by Maureen McKade

August 2007
ISBN: 978-0425216620
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Mass Market Paperback

This sequel to A Reason to Live introduces us to Rye Forrester. He’s arrived in a small Texas town, looking for Dulcie McDaniel. He feels responsible for her husband’s death and wants to atone. When he shows up at Dulcie’s rundown farm he is greeted at gunpoint and instead of confessing his real reason for being there, he tells her he’s looking for a job. It’s obvious she needs help and he figures it’s the least he could do.

Dulcie can’t afford to pay Rye, but when she offers room and board he accepts. She confesses her pa has just been buried that morning after being hung for murder. She knows her father was a drunk and could be mean, but she also knows he was hung unjustly.

After having both a father and husband who preferred drinking to working, Dulcie is amazed at how much work Rye accomplishes around her farm. She’s not comfortable around him and doesn’t want him anywhere near her young daughter, so he takes his meals on the porch and sleeps in the barn. Rye knows he should tell her he knew her husband but he fears she’ll take the news badly and he’s not ready to leave.

Rye befriends a young orphan in town and brings him to the farm under the pretense of helping out. The truth instead is he wants to get him away from the family whom he is living with. They don’t want the boy around and only took him out of a feeling of obligation. Collie touches a soft spot in Rye as he was raised in an orphanage himself and has never seen his two brothers since.

This western romance was made all the sweeter with characters who are so much more than what you see on the surface. Rye is a strong, gentle, caring man trying to escape a past of which he’s ashamed. Dulcie is struggling to raise her daughter as well as deal with emotional issues which haunt her. Together these two wounded souls just may find peace if only they can convince themselves they are worthy.

Reviewed in July 2007 by Jackie.

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