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The Rustler: Stone Creek    by Linda Lael Miller order for
by Linda Lael Miller
Order:  USA  Can
Harlequin, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Wyatt Yarbro experiences an epiphany the night he throws in with a bunch of inexperienced cattle rustlers. Grateful to have survived the dangerous association, Wyatt heads to Stone Creek Arizona to start a new life - and perhaps a new career as an officer of the law, after agreeing to fill in as sheriff for brother Rowdy while he's out of town for a few weeks. Wyatt has even more reason to reform his lawless lifestyle once he meets the lovely Sarah Tamlin. But would a prim and proper lady like Sarah want to settle down with a man harbouring a less than upstanding past? Wyatt, ever the optimist, figures now is the time to find out.

Sarah finds herself equally attracted to the charming new deputy and doesn't resist Wyatt's enthusiastic attentions. But when wealthy easterner Charles Elliot Langstreet comes to town with his young son Owen in tow, Sarah's relationship with Wyatt takes a dramatic turn. Terrified that her father's progressive dementia might cause him to unwittingly reveal her humiliating connection to Langstreet, as well as the fact that she's secretly been managing her father's bank, Sarah decides it's best to break things off with Wyatt. But the love-struck deputy isn't about to walk away from the best thing that's ever happened to him. Together they decide it's time to confront their ugly pasts before they have any hope of sharing the future.

In this latest thoroughly engaging Stone Creek tale, Linda Lael Miller creates another memorable cast of characters whose lives are impacted by past deeds and the choices they must make to secure a better future - and of course find love. As always, Miller's talent for setting an old west stage is evident in every scene and line of dialogue. Wyatt Yarbro is her trademark, laid back, laconic western hero and strong willed Sarah is his match in every way as she struggles to find a balance between her secret career and her fight to win custody of her son. The resolution to the latter, unfortunately, ends up being rather clichéd, but overall, The Rustler is another must read for lovers of good old-fashioned western romance.

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