Cowan lends her talents to the Cahill family continuum as brother Bowie returns in an action-packed, realistic tale of the old West. Following the storyline set by Carol Finch she adds new depth to the series and its ongoing mystery, as well as a lovely romance with a feisty heroine and a lawman hero who find love among outlaws and secrets.

Like the prodigal son, Bowie returns home to find Cahill Crossing both better and worse than when he left following his parents’ deaths. He went on to follow his dream of being a lawman, but news of new evidence in the case of his family’s accident brings him back. Unwilling to stay on the ranch, he rents a room at Merritt Dixon’s boardinghouse. Merritt is determined to make it on her own as a businesswoman, but life isn’t easy for her. The widow of a Texas Ranger, she’s determined not to be involved with another lawman. Bowie is one of the few boarders she’s had and when he offers to help her with repairs she is grateful. It isn’t long before Bowie is drawn into uncovering unsavory activities in town and is elected the new marshal, which puts a damper on his growing relationship with Merritt. But love is powerful and it is what helps Bowie and Merritt unearth more information, thrusting them into grave danger. (HARLEQUIN, Dec., 300 pp., $6.25)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin