Ex-cop turned rancher Nevada Smith knew it was going to be a bad day when he saw Deputy Shep Marson driving out to his ranch. It seems that terminally ill old Caleb Swaggert has suddenly found God and wants to recant on testimony he gave years earlier. Calebs testimony put Ross McCallum in prison for murdering Ramon Estevan. The murder was Nevadas case and now that Ross is free, he will want revenge on those who put him in prison.

Shep has another bomb to drop. It seems that Shelby Cole has returned after hightailing out of town years earlier. Shelby and Nevada were once an item.

Shelby swore she would never return to Bad Luck, TX, but the anonymous note she received has forced her to take action. Eight years ago, Shelby thought she had given birth to a stillborn daughter. Evidence now suggests that her baby was alive and adopted out by Shelbys father, Judge Jerome Cole. When her father refuses to divulge any information, Shelby turns to Nevada for help. Together maybe they can discover their daughters whereabouts.

Small-town feuds and buried secrets are vividly portrayed in this gripping tale. When it comes to providing gritty and sexy stories, Ms. Jackson certainly knows how to deliver. (Dec., 384 pp., $6.50)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith