An Unlikely Lady
One of the first books I read for review was Morgan’s Mustang Annie, which was a pleasant surprise, so I jumped on the chance to review its sequel. Unfortunately An Unlikely Lady isn’t nearly as good. Not to say it’s the worse book I’ve ever read, but I never cared one way or another about either the plot or the characters.
Pinkerton agent Jesse Justiss (does this name feel awkward to anyone else?) is tired of life on the road, tired of always pretending to be someone else, tired of the danger, and just plain old tired when he wanders into the Scarlet Rose Saloon in Last Hope, Colorado. Jesse is there on what he plans to be his last assignment for the Pinkerton agency. He is trying to solve a sixteen-year-old case involving the kidnapping and murder of two San Francisco shipping heiresses. Following a lead, Jesse comes to the saloon hunting for a conman named Deuce McGuire. Instead he finds Honesty.
Honesty has secrets of her own. She’s going back through each town she and her late father traveled looking for the flowing stones, as her father advised just before his death, where she’ll find the key to unlock her past. Unfortunately Honesty is short on funds, so she does what she knows – runs cons. Pretending to be a prostitute, Honesty drugs Jesse and then demands money for a night of passion that never happened. Jesse is intrigued by Honesty, but has better things to do, like solve a mystery. Yet, when two men who gave Jesse a lead kidnap Honesty, he rescues her. She lies to him some more, telling him that she is looking for her brother, and he agrees to help her.
It is obvious from the minute Honesty comes on the scene who she really is, and what the mysterious secret was her father tried to reveal before his death. So it became frustrating when she repeatedly lied to Jesse. One good conversation between the two of them would’ve solved his case for him, but Honesty lies at every turn.
Honesty has more inconsistencies than her name versus her character. For starters, she pretends to be a prostitute and then acts indignant every time Jesse propositions her. The man believes they’ve already slept together, and she wonders where he got the idea she was easy? She is also childish. After she and Jesse have an argument she takes his clothes, which leads a group of missionaries to think he’s debauched and trying to corrupt her. Honesty thinks it’s all very funny until the missionaries throw Jesse in jail. Honesty is not exactly a likable character.
As for Jesse, well other than the silly name, he’s an okay guy. Your typical romance hero, he’s a pretty boy who has women tripping over themselves to get to him and a past filled with enough requisite angst to make him quite tortured. For all that, I wondered what he saw in Honesty for all the trouble she gave him. His detective skills are also questionable, because what he was looking for was right under his nose, and Honesty had to practically bludgeon him with the truth before he saw it.
With an unlikable heroine, an uninteresting hero, and a plot that could been resolved with a little honesty on both their parts, it’s little wonder that I found this book rather dull. Still, author Morgan has an easy-to-read style and created some interesting secondary characters – in particular Scarlet Rose, the saloon owner. Unfortunately, the glimpses of the secondary characters only make the reader realize what they’re missing out on, and cause the story to be that much more disappointing. You’d be far better off seeking out this book’s prequel rather than spending your money on this one.