outside the train and braced for the worst. Heavy footfalls announced the men’s arrival. She opened her eyes and forced herself to relax just as the horses galloped free without their riders alongside the train and finally turned away into the hot, flat land around them.
The train continued at a faster speed until the outlaws gained control of the engine. As it screamed to a halt, the door burst open. Six shaggy-looking characters brought the smell of dirt and sweat along with them, as they brandished guns and unloaded a round of bullets into the ceiling.
The woman in front tried to quiet her children, who screamed in terror from the gunfire. The gunman’s cynical laugh reverberated throughout the car, raising goose bumps on Alex’s arms.
“We are all getting out now, ladies and gentlemen, and understand I really don’t like screamin’ brats, lady.” Sneering at the young mother, the man with the mustache and big six-gun cocked the pistol for effect. Alexandra remembered the look all too well from her childhood.
Watching the man in black closely now, Alexandra waited for them to move his way while he calmly smoked his cigar. The second man appeared in the back of the car, pointed the rifle at an elderly gentleman, who had been sleeping most of the trip, and forced him to his feet.
Shoving the gun into his ribs, the outlaw growled, “Out now, old man, and leave me that watch!”
The young woman finally quieted her children and moved toward the front, along with the older couple followed by two of the bandits. Two of the outlaws headed for the car behind them. Alexandra, still facing backward in the car, watched the man in black intently now. With a reassuring smile, he winked at her, and for some odd reason, it made her feel safe for the first time she could ever remember. The unkempt man from the back pointed his gun toward her then motioned for her to stand and move his way.
“Move it lady, before I lose my patience.” He pointed to her reticule. “And give me that bag of yours.”
Without warning, the man in black swung a bag from the overhead into the outlaw’s face with such force that he crumpled to the floor.
Yelling, “Get down!” he produced a gun. He shot the two men in the front first. With the sound of the first gunfire, the back of the car immediately filled with two men left to guard the rear of the train. Just how many were there? Alex scrambled to the man in black and crouched beside him. He calmly fired again at the scruffy-looking man who stepped over the threshold behind them. The man fell dead in the blink of an eye. Blood poured from his wounds as he landed next to Alex’s feet. She felt she should scream, but time seemed to be standing still. Mesmerized, she watched the inexplicable man in black continue to fire the shiny gun with the pearl- handle at men who seemed to appear out of nowhere.
Alexandra stared in awe as he fired and reloaded with ease without any emotion or fear. A man peered through the window behind him and prepared to let off another round, while her newfound protector fired again at another outlaw who dared to breach the front of the car.
Without a second thought, Alexandra grabbed the bag on the floor and heaved it across the arm sticking through the window. The bullet went wild as the man she trusted on intuition alone turned and shot the outlaw through the window. The man fell backward into the dirt outside the car.
“Let’s get out of here,” one bandit yelled to his companions and headed for his horse in the distance.
The man in black stood, jerked a rifle from the overhead storage compartment, smashed the window in front of him, and took aim at the fleeing outlaws. What had started as a group of ten was now down to four. One wounded man fell off his horse with the first discharge from the rifle, followed shortly thereafter by another of his friends. One man circled back then thought better of it, turned then headed north out of range of the rifle in the hands of a genuine marksman.
Running into the car, the conductor asked, “Is everyone okay?” and stared at the bodies lying on the floor in front of him. “I don’t know who you are, mister, but my wife and kids thank you as does the Atchison Topeka Railroad.” Smiling, he offered his hand in gratitude.
The mysterious man in black turned his attention to Alexandra, who stood brushing off her dress and collecting herself in the middle of the car. “My thanks go to the angel in the back."