GAMBLING ON AN ANGEL
After the death of their mother, Letha Harrison and her younger sister travel by sternwheeler to be reunited with their estranged brother. On the trip they are befriended by a charismatic, virile Bas Slocum. His strength gives her the security she's longed for, when their brother proves to be a drunk. Bas' touch ignites desires she'd only dreamed about. Wanting to believe he could be the first man in her life she can trust, Letha ignores the nagging feeling he has a secret.
Bas Slocum is happy with his life. He gambles, makes money on real estate deals, and answers only to himself. His outlook on life changes the day he meets Letha - an angel wearing a Temperance ribbon - and her sister. Letha's devotion to her sister and the harshness of her past endear her to his heart, while her sweet kisses and soft body inflame his passion. Fear of losing her engulfs him as he tries to find a way to tell her he owns the Rusty Wheel saloon.
Ms. Jager adeptly portrays the growing attraction between these two characters, as well as how that attraction threatens the core values of each. The squaring off of saloon interests and temperance limits creates an interesting layer of complexity in an already complicated situation. The hero, Bas, is a flawed man who has his own code of honor-one he is violating every day he fails to mention his saloon to Letha. And the heroine Letha, has a fragile grit that makes you root for her, especially when the appearance of her brother gives the reader a chilling perspective of the abuse that was once part of Leath’s daily life. Ms. Jager has written a poignant tale of love’s power to heal the soul and fill the heart.~LWR Book Reviews
Paty Jager’s GAMBLING ON AN ANGEL fascinated me right from the beginning. As an Oregonian I loved that the whole story takes place right in my home state but I was also thrilled with the historical aspect of travel on the Columbia River. At first Bas and Letha appear to be complete opposites but as you read further into the book you come to realize that they have a lot in common and are both good people with huge hearts. They just have a little issue of being at opposing ends of the Temperance movement. I was especially touched by Lottie’s story and her desire to be as ‘normal’ as could be despite only being able to speak in a whisper. Ms. Jager tells an emotional tale full of characters that you’ll take into your heart and want to remember long after you’ve read the last page.
His chest ached. He had to tell her - even if she never talked to him. The thought of never seeing her or Lottie again filled him with panic.
He stopped, pulled her into his arms, and kissed her; pouring all the fear and feelings he had into the kiss.
Letha clung to Bas as he crushed her to him and kissed her as though they would never see one another again. She sensed his anger and fear. As well as the love he tried so hard to deny. She had no idea why he felt this way, but she would do anything within her power to lessen his pain.
Pulling her head back, she grasped his face in her hands. “I’ll always be here for you. No matter what.”
The anguish and fear in his eyes said he didn’t believe her.
She gently shook his head. “I don’t know what you are withholding from me, but it would never make me think any less of you.”
He growled and pulled her to him, clutching her as if someone were going to come along and tear her away from him.
“If only I had the strength to tell you,” he whispered and kissed her forehead. “Please don’t ever hate me. I couldn’t bear it.”