Once An Outlaw by Sandra Hall
Caine Fuller is an exceptional looking man as well as a gifted gunman and reluctant outlaw. His journey over the years leads him from Texas, where his name was made, to Montana. In a way, it is his last stop. He can’t go any further and he refuses to go back, especially, after meeting the smart and beautiful, adventurous, Veronica
Murray. He joins a gang of thieves hoping to score enough money to retire, but the gang turns on him and he must defend his life which causes much attention to him as a talented gunfighter.
Word soon reaches Veronica in Gingerville, where she has taken a teaching post, and she finds she is very concerned for the stranger, even
goes out of her way to warn him he’s a suspect in the bank robbery. Even though things are a bit difficult, they quickly fall in love. It is obvious
to the female population that she has something in her past, yet Caine doesn’t question the integrity of the woman she seems to be, so Veronica keeps the details of her own outlaw days to herself, until he asks her to marry him then her dilemma begins.
Mark Williams is a train robber by profession with wealthy family connections. He and his cousin Gerald were reared by their white paternal English grandmother, who purposely raised them differently. Gerald is the educated businessman while Mark was allowed to live the outlaw life of his father. Mark returned to Montana a sick man,
due to exposure and excessive booze. He mistakenly assumes Caine is after the younger woman he has decided to court. Even though, he knows his reflexes are shot and his mind is cloudy, he tracks Caine, stopping in Gingerville to rest. He encounters the young blond Brad Bannon, a member of the gang that double crossed Caine. Talking to Brad, Mark realizes most of his anger at Caine was mostly booze induced. Brad also meets Janis, best friend to Veronica and also the woman Mark’s cousin is courting.
Both Veronica and Janis’s lives are threatened and the three outlaws who have come to care about them are forced to work together and reluctantly reflect on the choices they’ve made for themselves as men.
This was my first read by the author and it was very good. I remember watching westerns as a kid and just like that I was submerged back in time. Welcome to Gingerville. Veronica is a young school marm, headed to find a new life. On the train she meets the tall, handsome stranger, we know as Caine. Their lives once off the train become intertwined like two threads from the same spool of yarn. They are more alike than they realize. The neighboring town and it’s occupants aren’t happy about some of the new visitors to Gingerville. Although this book is predominantly AA, the author has a mix of characters and backgrounds. The lives of each just jump off the page and scream, here I am. Like it or not!! The twists and turns leave you turning the pages, while holding your breath just a little. I am looking forward to reading more of the sexy Caine and fiesty Veronica and all the gang in Gingerville. 5 Stars.