Hard Lovin' Man

In Name Only

That McCloud Woman

Tanner Ties by Peggy Moreland
(Silh. Desire #1676, $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-76676-9
I always find it interesting to start a series mid-stream – either I am lost because of information I don’t have from previous stories or I am interested enough to want to find all the previous entries. Tanner Ties makes me want to go hunting.

Lauren Tanner is a member of “the other side of the famil,” being the daughter of Randall Tanner. Randall and his brother Buck had been estranged for years. Buck’s four sons live on the Tanner land and since his death have tried to make amends with their cousin but have always been rebuffed.

Lauren moved to the hunting lodge that her father owned on the edge of Tanner land when her husband divorced her and she ended up with little. She is determined to prove to herself that she can be independent and successful. She wants to turn the hunting lodge into a rustic bed and breakfast. She has bookings for a group of hunters and now just has to get the place livable.

The Tanners offered to help and she refused, suspecting they were out to get her. She has reason for her mistrust and when she reveals it, it stuns all. The Tanners decide to help anyway, so they send their trusted employee to apply for the handyman job. Luke Jordan reluctantly agreed to apply only because he owes the Tanners his life and livelihood.

Luke was burned in a barn fire trying to save the livestock. His hands, face and chest were badly damaged and it was only through the skill of Ry Tanner, plastic surgeon, that Luke retained the use of his hands. Many surgeries later, he is scarred but alive and working. Luke never thought much of his looks before, but now is certain he is ugly. He wears his hat low and gloves on his hands. Lauren is intrigued. She is amazed that one man could survive what must have been a horrific accident and does not find him scary or disgusting at all.

Luke starts off by helping Lauren with the work and ends up staying to protect her when several incidents occur that look like someone is trying to run her off. Lauren is certain the Tanners are behind it. Luke just wants her safe. Luke and Lauren work together and end up loving together. Now how does Luke tell her he knows and works for the Tanners?

The story is fast-paced with character development and relationship building the primary focus. The dangers are merely a backdrop. This is the story of two people who need each other and a family torn apart by one man’s greed. The glimpses of the Tanner brothers were minimal, yet intriguing enough to want to hear their stories and see how they ended up such strong men. Luke and Lauren are strong heroes, stubborn and yet reasonable. They fit together nicely.

Not having read the previous stories did not hinder me in any way. It just whets my appetite for the previous entries in the story. As a stand alone, however, Tanner Ties is a very good romance.

--Shirley Lyons

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