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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Double Chance Claim by Elle Saint James

Double Chance Claim: Badlands 3 by Elle Saint James
Publisher: Siren Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (132 pgs)
Other: M/F/M, Ménage
Rating: 3 cherries
Review by Statice

The Chance brothers came to Campbell's Valley, opened a saloon, and hid the fact that they were identical twins to distract the townsfolk from discovering they have a goldmine on their property. Once they extract as much Black Hills gold as they'll ever spend in a lifetime, they're leaving.

After the recently widowed Maggie Altman is kicked off her wagon train, she's left alone in Campbell's Valley. She opts for a drink at the saloon and convinces the owner, Wyatt Chance, to let her stay the night. In the morning, she meets a different yet equally intriguing man also calling himself Wyatt. The first to distinguish the brothers, Maggie agrees to keep their secret, even as she falls in love with each twin.

A Madam seeking an "arrangement," the discovery of the brothers' secret, and town gossips cause further havoc at the Double Chance Saloon. Can the Chance brothers protect their identities and their gold, and will Maggie find the happiness she's always dreamed of with the sexy twins?

What would you do if your husband had just died, you didn’t know how to do anything except look pretty and behave in a socially acceptable fashion and engage in small talk? What if you were stuck on a wagon in the middle of nowhere after being dumped unceremoniously by the wagon master? Me, I would probably just have given up and collapsed in a heap, but when confronted with what must have been a very intolerable and difficult situation, Maggie Altman does the only thing she can do and heads to the nearest town to bury her husband.

It seems that everyone is on the move and the only hotel in Campbell’s Valley is full so she only has two options – sleep on a church pew or try her luck at the Double Chance Saloon. After sitting on a wooden seat in the wagon all the time, the church pew is not an option so it is off to the saloon. There she meets a man who even in her sorrow fires up her senses and has her wishing for more than just a bed for the night. After waking up with a stranger in her bed, Maggie is on to a secret that the Chance brothers wanted to keep and that isn’t the only thing that is going on in this story!

There certainly is a lot more that happens – a dead man, a break-in at the saloon, stolen money and of course the budding relationship between Maggie and the Chance brothers. While Maggie was a very inexperienced woman in some respects, she certainly had a whole lot of sexual knowledge that she put to good use with the help of the Chance twins!

Wade and Wyatt Chance were characters that I was able to picture clearly, but the ease with which Maggie and the brothers entered their relationship and understood each other was rather quick. Their secret, while I understood the reason, seemed more a means to introduce Maggie to the two brothers, but even the way this was done, was so fast and successful that I had trouble believing it – the gay husband giving Maggie all of her sexual understanding was also a bit contrived and her sexual encounters though hot and steamy were also relaxed and contained none of the angst or anxiety that I felt a woman of the day – the character of Maggie would have experienced, particularly given her very limited sexual experience with one man, let alone two. While these inconsistencies were a bit unbelievable, I did still enjoy the story and imagery.

This is part of a series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone book. Ms. Saint James has written a good story of a young and inexperienced woman finding love and excitement in the old west and, regardless of my few reservations, it certainly piqued my interest in the rest of the series!

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