Author(s): Linda Howard and Linda Jones
Publication: Ballantine Books (November 27, 2012)
Description: 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 Thoughts: Carlin is on the run. After two dates with a guy named Brad, he developed an obsession with her - sneaking into her apartment, following her, making harassing phone calls. When she reported him, she was blown off. He was a local boy and a cop and had made sure no one saw the two of them together. First Carlin runs to Dallas. However, Brad followed her and killed a woman he thought was her because she had lent her friend her raincoat.
Now Carlin in trying to live off the grid. She is travelling from town to town to try to get away from Brad. She comes into a small Wyoming town only intending to stop for something to eat and then to move on but she finds a job and and friend Kat. Kat has a cousin who is a rancher who needs a housekeeper but hasn't been able to find one.
Carlin thinks Zeke is hot but also really grumpy. She is torn between taking the job and moving on. She decides that an isolated ranch wouldn't be a bad spot to be for the winter. Zeke will pay her in cash and let her build up a nest egg for the next time she has to run. Both are convinced that the job is just temporary and neither one is looking for a relationship.
However, as they get to know each other, they come to love each other. But it isn't until the truck she is riding in almost slides off the edge of a mountain in an ice storm the Carlin decides to begin a physical relationship with Zeke. The love scenes are hot and it is easy to see that they are falling in love with each other. But the stalker hasn't forgotten about Carlin.
This one has danger, romance and hot cowboys along with a seriously creepy stalker. Fans of romantic suspense will love it.
"This isn't exactly New York City, you know," he said, sounding more than a little grumpy.I got this eARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.
"My bad. And here I was all set on going to a Broadway show on my half-day off," she responded calmly, without turning to look at him. "I guess I'll just have to use my opera glasses to spy on cows."
Zeke started to grin, caught himself, and growled, just a little. He didn't want or need to be entertained by her, but damn, it was hard to resist. The thing was, unless he was wrong about her, she wanted him to get grumpy at her verbal jabs. "They don't dance much, and they never sing. I hope you didn't have your heart set on a musical."