by Brenda K Jernigan

May 2004
ISBN: 0-8217-7536-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

When Mary Costner inherits a gold mine, her family thinks she’s crazy for wanting to work the mine. But, Mary is nothing but determined to make a life for herself and make her own way. When she arrives in Colorado’s Gregory Gulch, and finds that someone has laid claim to her mine, she made and agreement with Big Jim, they would work the mine together and split the profits until which time that one of the other dies, then full title of the mine will go to the living partner. That being settled, Mary set to a life as a miner. So as not to draw attention to herself, she dressed as a man or at least the resemblance of a man or boy, if you will. But when she woke up one morning and found Big Jim lying on the living room floor in a pool of blood, she panics. She can’t remember a thing from the night before and she’s covered in blood, Jim’s blood. She does the only thing she can do, she runs!

US Marshal Carter Monroe wants only to get the next town and to a warm bed. This blizzard is getting worse by the minute and his good humor is getting shorter. When he stumbles across a form in the snow, he investigates and finds it to be a woman who is unconscious and no horse around to be found. Taking her up on his horse, he carries his newfound burden to the next town. His gut feeling is that she is running from something or someone, but whatever her problem is, it’s bound to mean trouble for him.

When Mary awakens and finds herself in a warm room with a handsome stranger, she’s more than a little concerned. And when she discovers that he is a US Marshal, her concern turns to panic. So as to keep him in the dark as to her past and her name, Mary pretends amnesia, until which time she can figure out what really happened and who killed Big Jim, before the Marshal finds out who she really is.

Ms. Jernigan brings us another wonderful tale in her ‘orphan’ series. Mary is a bright, headstrong and feisty woman. She knows what she wants and goes for it, no matter what the cost. Carter Monroe has a few ghosts hanging over his head and his taste for vengeance must be met before he can resume some sort of sense to a normal life. Can these two very stubborn and strong willed people find the elusive love that has been missing from their lives? The answer to that is a big YES and when they do, the pages set fire.

I would be remiss is I didn’t mention the villain, Carter’s mother, his deputy and all of the other secondary characters. Ms. Jernigan incorporates so many personalities and sub-plots that fit perfectly into the storyline that she creates endless possibilities for future stories.

One word describes Brenda Jernigan’s stories, “Captivating”!

Reviewed in June 2004 by Debbie.

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