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Love, Stock, & Barrel (Marriage & Mayhem)…

Love, Stock, & Barrel (Marriage & Mayhem) (Volume 2)

by Crystal L Barnes

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This is the second book in the series, Marriage and Mayhem; it is a stand alone book and you do not have to read the first book to enjoy Love, Stock, And Barrel. This is a lovely clean Christian western romance. Ms. Barnes hooked me from the first page to the end of the story. Author Crystal Barnes has the art of story telling fine tuned.


In this novel, Dinah (D. J.) Lexington, a skilled gun smith, is on the run from an uncaring father and a philandering fiance. (There is a story behind using her initials for her name). After finding her mother's diary, she knows where she is going; West, Young Woman, Go West! Dinah travels West dressed as a boy.

Dinah finds unanswered questions and mysteries in her mother's diary and is on a mission to find Pete Atkins in Crystal Falls, Texas. For reasons unknown to Dinah, before her death, her mother hired a private detective to find Pete. To add to the mystery, her mother's maiden name was Atkins. Why was her mother looking for Pete Atkins? Who was he? How was he related to her mother? Why didn't she tell Dinah about him?

Then add into the mix, handsome Russell Cahill working with Pete. A strong cowboy responsible for raising his passel of siblings; his mother is dead and his father is a drunkard with little to no interest in these wonderful children. Russell is a caring loving man and does the best he can for his family with the little money he has available.

Pete Atkins refuses to talk to Dinah. Will she get her answers? Russell and Dinah, who becomes known as Dinah-mite for her strong red-headed determination and temper, will become involved in a crisis and then of course, a fast marriage.

There is a lot of action in this story with Pete, outlaws, rustling, and the attraction between Russell and Dinah which they are fighting tooth and nail. Ms. Barns included humor in this story. I found myself laughing at the character's antics.


I want a Russell of my very own. Ms. Barnes created a wonderful character in Russell; handsome, strong, and a man of faith. The character development of Russell and Dinah was very good. I loved watching an insecure Dinah coming to terms with God and His plans for her life to become a strong secure woman, as well as, Russell's renewal of his faith in the blessings of God in his life and acceptance of God's plan for him.

Pete, another skillfully developed character, is running from the past and Dinah. I wanted to shake him at times.

Ms. Barnes kept me guessing throughout this story. I thought I had it worked out; wow, was I wrong. The revelations were a total surprise. Ms. Barnes weaves a good story with twists and turn; then brings all the threads together to form a cohesive tale.

Ms. Barnes presentation of the salvation plan was well done and, in such a way, the book did not come off as preachy or pushy.

The pace of the book was very good. The story did not lag and kept my interest. The plot kept me guessing, as I said, I was totally wrong in my assumption of the mystery involving Pete and the rustlers. I found myself wanting to read more about Russell, Pete, and Dinah. The secondary characters add so much to the story and I felt I knew them by the end of the book.


This book has everything a good story needs to entertain the reader.

I loved this book and found myself sorry when I reached the last page. I hope Ms. Barnes has plans to include these characters in her next book. I think anyone would enjoy this story. I liked this book so much I plan to read the first book.

This book is free on Kindle Unlimited or if you wish to buy, I have placed a link to Amazon on the sidebar.

Books reviews of any novel are dependent on the book review author’s opinion; book reviews on line under my name and on my blog www.verasbookreviewsandstuff.com are my opinion. ( )
  vera_mallard | Feb 11, 2016 |
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