Leisure, Dec 2009, $7.99
In 1849 a “Walker” on the trek west after losing her wagon and animals, Tessa White buried her parents on the way to making a fortune; she lost everything she owned. She manages to make it to San Francisco Plaza near Lucky Monroe's gambling tent. Although he prefers to ignore her as Lucky knows she is bad for business if she remains where she is; he helps the waif anyway.
Tessa swears she will pay him back, but Lucky prefers she leave and forget the debt. He offers her passage anywhere, but she rejects his offer. Instead Tessa says her home cooked meals will sell and increase his business. To his shock, it does. Still he wants her so he wants her to leave as someone as virgin pure cannot live in purgatory. However, trouble comes not from the obvious sources, but a jealous brothel owner Delilah and Lucky's refusal to accept what his heart tells him.
This is an entertaining straightforward western romance in which the auricle knows what to expect as the characters are out of sub-genre casting 101, yet relishes every moment. The story line is fast-paced from the first confrontation between the gambler and the walker over breakfast and never slows as an inferno threatens lives. Fans will enjoy this fine historical made fresh with tidbits on walkers and the city during the Gold Rush.