A Wanted Man: A Stone Creek Novel
Linda Lael Miller
Harlequin, 2007 (2007)
Reviewed by Martina Bexte
chool teacher Lark Morgan and Marshal Rowdy Rhodes are both newly arrived in Stone Creek Arizona, and harboring numerous secrets. Lark may think she has the townspeople hornswoggled, but world-wise Rowdy is not fooled by her pretenses. Her fancy clothes and her big city manners are a dead giveaway - the constant fear in her eyes is another sure sign and Rowdy is somewhat surprised to realize that he wants nothing more than to meet the man who generated that fear. Nor does Lark believe that Rowdy is simply the laconic, quiet spoken man he pretends to be. Under that cool, competent and sometimes irreverent exterior is a man who's also hiding plenty of secrets - ones that Lark plans to unearth - particularly since they could very well concern her continued well-being.
owdy intends to make good on his promise to former ranger, Sam O'Ballivan, to catch the gang responsible for a series of train robberies that have disrupted the rail line leading to Stone Creek. Once the robbers are behind bars, and Rowdy's made sure his own shady past stays buried, he figures he might just stay on as Stone Creek's newly appointed sheriff. To that end he pays Payton Yarbro a visit, but his ne'er do well father swears on a stack of bibles he's retired from the train robbing business. In fact, Yarbro is so incensed over the unfounded accusations that he threatens to ride out and hunt down the no account culprits himself. This only manages to stir up a hornet's nest of additional Yarbro clan secrets, a few of which would surely ruin any hopes that Rowdy might entertain of including Miss Lark Morgan in his future.
inda Lael Miller once again brings the old west to three-dimensional, highly entertaining life in
A Wanted Man
, a rich and involving sequel to last year's
The Man From Stone Creek
. Rowdy and Lark's exchanges are smart, and alternately touching and funny, while their mutual attraction creates immediate and sustained sexual tension. Secondary characterizations also shine and a clever twist gives the ending an unexpected spin. The author's love for animals comes alive in Rowdy's affection for his aging and dedicated canine sidekick Pardner, and of course his horse - a character trait that makes Miller's latest laconic western hero even more endearing.
A Wanted Man
is another winner and this reader hopes for another Stone Creek story very soon.
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