Marielle's Marshal
by Beth Williamson, historical (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $2.50, ISBN 1-59998-575-6

Marielle's Marshal is a very short story. Don't believe me? Half the pages of this book are excerpts from books the publisher is certain that I will enjoy. It is a good thing, therefore, I have a blast with the story.

The story is pretty simple: Marielle Bloom is a schoolteacher on a stagecoach to San Francisco when a bandit held them up at gunpoint. Marielle is determined not to lose her life savings to some lowlife bandit so she takes out her pistol and aim it at that fellow. Things don't work out as planned, leaving the passengers stranded in the Arizona wilderness.

Marielle is not amused when the fellow cowboy passenger who handed over his money to the bandit too meekly in her opinion turns out to be Marshal Ramsey Whitfield. He thinks she's too feisty for her own good, she thinks he is too wimpy for his own good. As those two try to make their way back to town, sparks fly.

These two characters are too fun for words. They spar, they argue, and they mack lips in a manner where the chemistry is obvious. Marielle is feisty and sometimes silly without going overboard with things and it's clear that she can take care of herself and is pretty smart at times to boot. Ramsey is an adorable easy-going rogue who enjoys flustering Marielle. These two are a hoot together.

The pacing of the story is very nicely done as well, with the story feeling complete despite its short length. The characters fall in love too quickly, one can argue, but Ms Williamson has me convinced that these two like each other enough that it could be possible that this is a case of love at first sight. Or the first bullet fired, perhaps. Marielle's Marshal is just too much fun.

Rating: 87

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