THE RANGER'S BRIDE
This story about hiding out from wounds, old and new, opens with Adelaide Parker and Rede Smith riding into Connors Crossing, Texas. The feel of the scene is much like the classic movie Stagecoach, but characters and events diverge after the coach is attacked. When the shooting begins, Addy falls to the coach floor and is covered by a mortally wounded passenger. Rede suffers severe wounds and the bandits assume hes dead. He instructs Addy to put his badge on another passenger, sure that the killing happened because someone in the violent Fogerty gang knew a Texas ranger was coming to hunt them down. He insists that Addy hide him and not tell anyone hes survived, then becomes unconscious.
Addy drives the coach into town, stopping to hide Rede at her house on the edge of town first. Over the next several weeks, as he recovers and begins to look for the outlaws hideout, Rede hides his identity and copes with his attraction to Addy. In order to be treated like a lady, Addy hides the fact that shes divorced, pretending to be a widow. Both have more and more difficulty coping with the danger of being exposed until real danger returns to threaten their lives.
Although the well-crafted sexual tension ends a bit early in this Western romance, Laurie Grant contrasts high adventure with homefront events for interesting reading. (Feb., 297 pp., $4.99)