Blaylock's Bride

It Happened at Midnight

Sleepless in Montana

Tallchief for Keeps

Three Kisses

Gabriel's Gift

As Cait Logan:

Be Mine

The Wedding Gamble

Leaving Lonely Town
by Cait London
(Avon, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-380-81551-6
Sable Barclay is journeying toward a family she only dreamed of until recently and isn’t sure she has now. Through her forensic laboratory work Sara discovers that her DNA matches that of the missing Langtry child, lost years and years ago. Her adoptive parents had refused to tell her anything for years until she confronted them. Sable can’t let matters rest as they are. Finally she makes a trip to Wyoming and the Langtry family, afraid she may find out the truth but more afraid not to know.

The first person she meets is Culley Blackwolf, a friend and employee of the Langtrys. Sable tries to hide why she is there, but she looks enough like her mother that Culley knows Sable must be lying about being a mere tourist. Culley is fascinated by but wary of Sable. He’s been living in what he calls Lonely Town a long time a man alone and not willing to risk human contact but Sable tempts him mightily.

Culley, the hero who has seen too much and been too disappointed by life, provides lots of heat. Sable, who moves in with Culley while she gets to know the Langtrys, can’t help but enjoy the sparks. She comes to depend on Culley, both to protect her from her emotions as she learns to accept her new family and because she realizes he would never hurt her. She is willing to gamble on loving Culley. He is the one who is convinced he would fail her. Although he reluctantly becomes willing to enjoy her now, he accepts that she will inevitably leave him later.

In a subplot that is a big part of the book, Eden, her good friend who has come along to help Sable, is equally drawn to Sable’s new-found brother. Eden has secrets in her past that make her afraid to accept Roark Langtry’s love. Eden’s fear of getting too close to anyone, though for different reasons, mirrors Culley’s.

Culley’s relationship with Sable is sexy and often riveting, but the subplots and previous story (this is a sequel) tend to get in the way of their romance as much as the characters’ own hesitations. There is too much plot here to unravel: there are Sable’s other family members and their pasts to deal with, including long-dead ancestors. There is an evil brother for Eden, family coins with legends attached to them, diaries from the past, Culley’s childhood abuse to overcome and so forth. Everyone has a depressing secret, it seems. In short, there is a lot of story here but some of it seems to just weigh down the main characters and get in the reader’s way. Maybe this story would have been more powerful if Leaving Lonely Town showed more of the hero and heroine alone with each other. As it is, it’s too cluttered and dark to leave readers with a good feeling.

--Irene Williams

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