Not only is Etta Rivers pregnant, newly widowed and sitting on a heavily mortgaged ranch, she also has to deal with the embarrassment and anger over her husband Roy dying in another woman's bed. Then horse trainer/drifter Johnny Bellah arrives to demand payment for a debt Roy owed him.

Down on his luck himself, Johnny recognizes desperation. Etta and her former nanny Latrice are nearly at their wits' end. The bank will hold off foreclosing on the house until after Etta's baby is born. Meanwhile, the only asset Etta has is Little Gus, a roan horse. While Johnny may not have much book learning, he's a genius with horses. He knows that with proper training, Little Gus will surprise them all.

Soon Johnny is living in the barn and training local horses. After Roy, Etta is leery of trusting anyone. To Johnny's surprise, Etta has managed to work her way into his heart.

This is another classic Curtiss Ann Matlock story of lonely souls and damaged hearts getting a second chance. Ms. Matlock brings a joy and warm humanity to all her wonderful novels. (Mar., 384 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith