Penelope Witherspoon was charmed into marriage by Evan Thoroughgood only to learn she loved a philanderer, who gambled away his inheritance and drank too heavily. It came as no surprise that four months after their marriage, Evan was shot dead for cheating at cards. Since his death, Penelope has come to depend on his older brother, Gil. In fact, she has come to love and respect him. No two men could be further apart in character. But, if Gil learns of her secret indiscretion, he will want nothing further to do with her. What is Penelope to do?
Well, I’m sure as hell not leaving now that Banjo’s here. Belle’s women taught Banjo too much about things that go on between men and women as far as Gil was concerned. “Howdy, Banjo. I’ll help you lug those bags in.”
After the bags were placed inside the door, Banjo glanced around the room. “I see you’ve got a Christmas tree this year, Penelope.” He stepped over to the tree and examined it, touching some of the wooden ornaments. “Gil, these are nice. I know you made them. I can tell your work. You’re the best carpenter in town, maybe anywhere in the state. You ought to make these to sell.” He peered at Gil with those dark eyes framed in wire-rimmed spectacles. “The townsfolk talk about your rocking chairs and tables, but I bet they never saw anything like these beauties. Oh. Before I forget, Belle wants to talk to you about ordering new chairs for the Iron Slipper. Seems some rowdy cowpokes got into a scuffle over a card game last week and some chairs met their end.” Banjo grinned.
Gil wanted to dislike Banjo, but he just couldn’t. For all that he was orphaned as a baby and left to be raised by whores, he was one of the kindest young men he knew. “I’ll drop by her place on the way home and see what she wants.”
Just for a fleeting moment, Gil saw the shadow cross Penelope’s face. Probably just the mention of the Iron Slipper or Belle probably still brought the memory of Evan’s death to her and the pain that went with it.