Drake writes excellent contemporary westerns that show the real American West — not a dude-ranch fantasy. Her characters illustrate the problems, changes and bedrock strengths of ranchers and their communities. This one’s not to be missed.
Left with only nightmares and an ugly physical scar, Aubrey Madison is on the road looking for a new life with more freedom. On a whim she answers an ad for a groom on a Colorado ranch. The job gives her plenty of hard work and a quiet place to heal — and it also introduces her to hot, old-school rancher Max Jameson. Max has been raising cattle and breaking horses for all his life, just like his father did before him. Now he’s faced with the fact that those skills are not enough to keep the land in the family. Bree has an idea to save the ranch, but can she risk getting attached to the land and the cowboy who comes with it? Can Max trust a stranger with his future? (FOREVER, Feb., 320 pp., $8.00)