Travers Brother Book 1 - Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
By Phyllis Ingram
Apr 1, 2006 - 4:06:00 PM

The story opens with Emma Smith and Deke Travers crashing their trucks into each other in a middle of a rainstorm.  This is not good for Emma. It was the middle of the night. She was trying to get to the store before it closed.  She needed to get milk for fifteen-month-old Sammie Jo.  Her wet t-shirt is clinging to her like a second skin. She has no insurance on the truck, so she gives Deke the money from her meager paycheck to fix the broken headlight on his truck.  All he wanted was her driver’s license and an apology.

Living in the small town of Devil’s Corner, Deke knows everyone. He becomes suspicious of Emma immediately. She is driving the truck that belongs to Bertha Martin. He suspects that the truck is stolen, and just has to report it.   Later, when Emma arrived back at Bertha’s house with the milk, the sheriff is there.


Deke does not see Emma again for two months.  He goes into the Lone Star Café for breakfast and discovers Emma is the cook.  Bertha notices Deke watching Emma and asks him if he’s interested.  Deke, of course, denies it but figures if Emma was in their home as a housekeeper and cook, then one of his brothers might just settle down and get married.  The best laid plans of mice and men…


When the regular cook, Andy comes back to work in the Lone Star Café, Deke along with Bertha, convinces Emma that a cook and housekeeper is needed by the Travers family so, she starts out for the 4 Bar None Ranch.   Surprise!!  Her truck breaks down miles from the ranch, and Deke comes riding on horseback to rescue her.  He sees Sammie Jo and is shocked, but takes it right in stride as if he sees a baby every day. 


Sammie Jo is a delight and brings the family closer, if that’s possible.  Emma has some problems that she should share with Deke, but does not.  Emma is an excellent cook and the “boys” are very satisfied with her.  Deke suspects that Emma is running from something or someone.


Why won’t she let Sammie Jo’s grandparents see her?   Why is she so uncomfortable sometimes around Sammie Jo? 


This was absolutely one of the most delightful stories I have read in a long time.  Ms. Hestand writes so well that you feel you are part of the family. You feel their love, and you feel their physical pain. This reviewer must admit I got out the tissues a couple of times.  I laughed with them and I cried.  These were happy tears.


I look forward to reading and reviewing any future books that Ms. Hestand writes. I must give this 4.5.  

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