The Cowboy Meets His Match

The Fortune Hunter

Gentle From the Night

One Small Secret

The Lawman Meets His Bride
by Meagan McKinney
(Sil. Int. Mom. #1037, $4.50,PG) ISBN 0-373-27107-7
Constance Adams gets a call late one day. Someone wants to see a secluded cabin she has listed and is in a hurry. She hasn't had any offers for the place and, even though it's inconvenient, she decides to go ahead and meet the potential buyer. Once there, she's sure something isn't right. This buyer seems to have no interest in the cabin. Then she sees the blood dripping from his leg and knows he isn't there to buy a house.

Quinn Loudon, assistant U.S. Attorney, knows he's been set up. The problem is that no one else knows he has. He knew they were going to arrest him when he decided to run first and explain later. Now he is forced to use Constance as a hostage, even though he has begun to admire her a lot. Constance doesn't want to believe the word of a man who is holding her at gunpoint, but she gradually decides he is telling the truth. The problem is, even after he leaves her to make his escape alone, no one seems to believe she was an unwilling hostage.

The two protagonists here are smart, courageous and admirable. Constance thinks for herself, even when appearances are against Quinn. Quinn makes a formidable fugitive. They gain a useful ally when they team up with the matriarch of the area who happens to own the cabin where Constance and Quinn meet. They can use some help - after all, the FBI, state police and everyone else is after them. The twists and turns of the plot and the way the two manage to evade their pursuers is gripping.

But there are some problems with the plot. The first is that I'm not completely sure why Quinn ever called Constance in the first place. I'm not sure if he just wanted to hide out in the cabin before she realized he wasn't just an innocent potential buyer or he needed a new car and planned to take Constance hostage in the first place. The second problem I noticed was more infuriating. In fact, up until then I would have given this story a better rating.

This is one of the novels I have just recently reviewed where the hero and heroine finally come close to the end of the story and must finally come to grips with the ultimate problem that keeps them apart - in this case it's Quinn's feeling that he is totally unworthy of being loved, due to his parents and childhood. What happens? Well, they argue and then Quinn stalks off. He shows up shortly afterward and says he has "reprogrammed" his heart and everything is OK.

No! No, it's NOT OK. After reading almost 250 pages, I don't want a hero to resolve his problems by going away and then coming back and saying he's rethought everything and he doesn't have the problem any more. He could have done that a long time ago. Give readers another two or three pages - maybe even a few more paragraphs would do - to see him grapple with the problem. After all the characters' hard work, this ending was just too easy.

--Irene Williams

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