Please welcome Paty Jager author of Laying Claim.
A book in the Halsey brother's series
Review: by Christine
Title: Laying Claim
Author: Paty Jager
Genre: Western Romance
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Published by Windtree Press
In 1898 during the Alaskan gold rush, Clara Bixbee sets out on an adventure of a lifetime and one that is filled with danger and new experiences. Her family enlists her help to find her older brother in hopes that he can save the family business.
Making her way to Skagway, Alaska, Clara searches for a guide to take her across White Pass to Dawson. After several encounters with men of the wrong ilk, Clara is afraid she’ll never find a man she can trust. Clara never expects to find a man the likes of Jeremy Duncan. She never thinks to fall in love.
Jeremy Duncan wants nothing more than to take his last cargo to Dawson and book the next ship home. He’s traveled to the Yukon to prove himself to his family. From the first moment he sees Clara Bixbee, she intrigues him but not always in the best way. Against common sense, he agrees to be her guide because they do have a common destination and because he can’t let any of the riffraff occupying Skagway take advantage of her.
Paty Jager has been called the Queen of the Western Romance and I agree with the title. Ms. Jager knows her genre and she is able to entwine the history of the era with story she is telling. Clara is a fascinating character. From her weapon of choice, her umbrella, and her stubborn character she is a delight. The reader can never second-guess what she might do next or what trouble she might find herself immersed in. Jeremy is the epitome of a romantic hero, kind and caring with a generous and protective nature. What hot-blooded lover of western romances would not want him in her bed?
Well done, Ms. Jager.
Jeremy Duncan commits to haul one last load of supplies across the great interior of the Yukon before heading home. But, he has to trade his pack animals for sled dogs and leave Skagway in the middle of a blizzard due to one strong-willed, business-minded beauty.
Determined to find her older brother, Clara Bixbee doesn’t care how she gets across the pass, as long as she does, and soon. Hiring handsome pack guide Jeremy Duncan seems to be her best choice. Especially after she saves a young girl being beaten by the local gang leader and needs to escape Skagway fast.
“Who’s there?” a female voice questioned through the wood barrier.
“I have a trunk for a Clara Bixbee.”
The door swung open. A girl stood in the opening.
No. A girl didn’t fill out the front of a dress like this one did. But she was small. Tinier even than his sister, and she barely came to his shoulder.
“It’s about time you brought my trunk. I’ve been waiting hours for it to arrive.” Her green eyes snapped with anger.
“I don’t know who you asked to pick this up, but I found two thieves rummaging through it on the beach and saved it.”
She gasped, then her small pink mouth set in a grim line. “I paid the clerk downstairs to have someone bring it to me.”
No wonder the man had a startled look on his face when Jeremy hauled the trunk up the stairs. “Where would you like me to put it?”
The woman stepped back, opening the door wider. “I cleared a spot over there. I’ve yet to meet my roommate but will have a word with her about this mess when she comes back.”
Jeremy set the trunk on the floor and turned to the woman. Her blonde hair was pulled up into a working woman’s bun, but her clothes, the ones she had on and the ones he’d sifted through in the trunk, were not working-class clothes.
She stood with her hands on her hips, her head tipped back, eyeing him. “How did you know this was my trunk?”
“After I chased the men off, I took it to my livery where I had some light and looked through it until I found the Bible with your name in it. Then I left it in safekeeping and started asking for you at the hotels.”
Her smooth, creamy skin flushed a deep pink. “You went through my trunk?”
“Would you rather I left it to the thieves who wouldn’t have brought it to you even after they took all they wanted from it?” While the woman was soothing on the eyes, he wasn’t keen on her attitude.
She gasped and dropped to her knees in front of the trunk. Her tiny fingers clasped the broken latch where a key had most likely locked the box. She unclasped the other latches and dug down to the bottom of the trunk shoving the clothing, causing them to spill over the sides.
Jeremy watched in fascination as she burrowed into the contents. She pulled out an oilcloth jacket and pushed her hand into a pocket. A smile crept across her face. Her hand reappeared empty. He’d guess she had money stashed in that coat.
He cleared his throat and she jumped. In her urgency to make sure she hadn’t been robbed, she’d forgotten he was still in the room.
“Jeremy Duncan. Miss…?” He hoped she didn’t say she was married. It would be a shame to have rifled through a married woman’s unmentionables. It would make fanaticizing about her not near as much fun.
“Bixbee.” She frowned. “You know my name. Why are you asking?”
He smiled. “Just figuring out if you’re married.”
“I am not, and it isn’t proper for you to be in my room.” She pushed to her feet and stood, again, with her hands on her narrow hips.
Jeremy nodded to the open door. “The door isn’t closed so you haven’t been compromised.”
With sixteen published books, four novellas, and two anthologies, award-winning author, Paty Jager is never at a loss for story ideas and characters in her head. Her rural life in central and eastern Oregon, and interests in local history and the world around her, keeps the mystery and romance ideas flowing. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
You can learn more about Paty at her blog; www.patyjager.blogspot.com her website; http://www.patyjager.net or on Facebook; https://www.facebook.com/#!/paty.jager and twitter; @patyjag.
Windtree Press http://windtreepress.com/portfolio/laying-claim/