With its intense western flavor, suspense and strong, realistic characters, this novel is vintage Crooks. The winning combination of a true-to-life cattle drive and a hunt for a counterfeiter/killer/kidnapper adds intensity to a standard plotline.
Federal agent Penn McClure is out to avenge his partner and lover's murder when he arrives at Carina Lockett's ranch. He discovers an independent, strong-minded woman determined to raise the money to pay off her estranged lover and her daughters' kidnapper.
To make the ransom, Carina has to organize a cattle drive, fast. She's desperate for men and hires Penn on the spot. During the dangerous drive, Carina begins to depend on and trust Penn. Slowly love grows, but danger persists. Working as a team they must find a way to rescue her daughter and give Penn his chance at revenge as well as the love of a lifetime. (Harlequin, Jul., 300 pp., $5.99)