They sniped and circled each other warily all the time. Now on Christmas Eve when the Diamond Saloon is closed and Pearl is alone for the holiday, who should come knocking at the door with a blizzard on his tail, but Garrett the man who constantly gets under her skin. What dust does he want to kick up now?
This is the follow up short story to ‘Rough Diamond’ and tells the story of two side characters from that story, Pearl and Garrett. Those two caught my attention when I was reading Alice’s story so I was eager when I saw that they were getting a story of their own. ‘Fool’s Gold’ really has to be read in order because much of the backdrop, backstory and character development take place in ‘Rough Diamond’.
While I was eager to read this one and enjoyed much of it including the startling reveal about Garrett and the relationship between Pearl and Garrett, there were a couple of things that niggled at me. Not that these were horrid things really and maybe they are things that others won’t even care about. First of all, the ‘dumbed down’ dialogue didn’t ring true for me. Now don’t get me wrong, I love westerns and country stories so I don’t mind the easy speech that was/is the norm just as regional dialects are a thing of fascination for me and not an annoyance. I just felt like the characters’ speech in this one was forced because it was making a point rather than natural. The second thing was that I missed the development of the story that the first book had going for it. Not to say this one was bad and had no plot, but these were such good characters that I wanted more- more than a vignette and a brief epilogue- to help me connect to the characters and their story. They had that awareness of attraction and feelings though Pearl misunderstood what it was and they that thing with Garrett’s family which would have made a great external conflict for them to deal with. Because this was a short story, the characters came together quickly and the other issue wasn’t much of anything. In truth, I guess I am offering a backhanded compliment to how much I like the author’s characters and plot idea and wanted them to really have their chance to shine in a broader scope that a higher page count would have brought.
Now all that being said, there was still good stuff going on. I loved that I got to witness this moment when these two realized what all the animosity and tension had been about. I loved what happened when they dove right in and did something about it- passionately too. They are two lonely people with pasts they are trying and successfully leaving behind. I loved the sweet little Christmas tree scene that really gave such insight into who Pearl really is under the persona she created and I loved that adorable ending in the epilogue when Ethan comes to Pearl with his gift made me feel the same as when I bite into my most favorite decadent chocolate- so satisfied.
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