by Juno Rushdan
Series: Cowboy State Lawmen #2
Also in this series: Wyoming Winter Rescue, Wyoming Mountain Hostage, Wyoming Mountain Murder
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Publication Date: November 29, 2022
Source: the author
I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
The wrong place, the wrong time…
The right man to protect her.
After Grace Clark accidentally witnesses a brutal murder, she tumbles headlong into a world of motorcycle gangs, cults and a young girl's secrets. Dogged chief deputy sheriff Holden Powell's determined to help discover what's wreaking havoc on their idyllic western town this Christmas. The rancher-turned-lawman has something to prove, and he won’t let anything happen to Grace—not on his watch.
Cowboy romances aren’t really my thing, so when I saw that Juno Rushdan was starting a new series entitled Cowboy Lawmen, well, I was worried. But two books in, I can safely say that these are just as excellent as her previous books. Quickly paced and full of suspense and romance, it’s an edge of your seat read. While this is the second in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone.
“Sheriff Daniel Clark had tasked him with two priorities while he was on vacation. Make sure that all hell didn’t break loose in town and keep an eye on his little sister.
And by “keep an eye on” he meant “don’t let her get into trouble.” Apparently, it was too late for that.”
Grace moved from California to Wyoming to start fresh, far away from her over-bearing mother and ex-fiance. While taking online classes to get her master’s, she’s working as a manager at Delgado’s bar and grill. It’s while closing one day that she witnesses a murder at the inn across the street. Chief Deputy Holden works with Grace’s brother, the sheriff, though he’s pretty much the only person who trusts him. After a scandal involving two of the people closest to him, no one else believes he wasn’t involved. That puts even more pressure on him to solve the murder and keep Grace safe – and his crush on her doesn’t hurt either. But every step towards solving the murder leads to more questions and someone – or someones – won’t stop until Grace is silenced.
Holden’s had a crush on Grace since she moved in to town, but between being the sheriff’s sister and his reputation in the town, he didn’t feel like he could pursue anything with her. Instead he’s been doing small things to keep close to her, like eating pie at Delgado’s every day. But with the case keeping them in close proximity, it’s harder than ever to keep his hands to himself. For Grace, the crash and burn of her last relationship has her swearing them off for the foreseeable future. She just wants to concentrate on getting her master’s and enjoying a simple, quiet life, depending only on herself. It takes time – and a lot of near-death experiences for Grace – for Holden to come to terms with his guilt and for Grace to accept that she doesn’t need to be an island.
This author’s books always keep the intrigue rolling and this book is no exception. From the first few pages, it’s chock-full of quickly paced suspense. There’s a murder, a cult, a biker gang, a threatening landlord and then the titular stalker. That all sounds like an insane amount of things to pack into a 250 page book but everything works together to keep the plot flowing. The (closed door) romance and the suspense are neatly balanced, which given the pacing is an amazing feat.
Overall, yup, it’s another great suspense by Juno Rushdan. Perfect if you’re looking for something to keep you on the edge of your seat this Christmas!
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