by Susan Kay Law

August 2004
ISBN: 0-06-052519-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Miss Laura Hamilton is the pampered daughter of millionaire, Leland Hamilton, otherwise known as the “Baron of the bankers”. Laura is also a celebrity in her own right, as she is one of the most sought after artists of the time. Heading out on her own has been a dream that was long in coming for Laura. Having survived a serious childhood illness that kept her an invalid for many years, the now 25 year old Laura wants to do some serious living! After finally getting her parents to agree for her to go out west to do her painting, Laura finds herself aboard a train about to be robbed! To her rescue comes one of the west’s most legendary, and feared gunslingers, Sam Duncan.

Sam Duncan had survived the atrocities of the notorious civil war prison Andersonville, only by the grace of God and the friendship of his buddy Griff Judah, who kept Sam alive and going when it would have been so easy to succumb to his captors and the hellish tortures they inflicted upon him. It was this friendship that had brought Sam to Silver Spur, Utah, looking for Griff who had mysteriously disappeared while working there at a silver mine owned by shady Haw Crocker. The perfect way into Crocker’s well guarded inner sanctum just fell right into his lap, literally. Sam rescues heiress Laura Hamilton who just happens to be on her way to Silver Spur for some painting at her father’s friend, Haw Crocker’s invitation. A lie develops, as Sam tells Laura that he is there as a bodyguard hired by Baron Hamilton to protect her. The all too handsome gunslinger is getting too close to Laura. Can Sam keep his mind on his mission to find his buddy Griff, and his hands off this passionate heiress?

For a long time fellow romance fans have been at me to try a novel by Susan Kay Law, so I read her newest, A Wanted Man. I began to feel like I was missing something here. Sam Duncan was supposed to be a man to be reckoned with. Sam has a fierce dislike of closed in spaces, which is explained by what happened to him while in prison. So how was it that he was able to ride a train, but couldn’t sleep on one? Also how was it Sam was able to rent a room in the beginning of the story to sleep off the beating he received, yet couldn’t sleep in a similar sized room at Crocker’s mansion? These things puzzled the logical side of me. However, the romantic side of me was enthralled by the dramatic climax of Laura and Sam’s first physical encounter. The ending has the requisite emotional payoff that is blocked by the overbearing father. My recommendation is this may be a must-read for the die hard Susan Kay Law fans out there, but for first timers like me, maybe I should have read another of her more tried and true efforts.

Reviewed in July 2004 by Bonnie.

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