This novel portrays him as the latter...and a man very much in love with a spunky, headstrong woman. The novel follows young Paulita as she arrives in New Mexico territory after getting schooling in TX. After a run-in with outlaws, in which she shoots one of them herself, she meets Billy, and he steals her heart, despite her vowing he'd never been in her bed.
The story continues, exploring Billy's so-called crimes... In this version, the "law enforcement" was pretty much just blackmailing people and taking over towns with threats and cruelty, and having just watched The Quick and the Dead today, it felt somewhat like that at times. Billy does what's right, not what's easy...I'm not going to explain that. You have to read it. But it lands Billy on many a crap list. Meanwhile, Paulita waits and pines and tries to understand what's going on.
There's a secret wedding, shoot outs, tons of history, a major betrayal or two...there's no end to the excitement. I LOVED the banter and dialogue. This was superbly done. Paulita...is just really cool and knows how to put men in their place. She cracked me up a time or two. Billy is likable and I got the impression he was a much misunderstood man.
The prose...was really good. The descriptions of Paulita's and Billy's love...
"It was a kiss one only read about as Billy and Paulita left the room, locked in their own little world of peace and heaven that nobody could touch. No one could steal that place from them because they owned it. They felt each other in the very core of their bodies and there was nothing between them, no barriers, only a love that ran so deep that not even time could take from them."
I really enjoyed this book, but I have some quibbles. My edition is a print copy from 2005 so the issues very well may have been fixed since then...but this version was hard to read at times. It could use another round of edits. The then/than errors, tho noticeable, didn't bother me so much as the missing commas before names when people were address in dialogue. I had to read many a sentence twice. Also there was more telling than showing toward the end. The novel told us second hand what was going on in Billy's life of crime. People tell Paulita, and that's how we get the story. Why, when this wasn't a first person POV?
Four bikes. I got this a few years ago via Goodreads swap.