Rebecca Brandewyne is best known for her historicals – in fact I discovered that this novella was her first contemporary. I had not read any of her work before, and stumbled onto this tale as part of a two-story book bundle along with Peggy Moreland, whose tale is reviewed elsewhere on this site.
Ms. Brandewyne has chosen the profession of bounty hunting for her first foray into the contemporary genre. Hayley Harper is barely squeaking by, trying to hold her father’s company together, and desperately trying to capture a big time felon, Dolan Pike. Rafer Starr, legend within the field of bounty hunting, is also after Dolan Pike. He doesn’t need the money, he’s doing this for Dolan’s ex-wife, who was battered around a little too often.
Two good people, two good motives, and a potentially great plot. So what went off the tracks? Hayley is introduced as a spunky, bright, good-at-what-she does, heroine. Then Rafer arrives on the scene. She flattens him, loses Dolan, and takes off in her RV on his tail. Rafer follows, catches up with Hayley at her campsite, and from then on, the momentum changes.
Oh, it’s a nice romance, but Ms. Brandewyne’s historical roots show through!! From being a feisty woman of the twenty-first century, Hayley lapses back into a handcuffed woman of days gone by. She seethes, but does nothing that might help her escape. A Linda Howard heroine, for example, would have chewed through the seatbelt with her teeth rather than be handcuffed to it waiting tamely for her captor to return. Rafer is just a little too alpha, and Hayley “not-quite-alpha-enough”! The balance is off just sufficiently to detract from the underlying solidity of this tale. It’s an okay story, but not a keeper.