Publisher Synopsis: In book 1 of this steamy new contemporary Western romance series by two blockbuster authors, a cowboy and a woman on the run take a stand and fight for love.
Carlin Reed lives in fear, off the grid, moving from place to place. So Battle Ridge, Wyoming, a small town in the middle of nowhere, seems like a good place to lie low for a while. But after becoming cook and housekeeper to cattle rancher Zeke Decker, Carlin suspects that she's made her first mistake. Rugged, sexy, and too distracting for his own good, Zeke is pure temptation mixed with something deep and primal that makes Carlin feel almost safe.Soon things are getting way too hot in the kitchen.
Zeke doesn't challenge Carlin's terms: cash, dead bolts, and no questions. It is easy to see that she's a woman in trouble. Problem is, he's so blindsided by his attraction to her he can't think straight. Zeke tries to stay all business, no complications-but that game plan is sabotaged the second Carlin gets under his skin. And when her terrifying past follows her to the ranch, Carlin faces a heartbreaking choice: run away from the man she loves, or put him in the crosshairs of a madman.
My Take: This book is more in keeping with the mystery/romance that made Linda Howard a best-selling author, and is an enjoyable read from the first page. I was glad to see it was the first in a new series, as I will be looking forward to the sequels. Linda Howard has the ability to make characters you relate to even when they’re your opposite. Never having been stalked, I nonetheless felt I was living Carlin’s nightmare right along with her.
Co-authored by Linda Jones who has collaborated with Linda Howard before, most notably producing the disappointing Blood Born, made me wary of trying another of their projects. Blood Born was a disappointing departure from Howard’s writing style, but when I saw this book was vampire free, I decided to give the duo one more try. Howard’s writing style came through clearly and made me glad I read it.
A non-sequitur: the book is sub-titled: The Men from Battle Ridge, and I’m wondering where the men are that will star in the subsequent books, as Zeke is the only eligible attractive male in this series. I can almost guarantee the star of the next book will be his cousin, Kat, and since this book starred Carlin, they may need to retitle the series: The Women from Battle Ridge.
My Rating: I loved it. 5 out of 5