Genre: Western/Romance/Historical/Short Story
“His partner’s grisly death destroyed Texas Ranger Quinn Barclay. Cashiered for drunkenness and refusal to follow orders, he sets out to fulfill his partner’s dying request, armed only with a saloon girl’s name.
Sister María Tomás thought she wanted to become a nun, but five years as a postulant have convinced her childhood dreams aren’t always meant to be. At last ready to relinquish the temporary vows she never should have made, she begs the only man she trusts to collect her from a mission in the middle of nowhere.
When the ex-Ranger’s quest collides with the ex-nun’s plea in a burned-out border town, unexpected love blooms among shared memories of the dead man who was a brother to them both.
Too bad he was also the only man who could have warned them about the carnage to come.”
Kathleen Rice Adams: “Descended from a long line of Texas ranchers, preachers, and teachers on one side and Kentucky horse thieves and moonshiners on the other, award-winning author Kathleen Rice Adams had no choice but to become an outlaw. Maybe that's why in her stories, even the good guys wear black hats.
For the past thirty years, she's stayed two steps ahead of a lynch mob as an award-winning journalist. She also has ghost-written or edited several nonfiction books.
A Texan to the bone, when Kathleen's not being a nuisance she bows to the whims of the Hole in the Web Gang -- a herd of tiny but enthusiastic outlaws with four legs.”
For more please visit Ms. Adams’ website.
I enjoy a little cowboy action occasionally. The Second-Best Ranger in Texas filled the bill nicely. The characters are well developed and realistic. Quinn is trying to deal with his best friend’s death through whisky. After losing his position as a Texas Ranger, Quinn is now on a mission to carry out the promise to his dying friend. The message is cryptic; all he has is the first name of a woman and the name of the town to find her.
Upon arriving in San Miguel all Quinn finds is a burned up town with only two buildings remaining: the saloon, thank God, and a mission at the edge of town. The mission houses a few nuns, orphans, and injured survivors. Quinn figures if Dulce had ever been in San Miguel it is likely she disappeared with everyone else when the town burned to the ground.
The story unfolds at a nice pace as Quinn does all he can to assist the nuns by burying their dead and helping them relocate to another mission. Ms. Adams does an excellent job capturing the flavor of the town and the essence of her characters with her excellent prose. The characters practically walk off the page and into your heart. This includes Quinn’s horse, Bulls-eye. I can highly recommend this novelette for a quick pick-me-up read.
The Second-Best Ranger in Texas was the winner of the 2015 Western Fictioneers Peacemaker best short fiction award.
Original review posted August 31, 2016.
No significant issues.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Approximate word count: 9-10,000 words