With its realistic backdrop and appealing characters, Sands' lightweight western is a charmer that harkens back to the early days of the combination Wild West and Americana romance.

Tragic circumstances force Tess Metcalf to change her identity and take a position as caretaker to Hoyt Hayworth, the owner of the Double H ranch. After three months Tess becomes Mrs. Hayworth and a widow left with half-ownership of the ranch.

The other half belongs to Hoyt's estranged son Clint, who returns home to buy out Tess' share. He's stunned when she refuses to sell, and sexual tension sizzles between them while someone tries to sabotage their efforts to run the ranch. Then Tess' past forces her to come clean or lose everything she has worked to keep -- the ranch and Clint. (Harlequin, Mar., 300 pp., $5.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin