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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lawmen And Outlaws by Lauri Robinson, Linda Carroll-Bradd, Loretta C. Rogers, Helen Hardt

Lawmen And Outlaws by Lauri Robinson, Linda Carroll-Bradd, Loretta C. Rogers, Helen Hardt
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Western Historical
Length: Full (383 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Two lawmen are tested when they lose their hearts--
When runaway Hannah Stewart comes into his life Sheriff Adam McBride is torn between the law and love.

Sheriff Quinn Riley must find the swindler who stole from his town and his family--even if it means losing the woman he loves, Ciara Morrissey.

And two outlaws looking for redemption have their hearts stolen--
McKenna Smith wants a pardon and he'll do anything to get it- until he falls in love with the one person who can make it happen- Audra Tadlock.

Bounty Hunter Bobby Morgan is innocent, but proving it won't be easy especially when he falls for the beautiful preacher's daughter he's kidnapped.
The blurred line between lawman and outlaw gets really faint at times in these stories just like it did in the real West during the late 1800’s. As people, some severely scarrd with the horrors of the Civil War, moved westward to build new lives they brought a lot of emotional baggage with them. However, they also brought determination, courage, and humor, all intrinsic elements in the stories in this anthology.

“Sheriff McBride” by Lauri Roberson

Sheriff Adam McBride makes Hannah Stewart feel “like she was standing on the top of a hill in a lightning storm”. However, he is the lawman and she is the outlaw. Humor, a subtle undercurrent in this story, helps the plot as Hannah’s history emerges. While Hannah and Adam are still tiptoeing around each other but smitten, Nathaniel Kingston from Hannah’s past shows up in Blue Springs, Kansas, making a shocking declaration.

This fast moving short story keeps the reader totally involved as greed, desire for power, and selfishness work against Hannah and Adam as they, along with some interesting secondary characters, strive to bring the truth to light.

“Dreams of Gold” by Carroll-Bradd

Sheriff Quinn Riley and Ciara Morrissey’s acquaintance starts in the chaotic aftermath of a stagecoach robbery. Ciara’s free-thinking, independence ideas wreck havoc in Quinn’s town right on the heels of the town people’s upset about being swindled out of their life savings by a smooth-talking Irishman, Supposedly Ciara’s father. Conflict and confusion abound.

As the mystery of her father is solved and the women in town rally around Ciara, humor and common sense, along with a lot of amateur detective work, create a story of a town in Wyoming Territory in the lat 1800’s, growing into a solid, safer place for folks to live and love.

“McKenna’s Woman” by Loretta C. Rogers

Ex-con McKenna Smith sets Audra Tadlock’s dull life on its ear when he arrives in Hopeville, Texas. Working for the Texas Rangers to earn a full pardon, McKenna photographs outlaws dead or alive. However, his personal agenda, to get the outlaw that back-shot him and left him for dead, brings about an adventure for Audra that makes her wonder why she ever complained about her dull, safe life in her Aunt Sophia’s dress shop.

Excitement and anxiety build as Audra and McKenna go for a “rendezvous with the Devil”. How could Audra choose between McKenna and her twin?

Audra and McKenna, two strong characters, overcome horrific memories of their past and choose to be more than they’ve ever been before as they pledge themselves to each other after LOTS of bumps in the road. Good reading.

“The Outlaw’s Angel” by Helen Hardt

Bounty hunter Bobby Morgan and preacher’s daughter Naomi Blackburn get off to a rocky start. The Dakota Territory in the late 1800’s is no place for the faint of heart Naomi learns as she ends up on the trail with Bobby; thirst, hungry, and finally left in a railroad camp where her encounter with Ike Hawkins, a man Bobby thought he could trust, proves to be the vilest of characters. Bobby’s gut feeling sends him back because for him, “to soil her would be to bastardize perfection”. It is breath-holding time n this part of the story.

Naomi vows she will choose who, when, and where to give herself to another and she chooses Bobby. When Naomi is shot, Bobby puts aside his long-nurtured hatred for Indians in his effort to save her life. He also makes a bargain with God for her life. A bargain that breaks his heart but one he vows to keep.

Naomi’s vow of “whither thou goest I will go…” hits some tremendous obstacles as this story takes some twists and turns that make for compelling reading.

LAWMEN AND OUTLAWS is a “mighty fine” read for Historical Western readers and would be ideal for a newcomer to get introduced to this genre. One more proofread for misused words and misplaced modifiers would have added polish to the anthology. But the few errors did not diminish the good character development, the action, and the plots of these four entertaining tales that are full of conflict, excitement, humor, and love.