Review: The Gunslinger’s Guide to Avoiding Matrimony by Michelle McLean

cover255427-mediumAt the ripe old age of twenty-eight, desperate-to-retire gunslinger Adam Brady has exactly two rules. And one of them is never, ever get married. So he’ll be danged when his dreams of permanently avoiding the bounty hunter on his tail in Desolation, the only town where notorious men like him can find respite, comes with one helluva string attached. The town has a new rule: gunslingers welcome—if they get a job…or marry.

Without realizing it, Adam stumbles into a big town wedding and accidentally marries Nora Schumacher, a sassy-mouthed mountain of a woman with legs as long as his wanted poster. So what’s a gunslinger to do but get himself unhitched and find a job. Any job. Except Adam keeps getting fired, one odd circumstance after another. And he’s running out of options.

Desolation was supposed to be his safe haven. Except, he’s not only running from his past but from the irresistible woman he married. And worse, he’s finding that he rather likes the enticing, if damnably independent, wife of his. But some men just aren’t the marrying kind. Only, if he leaves, his own life won’t be worth living. If he stays, he puts the lives of his newfound family and the woman he loves on the line. So much for Desolation being the answer to all his problems.

You know the minute someone says they have rules for living that they’re all about to be broken in the most epic ways, right?  Too bad no one clued Adam in on this or maybe he might have saved himself.  Luckily for us, however, he didn’t.

I’m a total sucker for a handsome cowboy, and Adam completely fit the bill.  Rugged, attractive, and funny in an often self-deprecating way, I was half in love with him myself.  Despite his reputation as a rough and tumble gunslinger and gambler, he has a big heart and a lot of compassion.  The way he helps everyone out really endeared him to me.  His unflagging devotion to Nora, against all odds, was heart-warming.

Nora is the kind of woman I want to be.  Strong, independent, willing to take on any challenge that faces her, she’s a real inspiration, especially for the time period.  Her issues with her father resonated with me and made me empathize with her struggles.  Also, her struggle to give up some of her control and allow Adam to do things for her was nice to watch.  She didn’t have reason to trust many people, but his attempts at winning her over were sweet.

The premise of this book is what caught my attention.  That Adam and Nora accidentally get married without realizing it set the tone for the rest of the novel.  Chaos, laughter, and lots of will they, won’t they follow.  In addition, the side characters really brought the town to life.  I also appreciated the way that their instant attraction to one another slowly grows into mutual affection, even if they both deny it.  I’m definitely going to have to pick up the first in this series to see if it’s as much fun as this was.

4/5

*Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and the publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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